SAN DIEGO -- Assemblymember Toni Atkins this week honored Gloria Johnson, who has dedicated more than four decades to LGBT equality and other social justice causes, as the LGBT Person of the Year for the 76th Assembly District.
Johnson was recognized Tuesday at a special ceremony on the floor of the State Assembly in Sacramento.
“Gloria was a pioneer on behalf of LGBT equality long before there were award-winning films about LGBT heroes or a President who supported marriage equality,” Atkins said. “She worked in the trenches when being openly LGBT was unpopular and risky. Year after year, her work helped advance our cause. We all owe her a huge debt of gratitude.”
Among Johnson’s many accomplishments is her service as local co-chair of the 1976 campaign to defeat the Briggs Initiative, a measure that would have barred lesbian and gay people from working as public school teachers. Since the 1980s, she has served on the executive board of San Diego’s LGBT Democratic Club, now called San Diego Democrats for Equality, as well as the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee.
Johnson has participated in the San Diego LGBT Pride Parade for the past 32 years and has been both the parade’s grand marshal and its woman of the year.
Johnson has also dedicated decades of service to the National Organization for Women (NOW) at both the state and local level, where she successfully advocated that lesbian rights should be a NOW priority. She is a longtime member of the NOW Lesbian Rights Task Force and also serves on the California NOW PAC. She is the current president of the San Diego County chapter of NOW.