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COMMUNITY PROFILE: Get to know Tamandra Michaels

Tamandra Michaels is a well-known, well-liked personality in San Diego's large and diverse LGBT community. Always traveling with her K9 companion Borias, Tamandra loves to snap photos of everything in sight, especially pets.

An artist and photographer, she owns her own pet photography business and has plans to open a studio next month.

At a youthful 49 years old, Tamandra says she is "blissfully single" and has lived in San Diego off and on most of her life.

San Diego Gay & Lesbian News asked Tamandra to reveal more about herself.

What organizations do you volunteer for, and why?

I volunteer for a variety of animal rescue organizations such as San Diego Animal Services, FACE Foundation, PAWS and several dog rescues.

I'm also a professional member of HeARTsSpeak, which is an international organization that unites artists and animal rescues, together fighting for a deeper understanding and better future to the voiceless.

We work to dispel the myth that shelter animals are somehow damaged and deficient, and therefore inferior. A compelling photography can reach into the heart of a potential adopter, and a homeless animal one step closer to a forever home. I also work with our church's outreach for homeless youth, Street Angels. I also lend my voice (and often my dog does too!) to the fight for LGBT equality.

What motivates you to do the volunteer work you do?

I've always felt a strong connection to those suffering from injustice, and oppression, the misunderstood.

Do you volunteer because of your work, or not? And what do you do for a career?

My career is an artist; I'm a photographer. I feel passionate about using what you've been given to make a difference in the world. Photography is a really special gift, a powerful tool for influencing perception, and change.

What is something that many people do not know about you?

That I'm older than I look (but I'm not telling)! (Editor's note: Tamandra shared her real age earlier in this questionnaire.)

What would you like to see change in the LGBT community?

I would like to see the community have an even louder voice.

What do you like most about the local LGBT community?

The love, acceptance and support. That being who you are is not only accepted, but celebrated!

What sorts of things do you do to enrich your social life other than volunteering?

Hanging out with good friends, and just being a part of the community.

(Editor's note: If you would like to nominate a local LGBT community member or ally to be profiled on SDGLN, send suggestions to ken@sdgln.com.)