Lopez arrived in San Diego homeless and has since thrived
San Diego Pride Executive Director Fernando Lopez (pronouns: they/them) is featured in a recent edition of KPBS San Diego's "My First Day" podcast titled "Driving Through Butterflies." In the 14 minute episode, Lopez shares why they chose to leave their Imperial County hometown of El Centro and what it was like upon first arriving in San Diego in 1999.
Lopez, who has worked at San Diego Pride since 2011 and became executive director in 2018, has been a prominent LGBTQ community activist for nearly 20 years. First arriving in San Diego as a homeless youth, their work on a number of issues has been instrumental including marriage equality, combatting homophobia in sports, law enforcement sensitivity, and a major focus on supporting LGBTQ youth. Their full bio is here.
Benny Cartwright, another longtime San Diego LGBTQ community activist, is often credited by Lopez as saving their life. It was a 20-year old Cartwright who met Lopez outside of the Living Room Coffeehouse in Hillcrest the day Lopez arrived in town. Cartwright took Lopez in and helped them get on their feet. The two plan to commemorate the 20-years since their meeting next month.
The full episode and transcript can be heard and read here.