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Profiles in Courage and Asian-American Empowerment:
Young Gay Man Voted Mayor in Calif.
By Michelle Garcia
Campbell, Calif., city council member Evan Low became mayor of his city Tuesday night. The council promoted Low, who was the citys 26 year old vice mayor, to become one of the few openly gay mayors in the country as well as one of the youngest Asian-American mayors.
Im passionate and energetic about all things I do, he said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. This is not work for me. This is something I enjoy.
Low works full-time as the senior district representative for state Assemblyman Paul Fong. He is also working on his master's degree in public administration from San Jose State University.
Mia Mingus 29 / Atlanta Activist, speaker
Mia Mingus has a refreshingly sunny disposition for someone who spends every day speaking against the big isms and phobias of the world racism, homophobia, ableism (discrimination against disabled people), sexism, and classism. At the dozens of universities, events, and conferences where she speaks each year, Mingus, who uses a wheelchair herself, focuses on building strength in alliances, stressing that gay rights arent isolated from accessibility rights for people with disabilities. Mingus says shes been lucky to make a living in activism and grassroots organizing. The next step in achieving equality, she says, is beyond getting diverse groups to show up at meetings. Just being able to physically get into the door and communicate at meetings is a step, she says of increasing disabled peoples involvement in LGBT advocacy. But we have to move beyond access. Its not enough to just be in the room, but we all have to be in on the conversation.
Brigham Yen 28 / Pasadena, Calif. Blogger, real estate agent
Most gay people like to make things pretty. This desire, real estate agent and blogger Brigham Yen explains, is why they often lead the charge in urban renewal, and its what fueled his passion to help turn downtown Los Angeles from a no-mans land into a 24 hour district. Yen developed a love for cities while growing up in un-urban Utah (yes, Brigham is his real name). After college he moved to Los Angeles, where he became engrossed in the citys effort to clean up its blighted downtown and expand its transit system. Yen began attending planning meetings for new buildings and subways, made contacts with politicians, and was soon hired by the Downtown Center Business Improvement District as an economic development associate. He was part of an effort to convince residents and businesses to move downtown, including a Wolfgang Puck restaurant and a trendy sneaker store. Now a real estate agent, he leases retail spaces and sells condos in neighboring Pasadena, where he lives with his partner. His enthusiasm for sustainable cities recently led him to launch Pasadena Real Estate With Brigham Yen, a popular blog on the citys pedestrian friendly developments.
Daniel Choi 28 / Gay Soldier DADT repeal advocate
Since Chois coming out, 38 West Point alumni also came out and announced the formation of Knights Out, an organization of West Point alumni who support the rights of LGBT soldiers to serve openly. Choi was one of the founding members and is the spokesperson for the group. The organization offers to help their alma mater educate future Army leaders on the need to accept and honor the sacrifices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender troops. Choi has also spoken at numerous gay rights events, including a march in Los Angeles following the California Supreme Courts affirmation of Proposition 8. On May 27, 2009, he addressed a demonstration of gay activists outside the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where President Barack Obama was speaking at a Democratic National Committee fund raising event. In addition, Choi spoke at the 2009 Pride Rally in New York City and served as a Grand Marshal alongside Knights Out in San Francisco's 2009 Gay Pride Parade. On July 16, 2009 Choi was in Culver City, California to introduce the premiere of Abe Forman-Greenwald's documentary called Silent Partners. The documentary is the fourth episode in the In Their Boots series, with the episode focusing on the partners of LGBT soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. In the episode, Choi criticizes the U.S. military's neglect of the partners of service members. In February 2010 Choi was selected to be a Grand Marshal of the 41st Annual New York LGBT Pride March by its producers, Heritage of Pride. At the event, Choi led the Pledge of Allegiance at the New York City Council Chambers.
Jimmy Nguyen 37 / Los Angeles Attorney
Jimmy Nguyen didn not set out to destroy the credibility of erstwhile Miss California USA and conservative spokeswoman Carrie Prejean it just happened. I simply wanted to represent my client well, says Nguyen, a law partner in the Beverly Hills office of Wildman, Harrold, Allen, and Dixon LLP, who defended the pageant organization against Prejeans claim that she had been wrongfully terminated for her religious views. Prejean, of course, became the conservative movements poster child for a hot minute when she stood up for opposite marriage while answering a question in the Miss USA pageant. But the case revealed that Prejean was no victim; she had repeatedly breached her contract with the pageant and failed to reimburse the organization for her breast implants. The kicker was a story TMZ broke that found Prejean had made sex tapes for her then boyfriend. Although Nguyen could not discuss the details of the suit and its settlement, he says, She was being presented as a role model, spokesperson, and fundraiser, and the events of that case helped to expose her as a hypocrite and discredit her as someone whose voice could be used against the LGBT community.
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