Tag Archives: Jacksonville

Brennan Campa, Age 14

Brennan believes that everyone should be treated with respect and that everyone deserves to have equal opportunities, including his mother, who is a lesbian. Read more about Brennan here: http://wp.me/s3PnKk-brennan

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PRESS: Interview with Melissa Ross, First Coast Connect

Chevara Orrin, co-creater of We Are Straight Allies, sat down with Melissa Ross on First Coast Connect Thursday morning, November 21st, to discuss the campaign and how we hope to further conversations that assist with passage of a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance in Jacksonville, FL.  We are deeply grateful to WJCT-FM for having us on air and we look forward to working together on this crucial initiative to move the city forward!

You can read more about the interview, as well as listen to the excerpt of the interview, here: http://news.wjct.org/post/straight-allies-advocate-lgbt-equality-jax

For the full show, please visit the archived link here: http://ondemand.wjct.org/audio/november-21-2013

Ally Profile: Luis “Louie” Lopez

My name is Louie Lopez.  I’m originally from Los Angeles and was a Jockey in my younger years.  Because of constant starvation, I decided to walk away from my Horse Racing career and joined the Navy, which landed me in Jacksonville.  In 1990, I married for the first time and from that marriage came two wonderful sons; John David and Curren.  I longed for a daughter, but was blessed with my boys.

John David, being the oldest, gave me visions of grandchildren and granddaughters.  At a very early age John was not interested in toy cars or any thing of that sort. His mother and I recognized during that period that John’s interest were different.  At the age of four, when John made his Christmas list, he specifically asked for an “Easy Bake” oven.   Of course, Santa granted his wish. In the meantime, his younger sibling, Curren, was involved in skateboarding, surfing and all the benefits that living at the beach offers.

By the time John was twelve, we were convinced he might be gay and were always conscientious to let John know we were accepting, if that was the case.  John would never come out and say he was gay to me, and it baffled me since I had seen pictures of him in women’s clothing and makeup.  To my lack of understanding, John did finally come out. But he came out to me as a Transgendered young adult and preferred we call her Nina.  In Nina’s (John) eyes, she was never gay, but someone who has felt, and viewed herself, as a girl at a very early age!

I personally have seen some of the rejection, prejudice and taunts my daughter has experienced.  As a parent, I can be hurt by someone, but if it happens to my children it slices like a dagger every time.  The irony is, I always wanted a daughter and a son, and in the end it looks like that is who I have been given.

My second wife, Suzanne, and I will continue to love and support our adult children, and support Nina in the journey she is on.

My hope is for people will take the time to understand and not judge because everything is not always what it seems to be.

Luis Lopez


Ally Profile: Rachel Vitti

Rachel Vitti is the wife of Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent of Duval County Schools, mother of four, daughter, sister, sister-in-law, niece, grand-daughter, friend, teacher, education and social justice advocate.  She is a former public school teacher who served students in Winston-Salem, NC and Harlem, NY.  Rachel has spent the last ten years dedicated to nurturing and educating her four children ages 4-10.  Aside from focusing on their development, she has also served as an advocate for exceptional-student issues within the public school system – namely students with specific learning disabilities. She has empowered parents with information and strategies to navigate the education system and improve access to appropriate resources for their children. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Wake Forest University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Salem College.

In her own words, Rachel describes why we must come out as allies in order to get the Human Rights Ordinance passed in Jacksonville:

The sobering fact is that less than 50 years ago, without the voice of allies, I would have been arrested and jailed for displaying my human right to love a man, who shares my heart, brings me to a poignant pause.  Less than 50 years ago, without the voice of allies, my four bi-racial children would have been deemed to be illegitimate and would not have been given the protections and privileges afforded to the children of lawfully wedded parents.

Less than 50 years ago, allies stood to bring a voice to Mildred and Richard Loving and their three children, so they too could benefit from America’s Promise. The 1967 Supreme Court Case of Loving v. Virginia was a pivotal civil rights decision that invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. That decision was a culmination of collaborative efforts of people around the nation.

Today, on the shoulders of those who have stood tall, and those still standing, I am coming out as a Straight Ally to expand the Jacksonville Human Rights Ordinance to include our LGBT families. As a mother raising four young citizens, it is essential that I exhibit a civic duty to ensure that all people can be open, honest, and safe in their home, school, work, and community, without fear.  It is important to help victims of intolerance and hate, fight for their basic human rights.

Although I am a new member of this city, I expect Jacksonville to live-up to the motto of “The Bold New City of the South” and move towards full equality for everyone. To me, this matter is quite simple; afford the same justices and dignity to your neighbors for the betterment of our community. My responsibility to my community and to my family includes supporting those families that may not look like mine, worship the same as mine, or speak the same language as mine.

I challenge the greater Jacksonville community to reach out, join the coalition, and support their neighbors, regardless of race, gender, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital or familial status, pregnancy or ancestry, AND sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. In the words of Mildred Loving, “that’s what Loving, and loving are all about.”

Rachel Vitti_FP_new logo


PRESS: Straight Allies featured on Equality Florida Blog

We’d like to thank our partners at Equality Florida for mentioning our campaign recently on their blog: http://eqfl.org/jaxhro/straightallies

They have been on location in Jacksonville, for the past several weeks now, working with the Human Rights Campaign and the Jacksonville Committee for Equality to pass a fully-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance (HRO), an anti-discrimination policy based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. We Are Straight Allies will be here to help fully support their efforts!

“To pass this HRO, we will all need to work together” – Jess Osborn, Statewide Outreach Coordinator, Equality Florida