Brad Shreve [00:00:00]:

This is Queer. We Are. This episode includes a discussion with suicide ideation. If that’s a trigger for you, then you may want to skip this one. If you’re comfortable listening in, I suggest you do so because my guest, Caesar Zapeda, has a great story. You know, there’s a lot of news to bring us down these days, and none of us should ignore any of it for 1 second. There’s too much on the line, but damn it, we need to hear good stories, too. Fortunately, there’s a lot more positive things going on than you may know or that the news is giving us. And that’s where I come in. On Queer We Are, my guests are outstanding LGBTQ individuals sharing their tales to provide hope and keep the optimism we need for the queer community to move forward and to keep our heads together along the way. So, what happens when a guy who refers to himself as straight and then later feels comfortable referring to himself as bisexual, though he’s not, which happens to many LGBTQ people, much to the frustration of those who are bi? And then not only does he come out as gay, but he comes out in the biggest gayest way possible. But it’s not taken well by his family. Many at that point would have reached one of the lowest points in their lives, and my guest did. But fortunately for all of us, he turned that around and has done tremendous things for his community and is now a politician. His recent election made national news, but it’s not because he’s gay, by the way. The reason is something you don’t want to miss. I’m Brad Shreve, and my guest is Caesar Zapeda. And you know where to hear Caesar’s story. Because Queer We Are. Caesar Zapeda, it is a pleasure to have you on Queer We Are. Welcome.

Cesar Zepeda [00:02:08]:

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Brad Shreve [00:02:10]:

It’s great to have you on. I’ve thought back in my memory banks in this thing I call a brain, and I can’t recall anyone before you making national news for winning an election, for having their name drawn out of a bag.

Cesar Zepeda [00:02:25]:

It is pretty crazy. I saw in the news, I think it might have been last year, the year before, about someone else that won by the luck of the draw. And I was like, that’s so crazy. Never did I think that might happen to me.

Brad Shreve [00:02:42]:

I watched the video of you and your opponent standing there looking both kind of nervous and frustrated over the situation while you were waiting to see whose name was drawn at random by the city clerk out of a bag. And it was funny. It was unbelievable, and it was kind of anticlimactic because it’s like, oh, there’s my name clap, clap. So it made me laugh quite a bit. I’m going to let you tell the story of your unusual election outcome, but there’s a part of it that really tickled me as I was looking at it. I don’t know if you’re aware, a few years back in your county, an election was won by two candidates rolling an eight-sided die from Dungeons and Dragons. And it was noted the reason why you drew from a bag is the city of Richmond wanted to avoid such a spectacle. And the entire country knows that things are done a little differently in the San Francisco Bay area, which is where Richmond is, but I think many would never have thought of this. So people know that this isn’t the norm. Tell them what happened.

Cesar Zepeda [00:03:48]:

Well, after many months of campaigning and waiting after the election, almost a month after the election, the results came out to be a tie. And there was a lot of work that went into getting it to even be a tie. Right. Door Knocking and curing ballots and curing a ballot means that the county will tell you or me as a candidate if there were any errors with the ballot. So some of the errors, for example, is someone forgot to sign the ballot or date the ballot, or maybe their signature doesn’t match what they have on file. And then the county, after they did their audit, the county came out and said 1921 to 1921 were the votes. So it was an exact tie and neither one of us were expecting it.

Brad Shreve [00:04:46]:

Well, and what surprised me is that I found out that’s actually a state law that says games of chance are acceptable when there’s a tie.

Cesar Zepeda [00:04:55]:

Yes. And then from there, to break the tie right. We needed to announce it. And then we had to figure out it goes back to the city clerk, and the city clerk is who then says how the game of chance or which game of chance is going to be. So she could have chosen some dice, she could have chosen anything else, other whatever she wanted. But she chose putting a name in an envelope and then putting the envelope in a bag and she would draw from the bag. And that’s what we did. It was a red Christmas bag and with some green envelopes, we put our name in and we put the envelopes in the bag. And to add to the suspense, as she’s in there trying to draw a name, she accidentally draws both envelopes. She takes them both out and I’m like, Yay, it’s another tie.

Brad Shreve [00:05:54]:

And your opponent, Andrew Butt, said, why don’t you just toss them on the floor and pick one up?

Cesar Zepeda [00:05:59]:

Yes. And she said, no, we’re going to put it back in the bag. And she puts it back in the bag and we reshake it and she goes in there and draws the envelope. And as she opens the envelope, I’m peeking over her shoulder, trying to see if I can notice anything. And before she mentioned, before she calls my name out, I see my handwriting and I was like, oh, my gosh, I think that’s my name. And she called my name out. And I just felt this sense of just thankfulness and grateful, not just because I won, but because I truly feel that I can represent my community just a little bit better.

Brad Shreve [00:06:51]:

And there’s actually even a better ending to that story, because about three weeks later, there was kind of a recount, and they found some discrepancies and found by three votes, you actually did win.

Cesar Zepeda [00:07:02]:


Brad Shreve [00:07:04]:

So both ways you won.

Cesar Zepeda [00:07:05]:

My opponent did not like that we were tied to, and then he didn’t like that I won the name out of the bag. So he wanted a challenge, and he paid $21,000 to do a recount. Now, just to put it all into context, I raised just enough to run my campaign, and it was about $30,000, maybe a little bit over, but it was around $30,000. He spent maybe two, three times that for the campaign, and then he spent another $21,000 to do a recount. And then in the recount is where he lost three votes. And I stayed with 1921. So that’s my lucky number 1921. And he lost three votes.

Brad Shreve [00:08:00]:

And he comes from a political family in Richmond. His father was actually the mayor, right?

Cesar Zepeda [00:08:04]:

Yes. His father was the former mayor for the past eight years, and his father had also been in city council for almost 40 years. So it’s a big legacy. But with that, it also comes there’s goods plus and minuses to having been in political office for so many years, because some people really loved his father, and some people did not. So that kind of carried on with them. And also, he had been involved in some commissions in the city, and he had done some community work in the community where he lives in Point Richmond, but not very much work outside of it. And I come in with community work everywhere.

Brad Shreve [00:08:56]:

Now, after the name drawing, your opponent, Andrew Butt, agreed it was a perfectly legal thing to do. It’s a state law. But he also said that there should be a better solution. And you agree, but reelections are costly. So do you have any ideas of what could be done?

Cesar Zepeda [00:09:13]:

Reelections are costly. What we have to do is make sure that we don’t even get to another tie. We got to get more people involved in the process. And voting, we had a low voter turnout. Some people just didn’t know which way through the recount. I was able to see a lot of people that did not fill out their ballot for District Two. They fill it out for other stuff, and then they skip an office sometimes because they don’t know or they don’t care which way it goes. But if they don’t know, they have to make sure that they do a little bit of research, because now I’m representing them, and they just have to make sure that they understand who’s going to be represented, who potentially is going to be representing them.

Brad Shreve [00:10:01]:

Do you enjoy this show? If so, tell a friend, because the number one way podcasts grow is word of mouth. So pass it on so others can enjoy Queer We Are. Well, first, I have to let people know that you are the first openly gay member of the Richmond, California City Council. So great job to you.

Cesar Zepeda [00:10:31]:

Thank you. I’m the first openly gay man.

Brad Shreve [00:10:35]:

Oh, I’m sorry.

Cesar Zepeda [00:10:36]:

Nope, nope, because I want to give credit where credit is due, and it is important that we uplift each other. So our first queer person was Jovanka Beckles. She was the first openly lesbian to our city council, and then I’m the first openly gay man. So a little bit of a difference. She was the first lesbian, I was the first gay man. And then together we make sort of the first within the LGBTQI community.

Brad Shreve [00:11:03]:

I’m glad you mentioned her name. I didn’t know that. And I’m glad you corrected me.

Brad Shreve [00:11:09]:

Cesar, I failed to mention this episode will release just before the end of June, so it’s not too late to say Happy Pride Month to you.

Cesar Zepeda [00:11:17]:

Happy Pride.

Brad Shreve [00:11:19]:

I want to know what makes you proud.

Cesar Zepeda [00:11:21]:

Oh, a lot of things make me proud. You’re going to make me get choked up here. Just being myself and having the opportunity to be out and to allow others to see that it’s okay to be yourself and that, hey, one day you could be in city council if you wanted to, or you could be in upper office or even if you don’t want to be in politics, that it’s. Okay. I was kicked out from my family when I was younger for being gay. And I lost all my family for almost four years. And when I started getting into politics, my second campaign, my dad and my mom both walked for me. They both precinct walked and door knocked. And then at my swearing in ceremony for city council, they were both there. Right. Again, good things happen to those who wait. Sometimes we got to wait a little bit. And continuing to be out there and showing that, don’t be afraid of us because we’re different. Get to know us a little bit better. And that’s what I did with my parents and just being there with them and them allowing them to see my life. Because there’s always this fear of what queer are, right? Because in the we were always the butt of the joke, right. We were someone to make fun of. We were someone to throw rocks at. And it was bad to be gay. You probably had AIDS, right. All these bad connotations of someone who was gay, and that’s all my parents grew up with. And then for them to be able to see someone that’s different and it’s not always that fear. You don’t have to be afraid of us. We are part of the community, whether you know, if we’re there or not, we are there. And what makes me proud is being the first openly gay man and being able to join our council member, our former council member, Jovanka Beckles, as another queer on City Council. She’s now on AC transit. But shortly after the election results came out of the tie, actually, and my name being chosen, I received a couple of emails from different people. And one in particular, it was this young person who said, I’m not out yet, but I heard about you on the radio and it gives me hope that one day I’ll be able to be out as well. So, again, it gives me pride, but it gives me hope. And I had really great people to look up to, whether I’ve ever met them or not. Harvey Milk was one amongst other individuals who helped me really come out. My college teachers and even high school teachers who gave me that little bit of hope even if I wasn’t out. Just being there. Being proud is also being able to give that hope because there’s a certain time where we might not need it as much, and then it’s time for us to give it. Because when I was first coming out, I took it. I took as much as I could from other people that were there as my mentors, as my friends, as people that I could look up to. And they all, piece by piece, helped me be where I am today. And now what I have to do is give it away to others, let others have it, let others partake in the journey that I have already have walked through. And I feel confident being able to stand in the middle of a crowded room and say, I am gay and I am here for you, and I am going to help you. And I want to make sure that the future generation feels that as well. And being able to maybe have their parents look and say, look, it’s not so scary being queer. It’s not so scary being part of the LGBTQI community. One day we aren’t going to be making your laws. We’re already making your clothing you’re wearing, we’re already making you fabulous. But one day we’re also going to make you equitable. One day we’re going to have you be in a world where we can all live together and respect each other. So I strive for that and I give that to the young individuals that are coming out now or questioning or thinking about it, and just know that the road could be hard. But part of Pride is, again, not just taking it, but giving it, being involved. And don’t just take it for yourself. Be involved so that you can give it. Give it out to your community. Give it out to those who hate you, but also give it out to those who love you. And those who hate you will one day come around, and they might not love you, but they might later on understand you a little bit better.

Brad Shreve [00:16:54]:

Well, you mentioned Harvey Milk, and not all of us have a voice that’s going to rock the world, and we don’t have to. This last election, there weren’t enough queer people running for office. Of course there were not enough, but we had more people, queer people, win office than any other year. So I just want to let you know that in a small way and in a not small way, you and I think those four other candidates, that 400 other candidates that won are a lot of kids, Harvey Milks. So, thank you.

Cesar Zepeda [00:17:30]:

Thank you for that. I could only one day wish to fill half of his shoes. But as you’re also mentioning, it doesn’t take all of us to run. I mean, hopefully there’s more and more of us to run for office and be able to make our own laws, but we also need help in getting us elected, right? So if you’re like you know, I don’t want to be in the spotlight of being the person that gets attacked all the time by running a campaign, but I could walk, right? Or I could call, I can make phone calls, or I can help stuff envelopes, or I can do something to help get your candidate elected because then that person can then help represent you in your voice. So there’s many ways to be able to get us involved and to be in office and to be being able to give back to our communities.

Brad Shreve [00:18:22]:

But I want to go back to what you said you were talking about your parents. You were young when your family immigrated to the US from Guadalajara.

Cesar Zepeda [00:18:31]:

Yes, I was eight.

Brad Shreve [00:18:34]:

Do you remember the experience?

Cesar Zepeda [00:18:35]:

Yes, I hated it. Coing into a new country and we were here on vacation, and then my parents decided, let’s buy a house. But I hated it because I didn’t know the language and I also didn’t quite fit in. And then once I knew that we were going to be here, walking around in my school and not speaking the language and then being a little bit different. So I was different in many different ways. Different in not speaking the language and then different in something that I did not understand. And I didn’t know what gay was until high school is when I started kind of learning a little bit more about it. So it was challenge. It was definitely very challenging coming from another country and again, just having all kinds of differences all of a sudden for this little kid trying to understand everything at once.

Brad Shreve [00:19:39]:

So it sounds like that homosexuality in neither positive or negative sounds like it wasn’t even discussed in your household.

Cesar Zepeda [00:19:47]:

No, it was a bad thing, but I didn’t know what it was. I remember getting reprimanded because I had limp wrists, and I didn’t quite get what it was. I wasn’t doing it on purpose. I just had a limp wrist and I didn’t quite know what it was. Nobody would ever say, like, a limp wrist is associated with a gay man and a gay man is someone who loves another man. I didn’t get that part. I just knew all the bad things about gay, but I didn’t know what gay was.

Brad Shreve [00:20:28]:

Well, I know a little bit about your coming out story, and I’m going to want you to tell that. But before that, I want to know. I’m talking about coming out to the world or coming out to the public. When did you come out to yourself?

Cesar Zepeda [00:20:40]:

I came out I came out actually in a game of Truth or Are. I don’t know that I’ve shared this before, but I used to have a lot of different jobs. And one of my jobs, he later became like my brother and my best friend. He was a colleague of mine at the time there, and he was out, and then he and another colleague invited me to hang out, and I can kind of feel they were up to something. So we went over to one of my colleagues house, and she and her girlfriend were there. And they kept asking me if I was gay. And I was like, I’m not gay. And they’re like, okay, whatever. And they’re like, we’re going to play Truth or Dare. And there I was like, oh, no, I know exactly what they wanted answered. And there I kind of started making the conscious effort of saying, I’m just going to say it. I don’t quite 100% know what it means, but I’m going to say yes and then let it be also because the dares were really crazy, like lick the toilet bowl, which I wasn’t going to do.

Brad Shreve [00:22:00]:

Oh, no.

Cesar Zepeda [00:22:01]:

But I did run around the bush of the answer as much as possible. So they said, have you ever liked the guy? And I said, well, yeah, I like my dad, I like my brothers. No, that’s not what we meant. And I was like, well, that’s a guy. You got to be more exact. And they started getting because they realized I wasn’t going to be upfront, they had to really dig into what the question had to be so that I had no way of going around it anymore. And then finally I said, yes, I think I’m bisexual. Because to me at the time, saying if I was bisexual was kind of half in, half out, so hopefully you wouldn’t hate me all the way is what I was thinking at the time. And then from there, I also used to work on a public affairs show for Youth Radio in Berkeley, and I used to help produce on the public affairs show for KQED, NPR and a few others. And part of my journey, I couldn’t just be at my home computer and look up gay stuff because of my parents. So part of one of the shows, I was like, oh, we should have a coming out show. And that was going to be the theme. And that allowed me to be able to do research on gay and have guests that came in and talked about their gay experience and their coming out. And that really allowed me to just understand it more from the perception of someone who was already out and being their true selves. And then one of them was Robin Abad, who used to work for Lyric, the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center in San Francisco, which is one of the first gay youth organizations in the country. So if you’re ever in the Castro on Collingwood, they are the Purple House. And he was one of our guests, and then he later invited me to be part of their they were having a gay youth conference, and I was like, sure, I’ll come to the conference as a straight ally to continue getting interviews for my show. And then from there, they were going to have a party at the end at night, and they invited me as well. And I was like, sure, I’ll come out to the party as a straight ally, and I walk in, and the weirdest thing, I got to see guys dancing with guys and girls dancing with girls, and I just pretty amazing thing, pretty amazing. And I didn’t even have words to describe, and I was like, wow. And then Robin comes up to me and he says, do you want to dance? And I remember thinking I was like, I don’t know how to dance with a guy. And I just started dancing, and it was the best feeling ever, and kind of like Cinderella at the bowl. I had to leave by midnight because that was my curfew, so I had to be home and I left. And that was a Friday night. That was Friday before Pride Sunday. And I went home, and then I just felt so happy. But I also felt so sad that I had nobody to share this with. My first time ever dancing with a guy and trying to really be myself, but I had nobody to share it with. And then I was also invited to go make signs on Saturday at Lyric so that we can march in the parade on Sunday. And I continue being there as a straight ally, and I make a sign, and I put it in the bottom of the pile, and I make sure that nobody saw me put it in there and nobody saw what I was doing. And I go home, and all night long, I kept waking up crying and really trying to figure myself out, because I was invited to march at Pride.

Brad Shreve [00:26:57]:

I’m guessing you were trying to decide whether to hold that sign or not.

Cesar Zepeda [00:27:01]:

Yes, and even if I should just be coming to the parade and how do I go out there? And I finally got up in the middle of the night and I started making an outfit. And then I put the outfit in a bag because I still wasn’t 100% sure. I was kind of maybe almost there. And I had to work on Sunday, so I decided to just go and see what happened. And I get into San Francisco and I change in the back of my car and I just start walking down the street towards where Lyric, where their contingency was located. And I am wearing what I think is one of the most queerest gayest outfit. I ripped up some pants and I’m wearing pink and this jean jacket, it’s open and people are putting stickers on my chest, all kinds of queer stickers. And I’m wearing some pink glasses. And I get to the signs and I grab my sign and as we’re starting to march, I lift my sign up and my sign said, “Nobody Knows I’m Gay.” And that is how I marched for the very first time down San Francisco Market Street in front of a million people. And at that moment, everybody knew I was gay, but I still had that sign.

Brad Shreve [00:28:40]:

Boy, when you decide to do something, you go all out.

Cesar Zepeda [00:28:42]:

Yes. Had a little drama too.

Brad Shreve [00:28:47]:

Well, I can imagine how soon after that the parade did the family find out?

Cesar Zepeda [00:28:56]:

Almost immediately. So I’m walking down the parade and I’m making sure that the cameras, the TV cameras don’t see me. I try to be on the opposite side of the street and unbeknownst to me, one of my brother’s friends was out there and he told my brother and I came out to my dad. September 15, 2001, a couple of days right after September 11, national tragedy. And he comes into my room and he asks me again and he wants me to quit my jobs because he thought my jobs made me gay. And I said, what if I am? And he said, well, you would have to leave. And I said, oh, okay, it’s okay then. I’ll be leaving then. And he said, oh. I didn’t think he was expecting my answer when I said okay, I’ll be leaving. And he said, you have 2 hours to leave. And I said it’s okay, I’m already packed. Which I was, because I can feel it that something was going to happen. I was a big pack rat. I would have all these mementos and pictures under my bed and keep everything. And a couple of months before that, I was packing things up and my mom came into the room and she said, what are you doing? I’m like, oh, I’m just getting rid of some old clothes. And I wasn’t it’s that I was packing. And I also I had read online, you know, back then when the internet was just starting out, but I was reading online like, you want to have a little emergency bag. And I had a little emergency bag by my bed, by my door, and had a couple of dollars, some contact information and information about where I can go in case this ever happened. And so I had my bag ready to go and I left. And luckily my sister lives across the street from my parents because we were a very close family, everybody lived very close. And she said, Come live with me. And I went across the street with her. And mostly I wanted to run. I wanted to go as far away as I could. But she asked me to please be with her so that she could feel comfortable knowing that I was in a safe space. And I went over to her house and she gave me one of the rooms, one of my nieces rooms. And I slept in the closet. I lived in the closet for at least a day because I was just so depressed. And I just kept crying. And it was there where I decided to take my life, just because of this very dark place. And I had just lost everything. I lost my family, which was everything to me. And right before I decided to take my life, I started calling my jobs and I quit. My dad wanted me to quit my job so badly that I quit afterwards, but I quit. And they asked me why. And I said, I can’t tell you, but it’s because I was trying to quit before I took my life. Kind of keep things clean. And obviously I failed at taking my life. But when I did, I put a little things more into perspective, a little bit. And I was like, if I continue going forward with this, it’s not going to change. And I have. At the time, I had three nieces and nephews, two nieces and one nephew. Now it’s like the chance that one of them is going to be queer is very high. And if I do this, there’s going to be no one here for them. So that’s kind of what helped pull me back a little bit from continuing to try to take my life. Like, if I got myself through this point, can I help others as well? And now I have eleven nieces and nephews. Coming out is very hard. Everyone has a different story. And this is mine. Some mothers that I’ve spoken with are like, oh, I came out and they said, perfect, where’s your boyfriend? Mine was not that way, but if I can do it all over again, I would not change a thing. Because it’s the hardships that allowed me to learn to not take anything for granted. It’s the difficult parts that allowed me to see how bright the rainbow could really be when you really work towards it and you really help out and you really become part of that rainbow. Because to me. It’s more than just a rainbow, right? It’s more than a piece of cloth. I helped raise. I was also co founder for Lambda Democratic Club, the first LGBT democratic club in Contra Costa County. And while I was there as president, one of my goals was to raise the Pride flag in every single city in Contra Costa County. We have 13 cities, and through that little ripple effect, we had other neighboring cities do it as well. A lot of them got on the news for some of this stuff, and it’s just these ripple effects that we help create. And going back to some people think of this piece of cloth because it’s a flag. What’s in a flag, right? It’s a piece of cloth, but it’s not the flag itself, and it’s not the piece of cloth. It’s the hope that comes with it that as it’s flying, there a kid that maybe is considering suicide or maybe is questioning themselves. They see it. And it’s that hope that you’re giving. That’s what the flag represents. It’s more than a piece of cloth. But I know that whenever I would see a rainbow sticker in the bumper of a car or I would see a flag somewhere when I was younger, it just gave me this sense of the little butterflies, and I didn’t really quite sure what it was. I just knew that it was a safe space.

Brad Shreve [00:35:58]:

I still get that.

Cesar Zepeda [00:35:59]:

Yeah. So it’s just this wonderful feeling that I want to make sure that we share and that we’d see it past just being a piece of cloth, but it’s the hope that you give it’s the hope that it’s out there and just being out in their community and putting more of those around. When I also first started Ride Richmond Rainbow Pride, one of our board members, I was like, I want to put Pride flags in every lamppost in Richmond. And he’s like, Caesar, are you crazy? They’ll burn you, and they’ll burn them. I was like, It’s okay. If they burn them down, we’ll put some more up. And a couple of years ago, we did that. It was meant to create hope. It was meant to be able to tell people you are in a safe space. And those of us, like Jovanka Beckles and myself and other queer LGBTQI individuals that are leaders in our community, we have all helped put this little pebble in the ocean, and we’re creating this ripple effects, and some of them have become big waves. You saw a big rainbow wave in the Bay Area putting up the Pride flags, and I want to say that we kind of helped start it.

Brad Shreve [00:37:14]:

I was going to ask you because you co-founded the Richmond Rainbow Pride, and I’m a little familiar with with Richmond because I had an ex-partner who lived near there, so I knew the Richmond Bart station where I would get off the train to go see him. And that’s pretty much all I knew before I talked to you. I pulled out the map, and Marina Park, where you have your Pride Festival in Richmond, is only 18 miles from the San Francisco it’s only 18 miles from the San Francisco Civic Center, which is where the main Pride event takes place in San Francisco. And my question was, why would you bother?

Cesar Zepeda [00:38:01]:

Great question. Right? So how I kind of started realizing that we needed help in Richmond because I was very involved in San Francisco. That’s where I found community, lots of LGBTQI individuals there. That’s where I really felt safe. And I was at a city council meeting, sitting in the front row. And this is 2004. This is not the 60s or 70s. This is 2004. Actually, I wasn’t even born in the 60s or 70s, but as we gotten the point but I was sitting in the front row, and our council member, Jovanka Beckles, is sitting at the dais, and there’s these speakers that are coming up and then just spewing all this queer hate. I member, thinking like, whoa, where am I? In what year am I in? This is 2004 in the Bay Area, and we have all this hate being put out there in a public meeting at our first openly lesbian council member in Richmond. And shortly after that meeting, I approached Jovanka and I said, don’t we have a queer organization in Richmond? And she says, we don’t. I said, Well, I want to start one. And she put me in touch with some people, and I reached out to other LGBTQI individuals, and I said, what do you think? I want to say the rest is history. And we needed to have this Pride event, and we started it as a day in the park, because even as we were creating it, we weren’t 100% sure. We’re like, okay, what if we have all these protesters, and what if we have this? What’s going to happen? What if we have a day in the park, and I bring a friend? You bring a friend, and we all bring a friend, and maybe there’s like, 20 of us, and we just have, like, a little picnic at the park. And then somebody said, oh, well, what about some music? Oh, yeah, maybe we can have maybe some people performing. It’s like, well, we can have music and performers. We’re going to need a sound, and then we’re going to have sound. We’re going to need a stage. If we can have a stage, we should invite more people. And it started growing bbecausewe want more. But the first event we had was a day in the park. It was called Family Day in the park. And now we have we’re going to be celebrating our nine years this June. And it’s about family, and it’s about bringing people together and just allowing each other to get to know each other.

Brad Shreve [00:40:47]:

Cesar, I want to thank you. We didn’t even touch on all the great things that you’ve done for your city. I wish we had the time, but you’ve done so many things. I just want to say thank you for so many people, because what you do doesn’t just happen in Richmond, as you said, it has a ripple effect. Every ripple effect everywhere.

Cesar Zepeda [00:41:06]:

It does. And hopefully we create the positive ripple effects. It is hard to stand up and be out, but if you have the opportunity, let’s stand up and let’s be out, and let’s throw those little pebbles into this great white ocean and create these big waves of rainbow and pride and just being there for each other.

Brad Shreve [00:41:29]:

Good words. Thank you.

Cesar Zepeda [00:41:31]:

Thank you. Brad.

Brad Shreve [00:41:35]:

You know those times when you and a friend or family member are trying to find something on Netflix and instead of watching your flip, flip, flip, flip, looking at one movie after another? Well, sometimes your decision comes down to the reviews, and the same thing happens to podcasting. So for those that are searching madly for a new podcast, help them make the decision and leave a review for Queer We Are on Apple podcast or wherever you’re listening to this show.

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