2009 LGBT Heroes
Randall D. Ehrbar, PsyD
New Leaf: Services For Our Community
Randall D. Ehrbar, PsyD is a clinical psychologist specializing in work with transgender clients. An alumnus of the University of Minnesota's Program in Human Sexuality, he currently works at New Leaf: Services For Our Community, a community mental health center serving the LGBTQQI communities in San Francisco. Here he works as a clinician in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health departments and facilitates groups for transgender clients as well as a consultation group for staff who wish to learn more about working with transgender clients. His work has been recognized with multiple awards.
Dr. Ehrbar has played many roles and garnered many honors in his career, including being a member of the American Psychological Association's Committee on Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Concerns and a co-chair of the Committee for Gender Variance and Transgender Issues of Division 44. He has been recognized as an Emerging Professional by the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and is participating in the World Professional Association of Transgender Health's work group on generating a consensus statement addressing gender-related diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Dr. Ehrbar is currently serving an elected three-year term position as Member at Large of the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues.
Dr. Ehrbar also served as a member of the American Psychological Association's Task Force on Gender Identity and Gender Variance, and, in this role, participated in creating a brochure and APA policy statement on Gender Identity. In addition to his clinical work at New Leaf, Dr. Ehrbar is also in private practice in San Francisco. His private practice work includes consultation, training, and therapy.
High School Student
Rochelle Hamilton was born in Santa Rosa in 1992. At the age of three, she and her parents, Reggie and Cheri Hamilton, moved the family to Vallejo. Always a very outgoing and active child, Hamilton became involved in sports at an early age. By age nine, she was the state champion in Judo. She has also been on a variety of basketball teams throughout the years and is well-known as the "left hand shooter." By age thirteen, she had come out to family and friends as a proud lesbian.
Hamilton is currently finishing her junior year in high school in Vallejo. During her sophomore year, she was a target of anti-gay harassment and discrimination from teachers and staff at her school. For several months, Hamilton and her mother tried to get the school district to intervene, but the harassment did not stop.
Finally, daughter and mother contacted the ACLU of Northern California, who worked out a settlement with the Vallejo City Unified School District to combat anti-gay harassment and discrimination at all of the district's schools. It took Hamilton's voice to bring her school district in line with state and federal law. The district is now required to hold mandatory training sessions for teachers, staff, and students about how to identify anti-gay harassment and discrimination, why it's harmful, and how to prevent it.
Hamilton has been a guest speaker at a local college to help educate the community about LGBTQ issues. Furthermore, through her poetry and strong will, she has empowered other teens facing similar concerns as her, and has become a mentor to other students at her high school. She dreams of becoming a motivational speaker and LGBTQ activist, and wants to encourage teens to take pride in being themselves. Hamilton will be speaking at the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade this year.
Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis
Marriage Equality USA
Stuart Gaffney and John Lewis have been two of the leaders of the Freedom to Marry movement for the last five and a half years. Together as a couple for twenty two years, they were two of the plaintiffs in the historic 2008 lawsuit that held that California's ban on same-sex marriage violated the state constitution. On June 17, 2008, they married at San Francisco City Hall, surrounded by friends and family.
For the last five years, Lewis and Gaffney have been community leaders of Marriage Equality USA, a national grassroots organization, and of API Equality, a coalition focusing on outreach and education for the Asian American community. In addition, Gaffney and Lewis have worked tirelessly to educate the public about the importance of marriage equality to the everyday lives and personal dignity of LGBTI people. They have appeared in innumerable local, national, and international media outlets, spoken at many community and academic forums and events, and donated countless hours to community organizing, research and strategy, and direct person-to-person outreach.
Gaffney is also a prolific short film and videomaker. His works focus on queer and Asian American identity and the changing landscape of HIV/AIDS since the early days of the epidemic. They have shown at over one hundred festivals and venues nationally and internationally.
Gaffney currently works at the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, and Lewis is a lawyer. In the 1980s, they participated in direct action for HIV/AIDS funding and treatment, and Lewis successfully litigated some of the early California HIV/AIDS discrimination cases.
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