Tom Ammiano Receives High School Varsity Letter Decades Later

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Academy award winning actor Sean Penn (L) and California Sen. Mark Leno (R) look on as California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (C) speaks during a press conference announcing legislation to create a Harvey Milk Day in California March 3, 2009 in San Francisco, California (Justin Sullivan via Getty Images)

An old wound was healed last week when former California state Assemblymember and longtime LGBTQ rights leader Tom Ammiano received his varsity letter decades after earning it on his high school track team. During an interview with KQED’s Political Breakdown, Ammiano, now 79, told his story of being denied a varsity letter because of homophobic rhetoric stating, “it’s something that still hurts, even a hundred years later.” A longtime listener was struck by the conversation and reached out to Immaculate Conception High School in New Jersey directly. The president and director of the school had a letter custom-made. His story went viral and since then, Ammiano has gained national recognition for his work in civil rights, education and politics.


Tom Ammiano, former member, California State Assembly and San Francisco Board of Supervisors; longtime LGBTQ rights leader