As we near the end of Pride Month, we wanted to share the stories of these four local trailblazers from San Jose’s past and present, who have championed for and continue to elevate LGTBQ+ rights and awareness for more than just a month.
💍 Judy Rickard
After a long career as a South Bay gay rights activist, in the 2000s, Judy fought for the right to sponsor her wife’s visa on behalf of all LGBTQ+ couples kept apart by immigration. Her case won in the Supreme Court, and 2013, Judy was recognized by former President Barack Obama as a Cesar Chavez Champion of Change for Immigration.
📰 Whayne Herriford
After co-founding the South Bay Times in 1988, Whayne focused his reporting on local LGBTQ+ news and events, including the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Gay Pride Celebration Committee of San Jose (now operating under Silicon Valley Pride) — helping debut the South Bay’s first pride parade in 1991.
🏳️⚧️ Dani Castro
After receiving life-changing advice + encouragement from trans activist Miss Major, Dani went on to co-found trans-serving organizations like the Transgender Advocates for Justice and Accountability (TAJA) Coalition. She is currently conducting a transgender needs assessment for the Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs and hopes to advance Santa Clara County’s resources to help the trans community.
🤝 Sera Fernando
Born and raised in San Jose, Sera is a queer, transgender Filipinx woman who currently works as the Chief Diversity Officer for Silicon Valley Pride. She advocates for social justice, and uses her platform to ensure that SV Pride is representative of the entire Bay Area LGBTQ+ spectrum. She currently works with organizations like the LBGTQ Youth Space, the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Center, and the Silicon Valley Tech Alliance.