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He remembers meeting Atkins back when she was a political novice from San Diego who had come to San Francisco to attend a Victory Fund workshop, hoping to gain skills from the organization that helps fund LGBT political candidates in local elections nationwide.
"She was thinking of running for office for the first time," Bajko recalls.
A year before that historic march, Sala and other active-duty members of the military risked dishonorable discharge for marching openly at San Diego Pride in 2011, prior to the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." This year, however, it was an out elected official who was the most anticipated San Diego Pride Parade first.
"There is definitely a strong activist community here in San Diego; and we're doing a lot of really good work here," Williams says.
"But I think San Francisco just has more." Williams points to San Francisco's generally more progressive culture, along with long-standing organizational and institutional infrastructures, as key factors that make it an easier place to do the kind of activism he says is needed to secure more acceptance and equality for LGBT people locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.
Earlier this year, Atkins briefly served as acting governor when the state's three higher-ranking elected officials were all out of California.
It may have been a temporary position, but for a few hours, the country's first openly gay governor happened to be a San Diego lesbian.
"I don't think [San Diego has] surpassed San Francisco so much as caught up," says Bajko. San Diego has come a long way." According to Atkins, there is no contest, no scorekeeping, when it comes to civil rights.