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Local Heroes Shine: ABC Owned Television Stations Nominate LGBTQ+ Advocates for Out100 America

Leslie RevJax Jackson Senior Pastor Naiymah Sanchez Trans Justice Coordinator ACLU PA Tony Valenzuela One Archives Foundation
Images: Pisces310 Photography; Kriston Bethel; Perch James Melikyan

Discover the inspiring stories of ABC OTV’s Out100 honorees from local cities during Out100 America.

In a year filled with transformative achievements and relentless advocacy, the Out100 honorees of 2023 have been unveiled, giving us even more reason to celebrate the tireless LGBTQ+ leaders who are shaping a brighter future for our community. Through a powerful collaboration between and ABC Owned Television Stations, dedicated LGBTQ+ champions from local communities have been chosen to represent select metropolitan areas. Their remarkable impact and inspiring stories have earned them a well-deserved place on the prestigious Out100 list, part of an initiative that amplifies the crucial LGBTQ+ narratives and contributions that are driving change at a grassroots level.

A part of this groundbreaking partnership is the Out100 TV Special, which will grace the screens of ABC Owned Television Stations' streaming and digital platforms, commencing on Friday, Nov. 24. This one-hour special provides viewers with an intimate look into the profound journey behind the Out100 list, shedding light on the extraordinary LGBTQ+ victories, struggles, and moments of triumph. This special will air as an uninterrupted marathon beginning 11/24 through Sunday, 11/26, on After this inspiring marathon, the Out100 TV Special will be available on-demand on the Advocate Channel App.

Get ready to be inspired by the outstanding Out100 America honorees and learn how you can watch the Out100 TV Special as we delve into the remarkable stories of these local heroes.

Tony Valenzuela, Los Angeles, Educator

Tony Valenzuela, Executive Director of the One Archives Foundation

Image: Perch James Melikyan

Tony Valenzuela, the driving force behind LGBTQ+ history and advocacy, serves as the Executive Director of the One Archives Foundation in the vibrant heart of Los Angeles. This distinguished foundation holds the prestigious title of being the nation's oldest active LGBTQ+ organization, passionately committed to illuminating the rich tapestry of LGBTQ+ history through the mediums of education, art, and social justice initiatives. With a career spanning over three decades, Valenzuela has emerged as a prominent activist and intellectual force within the HIV and AIDS communities. His journey into LGBTQ+ activism commenced in 1990, when he assumed the role of president within his queer campus organization at the University of California, San Diego.

Valenzuela's list of achievements is nothing short of awe-inspiring. Among his notable accomplishments, he pioneered the groundbreaking LGBTQ Writers in Schools program, a pioneering educational endeavor that left an indelible mark as the first queer-focused initiative to reach K-12 students within the New York City public school system. Furthermore, he lent his expertise to managerial roles at the San Diego LGBT Community Center and Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services in the dynamic city of Los Angeles.

Tony Valenzuela's remarkable journey is a testament to the transformative power of advocacy, education, and the unwavering commitment to fostering a more inclusive world for the LGBTQ+ community.

Annalisa Perea, Fresno, Educator

Annalisa Perea, Fresno City Council

Image: Courtesy of Council Vice President Annalisa Perea, District 1.

Annalisa Perea, a formidable force in Fresno, California, wears multiple hats as a Fresno City Council member. Her remarkable journey took an historic turn this year when she shattered barriers, becoming the very first openly LGBTQ+ representative on the Fresno City Council. With a dynamic background in business and urban planning, Perea's heart beats for critical issues like housing, transportation, and public safety, and she's gearing up to put these topics front and center as she gears up to lead the council as its president in 2024.

Perea's impact has been nothing short of extraordinary, considering her relatively short tenure on the Fresno City Council. In just a year, she's wielded her influence to champion the LGBTQ+ community. Her accomplishments in 2023 alone speak volumes: Perea played a pivotal role in securing a record-breaking level of investment in the city's budget. This included securing funding for Fresno's inaugural LGBTQ+ liaison, a substantial $100,000 allocation for the local LGBTQ+ resource center, and an additional $100,000 in vital grant funding to bolster the efforts of local LGBTQ+ nonprofits. Annalisa Perea is undeniably a force of positive change in her community and a powerful advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

D’Arcy Drollinger, San Francisco, Educator

D’Arcy Drollinger, San Francisco's Drag Laureate

Image: Michael Smith

Step into the mesmerizing world of D’Arcy Drollinger, San Francisco's Drag Laureate. In a dazzling twist of fate, 2023 witnessed the crowning of a historic icon as drag sensation D’Arcy Drollinger assumed the prestigious title of San Francisco's first-ever Drag Laureate. A true embodiment of San Francisco's vibrant LGBTQ+ spirit, D’Arcy has emerged as an ambassador extraordinaire, not just for the LGBTQ+ community but also for the thriving arts, nightlife, and entertainment scenes that define the city.

But hold onto your sequined hats, because D’Arcy's trailblazing spirit didn't stop at the Golden Gate Bridge. In a triumphant leap that echoed around the world, D’Arcy now stands as the first Drag Laureate on a global stage. The crown rests upon a truly groundbreaking head.

When the spotlight dims, and the makeup comes off, D’Arcy's creativity continues to shine brilliantly. The year 2023 marked the grand opening of a film production studio in the heart of San Francisco, dedicated to championing LGBTQ+ independent filmmaking. And that's not all – this year also witnessed the culmination of D’Arcy's artistic vision in her second feature film, "Lady Champagne." A cinematic extravaganza like no other, this film brings together over 60 captivating drag performers, promising an unforgettable journey into the world of glamor, talent, and unapologetic self-expression. D’Arcy Drollinger is a force to be reckoned with, on and off the stage, leaving an indelible mark on the world of drag and independent cinema alike.

Randy Wicker, New York City, Storyteller

Randy Wicker, Activist

Image: Brenden Fey

For six remarkable decades, Randy Wicker, a fervent LGBTQ+ advocate, journalist, and archivist, has been a trailblazer. In 1962, he orchestrated a groundbreaking radio broadcast that rocked the establishment, forcing the Federal Communications Commission to acknowledge that discussing homosexuality on air was not just permissible but essential. In 1964, Wicker spearheaded the very first public demonstration for gay civil rights in the United States, an electrifying event that unfolded outside the U.S. Army Induction Center in the heart of New York City. That same year, he etched his name in history by becoming the first openly gay individual to take the stage on a live television show, fielding calls with grace and poise on The Les Crane Show.

Now at 85 years young, Randy Wicker remains as relentless and dynamic as ever. In a stunning twist of events this year, Wicker launched a bold petition aimed at the removal of Gen. Phil Sheridan's statue from Stonewall National Park, a passionate stand against Sheridan's dark history of Indigenous massacres. His commitment to social justice knows no bounds, exemplified by his role as a grand marshal at this year's NYC Pride March, a living testament to his unwavering dedication to LGBTQ+ rights and advocacy.

Diego La Velle Cevallos-Garzon, Chicago, Educator

Diego La Velle Cevallos-Garzon, Business Owner

Image: Bobby Winter of Winter Strong Photography

With a decade of personal training under his belt and over 15 years of boxing expertise, Diego La Velle Cevallos-Garzon achieved a groundbreaking milestone by unveiling Strong Hands Gym – proudly touted as Chicago's inaugural LGBTQ+ fitness haven. This dynamic individual, a Black gay man, boasts an impressive record of triumphs in over 111 amateur bouts and even secured a national ranking at 19th place. But his legacy extends far beyond his remarkable boxing career.

Cevallos-Garzon has erected more than just a gym; he has forged a sanctuary that welcomes individuals from all walks of life, spanning a spectrum of marginalized identities. LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, and those from diverse racial backgrounds all find refuge within the inclusive walls of Strong Hands Gym. It's a place where acceptance knows no bounds, and where empowerment takes center stage.

What's more, Diego harbors ambitious plans for Strong Hands Gym's future. He envisions it evolving into a franchised model, a network dedicated to nurturing combat skills specifically tailored to the trans community and enhancing LGBTQ+ physical and mental well-being. As a visionary in his field, he understands the need for more than just a gym; it's about fostering a community, providing guidance, and promoting self-discovery.

While paving the way for these exciting endeavors, Cevallos-Garzon also aims to strike a delicate balance between traditional gender roles, challenging stereotypes, and celebrating the beautiful mosaic of masculinity and femininity within the LGBTQ+ spectrum. His mission is clear – it's not just about training bodies; it's about lifting spirits, breaking barriers, and building a legacy of strength, both inside and out.

Naiymah Sanchez, Philadelphia, Educator

Naiymah Sanchez, Trans Justice Coordinator for ACLU PA

Image: Kriston Bethel

Naiymah A. Sanchez is on a mission to be the unwavering pillar of support for the transgender community in the vibrant city of Philadelphia. Back in 2017, she embarked on an incredible journey by joining the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania as a trans justice organizer. In this role, Sanchez is a force to be reckoned with, tirelessly working to foster community liberation, confront the roots of intersectional oppression, and forge political power that will safeguard and champion the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.

But let's rewind a bit. This isn't the first rodeo for this dynamic advocate. Prior to her tenure at the ACLU, Sanchez spent an impressive five years as the mastermind behind the Trans-Health Information Project. During her tenure there, she served as a beacon of knowledge and advocacy, offering vital education and support services to the transgender community in the heart of Philadelphia. Since 2015, Sanchez has been a crucial part of a transformative effort to enhance the city's prison system's adherence to the Prison Rape Elimination Act, a vital federal law designed to eradicate sexual assault within the prison system.

Leslie ‘RevJax’ Jackson, Houston, Innovator

Leslie 'RevJax' Jackson, Senior Pastor at St. Peter United Church of Christ

Image: Pisces310 Photography

Meet Rev. Leslie "RevJax" Jackson, a trailblazing bisexual pastor whose influence transcends the boundaries of faith, HIV advocacy, and LGBTQ+ empowerment in the vibrant city of Houston. In a groundbreaking turn of events in 2019, Rev. Jackson etched his name in the annals of history by becoming the first African-American pastor to lead St. Peter United Church of Christ, a venerable institution and Houston's third-oldest church. But that's not all – he also graced the pastoral role at the Cathedral of Hope Houston from 2017 to 2018.

Under Rev. Jackson's inspired guidance, both congregations experienced remarkable growth and transformation. In just a few short years, St. Peter United evolved from a humble gathering of ten members to a thriving multi-site church, boasting over 150 dedicated souls. Rev. Jackson's leadership is defined by love, a love that extends not only to his congregation but to his partner of 15 years, Marcus Brian Carter, who serves as the worship leader at St. Peter United. Together, they've turned their dreams into reality through faith and dedication, and now they're committed to helping others do the same.

Rev. Jackson is not just a spiritual leader; he's a dynamic force for change in the HIV community. As a board member of Allies in Hope, he champions the cause with passion and dedication. But Rev. Jackson's journey doesn't stop here – he's currently pursuing a doctorate at the Chicago Theological Seminary, with a keen eye on a future in politics. With Rev. Leslie "RevJax" Jackson, the journey of impact and transformation is far from over.

These are the stories of courage, resilience, and unwavering commitment that will inspire change, and we invite you to join us in honoring these remarkable individuals who are making a difference on both a local and global scale.

Viewers can watch the Out100 TV Special beginning November 24th via:

Livestream on

On-Demand on the Advocate Channel App available on Google Play, Apple Store, Roku, & FireTV

The special will air on ABC Owned Television Stations’ streaming and digital platforms and on linear on the following dates:

Saturday, December 9

ABC11/WTVD-TV Raleigh-Durham - 12:00 a.m. EST

ABC13/KTRK-TV Houston - 12:05 a.m. CST

6ABC/WPVI-TV Philadelphia - 12:30 a.m. EST

ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago - 11:00 p.m. CST

Saturday, December 16

ABC7/KGO-TV San Francisco - 8:30 p.m. PST

Saturday, December 23

7ABC/WABC TV New York - 5:00 a.m. EST

ABC7/KABC-TV Los Angeles - 10:00 p.m. PST

Saturday, December 30

ABC30/KFSN-TV Fresno - 10 p.m. PST

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