April 23, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

LGBTQ+ Pioneer Nancy Valverde Remembered as a Champion of Equality

LGBT Center of LA Mourns the Passing of Chicana Activist and Trailblazer

The Los Angeles LGBT Center posted a tribute to a Latina and Lesbian leader who passed away last week at the age of 92. It states, “ Nancy Valverde, a prominent lesbian activist and Chicana trailblazer, passed away at her home in Los Angeles at the age of 92. Valverde, an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, was celebrated as a beacon of light and a relentless advocate for equality and justice.”

“Valverde’s journey as an activist began at the age of 17 when she bravely confronted the systems of prejudice in Los Angeles by unapologetically embracing her authentic identity. A fixture in L.A.’s queer community since the 1950s, she faced routine harassment and arrest by police for wearing men’s clothing in public. Arrested dozens of times under the city ordinance of “masquerading,” which targeted individuals for clothing associated with a different gender, Valverde remained steadfast in her refusal to conform.”

“They wanted me to be someone else,” she recounted in the PBS documentary L.A.: A Queer History. “I could not be someone else. This is me.”

“Despite the challenges, Valverde became a respected figure in Los Angeles. She built connections within her local community and provided haircuts at her barbershop. Affectionately known as “Nancy from East Side Clover,” she left an indelible mark on the city.”

“Valverde’s legacy continued as she joined the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Senior Services department upon moving to Triangle Square, the nation’s first LGBTQ+-friendly affordable housing for older adults. Last year, the city honored her with the designation of “Cooper Do-nuts/Nancy Valverde Square” at the intersection of 2nd St. and Main St. in downtown Los Angeles. Cooper Do-nuts, a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals in the 1950s, was the site of one of the earliest LGBTQ+ uprisings in the country.”

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