SF Pride permanently hires trans ED Ford

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday February 8, 2023
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Suzanne Ford has been named the permanent executive director of San Francisco Pride. Photo: Courtesy SF Pride
Suzanne Ford has been named the permanent executive director of San Francisco Pride. Photo: Courtesy SF Pride

Suzanne Ford has been selected to serve as the permanent executive director of the nonprofit organization that puts on the San Francisco Pride parade and festival, according to a February 8 news release.

Ford, a transgender woman, had been serving as interim executive director of the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee since February 2022, after then-executive director Fred Lopez, a gay man, resigned suddenly, as the Bay Area Reporter contemporaneously reported. Lopez returned to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where he had worked before leading SF Pride.

Ford wrote in a Facebook post after assuming the interim position that she is not the first trans executive director of SF Pride. She cited Tita Aida, also known as Nikki Calma, as serving in that role but Aida served as board co-chair, as have a number of other trans people over the years, as the B.A.R. has reported. Since Teddy Witherington was hired as SF Pride's first full-time executive director in 1997, the organization's paid executive directors have been cisgender.

Ford led the organization in 2022 through its first parade after COVID restrictions lifted.

The nonprofit did not immediately respond to an interview request.

"In joining SF Pride, I found a great way to give back to the LGBTQ+ community and I found my family," Ford stated in the release. "I want to preserve the legacy of the parade, while making sure there will be a thriving SF Pride event for future generations. As a tight-knit team, we are excited and humbled to host the second in-person SF Pride Parade and Celebration post pandemic."

Nguyen Pham, a gay man who is president of SF Pride's board of directors, stated that the group is grateful for Ford.

"I am excited for the first trans person to hold the position of executive director at San Francisco Pride," Pham stated. "We are privileged to have Suzanne at the helm of many key projects as she continues to advocate for trans visibility while championing diversity in the LGBTQ+ community."

Ford, 57, served on the board of directors from 2018, where she was treasurer for three years.

Ford's previous service to the community includes a seat on the board of Trans Heartline and as board president of the Spahr Center, the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS community center in Marin County.

According to the release, she also co-founded SF Pride's Pro-Am Golf Tournament fundraiser, which is the first PGA-endorsed LGBTQ golf event in the world. The fundraiser has raised almost a quarter-million dollars over four years.

Also according to the release, Ford was honored with the Legacy Award, Celebrating Trans Joy on the occasion of the Trans Day of Visibility last year.

The nonprofit did not respond to an inquiry as to Ford's salary as of press time. According to its IRS Form 990 for Fiscal Year 2018-19 (the last year for which a 990 is publicly-available when an executive director served a full fiscal year), then-executive director George F. Ridgely Jr. received $108,631 in total compensation.

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