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    Linda Scaparotti, Esq., to Receive HRC’s Charles M. Holmes Community Service Award

    On October 14, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) will hold its annual fundraising Gala at the Westin St. Francis. On the day of the event, which will feature HRC President Chad Griffin and numerous special guests, Linda Scaparotti, Esq., will receive the Charles M. Holmes Community Service Award. We congratulate Scaparotti on this well-deserved honor.

    Our paths have crossed numerous times over the years, as she has donated an incredible amount of time toward service benefitting the LGBT community and more. With personal warmth, tremendous inherent style and a genuine concern for others, she lights up a room and lifts the spirits of all of those around her. She is a true Bay Area treasure, so we were delighted that this one woman dynamo was chosen for the prestigious award. It bears the name of the philanthropist who helped to make possible the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, and who funded The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Amnesty International, Global Green, HIV/AIDS outreach programs and HRC itself.

    Scaparotti grew up in Massachusetts, in a working-class immigrant family that was split, she says, between urban Roman Catholic and rural Yankee Protestant. The first to go to college, she was a full academic scholarship student at both college and law school. She graduated Cum Laude from Smith College before it was cool, and when lesbian/gay organizations were not even allowed. The college, however, did strongly support its women’s academic programs and related career choices.

    UC Davis King Hall School of Law heavily recruited Scaparotti, who wrote a radical lesbian feminist application essay! No one that she knew of was out when she attended law school (1977). She bravely decided to be the first, not knowing what kind of response she would get—standing ovation—which led to one of the first gay/straight alliances.  

    Scaparotti credits her strongest skills to growing up in the conservative church and in her highly dysfunctional family, although not in the way they intended. The skills include sticking up for what you believe in against total opposition, accepting who one is against complete rejection, convincing others of your cause (proselytizing), arguing intensely with those in authority, speaking about difficult subjects in front of hundreds of people, and fundraising for worthy causes.

    She has been a devoted HRC leader for 15 years, most recently on the HRC National Board of Directors and Foundation Board, retiring in July of this year. Scaparotti co-chaired the highly-visible and coveted national Political Public Policy Committee, as well as the intensive Board Development Committee, responsible for recruiting and developing Board leaders. Locally, she was part of the team with her hero Frank Woo, who revitalized San Francisco HRC, increasing membership numbers from a low point of near extinction to today’s thriving community. 

    But Scaparotti’s lifelong and deep commitment to equality and social justice has not been just about HRC. She has donated her time and energy to countless revered LGBT organizations in the Bay Area, including National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California, Horizons Foundation, Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, Spectrum Center, Our Family Coalition, and Open House.  She served as the first LGBT Human Rights Commissioner in the City of Oakland, creating one of the first municipal Domestic Partners’ Rights Ordinances. Prior to that, she was the youngest assistant director to the Massachusetts Commission on Sex Discrimination.

    Scaparotti worked on her first political campaign at the age of ten, and devoted much of last year to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, doing field and caucus work in California, Iowa, Nevada, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. 

    Before developing her LGBT legal practice, she was a cutting-edge feminist litigator, who co-created an entirely new area of law, bringing sexual assault/rape cases under civil law instead of under the mainly ineffective criminal law. With Attorney Scaparotti’s strong advocacy, victims became empowered survivors, taking on the perpetrators and the institutions that protected them. She won hundreds of boundary-violation, sexual harassment and gender discrimination cases.

    In 2010, Scaparotti became one of the first female and the first LGBT President of the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, the second largest professional association of litigation attorneys in the State of California. She was the lead Board member in moving the organization toward diversity and inclusion. 

    She established, and continues to lead, one of the most enduring and highly-respected LGBT law practices in the Bay Area, specializing in estate planning and family law. Scaparotti was the first provider of self-help legal workshops for women and LGBTQ people 37 years ago. She has worked with over 3200 LGBT individuals and couples, helping to build and protect our diverse relationships and families, as well as writing and lecturing extensively on these legal issues.

    We should also add that Scaparotti has a great, dry sense of humor that makes working with her a pleasure. She indicated that most biographies tend to offer the same basic information, such as the aforementioned school, work and volunteer achievements, which do not always get to the heart of an individual’s character. In that spirit, we offer the following little-known facts about her:

    She was raised to be a farm wife: pickling, jamming, baking, gardening, canning, and wild flower arranging. Life clearly took a turn.

    She swears that she and her collie, Lady, looked exactly alike. 

    She was a Russian Studies scholar because of her interest in both utilitarian socialism and the expressive arts. 

    A starter (forward/center) on both her college field hockey and lacrosse teams, she beat out all of the girls from expensive boarding schools who expected to be chosen.

    She started out in a rural law practice in Mendocino County, conducting her first trial fresh out of law school, because her boss told her, “You have 10 really strange things about yourself that will reach a lot of jurors.” Let that be a lesson to anyone who feels like an unconfident outsider!

    Linda studied theater professionally; did street activist theater; wrote, acted and directed many plays/performance pieces; and loved playing against type (Laura in The Glass Menagerie, for example).

    Even though she’s keeping the body together with safety pins and tape, she’s a better competitive tennis player than ever before. 

    She regrets not having children, but made up for it by being a terrific aunt.

    She is a terrific person in all respects, in our opinion. We will be cheering her on when she is presented with the Charles M. Holmes Community Service Award at HRC’s upcoming Gala. The event sold out in a flash, but the organization has created a waiting list, should more tickets become available. Information is at: http://www.sfhrcgala.org/content/buy-tickets