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    A Vision of Loveliness – Remarks and Introduction of Donna Sachet

    By Dr. Betty Sullivan–

    (Editor’s Note: “Betty’s List” founder Dr. Betty Sullivan, who is the publisher of the San Francisco Bay Times, presented these remarks as an introduction to performer and tireless philanthropist Donna Sachet at the April 28 fundraiser for the Rainbow Honor Walk held at The Academy in The Castro. The event, also a joint celebration of the birthdays of Betty and Donna, was attended by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and Mayor London Breed, who both honored Betty and Donna. Betty, in turn, was very proud to introduce Donna, whom she has known, worked with, and greatly admired for over three decades.)

    To begin, I want to say a big thank you to Jennifer Viegas, who is co-publisher and editor along with me of the San Francisco Bay Times, for her vision and hard work making this evening happen. Jen, thank you for all that you have done for this celebration and for all that you do each and every day. Thanks to you, each issue of the San Francisco Bay Times we produce rises to a new level of excellence.

    Now, during my newspaper career, I have had the opportunity to stand up before rooms full of people in cities all over the U.S. and around the globe talking about media literacy and First Amendment education. And, I never did have butterflies. Then I moved San Francisco in 1995, and got shy on my first time to stand before a room full of lesbians in the backroom of a club not far from here. Well, tonight is another one of those rare butterfly experiences, so please bear with me.

    But, regardless of butterflies, I have a few things to tell you about. When I arrived here, gay men were the first to welcome me. That’s true. Then, hundreds … no, make that thousands … of lesbians welcomed me subsequently. Among them were Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon who opened their arms and their hearts with welcome. I am so grateful to have known Del and Phyllis, and very much look forward to seeing Phyllis’ plaque when it is placed on the Rainbow Honor Walk next to Del’s.\

    To all of you who have come to The Academy, I want to say thank you for this community I so enjoy, and thank you to each of you for being here this evening and for supporting my work for BACW (Bay Area Career Women), at MECCA Ladies Night, through “Betty’s List,” the San Francisco Bay Times, and the list goes on. I am very proud to have served for six full years on the board of the Golden Gate Performing Arts/San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.

    Now I want to tell you a story I believe you will appreciate. Not long after I relocated from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco, my daughter Liz, who was then a teenager, experienced her first time seeing a drag queen while we were shopping in the produce section at the Castro Safeway. Liz was just fascinated by that.

    So, the very next evening, I took Liz with me to an awards show known as the Cable Car Awards. You remember those very special awards that began back in the early 1980s? It was there that Liz and I saw a “vision of loveliness” whom we were told was known as Donna Sachet.

    Then, Liz decided she wanted to have her photo taken with this “Donna,” and since that very day I have been friends with the “vision of loveliness” whom we met there. That was more than twenty-five years ago.

    Oh, the tales I could tell you … including the one about the time Donna asked a dear friend of mine and me to be her lesbian escorts going down the aisle to the restroom aboard the Holiday Vacations Fun Train while riding through the Sierras on the way to Reno.

    There was aboard that train a tough-looking bunch of straight guys who had their eye on Donna, and they were whistling and calling out, “That’s a tall drink of water!”

    But Donna knew those guys would not mess around with a pair of big lesbians, so we surrounded her, and the three of us proceeded to sachet up and down through the cars of the Fun Train that entire evening.

    Now, I bet almost every one of you could tell a Donna story if you had this microphone in your hands. So, to celebrate our joint birthdays, won’t you please join me in giving it up for the “vision of loveliness” whom we all share, may I present the lovely Donna Sachet.

    Dr. Betty Sullivan is the founder of “Betty’s List” and the publisher of the “San Francisco Bay Times.”

    Published on May 5, 2022