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On the heels of our incredibly successful 3rd Annual National Gala in our nation’s capital, the American Military Partner Association is thrilled to announce our inaugural AMPA West Coast Gala to be held in San Diego on Saturday, September 17, 2016, at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel & Marina.

Join our local west coast AMPA family, and LGBT service members, veterans, spouses, and allies from all over the nation and around the world, as we meet in California to celebrate our accomplishments together at one fabulous event.

This event will be particularly significant for our community as we celebrate two important milestones together — the 5 year anniversary of the end of DADT and the much anticipated end to the ban on transgender military service.

gala 2016When:
Saturday, September 17, 2016
6:30pm – Reception
7:30pm – Program & Dinner
10:00pm – After Party

San Diego Sheraton Hotel & Marina
1380 Harbor Island Dr
San Diego, CA 92101



Imran Yousuf photoImran Yousuf of Orlando, Florida, will be honored with the 2016 AMPA Community Hero Award. Yousuf, a recent Marine Corps veteran, is widely credited with having saved more than 70 lives during the worst mass shooting in United States history at the Orlando LGBT nightclub, Pulse, in June.

Early in the morning of June 12, 2016, a gunman who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State entered the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and began the worst mass shooting in American history. By the time the carnage ended, 49 innocent people were dead and an additional 53 were injured in the attack. While the shooting was ongoing, Yousuf, a bouncer at the Pulse Nightclub who had recently finished an enlistment in the Marine Corps, noticed a group of trapped patrons who were paralyzed with fear. Yousuf exposed himself to danger by rushing over to the aid of the huddled group, breaking open a door, and allowing more than 70 potential victims to flee the massacre and survive.

Imran Yousuf served as an Engineer Equipment Electrical Systems Technician in the Marine Corps from 2010-2016, including a deployment to Afghanistan in 2011. Yousuf has only appeared at one other public event since the Orlando tragedy – the Houston Pride Parade where as a hero and ally of the LGBT community he was made an Honorary Grand Marshal. The AMPA West Coast Gala in San Diego will be the first military-themed event to honor the Marine Corps veteran for his actions.

Major General Rose full photo

Major General Trish Rose, the highest ranking openly LGBT service member in the U.S. military, will also be honored at the event with the AMPA Distinguished Service Award.

Maj. Gen. Rose serves our nation in the Air Force Reserve and is the Mobilization Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. She supports the Deputy Chief of Staff in leadership, management and integration of Air Force logistics readiness, aircraft and missile maintenance, civil engineering and security forces, as well as setting policy and preparing budget estimates that reflect enhancements to productivity, combat readiness and quality of life for Air Force members.

General Rose entered the Air Force through Officer Training School in 1984. Her more notable assignments include Mobilization Assistant to the Director for Logistics, Engineering, and Security Assistance, U.S. Pacific Command and Mission Director for the U.S. Central Command Deployment and Distribution Operations Center in Southwest Asia, where she directed joint logistics for operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

General Rose lives with her wife, Jules, outside of Seattle, Washington, where she also works for the Naval Hospital Oak Harbor.

aaron-croppedAaron Belkin will be honored with the AMPA Distinguished Leadership Award.

Aaron Belkin is a scholar and advocate who has served as founding director of the Palm Center since 1999. Belkin designed and implemented much of the public education campaign that eroded popular support for military anti-LGBT discrimination, and when DADT was repealed, the president of the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund observed that, “this day never would have arrived (or it would have been a much longer wait) without the persistent, grinding work of the Palm Center.”  Harvard Law Professor Janet Halley said of Belkin that, “Probably no single person deserves more credit for the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’”

Belkin summarized the keys to successful advocacy in How We Won: Progressive Lessons from the Repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, which Arianna Huffington referred to as a, “best practices guide for civil rights fights.” Research by Belkin and the Palm Center has been covered widely by the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press, and by television and radio networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, PBS and BBC. The day that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter repealed the military’s transgender ban in June 2016, Rachel Maddow said that Belkin “has done I think almost more than anybody to document and explain the whole process around these kinds of big policy changes.”

Belkin has written and edited more than thirty scholarly articles, chapters and books, the most recent of which is a study of military masculinity published by Oxford University Press in 2012. The Advocate has named the Palm Center as one of the most effective LGBT rights organizations in the nation.

Additional Event Information:

Attire: Dress Uniform/Formal/Black Tie optional

Hotel Accommodations: A discounted special room rate is available for only $140 at our host hotel. Book your hotel before August 26, 2016, using this link. *Please note, gala tickets must be purchased separately.

Parking: Event self parking: $10. Event valet parking: $16. Overnight self parking: $20. Overnight valet parking: $34.

The event is expected to sell out, so purchase your tickets early.

Are you not able to attend, but want to help an LGBT servicemember, veteran, or military spouse be there? Email us at to learn how to sponsor someone.

Stay connected with other guests and the latest gala news by clicking “going” in the official Facebook event page.

All ticket sales are final.

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Bronze Sponsors


Community Sponsors

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Sponsorship Opportunities

With over 45,000 members and supporters, AMPA is the nation’s largest non-profit organization for LGBT military families. Our gala dinners honor our modern military families for their service and sacrifice to our nation. Sponsoring the 2016 AMPA West Coast Gala Dinner will connect your brand to thousands of military families from across the country and around the world — military families who are committed to supporting those who support our community. Contact us at for more information on sponsorship packages.

West Coast Gala