JD Disalvatore, a prolific LGBT film and television producer and director and gay rights activist, died on Thursday, August 24th after a long battle with cancer. She was 51.
A proud marching band trumpet player in Miami Palmetto Senior High, JD went on to study communications at Boston University, absorbing as much as she could from her creative writing and film classes. After graduating she packed her bags, pointed her car toward Los Angeles and never looked back. That trip started what would become a long and storied career.
As a filmmaker credits include Eating Out 2, A Marine Story, Gay Propaganda, Elena Undone and the multi award-winning Shelter, which won a GLAAD Media Award for best feature film in limited release and in 2012 topped the list of The 100 Greatest Gay Movies Of All Time on newnownext.com.
In 2009, JD was honored at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s An Evening With Women with a LACE Award for her work in the community, was featured in Go Magazine’s “100 Women We Love” and this past March was honored with a West Hollywood Women in Leadership Award. She was also on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, where she served a term as Vice President of the Board and was last President of the Board of Directors of the Frontiers Foundation.
JD’s love of film and writing skills extended to magazine and newspaper outlets including Clout, Curve, GayWired.com, PlanetOut.com, Gay.com, QTMagazine, Power Up and here! online in addition to her daily blog on Gay and Lesbian entertainment.
JD was, by habit, a facilitator, linking her peers to collaborate and her mentees with mentors. Her love of connecting people came together with her enjoyment of a good cocktail in the creation of the very popular Smoking Cocktail, a monthly networking cocktail event to bring members of the LGBT film and film-loving community together.
It’s mathematically impossible to calculate all the hours JD logged for the causes she cared about, including Outfest, The Point Foundation and the East Valley Animal Shelter. For Outfest, JD worked as Festival Manager in 1999 and 2000, continued to be actively involved as a volunteer and was a constant presence at events and functions with beloved camera in hand. In 2014, Outfest awarded JD with the Tom | Thom Award for her volunteer service throughout the years. Through the Point Foundation, JD worked as a mentor to contribute to their mission to empower promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full potential. Always a passionate lover of animals, in the last few years, when cancer slowed her down in other ways, JD amped up her dedication and commitment of time and fundraising skills for her favorite cause of all – animals. If you were marginalized in any way or had four legs, JD had your back with a megaphone in hand.
JD leaves behind a large family of friends, her brother and sister Roanne and Carl DiSalvtore, and a grateful LBGT community. Her huge activist heart, passionate spirit for filmmaking and her indomitable, fighting spirit will not be forgotten.
A Memorial party will be planned for the near future.
If you would like to honor JD please donate money to Outfest, Point Foundation and/or the East Valley Animal Shelter.