VOTE ON NOVEMBER 3, 2020
“I am running to serve West Hollywood residents and workers and to put your needs first. I have the qualifications, passion and leadership skills to serve you well. Join my team by donating and become a pivotal partner of my progressive, people powered, history making campaign. Let’s work together to bring respect, community advocacy and fresh energy back to City Council.” -Sepi
I was born in Iran in 1977. When I was two years old, there was a revolution by Islamic fundamentalists that wiped away women’s rights and democracy in the blink of an eye. When I was three years old, Iran went to war with Iraq and daily sounds of missiles and bombs were traumatizing every single day. Women's rights were trampled on and we were not allowed to be in the streets with men or boys who were not our family. I asked my mom to cut my hair short and pretended to be a boy to play soccer with the neighborhood kids. My parents were did not believe in the fundamentalist regime, so my dad was thrown in jail for speaking up against them. I remember kicking the ball around under the hot Tehran sun just as vividly as I remember fleeing the country with my parents, escaping to the United States for a better life.
It was hard to adjust at first and I was made fun of and beaten up by other kids in kindergarten because I looked different and did not speak English well. I quickly learned to importance of knowledge. I studied hard, went to all of my ESL classes and spent my afternoons religiously watching Sesame Street and The Reading Rainbow. I ended up skipping first grade and advancing to second grade as a result.
After I came out in High School during my junior year, I was bullied by other students and repeatedly called a dyke. The school counselor was no help and told me to go kiss a boy in the yard to prove them wrong. Instead, I chose to be more out and proud and came out to my family. It was hard for them at first, but with patience and my work of educating them, they grew to tolerate, then accept and now advocate for me.
During my second year of college, I was sitting with my girlfriend at the time in a coffee shop that was known to be “gay friendly”. We were getting rude looks from the new manager as we held hands. The next thing I knew, a police officer and the manager were standing over us. We were shocked and frankly terrified when the police officer said, “The manager doesn’t want your kind in his establishment, you have to get up and leave” as he blew a kiss and winked at me.
We ran out in a hurry and drove around town in tears. We felt powerless. We decided at the moment that we would never be powerless again and both decided to go to law school to learn the law and stop this from happening to others.
I have been an LGBTQ+ civil rights advocate ever since.
Shortly after my graduation from Golden Gate School of Law, I was elected to the board of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, where I worked to mentor to young LGBTQ+ law students and lawyers.
I moved to Los Angeles in late 2006 and in 2007, was elected to the board of the LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles, and then elected Co-president in 2008. This was a pivotal year for our community with the disastrous Prop 8 on the ballot. I was proud to help raise thousands of dollars to support the No On Prop 8 campaign.
Never one to stop fighting for equality, the passage of Prop 8 didn’t dissuade me from advocacy. In 2009, I joined the Human Rights Campaign, one of the largest LGBTQ+ rights organizations in the world. In various leadership roles at Human Rights Campaign, including a term on the Board of Governors, I helped train diverse leaders, developing the skills they need to advance our cause. I co-chaired the annual HRC Los Angeles Gala in 2012 and I’ve continued to serve with HRC for the better part of a decade to advance the rights, representation, and visibility of LGBTQ+ people in Los Angeles and helped get LGBTQ+ candidates and allies elected to public office.
During Law School, I lost my dad to Leukemia. I am a Team in Training Alum and completed the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon in 2007 and 2008 raising thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in his memory.
I have volunteered to feed the homeless for years starting when I lived in San Francisco and then continuing here in Los Angeles with Gobble Gobble Give. Gobble Gobble Give delivers food, clothing and toiletries to the homeless in eighteen cities across the country on Thanksgiving morning. One year, I invited my friend Sofi Mamo to join my wife and I at Gobble Gobble Give. Sofi is one of the female owners of a West Hollywood business called Divine H2o. She went to the Santa Monica Gobble Gobble Give that day and was so inspired, she started a regular monthly feed the homeless event at her store in West Hollywood called Divine Homeless Project.
I am a graduate of the Victory Institute Training, Equality California’s Leadership Academy and the Human Rights Campaign Women in Leadership Academy.
I practice business and trademark law at my own practice. I also have a second business where I provide holistic healing to humans and pets.
I am an avid animal lover and active in a West Hollywood community group called Weho For Wildlife. I am also a member of the Safe West Hollywood Community Coalition.
I currently serve on the Business License Commission in the City of West Hollywood and as an Advisory Board Member for the County of Los Angeles Office of the Assessor. I served a term as a Member on the Lesbian and Gay Advisory Board for the City Of West Hollywood.
I have been a renter for ten years in West Hollywood’s Mid City where I live with my wife Ashlei and our fur babies. Below are pictures of us with our babies from left to right. Our Siamese twins Imon and Ameera, Chloe the Queen of Weho and Bastet.
As a renter and community advocate in West Hollywood, Sepi advocates hard to make sure our rights and rent stabilized housing are preserved.
Sepi is a business law attorney and small business owner, giving her a strong understanding of the needs of West Hollywood’s business community and the skill set to lead effectively. As an appointed Business License Commissioner, Sepi works hard to ensure West Hollywood businesses thrive and conduct operations within our permitted ordinances and resolutions.
Sepi has advocated for women’s right her entire life. She has spoken on panels and as a featured speaker at many leadership conferences, including The West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference, the Iranian American Women’s Leadership Conferences, JQ International’s Persian Pride Panel and at the Heart of LA Democratic Club, which is LA’s only feminist Democratic Club. Sepi believes in empowering women and working hard to make sure we are safe, have equal pay and parity, and expanding services for women in West Hollywood.
As co-president of the LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles in 2008, Sepi helped defend marriage equality in the fight against Prop 8. Hate crimes have increased against the LGBTQ community especially against Gay men and our Transgender community. As a respected member of the LGBTQ community, she understands the needs of our community. She will work to ensure our history is preserved, we are safe and have access to needed services.
As co-chair of Community Engagement for the Human Rights Campaign LA, Sepi knows how activate community members and led successful efforts to organize many community events including the nation’s first city-sponsored bisexual pride event right here in West Hollywood. As an appointed member of the City of West Hollywood’s Lesbian & Gay Advisory Board, Sepi worked daily to address challenges facing both LGBTQ+ and allies in our community.