Hi, I’m Ehra Amaya. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me 🙂
I came to San Francisco in 2011 from the Philippines with just my mother and brothers. No legal documentation. No money. No support. But there has always been a fire in me. A fire to make a difference in the lives of the people around me.
I came here with dreams of becoming a nurse and serving my community, so that no one would have to feel alone and helpless – so that no person would have to feel what young Ehra felt 11 years ago.
With my ambition to help those in need, it was only natural that I would end up using drag as a vehicle for doing good in the world.
I was blessed to serve as Imperial Crown Princess in 2016, my first involvement in the Imperial Council of San Francisco – the oldest surviving LGBTQ+ charitable organization in the world. It’s many wonderful members embraced me despite my immigration status, and have treated me with respect and dignity when so many other institutions would not. It is an organization that protected me and encouraged me to be a better individual, community leader and an essential part of the healthcare world.
Just a year later, I continued to serve our community as Miss Gay Asia Pacific Alliance (also known as Miss GAPA). Alongside my drag sister, Mimi Osa, we raised funds in support of LGBTQIA+ individuals with a background similar to mine, looking to better themselves and their families through education.
And now, it is my honor and pleasure to serve as the reigning Empress of San Francisco.
Over the past 8 years, I’ve raised vital funds for various non-profit organizations, including: Alexander Hamilton Post, a predominantly LGBTQA+ Veterans association; The San Francisco Aids Emergency Fund; Sequim Food Bank; and Philippines Volcano Relief, among many other amazing organizations.
Through personal sacrifice and with the help of the LGBTQIA+ community, I managed to rationalize my immigration status, uplift my family and achieve my dream of becoming a nurse.
Essential Ehra was born from the need to help our community survive. LGBTQIA+ people are always disproportionately affected during global crises, and that has been no different during the recent past. However, what’s clear is that we are no longer experiencing short term crises: this is a bizarre new way of life.
For many – myself included – the whiplash of constant changes has stopped us from looking to a future where we might be OK. Sometimes, it seems hopeless.
My goal is to ensure that we not only survive the now, but we build a future in which we can thrive. With the Essential Ehra team, I intend to connect LGBTQIA+ folx with non-profits that can help them with matters relating to immigration, healthcare and education.
We will uplift our community today to ensure a prosperous tomorrow for all.
And to do that, we’ll need to make sure that those incredible non-profits whom so many of our chosen family rely on – that we all rely on – continue their incredible work. My team and I will be working to connect non-profits to people able to support them, either with their time and expertise, or financially.
I thank you in advance for your support. I look forward to stepping into #aNewEhra with you.
Your essential girl,
Her Most Imperial Majesty
Empress Ehra Amaya
What does the Empress of San Francisco do?
Since 1965, the people of San Francisco have selected an Empress to represent their community. They are tasked to raise money and awareness for non-profit and charitable causes of their choice.
Every year, a new Emperor and Empress are elected by the people of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties.
They reign for one year, organizing fundraisers and events, steering the agenda and members of the Imperial Council of San Francisco, and acting as a figurehead for the LGBTQIA+ community here locally. They also represent San Francisco throughout the International Court System in cities across the US, Canada and Mexico.
Why is this important?
The Empress of San Francisco is able to direct the fundraising efforts of her court; a family of volunteers, monarchs and titleholders.
Beyond the glitz and pageantry, the court focuses much of its essential work to support non-profits serving the people of San Francisco.