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    In the News

    news By Dennis McMillan

    Groundbreaking Legislation Passed to Prohibit Discrimination of LGBT Seniors

    On March 31, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in favor of the Long-term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights Ordinance (see story by Marcy Adelman on page 11). The ordinance originated as a recommendation from the LGBT Aging Task Force’s policy report. It prevents discrimination against patients in long-term care facilities based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or HIV status.

    First Ever LGBTQ Population Survey Shows SF at 6.2%

    The San Francisco metropolitan area has the highest percentage of the adult popu­lation who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender of any of the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas, followed by Portland, Oregon and Austin, Texas – according to more than 374,000 Gallup Daily tracking interviews. Variation in the percentage who identify as LGBTQ across the largest metro areas is relatively narrow, with San Francisco’s percentage just 2.6 percentage points higher than the national average of 3.6%, and the lowest-ranked metro area – Birmingham, Alabama – one point below the national average. San Jose may be the most surprising metro area to be among the 10 lowest, because it is home to the Silicon Valley and many technology com­panies that have been among the most vocal supporters of LGBT rights in corpo­rate America. pewsocialtrends.org

    Historic Gay Bathhouse Transformed to Puppy Paradise

    The building at 130-132 Turk Street has been gutted by the previous owner, and it was full of history. From 1932 to 1983, the building housed the City’s largest and old­est gay bathhouses, The Club Turkish Bath House and later renamed Bulldog Baths. After 30 years of vacancy, Bulldog Baths is a sanctuary again – but this time for dogs. Bulldog Baths Dog Resort aims to provide doggie daycare and overnight lodging services for canines. Bulldog Baths has partnered with Rocket Dog Rescue and Grateful Dogs Rescue to take in fos­ters seeking new homes. bulldogbaths.com

    Mayor Lee Boycotts Indiana for LGBTQ Discrimination

    Mayor Edwin M. Lee issued an official statement after Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law that legalizes dis­crimination against LGBTQ individuals: “We stand united as San Franciscans to condemn Indiana’s new discriminatory law, and will work together to protect the civil rights of all Americans including les­bian, gay, bisexual and transgender indi­viduals.” He said effective immediately, he was directing City Departments under his authority to bar any publicly-funded City employee travel to the State of Indiana that is not absolutely essential to public health and safety. He explained that San Francisco taxpayers will not subsidize legally-sanctioned discrimination against LGBTQ people by the State of Indiana. sfmayor.org

    Supervisor Christensen to Introduce Ellis Act Resolution

    Supervisor Julie Christensen will introduce a resolution in support of State Senator Mark Leno’s SB 364, and will call a hear­ing to identify programs and resources available to assist in the preservation and retention of existing market-rate housing, particularly rent-controlled units that are high risk targets for eviction. Ellis Act evictions have increased 165% over the last three years with 215 evictions in the last 12 months. But even these numbers do not accurately reflect the true impact of Ellis evictions because until earlier this month, the City had no mechanism for tracking buyout offers. In the short time Supervisor Christensen has been in office, there have already been several egregious evictions, potentially displacing working-class tenants, artists and seniors from their rent-controlled units. It is hoped that by returning local control of the Ellis Act, the current housing crisis at the local level can improve. sfgov.org

    Hearing Scheduled Regarding Long- Term HIV Survivors

    Supervisor Scott Wiener and Supervisor David Campos are sponsoring a hearing to discuss the expected financial needs cre­ated by the increase of people living with HIV/AIDS who will lose their private dis­ability insurance as they become eligible for Social Security benefits. This includes discussion on the fact that the percentage of San Franciscans living with HIV/AIDS who are 50 years or older has increased by more than 100% since 2004 and now comprises 55% of the total population of HIV-positive people living, and the pro­jected number of San Franciscans who will be affected by the transition from pri­vate disability insurance to social security eligibility.

    Quit Smoking Program Reaches Out to LGBTQ Medi-Cal Members

    In order to help more Californians quit smoking, the Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking (MIQS) program is specifically including LGBTQ Medi-Cal members in its outreach efforts. Qualifying Medi-Cal members can call the California Smokers Helpline at 1-800-NO-BUTTS (1-800- 662-8887) to participate in free telephone counseling sessions to quit smoking and can receive free nicotine patches. Callers who mention “Promo Code 88” can also ask for and receive a free $20 gift card after completing their first counseling ses­sion. Nicotine patches and $20 gift cards are available until supplies last. Counselors are available weekdays, 7 am to 9 pm and weekends, 9 am to 5 pm. nobutts.org/miqs

    Town Hall Meetings Give Information on LGBTQ Couples’ Social Security Benefits

    A series of Town Hall meetings about Social Security benefits newly available to same-sex married couples is coming to Northern California. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare Foundation, together with local partners, is reaching out to LGBTQ communities and individuals through Know Your Rights California, a series of Town Hall meetings and webinars to edu­cate LGBTQ same-sex married couples of potential benefits they may be missing and motivate them to file claims with the Social Security Administration. Meetings will be held in Oakland – April 7 with moderator Peggy Moore, adviser to Mayor Libby Schaaf; San Jose – April 8 with mod­erator Wiggsy Sivertsen, BAYMEC co-founder; and Sacramento – April 9 with moderator Rob Stewart, host, Rob on the Road TV Show. foundation@ncpssm.org

    Second Annual Gay-Straight Alliance Day Available to Students

    Gay-Straight Alliance Day is on April 8, bringing together 8th grade and high school students in GSA and Diversity Clubs across the San Francisco Unified School District. The inspiring and educa­tional day will feature workshops, speakers and performances geared towards the LGBTQ community. GSA Day will be held from 9am to 2:10 pm at Lincoln High School and the Office of School Health Programs (Quintara Street and 24th Avenue in the Outer Sunset). For more information contact Erik Martinez, LGBTQ programs coordinator, Martineze1@sfusd.edu

    1-PHOTO-kamala-harris-officialCalifornia Attorney General Tries to Block “Sodomite Suppression Act”

    California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris has attempted to block a proposed ballot initiative that calls for the exe­cution of those who engage in gay sex. Harris has asked for judicial authorization to quash the so-called “Sodomite Suppression Act,” authored by Matt McLaughlin, an Orange County lawyer. According to the proposed initiative, those involved in gay sex should “be put to death by bullets to the head by any other convenient method.” It also called for those indulging in “sodomistic propagan­da” to be fined $1 million per occurrence and/or up to 10 years in jail, and/or exile from California. Harris said she was seek­ing judicial authorization not to write the title and summary for the Act. rawstory. com

    Forum Concerning Religion-Based Opposition to LGBT Rights Scheduled

    Horizons Foundation is presenting a free forum where a panel will explore religious­ly based opposition to LGBTQ rights, their evolving tactics and strategies, and how the queer community can respond. They will also touch on some of the broader issues our international brothers and sisters are facing in even less tolerant parts of the world. Panelists are Elizabeth Gill, senior staff attorney, ACLU of Northern California; Michael Keegan, president, People for the American Way; Justin Tanis, managing director, Center of Lesbian & Gay Studies, Pacific School of Religion; with Moderator Bishop Yvette Flunder, City of Refuge United Church of Christ. Thursday, April 9, 6pm to 8pm, Merrill Lynch 8th Floor Conference Room, 555 California Street. Register at events@horizonsfoundation.org

    SF General Hospital and Trauma Center Is Hiring Nurses

    San Francisco’s Department of Public Health and Department of Human Resources are partnering to hire registered nurses in preparation for the opening of the new San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center acute care and trau­ma building in December 2015. More than 100 registered nurses will be hired in many specialty areas, with top priorities in emergency care, medical-surgical, critical care and peri-operative services. The hos­pital provides inpatient care to more than 100,000 patients annually, so nurses with acute care experience are strongly encour­aged to apply. Also desired are bilingual nurses who speak Spanish, Cantonese and other languages to provide compassionate care to a diverse patient population. Prospective SFGH nurses can apply online at sfdhr.org

    HIV+ Out of Care Responsible for 91% of New Infections

    According to an AIDS.gov blog post, the CDC study, first published in JAMA Internal Medicine, estimates that 91.5 per­cent of new HIV infections in 2009 were attributable to people with HIV who were not in medical care, including those who didn’t know they were infected. In com­parison, less than six percent of new infec­tions could be attributed to people with HIV who were in care and receiving anti­retroviral therapy. AIDS Healthcare Foundation says study results suggest that HIV/AIDS resources be directed toward HIV testing, linkage to medical care and antiretroviral treatment rather than to more expensive prevention methods like PrEP. aidshealth.org

    Anti-Herpes Drug May Help Control HIV, NIH Study Finds

    Valacyclovir, a drug commonly used to control the virus that causes genital her­pes, appears to reduce the levels of HIV in patients who do not have genital herpes, according to a study by researchers from the National Institutes of Health, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Emory University, Atlanta and Lima, Peru. The study of 18 patients is the first to show that the drug does not require the presence of herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) to suppress HIV in patients. The researchers hope to con­firm their results in a larger study. The researchers found that when the patients took valacyclovir, their blood HIV levels declined significantly. Typically, HIV patients take a cocktail of several anti-HIV drugs because a single drug is not enough to suppress the virus. Multiple HIV medi­cations also hinder the virus’ ability to develop resistance to the drugs. exchange. nih.gov

    Plans Underway to Fix Buena Vista Park

    In response to ongoing safety problems, irrigation challenges, and an aging urban forest, a long-brewing effort to fix up the oldest park in the city, Buena Vista Park, is finally coming together. The park has not had a written management plan since the City’s Master Plan was written in 1987, and the last capital improvement projects to the southeastern slope of Buena Vista Park ended in 2008. There were two city­wide park bonds approved in the last decade, but Buena Vista was not a benefi­ciary of either. The Buena Vista Neighborhood Association (BVNA) and Friends of Buena Vista Park are working together with the Recreation and Parks and Public Works Departments to create a Capital Improvement Plan. Neighborhood groups and City departments held the first of three meetings to ensure that the oldest park in the city is no longer an after­thought. hoodline.com