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    In the News

    By Dennis McMillan

    UniteForMarriage Holds Rally at San Francisco City Hall

    As the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on four cases that may determine the future of marriage equality in the U.S., supporters gathered at rallies across the country to show their support for full equality, including a well-attended rally in San Francisco. UniteForMarriage is sponsored by the organizers of March4Equality and Day of Decision. Among the dozens of SF speakers giving moving speeches for marriage equality were former State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and Supervisors David Campos, Jane Kim, and Scott Wiener. Organizers—including Family Equality Council, Freedom to Marry, GetEQUAL, GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality USA, and National LGBTQ Task Force—also held a pre-rally event in the morning at Harvey Milk Plaza at Castro and Market Streets.

    Mayor Edwin Lee Issues Information Regarding Nepal Earthquake

    After the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Nepal with more than 5,200 dead, San Franciscans are being encouraged to make a monetary donation to a reputable humanitarian organization responding to this disaster. People can donate at sfgivesback.org Mayor Lee also urged all San Franciscans to visit sf72.org to learn how to prepare for earthquakes before they strike.

     

    Cyber Center at SF LGBT Community Center Reopening

    Thanks to the David Bohnett Foundation, the Cyber Center computers in the LGBT Community Center building are being upgraded. Visitors to the Center will continue to have the opportunity to utilize free Internet and access to workshops. Center officials invite the public to join them at this free event as they thank the foundation for their generous support. The reopening ceremony is being held at the Community Center on Wednesday, May 13, from 6 to 8pm, 1800 Market Street. Light refreshments will be provided. To RSVP, visit sflgbtcenter.eventbrite.com

     

    Bill Supporting LGBTQ Students Moves Through Committee

    AB 827, authored by Assembly-member Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) and sponsored by Equality California, passed out of the Assembly Education Committee with a 6 to 1 vote. The bill would provide more support and a safer learning environment for LGBT students by requiring that schools provide annual training to teachers on various resources available to support LGBT students both at school and in the local community. Queer students have a higher dropout rate than their straight peers and are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers, and 40% of transgender youth have made a suicide attempt. As outlined in Equality California’s Fair Share for Equality report, LGBT youth are also at higher risk of homelessness and related health problems due to social stigma, family rejection, and bullying and violence in schools. AB 827 will head to the Assembly Appropriations Committee where the legislation’s fiscal impact will be analyzed.

    100 Local Catholic Leaders Plea To Pope: “Replace Archbishop Cordileone”

    An open letter signed by 100 local Catholic leaders is the latest indictment of the gay-hating Archbishop and his move to include “morality clauses” in the contracts of teachers and staff at Catholic high schools. Cordileone had instructed the almost 500 employees of archdiocese high schools to “affirm and believe” that actions like “homosexual relations,” birth control, and masturbation are “gravely… intrinsically” evil. In other words, it’s a ban on teachers engaging in any of the “behaviors” themselves or expressing those views in their classrooms. “Holy Father, please provide us with a leader true to our values and your namesake,” begins the text of a full-page ad that ran in the Chronicle imploring Pope Francis to “Please replace Archbishop Cordileone.” The letter blames Cordileone for fomenting “an atmosphere of divisiveness and intolerance.”

     

    GLBT Historical Society’s Executive Director to Step Down in May

    In the months ahead, the GLBT Historical Society will begin a new phase as an organization. Effective May 19, Paul Boneberg, the Historical Society’s executive director for the past eight years, will step down. At a time when soaring rents have endangered the viability of the GLBTHS’ archives in downtown San Francisco and its museum in the Castro district, Boneberg has been instrumental in securing an affordable temporary home for the museum in the Castro, and for laying the groundwork for a sustainable plan for moving its archives. In the months ahead, the GLBTHS will begin the work to choose Boneberg’s successor. In the meantime, the Board of Directors will appoint Daryl Carr to lead the organization while the GLBTHS builds a strong foundation to attract a new executive director.

    Community Marketing & Insights Asks LGBTQs to Participate in Survey

    Community Marketing & Insights is offering its 9th Annual LGBT Community Survey. Participation in this survey gives important feedback to our LGBTQ community media and organizations, and provides valid data to companies interested in serving the LGBTQ community, sponsoring our charities, and supporting LGBTQ employees. The survey takes just about 10 to 12 minutes to complete. www.LGBTSurvey.com

    Gay Journalist and Owner of Midtown Moped Shop Identified as Homicide Victim

    The Sacramento County Coroner’s Office has identified a man whose body was found inside a scooter shop as Daniel James Aiello, 53. Aiello, according to social media entries, operated Midtown Moped. The Coroner’s Office listed his home address on the same block as the shop, which rents and repairs scooters and mopeds. His Twitter and LinkedIn pages identify him as a freelance reporter with a specialty in political journalism and gay subjects. He was also a man living with AIDS. Police have arrested two individuals in connection with Aiello’s death. The suspects had been stopped by police after they were spotted loading items into a vehicle parked in front of the scooter shop. Plans for Aiello’s memorial are to be announced.

    newsAEF/BCEF Executive Director Mike Smith to Step Down

    Mike Smith, who has been Executive Director of AIDS Emergency Fund & Breast Cancer Emergency Fund (AEF & BCEF) since 2002, is leaving the organizations. Smith is the co-founder of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and served as managing director there from 1987 to 1989. During his tenure, the Quilt grew from an idea to more than 15,000 memorial panels in 20 countries. He and Cleve Jones and The Names Project Foundations were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The public is invited to his sendoff BCEF fundraiser, “Cinco de Mike-o” (in honor of Mike’s 55th: Cinco-Cinco!) birthday, May 5, at Chambers, 601 Eddy Street, from 6 to 8:30pm. tinyurl.com/5deMikeo

    Lesbian Asylum-Seeking Couple Marry at SF City Hall

    History was made as a lesbian couple, seeking asylum in the United States, celebrated their marriage at San Francisco City Hall. After years of persecution in Angola, Mari and Cara, whose real names have been withheld to protect family members in Africa, made their way to the Bay Area, where they hope to receive asylum and to start a new life safely together. The women are receiving pro bono legal representation for their asylum application by attorneys from The Cooley Law Firm. africanHRC.org

    FDA Approves New Pill Combo Drug for HIV-Positives

    The Food and Drug Administration approved a new tool in the fight against HIV with a combination of pills utilizing the previously approved single drugs Evotaz and Prezcobix. The combination of the protease inhibitor darunavir and boosting agent cobicistat, which raises the level of other antiretroviral drugs in the bloodstream, is what creates Prezcobix. Evotaz assists in boosting Prezcobix’s effectiveness, performing well in a 602-patient clinical trial with sustained effectiveness and safety over a 48-week period.

    Outdoor SF Events Have Billion Dollar Annual Impact

    A study conducted by the City Economist reports that outdoor events—such as festivals, parades, and street fairs—are a significant economic driver for San Francisco. In 2014, these events generated $1.1 billion in economic impact and drew 3.3 million attendees, whose spending supported 9,300 private sector jobs in industries like retail, food services, hospitality and transportation. The 79 events included in the study include street fairs such as Pink Saturday and Folsom Street Fair, outdoor concerts, fundraising runs and walks, and many cultural festivals. Events range in size from massive events like San Francisco Pride and the Chinese New Year Parade to large concerts like Outsidelands to smaller neighborhood events. The report will help guide policymakers in determining how best to support outdoor events. Currently, City bureaucratic processes create hardship for many events. While larger events can absorb the cost and uncertainty of the process, for smaller events, the costly process can mean the difference between surviving and folding.

    Rally Held at City Hall for Renewable Energy Option

    Activists gathered at San Francisco City Hall appropriately on National Earth Day to promote CleanPowerSF, which would give everyone in San Francisco the option to choose a 100% clean energy source—no fossil fuel burning—for their electricity. A renewable energy option has been in the works for San Francisco for many years. In fact, it has been 11 years since it was approved by the City. Recent studies have shown the cost would be no higher than that charged by PG&E. The electricity would be delivered over the customer’s current wiring system. After numerous bureaucratic delays, CleanPowerSF is now scheduled to be available in early 2016. However, it could be expedited to be available later this year, if there is enough public support for this. With the recent support of Mayor Ed Lee for real climate action, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission staff is now working toward finally launching CleanPowerSF.