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    In the News: December 17, 2015

    By Dennis McMillan

    LGBTQ-inclusive Companies Among Most Financially Successful

    It comes as no surprise to us that the most LGBTQ-inclusive companies are among the most financially successful. Logo announced its list of the Top 25 Trailblazing Companies, an index that honors the companies that serve as pioneers and advocates for the LGBTQ community. Released in conjunction with the network’s 10-year anniversary, the list evaluates companies based on their public ded- ication to LGBTQ people and issues through their advertising, communications, and other visible actions. shows/top-25-trailblazing-compa- nies/widget/full-company-list

    Gay Man Murdered in San Bernardino Shootings Saved 4 People’s Lives

    The memorial service for 42-year-old Daniel Kaufman took place, honoring the gay man who was murdered while working at a coffee cart inside the Inland Regional Center for people with disabilities in San Bernardino. He was shot to death when Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik attacked the facility, ultimately murdering 14 people and wounding dozens more. As shots rang out, Kaufman began pushing people out of harm’s way, rushing them to the safety of the door before he was himself shot and killed. A source close to Ryan Reyes, Kaufman’s surviving partner, says he is credited with saving four people’s lives.

    Aaron Peskin Sworn in as Supervisor

    Former Supervisor Aaron Peskin wasted no time making his intentions known after being sworn in before the Board of Supervisors’ meeting, as he rejoined the group he was a part of from 2001 to 2009. In opening remarks, Peskin urged the supervisors to reject the City’s planned sale of its office building and criticized City officials for failing to address the City’s housing crisis adequately.

    Peskin, who beat Supervisor Julie Christensen in the November 3 election representing District 3, ran on a populist message deriding the influence of money from technology interests and developers on politics. His legislative aides will be Sunny Angulo, who ran his campaign; Lee Hepner, who is on the board of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club; and Connie Chan, who until now has worked in communications for the Recreation and Park Department.

    AIDS Housing Alliance Reaffirms Advocacy for Affordable Housing

    For longtime HIV survivor and current AIDS Housing Alliance SF Executive Director Brian Basinger, no issue facing San Francisco is more important than affordable housing.

    While the tech explosion has seen a precipitous drop in unemployment and brought an unprecedented economic boom to the Bay Area, many in the poorer communities have been left out. People with AIDS, a large portion of whom survive on disability checks and food stamps, have been particularly hit hard by the City’s housing crisis. Basinger understands their dilemma all too well, having been Ellis-evicted himself.

    McAllister Artist Turns Home into Memorial for Paris and San Bernardino

    For 15 years, proudly gay Miguel Gutierrez-Ranzi has turned his Victorian home’s exterior on 1269 McAllister into an ever-changing holiday art exhibit, and this year, after the Paris attacks, Gutierrez-Ranzi decided to dedicate his display in memorial. He constructed a 20-foot tall image of the Eiffel Tower, using 287 feet of rope and 800 lights.

    Ornamenting the tower are French flags and a fleur-de-lis a friend gave him from France. While creating the Eiffel Tower, the San Bernardino attack occurred, so Gutierrez-Ranzi expanded his memorial to include a wreath made of black branches covered in gold and silver leaves, colors that symbolize the preciousness of the lives that were lost. A black chain represents the psychological impact of the attacks on the survivors, though the leaves’ allusion to laurel adds hope.

    Life Insurance Offered to HIV-Positive People

    Two companies are for the first time jointly offering life insurance to people living with HIV in recognition that their life expectancies are close to those of uninfected individuals. Previously, HIV-positive individuals would automatically be denied life insurance, said Bill Grant, who co- founded the financial services company AEQUALIS with Andrew Terrell. The plans will be offered through a partnership between Prudential Financial Inc. and AEQUALIS, which focuses on serving people with HIV. People who qualify will be offered standard plans that are the same as those offered to any other customer.

    Equality California Stunned and Saddened by Death of George Zander

    Longtime Equality California Regional Field Manager George Zander, victim of an anti-LGBTQ attack last month, died on December 10 in Palm Springs at age 71. Zander had served as EQCA’s Desert field manager since June 2009. In that time, he was a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community across the Desert and Inland Empire regions. As EQCA’s key staff member in the Desert communities, he devoted his work to ensuring that schools are safe and supportive for LGBTQ students, to advocating for the needs of LGBTQ seniors, to advancing civil rights for transgender people, and to electing pro-equality candidates at every level of government.

    Housing for Gay Seniors Coming to San Diego

    A local nonprofit is preparing to build San Diego’s first low-income apartment complex geared for senior citizens who are LGBTQ. When the 76-unit complex opens in North Park, San Diego will join Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco as cities that provide this kind of housing. Such housing is considered crucial because members of the LGBTQ community often feel unwelcome in ordinary senior complexes, where the older residents tend to be less open to alternative lifestyles.

    Twitter Halts Office Blood Drives Until Gay Men Can Donate

    Social media giant Twitter has adopted an “All for one, and one for all” policy when it comes to donating blood. The social network won’t be holding any more blood drives until all of its employees—including gay and bisexual men—are allowed to donate. Twitter spokeswoman Natalie Miyake told CBS News that the company would not hold any more blood donation drives until the FDA adopts a policy based on behavioral risk factors, rather than identity. Under current policy, men who have had sex with men, even once, since 1977 are prohibited from donating blood.