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    In the News: 11.16.2017

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    Transgender Americans Won Historic Races on Election Day

    Following an incredible turnout of pro-equality voters, Americans across the country elected over half a dozen out transgender people to office during the November 7 election. These historic wins took place in states across the country from Georgia to Pennsylvania, as Americans rejected the homophobic rhetoric that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence continue to use. These openly transgender candidates won a wide variety of races: Danica Roem, Virginia (Virginia House of Delegates), is Virginia’s first out transgender public official and the nation’s only out transgender state representative; Andrea Jenkins, Minnesota (Minneapolis City Council), is the first openly transgender woman of color elected to public office in the U.S.; Lisa Middleton, California (Palm Springs City Council), is the first openly transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in the state of California; Stephe Koontz, Georgia (Doraville City Council), is her city’s first openly transgender elected official; Tyler Titus, Pennsylvania (Erie School Board), is the first out transgender person elected to office in Pennsylvania after a successful write-in campaign to join the ballot; Phillipe Cunningham, Minnesota (Minneapolis City Council), is the first transgender man elected to a major city’s council in the U.S.; and Raven Matherne, Connecticut (Stamford Board of Representatives), joins her local Board of Representatives as the state’s first openly transgender lawmaker. Matherne will also be the youngest member in the board’s history. These candidates represent not only regional voters, but the 1.4 million transgender Americans across the country. (For more information, see Andrea Shorter’s column on page 5.)

    SF Supervisors Approve Resolution Calling for President Trump’s Impeachment

    The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a resolution submitted by District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer calling on Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings for President Donald Trump. The resolution cites the president’s alleged “obstruction of justice, collusion, violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause, and other high crimes and misdemeanors” as reasons to “investigate whether sufficient grounds exist” to remove him from office. The resolution also points out Trump’s attempt to influence then FBI director James Comey to cease investigations regarding Russia’s interference in the presidential election. San Francisco is the fifth city in the Bay Area to formally call for Trump’s impeachment. Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda and Richmond have already passed similar resolutions, as have Santa Cruz and Los Angeles. A copy of the resolution was sent to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and to Assemblymembers Phil Ting and David Chiu, as well as State Senator Scott Wiener.

    California Approved 10 LGBT-Inclusive Textbooks for Elementary & Middle School Use

    The California State Board of Education recently agreed to recommend ten LGBTQ-inclusive history textbooks for Kindergarten through Grade 8. In addition, the board also rejected two books from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that failed to include LGBTQ people. In 2011, California passed the FAIR Education Act, which added people with disabilities and LGBT people to the list of minorities whose contributions must be included in textbooks in the state. Conservatives, however, opposed any inclusion of LGBTQ people at all. The California Family Institute claimed that the law “doesn’t take into account the sincerely held moral and religious beliefs of millions of California parents.” It should be noted that California is the first state to use LGBTQ issues as a criterion for textbooks.

    Eight New Rainbow Honor Walk Plaques to be Installed in the Castro

    A reception at Catch restaurant on November 15 celebrated the next eight honorees to have plaques installed in the Castro Rainbow Honor Walk. The first round of 20 plaques was installed in 2014 on Castro Street between Market and 19th Streets and along 19th Street between Castro and Diamond. In July 2016, the next 24 honorees were announced and will be installed in phases. And now eight more deceased LGBT people have been honored. Honorees on the north side include Iranian poet Fereydoun Farakzah, Barbara Jordan, Japanese-American civil rights activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya, and astronaut Sally Ride. Plaques to be installed on the south side include Glenn Burke, the first openly gay player in Major League Baseball; drag queen and founder of the Imperial Court Jose Sarria; lesbian bar owner and founder of the Gay Games Federation Rikki Streicher; and Zuni Native American two-spirit/mixed gender tribal leader We’Wha.

    Mayor Lee Addresses 40th Anniversary of Harvey Milk’s Election

    San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee noted that 40 years ago, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk forever changed our City and helped to reshape politics in our state and nation. Mayor Lee said as the first openly-gay elected official in California history, Milk broke down barriers and opened up boundless possibilities for members of the LGBTQ community. “He was a fearless trailblazer who refused to be marginalized, and his courage inspired countless others to follow in his footsteps,” said Lee. “As we continue to witness assaults on our civil rights—particularly the rights of our LGBTQ members—now more than ever we need to embrace the spirit of Harvey. In San Francisco, we will embody his legacy by being a City that stands up and proudly fights on the behalf of all of our residents.” Lee concluded, “We will forever remember what Harvey used to say—hope will be never silent.”

    Tenants Together Mobilize in State Capitol

    Tenants Together, California’s Statewide Organization for Renters’ Rights, gathered in Sacramento to attend the first-ever State Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee informational hearing on “The Housing Affordability Crisis: Exploring the Effects of Renter Displacement” and asked attendees to contact their local state representatives to demand the repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. “You all stepped up and made an enormous impact,” said a spokesperson for Tenants Together. Over 100 attended the hearing, with tenants and allies taking over the hearing room and overflow rooms. Hundreds more calls were made around the state, and several tenant and allied organizations held phone banks. After the hearing, activists held protest placards and stood together powerfully chanting, “Costa Hawkins has got to go!”

    Laundromat Shortage Impacts Castro Residents

    L&C Laundry at 685 14th Street and Market is the next in a series of laundry facilities closing. A sign has been posted confirming the coin-operated laundry’s closure and thanking customers for their years of loyalty. Perhaps a cause was the three Yelp reviews posted in October stating that the laundromat’s machines were recently not well maintained. Other local laundromats have suffered closures. In August, Little Hollywood Laundrette closed after 52 years to make way for Kantine, a new Scandinavian restaurant that will move into 1906 Market Street. In May, the owner of the building that houses Rising Star launderette at 439 Duboce Avenue filed an application to construct a three-bedroom residential unit to replace the laundry space. One solution for online service is, which provides pick-up/drop-off service at more than 500 apartment buildings in the city.

    Auburn Hotel Will Provide 70 New Permanent Supportive Housing Units for Homeless Veterans

    The Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) in San Francisco has announced the opening of the Auburn Hotel, a new 70-unit permanent supportive housing site to serve chronically homeless veterans. The Auburn will open by the end of this month. The Auburn Hotel, located at 481 Minna Street, will feature property management services provided by Delivering Innovations in Supportive Housing and on-site support services by Episcopal Community Services.  Each unit will be furnished with a bed, dresser, mini-refrigerator, microwave and flat screen television. The Auburn is the latest in a series of new permanent supportive units opened in the last year. Previously, the City opened the Crown (50 units), the National (100 units) and the Winton Hotel (104 units). Each serves a mixture of chronically homeless veterans and non-veterans. The Auburn’s 70 units will only house chronically homeless veterans. Of the 324 new units created in the past year, 45% are veteran serving.

    Tis the Season in the Castro!

    Castro Merchants will be decorating and promoting The Castro for the Holidays. The annual Tree Lighting in front of the Bank of America building at Castro and 18th Streets will be open to the public on Monday November 27 at 6 pm. Children are invited to see Santa and his elves and other special guests, such as emcee Donna Sachet (see cover and pages 14–18) and various members of local gay choruses. Soon to be seen are bright bows on Market Street median palm trees from Castro to Octavia Boulevard. The Chanukah Menorah Lighting will occur in mid-December; and special promotion events will happen during the Season. After a very popular and successful two years, Castro Merchants is proud to again light the sidewalk street trees in front of participating businesses, along both sides of Upper Market between Castro and Dolores Streets. The goal is to make this key retail strip stand out to pedestrians, passing motorists and Muni’s F-Line Streetcar riders alike—by enhancing a “warm village atmosphere” after dark during the holiday shopping season.