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    In the News: 11.2.2017

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    NCLR and GLAD Win Preliminary Injunction Against Transgender Military Ban

    The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) filed the first lawsuit challenging Trump’s reckless, unconstitutional transgender military ban. This week, these organizations had a big win. A federal court in Washington, D.C., halted the ban, granting a motion for a preliminary injunction. According to NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq., the Court took aim at the government’s arguments, noting these “wither under scrutiny.” NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter said: “This is a complete victory for our plaintiffs and all transgender service members, who are now once again able to serve on equal terms and without the threat of being discharged. We are grateful to the court for recognizing the gravity of these issues and putting a stop to this dangerous policy, which has wreaked havoc in the lives of transgender service members and their families.”

    Man Arrested for Burning Rainbow Flag, Punching Volunteer at Pacific Center

    An East Bay community has rallied around an LGBTQ community center, which suffered an apparent hate crime on October 20. Leslie Ewing, Executive Director of the Pacific Center for Human Growth on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, told Berkeleyside: “Someone came on our property and set our rainbow flag on fire.” She added that a volunteer receptionist, who tried to stop the arson, was then assaulted, but was not seriously injured. Berkeley police confirmed that the receptionist was punched in the face during the 11 am attack. Ewing suspects that the current political climate is at least partly to blame for the incident. She shared that since the presidential inauguration last November, there have been more than 200 crimes at community centers across the country. and

    Michael Tilson Thomas Announces Plans to Retire as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony

    Michael Tilson Thomas this week announced plans to conclude his distinguished tenure as Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) in June 2020. The 2019–2020 Season will mark both his 75th birthday and his 25th year leading the Symphony in what is widely considered one of the most productive musical partnerships in the orchestral world. Tilson Thomas’ legacy with the SF Symphony began in 1974 with his debut at age 29, conducting Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, and was solidified by his commencement as the Orchestra’s 11th Music Director in September 1995.

    “Looking back over these decades, I am filled with gratitude for the extraordinary artistic partnership I have had with the members of the Orchestra and for the warm and generous style of music making we have shared with all of our audiences,” Tilson Thomas said in a statement. “Having been a Music Director of an orchestra for most of my adult life and as I approach my 75th birthday, I feel this is an appropriate moment to set aside some of my administrative responsibilities and begin a new period of creative possibilities. Fortunately, my new and unique relationship as Music Director Laureate of the San Francisco Symphony will allow me to continue to work with my esteemed colleagues for years to come on projects close to my heart.” Tilson Thomas has been out professionally for decades, and has been with husband Joshua Robison for over 40 years. We celebrated his life and work in the January 8, 2015, issue of the San Francisco Bay Times.

    Harvey Milk Plaza Redesign Has a Current Estimated Budget of $10 Million

    The San Francisco-based office of the architecture firm Perkins Eastman has been selected to redesign Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro at 17th and Market. The competition attracted 33 entries before being narrowed down to three that, in addition to Perkins Eastman, included Groundworks Office and Kuth|Ranieri Architects. “Perkins Eastman had a big creative idea that we feel has the potential to have an iconic presence and become a destination,” Andrea Aiello, President of Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza, told the San Francisco Chronicle. The estimated $10 million required for the extensive work must be raised privately, and both Muni and the SF Department of Public Works must sign off on any desired changes to the plan. Perkins Eastman, for example, has envisioned tiered amphitheater-like seating ramps rising from Castro Street, to add visual drama. The amphitheater, at its summit, would form a glass portal to the entrance of the station. Aiello pointed out that relocating the subway entrance to the plaza’s east end could add to the walking distance of commuters, who might be in a hurry to catch their trains. Nevertheless, she said that “the Perkins Eastman team has shown an incredible flexibility in terms of refining their concepts and they’re very open to working with the public.”

    Lyon-Martin Health Services to Move to New Location

    Beginning November 7, Lyon-Martin Health Services will be located at 1735 Mission Street in San Francisco. They have been planning the move to their new clinic since their merge with HealthRIGHT 360 in 2015. The clinic will be briefly closed starting on November 2 and will reopen on November 7 at 11 am. Their new clinic is just three blocks away from their current location. The newly renovated clinic will offer all of the services their clients rely on, including primary medical, HIV, transgender, gynecologic, breast/chest, individual and group psychotherapy and integrated behavioral health services.

    Castro Merchants Announce Changes to Castro Police Force

    Castro Merchants, founded by the late Supervisor Harvey Milk and made up of merchants based in San Francisco’s iconic Castro neighborhood, welcome two new S.F. Police Department Captains, who came to the neighborhood in a round of routine reassignments. Captain Gaetano Caltagirone comes to command at Mission Station. Captain Una Bailey takes the helm of Park Station, which serves a northern part of the neighborhood. Castro Merchants thanked departing Captain Bill Griffin from Mission Station and Captain John Sanford from Park Station for their service to the Castro and gave best wishes as their SFPD service continues.

    GMHC Concerned About Public Health Emergency Declaration Regarding Opioid Crisis

    Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) strongly opposes potential efforts under the Public Health Emergency Declaration to redirect funding from HIV/AIDS programs. By issuing an order for a Public Health Emergency Declaration rather than a Declaration of Emergency, GMHC says the Administration has essentially ensured that no new funding would be available from the federal government for the opioid crisis, and created a possibility that funding could be repurposed and taken away from other health emergencies, including HIV and Hepatitis C. “If the President is truly concerned about the opioid crisis, he should issue a Declaration of Emergency,” said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie.

    Folsom Street Events Names Patrick Finger as Executive Director

    The Folsom Street Events Board of Directors has unanimously approved the promotion of Interim Managing Director, Patrick Finger, to the position of Executive Director. FSE is responsible for the fundraisers during leather fair months. The organization assumed an extensive executive search in late 2016, and early 2017, which led the Board of Directors to the appointment of Finger as Interim Managing Director. The Board says it gave an opportunity to lead the organization, and “he did so with flying colors,” according to many inside and outside of the agency. Edwin Morales, President of the Board of Directors, said, “With over 10 years of experience with the organization, Patrick has proven himself a passionate, intelligent, and knowledgeable leader, whose dedication and support of not only the community at large, but those without a voice, is unquestionable.”

    Plaque to be Installed in Castro Station in Honor of Tom Nolan

    Openly gay Tom Nolan has spent many years dedicating himself to public service. Now he will be awarded with a plaque from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Nolan was one the first openly gay elected officials in the country, and first gay president on a board of supervisors in California (San Mateo County), advocating tirelessly for issues ranging from transportation to the environment to gay rights. In 1994, he became Executive Director of Project Open Hand. In 2016, the American Public Transportation Association announced that one of their most noteworthy honors—Outstanding Public Transportation Board Member Award—was bestowed upon Nolan, who has been the chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors for 10 years. Now SFMTA will soon install a plaque in the Castro Street Station to commemorate and honor Nolan’s significant and lasting contributions to public transportation in San Francisco and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

    The SF Human Rights Commission Seeks New Members for Agency’s LGBT Advisory Committee

    The San Francisco Human Rights Commission is seeking new members for the Agency’s LGBT Community Advisory Committee, “LGBTAC.” The LGBTAC identifies and addresses the issues and concerns of the LGBT and HIV-affected communities in San Francisco and advises the full Commission on policy recommendations aimed at improving the quality of life for these communities. LGBTAC is looking for members who are active in the community and who possess demonstrated experience and knowledge in subject matter areas dealing with racism, youth issues, aging, AIDS/HIV, anti-bullying and anti-violence, civil rights, class, disability, women’s rights, gender identity, bisexual visibility, faith-based advocacy, education, intersex and health issues.