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    In The News: 7.26.2018

    ‘Prisoner 00045’ Transported to Alcatraz

    On Sunday, July 22, The Trump Chicken organization sailed a 33-foot President Donald Trump-resembling balloon around Alcatraz, in front of AT&T Park and at other Bay locations from 11:30 am to 3 pm. “Trump Chicken” wore striped prisoner’s garb with the number 00045 on it. A sign on the side of the “Alcatraz Prison Transport” boat read: “Release Your Tax Returns, the Republic Demands It.” In smaller letters below was: “Inquiring Minds Want to Know #ShowUsYourTaxes.”

    The San Francisco Tax March first brought the Trump Chicken—symbolizing resistance to the U.S. leader and his administration—to America for the April 15 march last year. Similar displays have since spread throughout the world. After the April 15 march, the organizers, who call themselves the Chicken Wranglers, were left with four Trump Chicken balloons, including the 33-foot big bird.

    The Chicken Wranglers previously raised more than $10,000 to float what they have dubbed the “Chicken of the Sea” behind the planned August 2017 pro-Trump rally at Crissy Field, but that rally was canceled. Another occasion was therefore sought to deploy the bird. He was first sailed around Alcatraz this year in his specially designed prison shirt on President’s Day weekend in February before the July event.

    This latest display followed President Trump’s meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during which the former seemingly accepted Putin’s denial of U.S. election meddling. “They said they think it’s Russia; I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia,” Trump told reporters at a press conference following the meeting in Helsinki. “I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be. I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

    Although President Trump has since tried to backpedal bigly on Russia, those attempts have failed, with many now viewing him as treasonous. Even members of his own party have expressed dismay. For example, Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) said on July 19: “The findings of our intelligence community regarding the Russian aggression are not matters of opinion, no matter how powerful and strong Putin’s denial. To reject these findings and to reject the excruciating specific indictment against the 12 named Russian operatives in deference to the word of a KGB apparatchik is an act of will on the part of the president, and that choice leaves us contemplating the dark mystery, ‘Why did he do that? What would compel our president to do such a thing?'”

    Senator Flake added, “The president let down the free world by giving aid and comfort to an enemy of democracy. In so doing, he dimmed the light of freedom ever so slightly in our own country.” 

    Many of us would say that the light is more than dimmed, given the current U.S. president’s record against LGBT individuals—especially those in the transgender community—his administration’s gutting U.S. environmental laws, separating families at the border and so much more. As one of the Go Fund Me donors wrote about the Trump Chicken displays: “I hope you can continue doing this until the commode-in-chief is out of office. Thank you for your resistance.”

    The Trump Chicken Organization: https://thetrumpchicken.org/

    Go Fund Me Page: https://www.gofundme.com/speaktruthtopoultry

    Horizons Establishes Fund in Response to Immigration Crisis

    The Asylee, Immigrant, and Refugee Emergency Action Fund (AIREAF) has been created by Horizons Foundation to support organizations working to resist current policies that are separating families and summarily turning back people escaping violence and persecution in their home countries.

    The Trump Administration’s inhumane separation and detention of families at the U.S. border and the blatantly discriminatory ban on Muslim immigrants are affronts to the values for which America stands, Horizons holds. The AIREAF Fund is designed to support organizations that are fighting for the human rights of immigrants, refugees and asylees.

    More than 70 countries around the world criminalize the existence of LGBTQ people. Immigration to the U.S. and other relatively LGBTQ-friendly countries through asylum has often been the only recourse LGBTQ people have to avoid persecution, violence and even death.

    “Between the family separations taking place at the border and the Supreme Court decision to uphold the Administration’s Muslim Ban, we know immigrants are under attack and need our help and support,” stated Olga Talamante, AIREAF co-founder and co-chair of Horizons’ board of directors.

    “It is our hope that these outrageous events will galvanize our community to stand up to hate and send a clear message to those in power that we stand as one,” added Edward Wright, AIREAF co-founder.

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    San Francisco Pride and GLBT Historical Society Announce Partnership

    San Francisco Pride and the GLBT Historical Society on July 13 announced the launch of a multiyear partnership to highlight the historical significance of the 50th anniversary of San Francisco Pride in 2020. The collaboration will enable the organizations to expand public awareness of the connections between understanding histories of LGBTQ people, working for LGBTQ rights in the present and establishing LGBTQ equality in the future.

    “Both Pride and the GLBT Historical Society are committed to honoring the stories of our elders, encouraging them to share the strategies they have developed in their long lives of love and struggle,” said Terry Beswick, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society. “Our organizations pursue a common goal in seeking to build stronger LGBTQ communities by fostering connections between newer generations of activists and longtime organizers in our movement.”

    To advance these aims, San Francisco Pride and the GLBT Historical Society will embark on a number of collaborative efforts in the two years leading up to San Francisco Pride 50 in 2020. Three projects are already in the works:

    • Pride will donate its historical archives and artifacts to the Historical Society, which will preserve them and make them available to researchers, historians, artists and community members.
    • The organizations will jointly launch an oral history project focused on the five-decade story of Pride in San Francisco and the wider history of LGBTQ activism in the Bay Area. The collected interviews will reside in the Historical Society archives.
    • The GLBT Historical Society will curate several exhibitions about the impact of San Francisco Pride and its place in intersectional movements for justice and equality since 1970. The main exhibition is set to open in advance of the 50th anniversary of SF Pride in June 2020.

    In addition to the collaboration, San Francisco Pride is announcing the themes for the next two years of the San Francisco Pride Parade and Celebration, both of which will expand on this year’s theme, “Generations of Strength.” The theme for the 49th Annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade, set for June 29 and 30, 2019, will be “Generations of Resistance.” The theme for the 50th annual event, set for June 27 and 28, 2020, will be “Generations of Hope.”

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    San Francisco Has World’s Highest Rent

    According to analyst Aaron Ansel at Walletwyse, San Francisco now ranks as the city with the world’s highest rent. A total of 540 cities were included in the rent comparison. San Francisco’s average rent is listed at $3,500 a month. Hamilton, Bermuda, came in second, with an average rent of $3,400. Manhattan was third at $3,050, while San Jose was in fourth with an average monthly rent of $2,500.

    “I think the big difference when you look at cost of living for a place like the Bay Area is that in most high cost cities like New York, if you go far enough out, you run into a drop in price,” Ansel told SF Gate. “The San Francisco Bay Area is not like that. You go 30 miles in any direction and you’re still within that zone. Whereas a lot of these big cities are high price points surrounded by normal price points, San Francisco is an ultra-high price point surrounded by more high price points.”

    Numerous LGBT and other community leaders have long said that the cost of living here is contributing to our loss of local gayborhoods. Historians, veteran organizers and younger activists talked about this and related matters at a panel on July 25 at The GLBT Historical Society: “Fighting Back: Saving San Francisco’s Gayborhoods.”

    SF Gate Story: https://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/San-Francisco-rent-most-expensive-world-average-13046919.php

    Worldwide Rental Price Index: https://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/San-Francisco-rent-most-expensive-world-average-13046919.php