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    Sister Dana sez, “I have a resolution solution for everyone: I resolve to be the best me I can be!”

    danaSister Dana sez, “I have a resolution solution for everyone. Tired of having made those same old resolutions, but you broke them just days after the New Year? Quit smoking? Yeah, sure. Go on a diet? Be real. Call those tricks back after you took their phone numbers? As if! Just use my handy dandy no-sweat solution: I resolve to be the best me I can be! It’s foolproof! Oh, and by the way: Happy New Queer Year to all!”

    And it truly was a Queer Year last year. In 2014, we saw the unstoppable momentum for full queer equality reach previously uncharted regions. Activists’ relentless work at the federal, state, and local levels; in workplaces, healthcare facilities; in the court of public opinion; and in countries being targeted by anti-LGBTQ extremists has brought vitally important changes, both big and small, to the lives of queer people both in the U.S. and abroad. Sister Dana sez, “Full steam ahead for MMXV (Roman for 2015!)”

    COMFORT AND JOY in collaboration with CALAMUS FELLOWSHIP presented their annual WINTER SOLSTICE PARTY at Danzhaus. The legendary Chickpea aka Brian Busta was our environment and atmosphere artist decorating with giant snowflakes, spinning day-glo phallic art overhead, and black-lights. The festivities began with a very special holiday meal designed to nourish our whole being. During this delectable feast, Calamus was proud to present a rare trifecta of talent – perhaps some of the most important queer artists of the Bay: Brontez Purnell, Miss Rahni and Sampson McCormick. We enjoyed the crass romanticism of Brontez’s brilliant prose as he read from his tell-all novel chronicling the misadventures of gay sex renegades, The Cruising Diaries. We watched in awe as multiple award-winning diva Miss Rahni performed creatively choreographed numbers from her critically acclaimed one woman show, My Book. We laughed a lot with the highly celebrated and absolutely hysterical comedian McCormick, whose comedy albums include Don’t Make Me Take Off My Earrings and That B-tch Better Be Funny. Later on, we circled for a yuletide ritual followed by an unforgettable drag show hosted by Ultra featuring some of our favorite eclectic queens, including Effervescence Jackson, Mama Dora, Mandala, Shakey Gibson, Vivi The Force, Trangela Lansbery, Amanda Love, Samuel Kehl, Dakota Pendant, Alabama Slamma, and Beyonda. Then we ended with dancing and delighting until dawn. Calamus Fellowship believes radical queer spirit and culture are essential! Comfort & Joy is a mutual support society that celebrates boldly creative queer culture, expression, spirituality, and self-actualization through the projects our members create. Needless to say – they all rock!!!

    SAN FRANCISCO GAY MEN’S CHORUS presented DANCERS, PRANCERS & VIXENS! as this year’s 25TH ANNUAL HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS concert in the Castro Theatre. There were selections from the holiday choral celebration offered at Nourse Theater the prior weekend. The Lollipop Guild reprised “Marvelous Holiday Sweater” while modeling their marvelously tacky, gaudy, over-the-top, but somehow charming Xmas themed sweaters – some even bigger than life! A specially commissioned “New Year’s Carol” with music by Ola Gjello and text by Charles Anthony Silvestri was sung by the Chorus with one phrase particularly moving: “After all our friends have departed, After the tinsel is all put way, That is the time to reflect and remember – The gifts of the season last more than one day.” Other pieces sung can be found at sfbaytimes.com “Sister Dana Sez” column from last edition.

    Over 400 members of San Francisco’s queer community marched on Christmas Eve morning in the Castro, blocking the freeway from 101 on to Octavia Boulevard for a moment of silence lasting four minutes and 28 seconds, representing the four hours and 28 minutes Michael Brown lay dead in Ferguson, MO. Led by QUEER AND TRANS BLACK ORGANIZERS AND ALLIES, protesters carried the messages: “It’s no time for a celebration” and “Black Lives Matter,” disrupting shopping on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Signs stated, “Silence Equals Violence.” People chanted, “We’re here, We’re queer, Black lives matter,” and they placed a large pink triangle in the intersection of Octavia and Market, where they held a die-in.

    TENANTS TOGETHER, California’s statewide organization for renters’ rights held a holiday party at their headquarters. Their members, volunteers, staff, and allies are fighting every day of the year to make sure every one of California’s 16 million renters have the right to safe, affordable, healthy homes, and not just for the holidays. tenantstogether.org

    THE SISTERS OF PERPETUAL INDULGENCE, INC. held their SALVATION SISTERS’ ARMY OF NUN bell-ringing fundraising event in the Castro for a second year. We joined with Sister houses in Dallas, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, and Austin to raise awareness about the SALVATION ARMY’s continued discrimination towards LGBTQ people. Salvation Army is no stranger to anti-gay scandals. Perhaps the most infamous occurred in 2012, when Andrew Craibe, media relations director for SA Australia, said gay people should be put to death.

    In a document regarding the SA’s official views on what it calls “LGBT issues,” by Midwest Commissioner Paul Seiler, dated February 21, 2014, the policy statement was emailed to officers in the Salvation Army’s Central Territory, which serves Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North & South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana. “This is not for public use,” the letter warns, “including social media of any sort.” What follows are four pages detailing the SA’s theological views on the “homosexual orientation” (which it calls “a matter of profound complexity”), its position on marriage (which it states can only happen “between one man and one woman”), and its expectations that unmarried (aka gay) officers “be celibate in the expression of their sexuality.”

    Meanwhile, SPI-SF raised $579 in small change dropped into our buckets for Glide and its charities. Further, we silenced our bells on several occasions to remind us of the people from the Transgender Community who have been killed last year.

    THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION will end a lifetime prohibition on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, which is good news; but it will block donations by men who have had sex with other men in the last 12 months, which is bad news. When will we finally stop this discrimination?

    The U.S. SUPREME COURT declined to extend a stay sought by Florida officials defending the state’s ban on same-sex marriages, allowing gay marriages to proceed in Florida. Weddings also were allowed to start under an order by the 11TH U.S. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS in Atlanta. Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented from the Supreme Court’s decision.

    In a landmark victory for unmarried couples in Illinois, the ILLINOIS COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIRST DISTRICT ruled that courts may not discriminate against unmarried couples by preventing them from enforcing property claims against one another when they separate, ending the state’s 35-year-long policy of closing the courthouse doors to unmarried couples.

    The SUPREME COURT Justices will be meeting on January 9th to decide whether they will review Louisiana’s same-sex marriage case. (See story on page 20.) If the Court agrees to hear a marriage case this term, we could see an end to marriage discrimination in the next year. Families could finally be protected. Parents could finally adopt their children. Justice could finally be won!

    Attorney General Holder has announced that the DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE will take the position in litigation that the protection of TITLE VII OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964 extends to claims of discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status. Attorney General Holder informed all Department of Justice component heads and United States Attorneys in a memo that the department will no longer assert that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex excludes discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender discrimination, reversing a previous Department of Justice position. Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in the employment of an individual “because of such individual’s…sex,” among other protected characteristics.

    In two back-to-back victories, NEW YORK STATE has told insurance companies that they must provide equal access to healthcare for transgender New Yorkers, and it proposed a new regulation that would end the exclusion on healthcare for transgender people under Medicaid.

    In other earth-shaking news, Sister Dana’s alter ego Dennis turned another year older on New Year’s Day. (Editor’s Note: Please join us in wishing a happy birthday to Dennis McMillan. Doesn’t it seem appropriate that his birthday should be on such a grand day that everyone celebrates? We wish Dennis many more years of good health and good times.)

    COMING UP!

    Do NOT miss INTO THE WOODS the movie. It is a sure-fire award winner. If you like Sondheim, of course. And don’t expect a happily ever after, either. This one gets dark, just like the woods. XLNT score. Fabulous actors. Beautiful script. Lush scenery. Go take a trip into the woods – but beware the witch and the wolf.

    Stunr.com is the newest, gay online dating website for single guys. Using location based technology, members can easily connect with other men in their area through chat and wink features, or connect with men worldwide using their search tools. Unlike other dating apps, Stunr.com can help you meet other gay singles that share common interests, whether they be film, fashion, fitness or food. No swiping right or left here. The app is most popular among 18-28 year olds with its biggest markets being San Francisco, Atlanta, LA, NYC, Houston, and Dallas. Stunr is continuously growing with over 200,000 users since launching earlier last year.

    Sister Dana sez, “With all these victories for queer human rights, let us not get too complacent. We are still a long way from being first class citizens!”