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    Sister Dana Sez, “This November 4th is Election Day. LGBTQ citizens, be sure to get OUT to the polls or turn in your absentee ballots early to Queer the Vote!”

    danaSister Dana Sez, “This November 4th is Election Day. LGBTQ citizens, be sure to get OUT to the polls or turn in your absentee ballots early to Queer the Vote!

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity

    AIDS LEGAL REFERRAL PANEL (ALRP) commemorated 31 years of service to the HIV/AIDS community with their FROM THE HEART: FROM HOPELESS TO HOPEFUL 31st Reception & Auction in the Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchants Exchange. Over 300 guests helped raise more than $170,000 in support of ALRP legal services for people living with HIV/AIDS. ALRP honored those who have made a lasting difference in the lives of people with HIV/AIDS. This year, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener helped present: Clint Hockenberry Leadership Award to James W. Wood; Attorney of the Year Award to Mary Catherine Wiederhold; and Firm of the Year Award to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. E.D. Bill Hirsh thanked all the attorneys and volunteers putting in countless hours of pro bono legal assistance.

    Currently, more than 50% of people living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco are age 50 or older. Many of them are facing new challenges that result from living longer, such as the possible loss of their housing due to record high rents and evictions, and dramatic reductions in their incomes as a result of moving from the income guaranteed by a long-term disability insurance policy to social security. In response, ALRP has created the ALRP HIV50+ Project, a community partnership developed especially for people with HIV over 50 years of age.

    SHANTI’s Fortieth Anniversary Gala, COMPASSION IS UNIVERSAL, with over 600 of Shanti’s friends in attendance, was the biggest event in their history – raising over $500,000. The inspiring evening recognized Reverend Cecil Williams & Janice Mirikitani, recipients of the Nancy Pelosi Lifetime Achievement Award given by The Honorable Willie L. Brown, Jr.; Shanti’s founder, Dr. Charles Garfield, was given special tribute by Executive Director Kaushik Roy; and we fondly remembered our dear friend Stu Smith, whose posthumous award was received by Smith’s longtime partner Dave Earl. We heard moving remarks from Kaushik Roy, who thanked everyone for their “ongoing love and support for our mission and clients.”

    ACADEMY OF FRIENDS annually produces the world’s premier Academy Awards Night Charity Gala as the centerpiece of its efforts to raise funds, award donations, and encourage volunteerism that benefit a diverse set of HIV/AIDS direct care and prevention education agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area. AoF held their GALA KICK-OFF AND BENEFICIARY ANNOUNCEMENT at The Bubble Lounge. Matthew Denckla, Vice Chair, acted as emcee. He introduced various members of the board, including the charming Treasurer Beth Feingold and the new Board Chair Gil Padia, who had joined the board three years prior. They announced the beneficiaries of this year’s gala: AIDS Legal Referral Panel (ALRP), Huckleberry Youth Programs, HIV/AIDS Nightline, HIV Story Project, LGBTQ Connection, Positive Resource Center (PRC), and Project Open Hand. The theme is A CENTURY OF RADIANCE, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Pan Pacific Exposition and the 35th anniversary of Academy of Friends. “Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Pan Pacific Expo is a reminder to all of us in the Bay Area that in spite of tragedy, there is hope of better things to come,” said Padia. “Likewise, AOF is celebrating its 35th anniversary, and while the fight against HIV/AIDS is not over, continued support of local community organizations is critical.”

    The SF Design Center Galleria will be transformed into a miniature world’s fair on Sunday, February 22, 2015, 5-11:30pm. There is a contest online at Facebook for applicants to serve as Gold Boys (all gold to resemble living Oscar statues). Tickets on sale now at academyoffriends.org

    QUEER LIFESPACE presented Q-BAL: QUEERS UN-QORKED, a magical evening at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts – supporting queer-focused mental health care and honoring local queer leaders. We mingled with fellow supporters among beautiful art galleries showing artists’ astonishing works commemorating Dia de los Muertos (which must be seen to be amazed by) while enjoying live jazz by The Daria Johnson 4 and a queer youth poetry slam. A mixologist created the “Queertini” for that night only. The host committee was Sister Roma, Supervisor David Campos, Jeanna Eichenbaum, Gina Gatta, NCLR E.D. Kate Kendall, Juanita MORE, and the always lovely Mr. Pam. Emcee Paul Henderson hosted and introduced the honorees: Transgender Law Center E.D. Masen Davis with Community Advocate Award; Cheryl Dunye: Queer Artist on the Ground Award; and Benji Delgadillo: Queer Youth Visibility Award. Entire proceeds went to Queer LifeSpace – providing LGBTQQI-focused mental health and substance abuse services by queer therapists.  Contact: queerlifespace.org, (415) 358-2000.

    PROJECT INFORM fights the HIV and Hepatitis C epidemics by assuring the development of effective treatments and a cure; supporting individuals to make informed choices about their health; advocating for quality, affordable health care, and promoting medical strategies that prevent new infections. EVENING OF HOPE – A NIGHT OF LIFESAVING FASHION was San Francisco’s must-attend fête fundraiser for Project Inform – complete with cocktails, culinary delights, VIP designers and models at the after-party. Gorgeous runway models wore fashion with a message – one-of-a-kind Condom Couture designed by local and national designers. These stunning signature pieces, partially and/or mostly made of condoms, fully impressed my inner fashionista! The incredibly talented DQ extraordinaire Jackie Beat hosted and lovingly insulted audience members regarding their fashion faux pas choices with her cutting wit. Although who was SHE to dish – in her puss print with blue and turquoise netting overlay empire gown and orange and yellow mixed hue hambre wig?? I joked with her, saying her fashion was tragic, and she joked back that she was inspired by Heklina. Later she jestingly complained to me, “I did NOT order this lighting! Couldn’t they have softened it a bit?” Jackie sang live the classic Shirley Bassey James Bond number, “Diamonds Are Forever,” but substituted her own words – making diamonds into dildos. She followed later with her version of “Baby Got Back,” but got back at typical rapper misogynists by changing the “back” to dropping the “b-a” and adding “c-o.” Hilarious!

    The always-charming Lenny Broberg was celebrity auctioneer. Board Chair Christopher Esposito introduced and thanked the board members and staff, and then E.D. Dana Van Gorder – who for years I have jested was a Dana sister from another brother. He spoke of the “Getting to Zero” program to be launched in December: “Zero new deaths from HIV; zero new HIV infections; and zero HIV stigma.” He said there should be no fear or shame regarding the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) approach to HIV, and concluded, “Enough of this epidemic is enough!” He presented the Thomas M. Kelley Leadership Award to Diane Havlir, M.D., Professor of Medicine at UCSF and Chief of the HIV/AIDS Division and Positive Health Program at SF General Hospital, who is also co-founder of “Getting to Zero.” She indulged herself in walking the runway and then spoke of the awful times of that new disease killing gay men in the early ‘80s – the sadness, anger, and frustration back then. “Havlir said, “We went from being helpless then to now being at the crossroads of a cure.”

    The fashion show subliminally promoting safer sex was just incredibly awe inspiring. I enjoyed designer Chad Leal’s black and white condom gown resembling elegant ermine fur. Hoorah for Sarah Mock showing my personal fave – completely condomed black angel wings sprouting from a colorful floor-length rainbow condom gown on a plus-sized model. I also adored the Jared Auckland peacock gown and train. And just in time for Halloween was a delicious candy corn-colored full-length red, orange, yellow, and black hambre hoop skirt by Jose Lopez. And not to forget the guy models, Gail Shrive designed a marvelous macho sleeveless vest of black and clear condoms. At the after-party I was able to approach my favorites, flash them a thumbs-up, and blow a kiss – receiving air kisses back in return.

    GOOD VIBRATIONS, the sex positive retailer you can trust for over three decades, celebrated body positivity and sensuality with a party. The SEXY AT EVERY SIZE campaign was developed to promote body positivity, and ABUNDANCE: A SENSUAL EXPLORATION OF PLUS-SIZE PLEASURE converted that message into a spectacular celebratory event at Good Vibrations’ new Lifestyle Boutique on 189 Kearny Street. “I was thrilled to have the support of so many of our vendors for this popular event,” said Good Vibrations Purchasing Manager Coyote Days. In addition to showcasing products, attendees were also provided free vintage hair and makeup demonstrations from Shameless Photography, the body-positive pinup, old Hollywood, and retro boudoir photo studio that works to empower women through makeovers and photo sessions.

    TED GULLICKSEN, long time director of the SAN FRANCISCO TENANT’S UNION, died last week of unknown causes. He is survived by his Maltese mix mutt, Falcor, and by a citywide movement of tenants – for whom he was a beacon, an inspiration and tireless advocate. RIP, dear Ted!

    CUMMING UP!

    Happy Hallowqueen, everybuddy! If you still need ideas for Halloween celebrations, check out my Halloween column last week at sfbaytimes.com. There is plenty to do in the Spirit of All Hallows’ Eve!

    Sister Dana Sez, “San Francisco Bear Pride is November 6th through 10th. Hug a chubby furry gay guy in celebration of happy hirsuteness!”