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    Top Bay Area LGBT Concerns

    Editor’s Note: With Prop 8 thankfully behind us, many have wondered about the future of our community’s efforts, in terms of what should next garner our attention and support. We asked the leaders of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club to name the top issues facing the Bay Area LGBT community now. Their responses differed, but both mention concerns over housing matters and seniors, so we can expect those two issues, in particular, to merit focus in the weeks and months to come. Here are the full responses:

    Tom Temprano,
    President of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club

    The rampant evictions and displacement of queer residents

    With real estate speculation at an all-time high, many landlords are using illegal and unethical means to evict vulnerable queer tenants, like LGBTQ seniors, people living with HIV/AIDS, artists and others.

    The growing unaffordability of our city

    I often reflect that if I were a young queer person looking for a place to move to and be accepted and embraced (as I was almost ten years ago when I came here), I would not be able to afford to move to San Francisco. Couple high rents with a mass exodus of artists and other cultural innovators and you have a San Francisco that is quickly losing its queer community’s next generation of youth to other more affordable cities.

    The high number of homeless LGBTQ people

    Recent statistics showing that 30% of our city’s homeless population is LGBTQ are alarming, but by no means shocking. The shrinking number of services for homeless populations and skyrocketing evictions and unaffordable rents make it clear that this crisis will only grow worse if we don’t address it immediately.

    The loss of queer spaces, both public and private

    We hear about queer-owned small businesses shutting down so often that we hardly register the news any more. There is a shrinking amount of public space, and freedom to congregate in public spaces available to queer people as well. With the removal of the benches in Harvey Milk Plaza, which were mostly used by young queer kids who couldn’t hang out in the bars, the new nudity ban and now a proposed nighttime ban on access to public parks, it seems that small businesses are not the only thing that the queer community is being shut out of.

     

     

     

     

    Martha Knutzen,
    Senior Co-Chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

    State and local issues:

    • Making sure the LGBT community is included in economic job expansion in technology

    •  That we are included in public policy plans for affordable housing and improved public transportation

    •  That we are included in plans to improve services for seniors

    On the federal level:

    •  Enacting ENDA and ensuring greater job protection against discrimination

    •  Making sure health care reform includes the special needs of the LGBT community

    •  Making sure immigration reform includes the LGBT community