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    All the News That Fits

    By Joanie Juster–

    As the days grow shorter, it’s clear there isn’t enough time in the day to stay on top of all the news. From post-election drama to the legal woes of the former-temporary-resident-of-the-White-House, from natural disasters to the horrors of man-made wars, it’s … a lot. Add the joys (and stresses) of the busy holiday season, and I hope you will forgive me for not covering or commenting on everything. At the moment, I’m grateful to have seen the Respect for Marriage Act passed, and a couple of months ahead without an election looming over us. In the meantime, here are a few items you might have missed.

    World AIDS Day Is Every Day

    On December 1, World AIDS Day commemorations were held throughout the world to raise awareness of the continued need to raise funds and provide support. This is all good; attention must be paid, help must be provided, and a worldwide commemoration is helpful in achieving both.

    But as activist Rebecca Denison wrote, “It’s World AIDS Day. And for millions of us, tomorrow will be, too.” In other words, when the TV cameras have gone away, and the journalists have moved on, those living with HIV and AIDS will still be there, and still need our attention, our funding, our support. This isn’t a one-day-a-year event for them.

    At the AIDS Memorial Grove, the National AIDS Memorial showed the newly released film The Black Community & AIDS, the latest chapter in the multi-year documentary project about the impact of the AIDS epidemic on various communities in the U.S. The new mini-documentary and individual interview segments feature advocates and survivors who share their personal stories about why HIV/AIDS continues to disproportionately impact Black communities.

    The program featured many powerful speakers. Activist Cleve Jones, who had been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Grove the night before, brought the audience to its feet, cheering, as he urged us all to view these causes—HIV, racism, LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, economic injustice—as interconnected, and all part of one global struggle.

    You can watch the National AIDS Memorial’s World AIDS Day program here:

    Leather Entrepreneurship Program

    It has been a busy year for the LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District. Their popular Second Saturdays events have grown and thrived, building community and providing support for vendors, stores, restaurants, and artisans throughout the Leather District. New murals provide vibrancy and visibility to the neighborhood. They are fulfilling their mission of building ties and strengthening their community. 

    One of their most important projects, however, may not be as visible to the public. Their nine-week Entrepreneur Training Program allows up to ten new entrepreneurs from new or existing businesses serving the leather and kink communities to work as a cohort in a mutually supportive environment to develop their respective businesses from the ground up. The first cohort of this program graduated in September of 2022; the second cohort will begin on Thursday, January 26, 2023.

    All participants who complete the program will receive a $500 stipend to help with their startup costs. The program is led by Eddie Tang, a seasoned business consultant in San Francisco who has supported hundreds of small businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Questions? Write to

    Holiday Gaiety at the San Francisco Symphony

    Holiday Gaiety is the appropriate title for San Francisco Symphony’s festive holiday celebration of all things merry and gay. With Peaches Christ as Co-Emcee, and local icons Sister Roma and Marga Gomez, how can you miss? Featuring performances by drag artists Monet X-Change and Jimmie Herrod, and dancers Stacey Stokes and Jocquese Whitfield, you’ve got a great show. But add in stunning non-binary opera singer and aerialist Nikola Printz on the trapeze, and you’ve got a must-see event. Hurry if you don’t already have tickets because it’s tonight, Thursday, December 15:

    Happy Birthday, Roma!

    San Francisco’s beloved Sister Roma celebrated a Big Birthday on December 14, and it seems that the entire world was at Oasis to help celebrate, and raise funds for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Besides being The Most Photographed Nun in the World, Roma’s talents and good works in the community are the stuff of legend. Event host, activist, fundraiser, dragnun, mentor—Roma’s influence has spread far beyond San Francisco, as they are invited to appear at events around the world to raise awareness and funds, as well as raising the level of fun at any event lucky enough to have them.

    Happy Birthday, dear Roma! Can’t wait to see what adventures await you.

    Sister Roma

    Gifts for G.I.F.T. Recipients

    The Transgender District and Lyon-Martin Community Health Services have begun enrollment in the City of San Francisco’s recently announced Guaranteed Income Program for Transgender people (G.I.F.T.), a pilot program that provides $1,200 per month in guaranteed income to 55 people for 18 months. To celebrate the launch of GIFT, they will be making holiday baskets for all 55 participants—and they need our help.

    The pilot program is designed to assist people living in abject poverty (under $600 per month), and prioritizes enrollment of Transgender, Non-Binary, Gender Non-Conforming, and Intersex (TGI) people who are also Black, Indigenous, or People of Color, experiencing homelessness, living with disabilities and chronic illnesses, youth and elders, monolingual Spanish-speakers, and those who are legally vulnerable such as TGI people who are undocumented, engaging in survival sex trades, or are formerly incarcerated.

    The guaranteed income will be a welcome boost for the recipients, but with cold winter weather now here, every extra bit of comfort is welcome to help folks who are barely getting by. Gift baskets will feature necessities like blankets, bedding, toiletries, and warm clothing.

    Share the warmth by donating here:

    Holiday Potluck at Castro Country Club

    Looking for community on Christmas Day? Join the good folks at the Castro Country Club for their annual Holiday Potluck Lunch, followed by a special All-Fellowship Gratitude Meeting at 4 pm. CCC will provide turkeys and ham; guests are asked to bring holiday cheer, a healthy appetite, and, if you can, a dish or dessert to share. There is a sign-up sheet at the CCC café counter, or you can post on their Facebook event page if you are bringing something.

    All CCC friends, family, and fellows are welcome. And if you can volunteer to help, even better! Volunteers are needed for set-up, buffet table maintenance, and clean-up.

    More info:

    ‘Tis the Season

    I was perusing photos from December 2019 the other day—photos brimming with festivity and love, as friends and family gathered to share the holiday season. Little did we know that just weeks later our world would change forever.

    We are now gathering again, the joy of getting together tempered by the struggles and losses we endured over the past three years. We are even more aware of the fragile nature of life, and the need to enjoy what we have while we have it.

    COVID is still with us, so as tempting as it may be to ditch the masks and party like it’s 2019, let’s keep our masks handy and stay safe. And with or without the threat of COVID, many people struggle during the holidays, dealing with loss, sorrow, depression. There is a very reasonable amount of fear in the air, as extremists step up their threats and attacks against the LGBTQ+ community. It is easy to despair.

    But this holiday season, let’s choose hope over despair, joy over sorrow. Let’s choose to be kind, to spread joy, to share whatever blessings we have with others who need a hand. Be a friend to those whose spirits need a boost. Bring some light into the world.

    I am looking forward to the new year, and a fresh start. See you all in January. In the meantime, happy holidays!

    Joanie Juster is a long-time community volunteer, activist, and ally.

    In Case You Missed It
    Published on December 15, 2022