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    From Elections to Holidays and Beyond

    By Joanie Juster–

    Election Season Continues

    Election fatigue is real. It has been an exhausting year, including four elections in San Francisco alone, culminating in the all-important midterms on November 8. But our work is not done. Important elections that were too close to call on election night remain unresolved, and are headed into run-off elections coming up soon that may determine the balance of power in Congress. While the races may be far from the Bay Area and we continue to celebrate Democrats retaining control of the Senate, the remaining results could affect the basic rights of all of us. Dig deep if you can to help the GOTV efforts in these campaigns by donating or volunteering. From voter outreach to funding rides to the polls, we can all help. To help fund rides to the polls in Georgia for the 12/6 run-off election between Sen. Warnock and Herschel Walker, support the New Georgia Project:

    On the plus side, history was made as LGBTQ+ candidates prevailed in races both local and statewide around the country. A record number of young voters helped turn the tide in numerous races, electing an historically diverse and progressive slate of candidates. This turnout and this diversity give us hope for the future.

    Transgender Day of Remembrance

    While the midterm elections provided many signs of progress, with more than 350 LGBTQ+ candidates winning elected offices from governor to school boards, states like Texas, Florida, and others remain in the hands of right-wing extremists whose policies are a very real threat to the health and safety of LGBTQ+ people. Instead of using their power to help improve the lives of all their citizens, they spend an inordinate amount of effort demonizing and attacking LGBTQ+ people in general, and transgender people in particular.

    The Transgender Day of Remembrance, on November 20, is a day for remembering and honoring those we have lost to anti-transgender hatred and violence. According to data released in October by the non-profit Everytown for Gun Safety, there was a 93% increase in homicides of trans and gender-nonconforming people in the U.S. and Puerto Rico in the four years from 2017 to 2021; 73% of them were killed with a gun. And while only 13% of the transgender community is estimated to be Black, nearly three-quarters of the known victims were Black trans women. The toll so far in 2022 is at least 32; misgendering on police reports and underreporting makes it difficult to pin down a number. The American Medical Association in 2019 recognized “an epidemic of violence against the transgender community,” noting that they are over 2.5 times more likely than cisgender people to experience violence.

    How can we honor them? Working to ensure their safety is a good start. Advocate for stricter gun laws, and speak out against the avalanche of anti-LGBTQ+ laws that have sprung up across the country. Let’s all work to break this cycle of hate and violence.

    Free L Word Premiere at the Castro

    Have you heard the news? Frameline is holding a free screening of the season premiere of The L Word: Generation Q at the Castro Theatre on November 17 at 7 pm, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Michelle Meow. Spread the word.

    Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions

    Over the past year, fans of Jeopardy! have been dazzled by the talent of some of the best, and most diverse, players to ever play the game. These record-breaking winners are now going head-to-head in the annual Tournament of Champions. Oakland’s own Amy Schneider, the first transgender champion in the show’s history, and Mattea Roach, a lesbian from Canada, were among the recent competitors playing at this rarified level. (As of this writing, Mattea was eliminated from the competition, but was one of only three players to have earned an automatic semifinal berth.) During the course of the past year, both of them shattered barriers and opened hearts and minds not only by their brilliant play, but also by simply being their authentic and true selves, on a network game show that has been a family favorite for generations.

    8th Annual Empresses ThanksGayving Bake Sale

    Tempting treats with a royal flair will be available for your holiday get-togethers at the 8th Annual Empresses ThanksGayving Bake Sale. The Sisterhood of Absolute Empresses of San Francisco with HIM Empress Ehra Amaya, in Conjunction with The Imperial Council of San Francisco, will be hosting the annual holiday sale featuring baked goods made by the Empresses themselves on Wednesday, 11/23, from 6–9 pm, at The Lookout. Proceeds will benefit the San Francisco Empresses Fund—and the Empresses benefit many great local causes.

    Help Decorate the World Tree of Hope

    Since 2006, the Rainbow World Fund World Tree of Hope has stood in San Francisco as a symbol of global unity, promoting peace, love, and humanitarianism. Displayed in Grace Cathedral, it is the largest origami holiday tree in the world, decorated with over 17,000 origami cranes and stars, each hand folded and inscribed with wishes for the future of the world. The tree is a project of the Rainbow World Fund, an LGBTQ+-based humanitarian organization. Although it is displayed at Grace Cathedral, the tree is meant as a non-sectarian symbol of one human family, and is open to everyone, regardless of belief or nonbelief.

    Volunteers are needed to help decorate the tree through November 27, and the tree will be on display in Grace Cathedral November 28 through January 6, with a lighting party on December 5 at 6 pm.  To sign up for a volunteer shift:

    Annual Milk-Moscone Vigil Announced

    It has been 44 years since Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated at San Francisco City Hall, but the legacy of hope that they brought to the city will never be forgotten. They envisioned a city that welcomed all, and fought for the disenfranchised. Every year we gather on the anniversary of that day to honor their memory and rededicate ourselves to their vision. The Harvey Milk LGBTQ+ Democratic Club will once again be hosting the vigil, on Sunday, 11/27, from 7–8 pm. Meet at Harvey Milk Plaza.

    December 1: World AIDS Day Events

    World AIDS Day is a day of remembrance, but it is also so much more.

    It is a day to acknowledge that AIDS isn’t over; that there are millions of people around the globe still living with HIV and AIDS, and new people getting infected every day. There are millions of people who don’t have easy access to prevention or treatment. And there is a whole generation of people now aging with HIV whose needs have yet to be fully met. As local AIDS activist Paul Aguilar told me, World AIDS Day is a day to acknowledge, memorialize, take a break, and take action.

    Here are some of local events that are being planned to commemorate World AIDS Day in San Francisco:

    The National AIDS Memorial will hold its annual gala, Light in the Grove, in the AIDS Memorial Grove on the evening of 11/30. This is a ticketed event.

    The next day, on 12/1, from 12–2 pm, the Memorial will hold its World AIDS Day program in the Grove for the first time since 2019. The World AIDS Day program is free and open to the public.

    Since 2017, INSCRIBE has provided a way for people to commemorate World AIDS Day on San Francisco’s Castro Street. INSCRIBE creator George Kelly provides sidewalk chalk along Castro Street from 17th to 19th Streets. Everyone is welcome to inscribe in chalk on the sidewalk the names of those who have died of AIDS, 12/1, 9 am–9 pm.

    Grace Cathedral commemorates World AIDS Day with a Choral Evensong. Evensong includes psalms, canticles, and prayers, ranging from meditative to jubilant, sung by the choir and an officiant. 12/1, 5:30–6:15 pm at Grace Cathedral.

    The SF AIDS Foundation will commemorate World AIDS Day with two events:

    11/29, 7–9 pm at Strut: Protest Art & Screen-Printing Workshop; sharing historical examples from the HIV/AIDS movement.

    12/1, 5–6 pm: World AIDS Day Candlelight Vigil and March. Meet on steps of SF City Hall. For info: email

    Honoring Our Experiencewill hold “Gathering in Community to Grieve Loss & Celebrate Life,” an evening of sharing stories, a meal, and dancing, at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist, 12/1 from 5–9 pm.

    By the way, thank you to everyone who voted, and an extra shout-out to anyone who donated, text-banked, phone-banked, knocked on doors, wrote postcards, or helped get out the vote in any other way. As the saying goes, this is what democracy looks like.

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

    In Case You Missed It
    Published on November 17, 2022