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    In the News: 10.24.2016

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    Tight State Senate Race Becomes Increasingly Contentious

    The race for State Senate District 11 between San Francisco Supervisors Jane Kim and Scott Wiener seems to be involving everyone: Bernie Sanders, tech execs, the soda industry, charter school associations and more. Most recently, Equality California condemned what they say was a Kim attack on a gay, formerly homeless man. ( Firing back in support of Kim was long-time LGBT rights and housing activist Tommi Avicolli Mecca. His e-mail addressed to EQCA is at: The race for the Senate seat, vacated by termed-out Mark Leno, is currently “neck-and-neck,” according to a San Francisco Chronicle story earlier this week. This will certainly be one to watch come November 8.

    Killer of Bay Area Transgender Teen Gwen Araujo Granted Parole After 14 Years

    One of the men convicted in the brutal 2002 murder of a transgender teen has been approved for parole after serving 14 years in prison. Jose Merél was convicted of second degree murder in the 2002 beating death of Gwen Araujo, in which he and another young man killed the 17-year-old after discovering she was transgender. Merél was sentenced to 15 years to life. The parole approval is the first step in a five-month process leading to his release from custody. The night Araujo was murdered, she attended a party at Merél’s home. At the party, Araujo was interrogated about her gender and discovered to be trans. Two of the men who’d had sex with Araujo—Merél and Michael Magidson—became enraged and began to assault her. Two other men, Jaron Nabors and Jason Casarez, witnessed the assault and left to get tools to bury the teen’s body after she was beaten and strangled to death. During the trial, attorneys for Merél and Magidson used a “trans panic” defense to avoid a hate crime enhancement, arguing that the men lost it after discovering they had sex with a transgender woman, rather than a cis-gender one. Araujo’s death inspired California to pass Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act in 2006, which limited the use of the “gay/trans panic” defense. In 2014, that law was strengthened by the passage of a law prohibiting defendants from even invoking the so called defense.

    Board of Supervisors Approves Creation of LGBTQ Nightlife and Culture Working Group

    Legislation authored by Supervisor Wiener will establish a group of community leaders to work with city agencies to protect and preserve LGBT nightlife and culture. The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the creation of an LGBTQ Nightlife and Culture Working Group, which will be tasked with supporting nightlife and drafting and implementing the citywide LGTBQ Cultural Heritage Strategy. Supervisor Wiener authored the legislation after he held a hearing about how the city can better work to preserve and protect LGBTQ nightlife. Previously, Supervisor Wiener authored legislation to landmark the Twin Peaks Tavern in the Castro—the first gay bar with open windows. Wiener also helped the owners of the revived Eagle to get their business going. Earlier this summer, Supervisor Wiener authored a piece on why LGBT nightlife spaces matter, after the news spread about the looming closure of the Stud, and in the wake of the massacre at Pulse nightclub in

    President Barack Obama Endorses Bisexual Oregon Governor Kate Brown

    Oregon Governor Kate Brown holds the distinction of being the only candidate for governor endorsed by President Barack Obama this year. The President released a video endorsement of the openly bisexual governor, highlighting her accomplishments in the less than two years she’s held the office. Brown became the first openly bisexual governor in U.S. history after previous Governor John Kitzhaber resigned. Because Oregon doesn’t have a deputy or lieutenant governor, the secretary of state steps into the role when the position is vacated. She’ll need to best Republican opponent Dr. Bud Pierce to remain governor. Obama highlighted Brown’s passage of legislation raising the state’s minimum wage, her commitment to renewable energy, and investments in

    Report on Intimate Partner Violence in LGBTQ and HIV Affected Communities in U.S. Released

    The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) released its report, “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIVAffected Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in 2015.” The report looks at the experiences of 1,976 survivors of intimate partner violence who reported to 17 NCAVP member organizations from 14 states across the country, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Vermont. IPV is a serious yet oft-ignored issue facing LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities. The 2015 NCAVP report looks at the unique ways that LGBTQ and HIV-affected people experience IPV, as well as the barriers they experience when attempting to access care and support. In 2015, people of color made up 10 (77%) of the 13 reports of LGBTQ and HIV-affected IPV homicides. Of the 13 homicides, six victims were transgender women, four were cisgender men, and three were cis-gender women. All six of the transgender women homicide victims were transgender women of color, including four who were black and two who were Latinx.

    Mayor Lee’s Statement on Passing of Former Police Commissioner and LGBT Rights Pioneer Wayne Friday

    “The passing of Wayne Friday is a significant loss to the city of San Francisco,” said Mayor Ed Lee. He noted Friday was a man of many trades: Navy sailor, stock trader, bartender, LGBT rights pioneer, police commissioner and political columnist for the Bay Area Reporter. He was, as the Mayor said, “a true representation of the free spirit of San Francisco.” As a mark of respect for the memory of Friday, Mayor Lee ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at City Hall, the Police Headquarters and the ten SFPD District Stations from sunrise until sunset on Friday, October 14.

    Just Released: First Federal Study of LGBTQ Historic Sites

    The United States National Park Service has just released a groundbreaking new publication on LGBTQ history—a monumental work with 32 chapters contributed by 27 historians: “LGBTQ America Today: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer History.” The theme study is the first assessment of LGBTQ place based history and historic preservation sponsored by a national government anywhere in the world. It provides an overview of key themes in U.S. queer history; a framework to assist preservation advocates in identifying, interpreting and preserving LGBTQ places; and a resource for supporting nomination of sites for National Register and National Landmark status.

    U.K. Government to Pardon Gays Convicted Under Past Anti-Gay Laws

    Britain’s government will posthumously pardon thousands of gay and bisexual men convicted under long repealed anti-gay laws. The calls for a more sweeping action came after World War II code-breaker Alan Turing was awarded a posthumous royal pardon in 2013 after a conviction of indecency in 1952. The gay computer science pioneer was stripped of his security clearance and later committed suicide. Under the plan, the government will make the change through an amendment to the policing and crime bill. Anyone who is still alive can apply hrough the Home Office to have their names cleared. Justice Minister Sam Gyimah says the government is trying “to put right these wrongs.”

    Log Cabin Republicans Won’t Endorse Trump Due to Anti-LGBT Advisers

    The Log Cabin Republicans announced that they are not endorsing Donald Trump for president. While they praised Trump as “perhaps the most pro-LGBT presidential nominee in the history of the Republican Party” for what they call his “unprecedented overtures to the ‘LGBTQ community,’” they signaled concern over who he was surrounding himself with, as well as his support of a discriminatory piece of legislation. “As Mr. Trump spoke positively about the LGBT community in the United States, he concurrently surrounded himself with senior advisers with a record of opposing LGBT equality, and committed himself to supporting legislation such as the so-called ‘First Amendment Defense Act’ that Log Cabin Republicans opposes,” a statement reads. The Log Cabin Republicans also criticized the Republican Party platform for containing language opposing same-sex marriage, preventing trans people from using the bathrooms matching their gender identity, and supporting conversion therapy. Trump has also said he would like to see the same-sex marriage ruling overturned. Trump is only polling at 20 percent with LGBTQ voters.

    Debate Moderators Did Not Ask a Single LGBT-Related Question

    Over the course of three general election presidential debates, moderators failed to ask candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump a single question on LGBT equality. In the third and final debate, both candidates independently brought up LGBT people, though in drastically different terms, highlighting the need for a question to specifically parse policy positions on LGBT equality. The third presidential debate concluded without Fox News host Chris Wallace asking a question pertaining to LGBT equality. Prior to the debate, the National Center for Transgender Equality had urged Wallace to address the “critical issue” of transgender equality. This year saw an unprecedented number of anti-LGBT bills introduced in state legislatures, high-profile lawsuits from several states against federal policy guidance over transgender student equality, and the adoption of North Carolina’s widely condemned HB 2, which, among other things, requires transgender people to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth.