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    In the News: 12.01.2016

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    Battle Over SF LGBT Historical Sites Continues

    San Francisco’s Planning Commission voted 4 to 3 to allow the construction of a 12-story condo and hotel complex along Market Street, even though a coalition made up of former San Francisco City Supervisors, community leaders and LGBTQ organizations had requested a delay to the construction in a letter to the Commission. The letter says that the construction threatens to destroy several LGBT historical sites, including the location of the 1966 Compton Cafeteria riot, a transgender uprising against police aggression that predates the Stonewall Riots by three years. Despite the Planning Commission’s decision to allow construction, one of the letter’s signers—Nate Albee, an advocate with the San Francisco LGBTQ Legacy Business Coalition—plans to appeal the decision, which could still delay the construction. The Transgender, Gender Variant, and Intersex Justice Project; the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club; the GLBT Historical Society; and AIDS Housing AllianceSF all co-signed onto the letter as well.

    World AIDS Day Commemorated in the Castro

    Today, World AIDS Day, the sidewalks of The Castro will be inscribed with the names of loved ones gone too soon. The effort is due to INSCRIBE, an annual community celebration that remembers and honors the men and women who died of AIDS-related causes. Using colorful chalk, students from Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy will participate in the project amid the sidewalk-embedded bronze plaques of The Rainbow Honor Walk, which pays tribute to civil rights leaders who made a positive impact for the LGBTQ community. George Kelly, a San Francisco resident and HIV long-term survivor, created the event. “Once I had the idea, I could not stop the passion,” he said. “The sidewalks had just been widened. The Rainbow Honor Walk was created and had just laid their first twenty bronze plaques.”

    Look Out, Red States: San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Is Coming for You!

    The world-famous San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is passing up an opportunity to tour the globe in 2018, and instead will make its mark on the red part of the U.S.A. “In response to the election, we decided we have as much work to do at home as we would do abroad,” said SFGMC Artistic Director and fellow San Francisco Bay Times columnist Tim Seelig. “We want to go to those places that are still strongholds of this kind of discrimination and bigotry. And bring our voice. And encourage people there with our music. And also hopefully change some hearts and minds.” Seelig named Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee as among its target states, and suggested the chorus would visit other communities where discrimination is rampant.

    Courage Campaign Says Abolish the Electoral College 

    On November 8, Americans made their choice clear: Hillary Clinton received over 2.2 million more popular votes than Donald Trump. In fact, she received more votes than any presidential candidate in history, other than Barack Obama. But, because of the undemocratic Electoral College, we will be watching Trump take the oath of office on Inauguration Day, not Clinton, says Courage Campaign. The system is broken, and the momentum to fix it is growing fast. Senator Barbara Boxer has just introduced legislation to end the Electoral College, and California is one of 11 states that have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would eliminate the role of the Electoral College without a constitutional amendment. This is the fifth time in history that the Electoral College has overruled the will of the people—and the second time in the last five elections.

    Mike Pence Is a Disaster for LGBTQ Rights, GLAAD Reports

    As we head into the holidays and the New Year, GLAAD says it is more important than ever that we keep fighting to defend the progress we have achieved for LGBTQ equality and acceptance. Despite what they might say, President-elect Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not friends to the LGBTQ community, according to Tamara Stewart, Executive Vice President, Development, GLAAD. “Mike Pence, in particular, has a horrific record on LGBTQ issues.” She explained that he advocated that money meant for HIV and AIDS prevention be redirected for so-called “ex-gay” conversion therapy, putting LGBTQ youth in harm’s way; he supported a constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality; and he signed into law one of the most aggressively anti-LGBTQ bills ever seen. GLAAD plans to “accelerate acceptance for LGBTQ people” through its powerful media programs.

    Alliance for Justice Shows Trump’s Attorney General Pick’s Dismal Record on LGBTQ Rights

    In other distressing news about the upcoming Trump administration, the Alliance for Justice recently published a fact sheet on Jeff Sessions that shows his dismal record on civil rights, the environment, immigration, criminal justice and women’s rights. Not surprisingly, his stance on LGBTQ rights fall into step with the rest of his record. According to the Alliance for Justice: The Human Rights Campaign has given Sessions a 0% rating in six of its seven scorecards. This means that Sessions has only once cast a vote considered favorable to LGBTQ rights. Sessions voted for a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. Sessions voted against an amendment prohibiting discrimination against LGBT students, against an amendment aimed at ensuring that same-sex couples had access to Social Security and veterans’ benefits, and against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He also voted against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Sessions is a co-sponsor of the First Amendment Defense Act, which enables discrimination against LGBT people.

    Pride at Work Makes Statement on White House Appointment of Steve Bannon

    Following the recent announcement that the former executive chairman of Breitbart News, Steve Bannon, will serve as the chief strategist and advisor for President-elect Trump, Pride at Work, seeking full equality for LGBTQ workers in our workplaces and unions, issued a statement. Executive Director Jerame Davis said: “Pride at Work condemns the appointment of Steve Bannon in the strongest possible terms. Bannon’s close association with hate groups and his own despicable rhetoric—including calling progressive women ‘dykes’—has no place in the White House. We refuse to allow a racist to hold one of the highest advisory roles in this administration. President-elect Trump has a duty to represent all Americans, not just those on the fringes. We call on him to send Bannon back to the dark corners of the Internet and put together an administration that can help lead our country forward.”

    Positive Resource Center Expands Executive Team

    Positive Resource Center, a San Francisco-based nonprofit whose mission is to assist people living with HIV/AIDS or mental health disabilities, announced the appointment of Gayle Roberts as chief development officer and Demetri Moshoyannis as managing director of strategic partnerships. Both will leverage their combined 40 years of nonprofit expertise to further expand PRC’s services. The organization recently announced its merger with AIDS Emergency Fund—an emergency financial assistance provider for low-income residents disabled by HIV/AIDS—and Baker Places, which provides a comprehensive array of residential treatment services to people with mental health, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS-related issues.

    Mayor Lee, SFPD, HRC, and Community Partners Announce Proactive Steps to Deter Hate Crimes 

    Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco Police Department Acting Chief Toney Chaplin, and Human Rights Commission Executive Director Sheryl Evans Davis joined city officials and community partners to announce that together, San Francisco will stand as one against hate crimes by deploying an enforcement strategy and resources for communities in need. The City of San Francisco and its departments are committed to working proactively to ensure that San Francisco is a safe place for everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, age, ancestry or national origin. With hate crimes among the many types of crime that go under-reported each year, combating this issue will require enforcement strategies, education, outreach and highlighting resources already available to communities in need. In addition to investigating hate crimes, SFPD will deploy a new proactive operation using crime data to place plainclothes officers in areas where hate crimes have been previously reported.

    First Castro Bike Share Stations Coming

    Plans for over a dozen new Bike Share Stations in The Castro are part of a much-larger expansion of this successful program throughout the city and many other parts of the Bay Area. Stations near Dolores and Duboce Parks (Dolores at 18th Street, Duboce at Noe Streets) were OK’d earlier this month. SFMTA has scheduled a further hearing for this Friday, December 2, in City Hall Room 416 to move forward on four more Castro Bike Share Stations. They are at the northeast corner of Noe–18th, the northwest corner of Sanchez–15th Street, the southwest corner of 16th–Prosper in front of the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk SF Public Library Branch, and the northwest corner of Dolores–17th Streets.