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    In the News: 2.23.2017

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    San Francisco LGBT Businesses Support ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ General Strike

    On Thursday, February 16, many LGBT business owners in the Bay Area observed “A Day Without Immigrants,” a boycott and strike held nationwide to highlight the contributions of immigrants and to protest the Trump administration’s policies concerning immigration. The business closures in some cases extended to the next day as well. David Perry of San Francisco-based David Perry & Associates explained, “Today, as a business owner, in my small way, I stand up to be counted: Donald J. Trump is bad for business. He is bad for this country. He is a danger to our Republic. I, and many colleagues, will be marching in San Francisco.” Another general strike, “A Day Without a Woman” is scheduled for March 8, which is International Women’s Day. It is being organized by the same team behind the Women’s March that drew an estimated 3–4 million Americans to events held in D.C. and nationwide following the election of President Trump.

    Same-sex Marriage Legalization Linked to Reduction in Suicide Attempts Among Teens

    The implementation of state laws legalizing same-sex marriage was associated with a significant reduction in the rate of suicide attempts among high school students—and an even greater reduction among LGBT adolescents—new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests. The authors estimate that state-level, same-sex marriage policies were associated with more than 134,000 fewer adolescent suicide attempts per year. The study compared states that passed laws allowing same-sex marriage through January 2015 to states that did not enact state-level legalization. A Supreme Court decision made same-sex marriage federal law in June of 2015. According to the researchers, the findings show the beneficial effect that social policies can have on behavior. “These are high school students so they aren’t getting married any time soon, for the most part,” said study leader Julia Raifman. “Still, permitting same-sex marriage reduces structural stigma associated with sexual orientation. There may be something about having equal rights—even if they have no immediate plans to take advantage of them—that makes students feel less stigmatized and more hopeful for the future.”

    #HireTrans Campaign Launched

    The San Francisco LGBT Center’s Trans Employment Program recently launched its #HireTrans campaign, with the goal of increasing trans visibility in the workplace and inspiring employers to create a diverse and inclusive workforce. The campaign has released a video ( and photo project that the Program organizers hope “will both provide inspiration and serve to recognize the talents and skills within our communities, as well as acknowledging the obstacles we face in having these talents recognized. We brought together an amazing group of trans people who are working in a wide range of fields. The #HireTrans campaign raises visibility that trans and GNC people have so much to offer the workplace.” To join the Campaign, go to:

    HIV Infection Rate Falls Dramatically

    New calculations to better track HIV infections confirm that the U.S. is seeing a strong and steady decline. The number of new cases has been falling for years, but health officials wanted a clearer picture of how the epidemic was behaving. In prior studies, researchers counted people when individuals were diagnosed with the AIDS virus—not when they actually contracted it—which can be months or years earlier. Counting infections instead of diagnoses is a more ideal gauge, serving as a kind of speedometer that tells how fast the epidemic is actually moving, said HIV researcher David Holtgrave. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used blood test results to help date the infections. Their calculations showed new infections dropped by nearly 18 percent over six years. Though health experts expected a decline, they welcomed the confirmation.

    Senator Wiener Announces Bill to Give Cities Local Control to Extend Late Night Alcohol Service Hours

    Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced the LOCAL Act (Let Our Communities Adjust Late Night) to allow, but not require, local governments to extend alcohol service hours to a specified time between 2 am and 4 am for bars and restaurants. Under Senate Bill 384, the decision for how and where to implement any extension of alcohol service hours would be up to the local jurisdiction, with approval by the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control. “California is a diverse state, with cities and neighborhoods that have different needs when it comes to nightlife,” said Senator Wiener. “By granting local control to our cities to extend their late-night hours, we can support areas that benefit economically and culturally from a strong nightlife presence, while ensuring that other cities and neighborhoods retain their current rules. This nuanced approach has been successful in other cities across the country, and California cities should have the same options as places like Chicago, New York and Washington D.C.”

    City Deploys Barricades to Deter Castro Homeless Encampments

    San Francisco’s Fix-It Team is addressing quality-of-life concerns a bit differently these days: with metal barricades. The barricades are in place on Prosper Street, next to the Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Library, and on 16th Street, adjacent to the “Hope for the World Cure” mural. Both sites are well-known for being frequented by homeless individuals and street youth. The barriers were put in place to deter people from sitting, laying and setting up tents along the sidewalks. Fix-It director Sandra Zuniga said this area was chosen based on SFPD and 311 data, as well as ongoing dialogue with neighbors. Zuniga explained that the decision to deploy the barricades was made by a combination of City agencies, including SF Public Works, the Department of Public Health, and SFPD.

    Harvey Milk Plaza Redesign Moving Forward, with Community’s Input

    The City is redesigning the plaza around the Castro Muni station in order to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s agreed to take Harvey Milk Plaza’s historical significance into consideration during the planning phases of the project, with construction set to take place in 2020. To help capture the vision of the space’s “significance” to the community, a group called Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza hosted two community meetings on the last two Wednesdays of January. Roughly 40 people attended the first meeting on January 18, and approximately 55 showed up for the last meeting. Some of their ideas included recreating the plaza as an outdoor amphitheater, and reworking the ground space to be better utilized. Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza has to send out the call for design applications soon (as part of the forthcoming international design competition), but there will be a few more opportunities for neighbors to give their input into the plaza’s eventual concept. Over the next couple of months, a team will be out in Harvey Milk Plaza to interview people as they move through the space.

    Transgender Parolee Gets Surgery Years After Winning, Then Losing, the Right

    A transgender woman has undergone sex-reassignment surgery, nearly two years after her lawsuit resulted in California becoming the first state to offer the operation to prison inmates. Michelle-Lael Norsworthy, 53, had the Medicare-funded surgery in San Rafael. Norsworthy was convicted of second-degree murder for a 1985 bar shooting. She began identifying as a woman in the 1990s and received hormone therapy in prison. Doctors recommended reassignment surgery in 2012, but officials refused. Norsworthy sued, and in 2015, a San Francisco federal judge ordered California to provide the surgery. Norsworthy, however, was paroled before it could be scheduled. Another transgender inmate who sued, Shiloh Quine, underwent surgery in December, making her the first U.S. inmate to have the state-paid operation.

    Publisher Cancels Milo Yiannopolous Book After Provocateur’s Disinvitation to Conservative Event

    Hours after gay right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was disinvited to the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference, his publisher cancelled his book Dangerous that had been scheduled for release in June. Many booksellers had already planned not to sell Dangerous, which was to include information about the protests the author encountered during his recent campus tour. A massive protest erupted at UC Berkeley, resulting in damage to both university buildings and businesses in Berkeley, and forced the cancellation of Yiannopolous’ speaking engagement there earlier this month.

    ‘Tales of the City’ New York Premiere Announced

    Based on the series of novels about San Francisco LGBT life by Armistead Maupin, the musical Tales of the City will make its New York City debut on March 27. The musical follows a community of friends, lovers, and others who reside at the mythical address of 28 Barbary Lane in 1976 San Francisco. Mary Ann Singleton (Besty Wolfe), a fresh arrival from Ohio, falls into a diverse band of Bohemians and blue-bloods, as families are created and rediscovered under the watchful eye of mystical landlady Anna Madrigal (Justin Vivian Bond). The musical was first developed at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Music Theater Conference in 2009, and had a subsequent run at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco in 2011. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people under the age of 25.