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    In the News: 4.6.2017

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    LGBTQ Community Mourns Deaths of Gilbert Baker and Ryan Nunez

    Late last week our community lost two incredibly gifted men: Rainbow Flag creator Gilbert Baker and Ryan Nunez, a singer and Administrative Coordinator with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. Daniel Bergerac, President of Castro Merchants, described Nunez as “cheerful, knowledgeable and supportive for us always.” Senator Scott Wiener praised Baker as being “an LGBT icon” who “played a key role defining the modern LGBT community. For generations of LGBT people, myself included, the Rainbow Flag was part of our coming out and our discovery of community. Rest in power, Gilbert. You will be missed.” (For more on Baker and Nunez, see pages 6 and 7.)

    Rules May Need to Change Regarding Businesses in the Castro

    Bergerac, in his most recent Castro Merchants President’s Letter, calls for “some frank discussion about ‘Formula Retail’ and rules governing it in The Castro.” The statement comes at a time when, as reported in the last issue of the San Francisco Bay Times, there are many commercial storefront spots to fill in this neighborhood. Bergerac explained that tenant improvements are often out of the price range for many small businesses, or are difficult to negotiate with landlords. “San Francisco’s Current Conditional Use rules and Permits process is costly, complicated and lengthy,” he added. Resolving such problems is important, not just to improve business life in the Castro, but also because empty spaces can be magnets for trash, squatters and other problems.

    In Face of Right-Wing Attacks, LGBT Long-term Care Senior Bill of Rights Passes Senate Committee

    On March 29, the Senate Human Services Committee passed SB219—the LGBT Senior Long-Term Care Bill of Rights for seniors in long term care facilities—despite attacks from anti-LGBT hate groups and the conservative media. The vote was 3–1 in committee, with Senators Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) and Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) joining the Bill’s author, Senator Scott Wiener, in support. Equality California is sponsoring the legislation, and Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona) are co-authoring the legislation. The bill is also supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, Justice in Aging, the National Association of Social Workers, National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Transgender Law Center, Alzheimer’s Orange County and others.

    New Poll Shows 12 Percent Of Americans Identify as LGBTQ

    A new poll has found that 12% of the U.S. population identifies as LGBTQ in some way. The Harris poll, commissioned by GLAAD, determined that younger people were far more likely to identify as LGBTQ than older individuals. Twenty percent of millennials (ages 18–34) identified as LGBTQ, whereas only 5% of older people (over 72) identified as LGBTQ in some way. Most of the difference came from categories outside of gay and lesbian. Millennials are about as likely to identify as gay and lesbian as Generation X (35–51) and Baby Boomers (52–71), but were much more likely than any other age cohort to identify as bisexual, asexual, gender fluid, transgender, and agender.

    LGBT Community Won’t Be Counted in the Nation’s Census

    The Trump Administration announced that it would not include a question on the 2020 census that would have allowed individuals to self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The justification? The information would be duplicative and irrelevant, from the perspective of the federal government. The census move was one of two recent knocks against the LGBT community from a hostile president. An executive order signed by President Trump also overturned an Obama-era rule that required federal contractors to report their anti-discrimination policies. Without information about the real size and scope of the LGBT community, we cannot know which social services, from education to food stamps, from health care to housing, are not getting to at-risk LGBT populations. Nor can we know the extent to which LGBT persons are victims of discrimination or disadvantaged when it comes to the provision of health care, or who are left out of federal or state contracts.

    LGBT Community Survey 2017 Underway

    The aforementioned information, both about the Harris poll and our nation’s census, make it all the more important to take this year’s LGBT Community Survey. Participating in this study helps to open doors and minds around the world, and influences positive changes for our community. Previous surveys have yielded 45,000 respondents from 150 countries. It takes just about 10–12 minutes to complete. To take the 11th annual LGBT Community Survey, please go to:

    AIDS United Affirms Evidence That Undetectables Cannot Transmit HIV to Sexual Partners

    In a recent statement, the AIDS United Public Policy Committee—the largest and longest-running national coalition of community-based HIV/AIDS organizations—strongly affirmed the conclusive evidence proving that people living with HIV who have achieved a sustained, undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to sexual partners. This evidence-based declaration reinforces AIDS United’s programmatic, policy and advocacy work to expand access to antiretroviral medications to all people living with HIV. “This is a landmark development in the response to HIV, and too many people are not hearing this message and receiving its full benefit,” said AIDS United President & CEO Jesse Milan, Jr. “A person living with HIV with a sustained suppressed viral load poses no risk of transmitting HIV. This is a game changer because it makes achieving viral suppression bigger than people living with HIV taking care of their own health, it is also about taking care of others too. This development puts each one of us living with HIV at the forefront of stopping new infections, and gives everyone strong, clear and direct language to stop the stigma and move all communities faster towards ending the epidemic.”

    Author, Psychotherapist Who Coined the Term “Homophobia” Dies at 86

    The psychotherapist who created the word that defines the prejudice that gays and lesbians experience died recently at 86. George Weinberg, the psychotherapist who, over 50 years ago, coined the term “homophobia,” died of cancer in Manhattan. “I coined the word homophobia to mean it was a phobia about homosexuals,” Dr. Weinberg had explained. “It was a fear of homosexuals which seemed to be associated with a fear of contagion, a fear of reducing the things one fought for—home and family. It was a religious fear, and it had led to great brutality, as fear always does.” Wikipedia notes that the first time the word “homophobia” appeared in print was in a 1969 issue of Screw magazine. It was legitimized a few months later when Time magazine incorporated the word.

    Reports Show Rise in ATM Skimming in the Castro

    There have been recent incidents of ATM skimming in the Castro. As a result, Castro Community on Patrol (CCOP) has published a new set of safety tips for all ATM customers. “A compromised Debit (ATM) card allows a crook to steal hundreds of dollars from your bank account. It is even possible to drain your account to zero,” says Greggy Carey of CCOP. “Notify your bank and file a police report if you are a victim. Banks generally deny being vulnerable, so contact Castro Patrol ( with details if you encounter an unsecure ATM in the Castro, so we can work with the bank and civil authorities.”

    Folsom Street Events Names Interim Managing Director

    At the conclusion of a four-month search to replace Demetri Moshoyannis as Folsom Street Event’s Executive Director, the Board of Directors unanimously approved the promotion of Marketing and Projects Manager Patrick Finger to the position of Interim Managing Director. The search, which included over 60 talented applicants from around the world, was put on hold after the search committee was unable to identify a finalist. “Patrick has dedicated ten years to Folsom Street Events and has shown a drive to move the organization forward. I was thrilled not only that the Board of Directors unanimously approved this decision, but that Patrick has accepted the offer to lead the administrative side of the organization for the duration of the fair season,” said Edwin Morales, President of the Board of Directors. “We have the utmost confidence in Patrick’s abilities, and are very excited to have him at the helm.”

    Violent Crime in 2017: Upward Trend from Castro to Haight

    San Francisco has begun the year with a broad drop in crime, according to official reports, including property crimes and most violent crimes. The trend, however, does not extend to every neighborhood. Reports have shown an uptick in violent incidents in the first couple of months of 2017 around the Haight, the Castro, and surrounding neighborhoods. The good news is that the city in general has been somewhat safer this year, notably in central neighborhoods like the Tenderloin. But the string of neighborhoods running from the western edge of Hayes Valley to Golden Gate Park has seen violent incidents per month increase this year versus last.