Recent Comments


    In the News: 6.22.2017

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    Former Cal and NFL Star Ryan O’Callaghan Comes Out as Gay

    Redding native Ryan O’Callaghan, former offensive tackle for the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs, came out publicly as gay this Pride month. The 6’7”, 330-pound football star told Outsports that he used football as his “beard,” and planned to commit suicide after he retired. The former Cal great, who helped his team to win the 2005 Big Game with a score of 27–3, struggled with depression for many years. “I was abusing painkillers, no question,” he told reporter Cyd Zeigler. “It helped with the pain of the injuries, and with the pain of being gay. I just didn’t worry about being gay when I took the Vicodin. I just didn’t worry.” When he came out to trusted members of the Kansas City Chiefs, they supported him, helping him to turn his life around for the better. O’Callaghan is the first male athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay in three years.

    Google Gives Grant to Preserve Oral History of Stonewall Inn

    The philanthropic wing of the internet search giant Google says it is donating $1 million to preserve an oral history of the 1969 NYC Stonewall riots. That historic event—when a police raid sparked resistance from patrons and led to several days of demonstrations—paved the way for annual international pride parades and celebrations. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) made the announcement that, the company’s philanthropy branch, is donating the grant to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center to start the oral history project. Schumer says the purpose of the project is to spread the word and educate future generations about the Stonewall riots.

    San Francisco Leads the Way in Integrated LGBT Senior Housing & Services

    With the recent opening of San Francisco’s first LGBT-welcoming affordable housing complex for seniors, the Openhouse Community at 55 Laguna Street features 40 affordable apartments developed in partnership with Mercy Housing California, with an additional building at 95 Laguna. They’re adding a further 79 homes in the fall of 2017, creating one of the largest LGBT senior communities in the country. “Last year alone, Openhouse supported over 2,500 San Francisco Bay Area LGBT seniors between our programs, services and housing, with over 93% reporting a positive impact on their health and well-being,” said Openhouse Executive Director Karyn Skultety. “But our work is far from done, with many of San Francisco’s estimated 25,000 LGBT seniors fearing discrimination and compromised care in their struggle to find quality housing and services.” Openhouse was co-founded by San Francisco Bay Times columnist Dr. Marcy Adelman, who is this year’s SF Pride Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal.

    SF Mayor Ed Lee Raises Rainbow Flag at City Hall

    Mayor Ed Lee joined U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, SF Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, and others to raise the Rainbow Flag at City Hall. This year’s Pride Month celebrations take on a particularly special meaning, as they are the first to occur since the community lost Gilbert Baker, the creator of the iconic Rainbow Flag. When Baker stitched together a few pieces of multicolored fabric, he created a symbol of inclusiveness, tolerance and pride, offering solace and unity for a community that was experiencing prejudice. At a time when some national leaders continue to adopt discriminatory rhetoric, it is more important than ever to embrace the Rainbow Flag’s representation of acceptance and love for all. “Raising the Rainbow Flag today offers us a moment to celebrate the rich history and positive legacy of the LGBTQ community while also reflecting on the many sacrifices this group has made during its continuous journey advancing civil rights,” said Mayor Lee. “We cannot let hate win, and San Francisco will continue to lead the fight against bigotry. We are proud to stand with our LGBTQ community.”

    Tenderloin Could Become Nation’s First Transgender Cultural District

    The nation’s first transgender cultural district could be created if the Board of Supervisors passes a resolution to recognize the Tenderloin’s part in the LGBTQ rights movement. “The Board wishes to memorialize the whole history of the Tenderloin and Mid-Market area, [and] seeks to create a vibrant, safe, and supportive neighborhood for the Transgender community, particularly trans women of color,” according to the resolution to be considered. The Compton’s Transgender, Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (TLGB) District would span six blocks of the lower Tenderloin and cross over Market to encompass two blocks of Sixth Street. The legislation introduced by District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim notes that the Tenderloin hosts a large proportion of the City’s homeless population, 29 percent of whom identify as transgender, gender-variant, intersex, lesbian, gay or bisexual, according to the 2015 San Francisco Homeless Point-In-Time Count Report and Survey. The district is named after Compton’s Cafeteria, which in August 1966 was the scene of a two-day uprising by LGBT activists resisting police harassment.

    California Legislative LGBT Caucus Honors Outstanding LGBT Individuals

    The California Legislative LGBT Caucus is celebrating June 2017 as Pride Month with the adoption of House Resolution 41 during Assembly Floor Session and Senate Resolution 46. As part of the ceremony, the Caucus honored: Mikayla Connell, Police Officer at the San Francisco Police Department; Robert Gleason, President and Chief Executive Officer of Evans Hotels; Roma Pauline Guy, Activist and Founder of San Francisco Women’s Building; Joel Flatow, Chief of West Coast Operations and Artist & Industry Relations for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA); Daniel Jimenez, Activist and Volunteer at the San Joaquin Pride Center; Ken Jones, Activist and Member of the  BART Police Department Citizen Review Board; Michaela Mendelsohn, Pollo West Corp & Mi Pollo, Inc.; Russell Roybal, Deputy Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Brian Reagan, Manager of Pulse Night Club and survivor of Orlando, FL shooting; Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California; and Chris Verdugo and Dr. Tim Seelig on behalf of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. “The people we are honoring today have dedicated their lives to achieving equality for the LGBT community,” said Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus. “It is an honor to recognize such a remarkable group of advocates whose hard work and determination are an inspiration to us all.”

    100+ Goats Prepare Twin Peaks for Annual Pink Triangle Installation

    More than 100 goats assisted Public Works with clearing out weeds on the Twin Peaks hillside for the annual Pink Triangle event, which reclaims a former Nazi symbol to educate and remind others of the dangers of persecution. During the event, which has occurred annually since 1996, a giant pink triangle made out of many pieces of pink canvas is installed on the north hill of Twin Peaks, facing the Castro. Nearly an acre in size and 200 feet across, the triangle can be seen from various points around San Francisco and as far away as 20 miles. Public Works brought out the goats, which came from Goats R Us in Orinda over in the East Bay.

    HIV/AIDS Council Members Resign in Protest of Donald Trump

    Six members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) recently resigned in protest of President Trump’s apathy towards the epidemic and his attempts to take health care access away from people living with HIV/AIDS. The PACHA was created in 1995 during the Clinton Administration to provide recommendations about the government’s response to the HIV epidemic. The Bush Administration continued the council’s charter, and during the Obama Administration, the council created and monitored the National HIV/AIDS Strategy. Scott Schoettes, HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, wrote in Newsweek about why he and five of his colleagues decided to leave the PACHA. “The Trump Administration has no strategy to address the ongoing HIV/AIDS epidemic, seeks zero input from experts to formulate HIV policy, and—most concerning—pushes legislation that will harm people living with HIV and halt or reverse important gains made in the fight against this disease.”

    Political Concerns Lead to Increased LGBTQ Pride Participation

    The Community Marketing & Insights (CMI) 11th Annual LGBT Community Survey drew participation from 17,300 LGBTQ Americans across the spectrum of sexual orientations, gender identities, generations and ethnicities. It is the largest, longest-running study of its kind; a profile of community members involved in hundreds of LGBTQ media, websites, blogs, social media, apps, organizations and events. Among the survey responses, it was found that 63% of LGBTQ Americans surveyed will (or already did) attend their hometown Pride in 2017. This is compared to 47% having attended their hometown Pride events last year, representing a 34% increase in interest and participation for 2017. Further, 84% reported that Pride events across the United States are as important as ever, and 82% indicated that they feared rollbacks of recent LGBTQ equality gains. With recent political changes and uncertainty, LGBTQ Pride events are taking on a renewed importance in 2017, and CMI anticipates record attendance this year.

    California Legislative LGBT Caucus Issues Statement on Pulse Nightclub Shooting Anniversary

    California Legislative LGBT Caucus Chair Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) released the following statement on the one year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. It was the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. and the deadliest attack on the LGBT community in American history. “One year ago, 49 of our brothers and sisters lost their lives. Armed with an assault rifle and hatred in his heart, the Pulse Nightclub shooter intended to sow fear among the LGBT community and silence our pride. However, in the face of such violent hatred, we have only grown stronger, louder and more persistent. The 49 individuals who lost their lives and the countless loved ones who continue to grieve will never be forgotten. The California LGBT Caucus is with you in solemn solidarity. In the face of hate, we continue to stand tall and remember to not just be out but speak out.”

    National Report on Hate Violence Against LGBTQ and HIV-Affected Communities Released 

    National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) released its 20th annual report: “LGBTQ and HIV-Affected Hate Violence in 2016.”  For this report—the most comprehensive of its kind—NCAVP collected data on 1,036 incidents of hate violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people from 12 local NCAVP member organizations in 11 states. The year 2016 was the deadliest year on record for LGBTQ and HIV-affected communities, and, once again, LGBTQ people of color and transgender and gender non-conforming people were most impacted by deadly violence. NCAVP recorded 77 total hate violence related homicides of LGBTQ and HIV-affected people in 2016.

    Trump Honors Pride Month by Speaking at Anti-LGBT Conference

    Trump headlined the “Road to Majority” conference, an evangelical extremist gathering hosted by the homophobic Faith and Freedom Coalition. This is in addition to his refusal to issue a proclamation acknowledging June as Pride month. Other speakers at the conference included Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, evangelical author James Dobson, homophobes Pat Boone and Michael Medved, and 15 others. Not a single person of color spoke at the event. Trump was scheduled to speak just three days before the LGBTQ Equality March in Washington D.C., which many are interpreting as a not-so-subtle nod toward his commitment to subverting LGBTQ rights. “President Trump’s negligence at the start of Pride month provided another example that this administration is no friend to the community,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “While the Trump Administration tries to systematically erase LGBTQ people and families from the fabric of this nation, LGBTQ Americans and allies must do what we know best this Pride month—stay visible and march for acceptance.”

    San Francisco Pride to Feature Bryant/Briggs “We Fought Back!” Contingent

    San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade Committee has announced that veteran organizers of the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade will be highlighted in this year’s Pride Parade and March. 1977 and 1978 were turning points in the struggle for equal rights for LGBT people, when they fought back against attacks from political forces, personified by homophobic Anita Bryant and John Briggs. Thousands of people responded to the threat of Bryant/Briggs anti-gay ordinances, resulting in historic demonstrations of solidarity and strength. If you were involved in either of the 1977 or 1978 Gay Freedom Day Parades, as an organizer or as a marcher, and would like to join the Bryant/Briggs “We Fought Back!” contingent, visit