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    In the News: August 18, 2016

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    Latest Poll Finds Young Americans Overwhelmingly Favor LGBT Rights

    Young people in America overwhelmingly support LGBT rights when it comes to policies on employment, health care and adoption, according to a new survey. The GenForward survey of Americans aged 18–30 found that support for those policies has increased over the past two years, especially among young whites. But relatively few of these young adults consider rights for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender to be among the top issues facing the United States. According to the findings, 92 percent of young adults support HIV and AIDS prevention, 90 percent support equal employment, and 80 percent support LGBT adoption. Across racial and ethnic groups, broad majorities support training police on transgender issues, government support for organizations for LGBT youth, and insurance coverage for transgender health issues.


    SF Gay Men’s Chorus Perform for U.S. Navy’s Naming Ceremony Honoring Harvey Milk

    The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC), under the baton of Dr. Timothy Seelig, SFGMC Artistic Director, performed the National Anthem at the celebrated USNS Harvey Milk Naming Ceremony on August 16, held by the United States Navy. The event took place on Treasure Island at the Great Lawn in San Francisco. The week prior, USNI News reported that the Navy declared their intention to name a fleet oiler for Supervisor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California. The United States Navy’s decision to name a ship after a major gay rights activist comes only five years after President Barack Obama repealed the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, thus allowing gay, lesbian and bi-sexual members of the military to serve openly in the United States Armed Forces, and six weeks after the Pentagon ended the ban on military service by transgender Americans. SFGMC was joined at the ceremony by Mayor Ed Lee, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and members of the Harvey Milk Foundation.


    Lone Star Saloon Among Nine Newly Named Legacy Businesses

    Nine businesses, including legendary San Francisco LGBT watering hole the Lone Star Saloon at 1354 Harrison Street, were recently named as “Legacy Businesses” by the city. Each is now eligible to receive city-issued grants ranging from $500 (per full time employee per year) to $50,000. The other 8 businesses are as follows: Two Jacks Nik’s Place Seafood, Toy Boat Dessert Cafe, Specs’ Twelve Adler Museum Café, Precita Eyes Muralists Association, Pacific Cafe, Gilmans Kitchens and Baths, Community Boards, and Macchiarini Creative Design & Metalworks. A second set of 10 Legacy Businesses will be considered during a Small Business Commission meeting to be held on August 22. All of the named businesses have been in operation for 30 plus years and have contributed in some way to their respective neighborhood’s history. For more information about the Legacy Business Registry & Preservation Fund:


    Castro Cares + FIX IT Working to Improve Life in the Castro

    After Mayor Lee’s pledge to “FIX IT!” launched a new program in May, it identified the Castro as one of the program’s priority neighborhoods. The program, led by Sandra Zuniga, aims to improve residential and mixed use neighborhoods by reaching across all city departments to fix problems. The Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District has asked Zuniga to help the CBD address particularly vexing challenges including: removing illegal food vendors on Castro Street, helping mentally ill and drug addicted people on the street, cleaning large tent encampments at Market & Octavia Streets, trimming trees on Market Streets, restoring Pink Alley, and replacing burnt out street lights as a start. CBD says the list seems to grow daily. Castro Cares is working closely with the FIX IT team to bring licensed, behavioral health providers to the Castro, providing additional assistance, support and training to the Castro Cares Homeless Outreach Team.


    Gay Widower Sues KRON4 Pension Plan for Refusing to Provide Survivor Benefits

    The widower of a former KRON4 employee sued Young Broadcasting of San Francisco and the KRON/IBEW Local 45 Pension Plan for refusing to provide him with a spousal pension benefit even though the couple were registered domestic partners. David Reed and Donald Lee Gardner began dating in 1998. They quickly fell in love and committed themselves to caring for and protecting one another, including by becoming domestic partners in 2004. They were together for 16 years and were married for only five days before Donald lost his battle with a rare blood disease in 2014. Gardner was employed as technical director for KRON4 for more than 30 years before retiring in 2009. After he died, Reed sought a spousal survivor benefit under KRON4’s pension plan, which incorporates California law mandating that registered domestic partners have all of the same rights and responsibilities as those who are married. Even though the two were registered domestic partners and later married, the plan refuses to provide spousal benefits to Reed. Reed is represented by Renaker Hasselman LLP and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.


    Maitri Seeking Executive Director

    Maitri, a nonprofit hospice and 24-hour care facility serving those with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco since 1987, is seeking an Executive Director. “Maitri” is a Sanskrit word that means “compassionate friendship.” In this 15-bed facility, skilled professionals and dedicated volunteers offer nursing and personal care as well as emotional and spiritual resources to help meet the special needs associated with HIV-related illness with an emphasis on end-of-life care. This nonprofit program is focused especially on those who might otherwise be without adequate resources or care, and is the only HIV/AIDS-specific hospice remaining in San Francisco. The ideal candidate will possess five or more years of experience as an executive director or in leading the finance or development arm of a complex organization. A graduate degree in human services, public/business administration, nonprofit management, or closely related field is preferred, but not mandatory. For more information see


    National LGBT Organizations Urge Big 12 Conference to Skip BYU

    Athlete Ally, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) in San Francisco, and more than 20 leading LGBT organizations submitted a letter to the Big 12 Conference and its member schools urging it not to consider Brigham Young University (BYU) as a potential new conference member because of the school’s express policy of discriminating against same-sex couples and LGBTQ students. The Big 12 Conference is a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletic conference consisting of 10 Division I colleges and universities. Member schools are located in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia. Recently, there has been public discussion that the Big 12 is seeking to expand, with BYU as a leading candidate for inclusion. BYU is located in Provo, Utah, and is considered the sixth worst school for LGBTQ students in the nation. Its policies requiring discrimination against LGBT students include its Honor Code, which prohibits “homosexual behavior” by students and staff. This “includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”

    Polls Show LGBTs Voting for Hillary Clinton

    The LGBT voting bloc overwhelmingly goes to the Democratic Party, which has shown more support for LGBT rights and concerns than has the Republican Party as a whole. A Gallup survey conducted during the last presidential campaign in 2012 found that just 13 percent of LGBT voters identified as Republican, compared with 44 percent identifying as Democratic and 43 percent as Independent. Non-LGBT voters in that same poll identified as 30 percent Republican, 32 percent Democratic and 39 percent Independent. Exit polling from that election found that 76 percent of the LGBT vote went to Obama, with just 16 percent going to Romney. A recent study by Whitman Insight Strategies found that of the 338 likely voters who identified as LGBT, 84 percent backed Hillary Clinton compared to 16 who said they support Donald Trump.


    CA Lawmaker Gives Up Attempt to End Exemptions for Religious Schools

    Democratic State Senator Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens announced he is removing a contentious provision of his bill that would have allowed LGBT students to more easily sue religious schools for discrimination, conceding defeat to religious colleges that had launched a campaign against it. The measure would have eliminated a longstanding exemption from state anti-discrimination laws for religious institutions, potentially opening them to civil rights lawsuits from students and employees. Many religious schools heavily opposed removing the exemption and called the bill an attack on their free exercise of religion. A weaker version of the bill, which Lara said he would submit, still mandates that institutions disclose exemptions from federal Title IX rules against discrimination. It would also require universities to report if a student has been expelled for violating a school’s “moral code of conduct,” which is often tied to religious beliefs and can include anti-transgender or strict sexuality provisions. The expulsion reporting would allow lawmakers to track how often such dismissals occur. The bill must pass the Assembly Appropriations Committee to stay alive.


    Auditions Begin for SFGMC’s 39th Season

    San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is holding auditions to welcome a new class of singers into their ranks this fall. If you are interested in joining SFGMC as a singing member, now is the time, as they will not be holding auditions again until January. If you want to audition for SFGMC, join them first for an open rehearsal on Monday, August 29, 7–10 pm, and then come to an audition on Tuesday, August 30. Auditions will be held at the Kanbar Center, 44 Page Street, San Francisco. For more information: