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    In the News – August 4, 2016

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    U.S. Navy to Name Ship After LGBT Rights Icon Harvey Milk

    The U.S. Navy plans to name a ship after the LGBT rights icon and former Naval officer, Harvey Milk. According to a congressional notification signed by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus that was obtained by USNI News, the Navy will name a planned Military Sealift Command fleet oiler USNS Harvey Milk. Milk came from a Navy family and commissioned in the service in 1951. He served in San Diego during the Korean War on the submarine rescue ship Kittiwake as a diving officer until 1955. Milk was honorably discharged from the service as a lieutenant junior grade. Following his service, Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and was the first openly gay California politician to be elected to office. He was killed in office in 1978. When Milk was shot, he was wearing his U.S. Navy Master Diver belt buckle.

    California Bill Would Prevent LGBT Discrimination at Religious Schools

    The conflict between religious freedom and gay rights has a new battleground—California‘s religious colleges and universities. A bill authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) is moving through the Legislature to remove a longstanding exemption from anti-discrimination laws for religious institutions, potentially exposing the schools to civil rights lawsuits from students and employees. Some schools call the measure SB1146 an attack on their free exercise of religion and say the exemption allows them to craft campus policies in line with their faith. Currently, religious institutions can assign housing based on sex, not gender identity, and can discipline students for violating moral codes of conduct that can include anti-transgender or strict sexuality provisions. The law faces an upcoming test in the state Assembly after passing the Senate. Bill supporters say it would be the first law of its kind in the nation and would create a safe space for LGBT students.

    Castro’s Rainbow Crosswalks and Drainage to be Fixed

    The rainbow crosswalks at 18th and Castro will finally be replaced the week of September 12. The crosswalks were damaged when ABC was filming their new miniseries When We Rise. Originally intended to be replaced in time for Pride, delays occurred on the City’s end. Replacing the crosswalks entailed repaving the street and the City wanted Ghilotti Bros. to fix the drainage problem at Castro & 18th. The City wanted the regrading and the crosswalk installation to happen together. All four crosswalks will be replaced and the drainage problem will also be fixed. The crosswalks are being paid for by ABC, and the necessary grading to fix the drainage problem is part of the sidewalk widening contract with Ghilotti Bros.

    American Federation of Teachers Passes Resolution
    to Protect LGBTQ Students’
    Educational Opportunities
    and Safety

    The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) passed a resolution that stands up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ students in all schools, but focuses heavily on transgender students’ rights. In this resolution, titled “School Safety and Educational Opportunity for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students,” the 1.6 million members of AFT recognized that providing transgender and other LGBQ students with necessary support will create a safer and more productive educational environment for all children. It also affirms AFT affiliates will support the implementation of LGBTQ safety guidance established by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, encouraging schools to be inclusive of LGBTQ students, appropriately addressing transgender and gender nonconforming students by their chosen names and pronouns, and providing them access to the gendered facilities they identify with, among other suggestions.

    Congressional Republicans Hold Hearing to Legalize LGBT Discrimination

    One month after the mass shooting in Orlando at a gay nightclub, Congressional Republicans held a committee hearing to discuss legalizing discrimination against LGBT people. Despite repeated calls from fellow lawmakers, activists and civil rights organizations, chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) refused to cancel or postpone the hearing. The hearing focused on the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” that would allow businesses and individuals to discriminate against LGBT people if they cite their religious beliefs. Conservative Christian organizations and activists have been clamoring for special exemptions from civil rights laws since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. “This hearing is nothing more than an election-year stunt to rally conservatives at the expense of LGBT Americans,” said Equality Act sponsor and LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. David Cicilline (RI-1). “Let’s be clear—there is no religious basis to deny basic rights and liberties to someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Period.” Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, testified in front of the committee.

    San Francisco Transgender Film Festival Calls for Entries

    The San Francisco Transgender Film Festival (SFTFF) seeks entries for their 2016 Festival (November 10–13, 2016). SFTFF accepts narrative, documentary, experimental, animated films and music videos. All work should be created by transgender/genderqueer people. The San Francisco Transgender Film Festival was founded in 1997 as North America’s first transgender film festival. Deadline for entries is August 15, 2016, and early submissions are encouraged. There is no entry fee, and they do not provide screening fees. Films will be submitted via Vimeo or YouTube.

    Camp Erin: Annual Youth Grief Weekend Offered Gratis

    Hosted by the nonprofit Hospice by the Bay with partial funding from the Moyer Foundation, the annual youth grief support weekend, Camp Erin Oakland/Bay Area, helps campers ages 6–17 express grief, build trust and self-esteem, and learn to cope with their loss through therapeutic activities, traditional camp fun and relaxation in the beautiful Sonoma County redwoods. This year’s Camp Erin retreat will be Friday through Sunday, August 12–14. There is no charge for this healing weekend retreat. Transportation to and from camp, meals, snacks and activities are all included. In addition to support groups and healing rituals, campers can enjoy swimming, hiking, games, sports, campfires and crafts. Parents join campers for short activities at drop-off and pick-up.


    HIV+ Men’s Support Group Seeking New Members

    Openhouse will facilitate an HIV Men’s Support group, meeting Wednesdays, 2:30–4 pm with intake interview required. This free support group welcomes HIV positive men age 55+ seeking social support in a therapeutic environment. This is a closed group and openings occur throughout the year. Topics include current experiences, trauma, stigma, and multiple losses—in conjunction with sharing life stories. All discussions are confidential and affirming. Paul Williams, a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern with the California College of Integral Studies’ Clinic Without Walls, will facilitate the HIV Men’s Support group at Openhouse.


    Mayor Lee Signs City’s Balanced Budget for Fiscal Years 2016–17 & 2017–18

    Mayor Edwin M. Lee signed the City’s two-year balanced budget for Fiscal Years 2016–17 and 2017–18. The City’s two-year balanced budget for Fiscal Years (FY) 2016–17 and 2017–18 is $9.6 and $9.7 billion, respectively. To deliver this two-year consensus budget proposal, Mayor Lee worked with the Board of Supervisors and heard directly from residents and community leaders throughout the City concerning issues such as homelessness, quality of life, police reform, violence prevention and public safety.
    Trans Employment Program Offered

    The SF LGBT Community Center’s Trans Employment Program is designed to help create inclusive workplaces and jobs for trans and gender nonconforming people. They provide help in conducting job searches and provide referrals to trans friendly employers in the Bay Area. The program offers a wide range of services including career coaching, navigating being out at work, transitioning on the job, resume review, managing professional references, hiring and community events, mentoring, and legal services. The first step is to book an appointment. All their services are free.


    Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Call for 2016 Fall Grant Applications

    Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc., grants are typically $250 to $1,000. The Sisters tend to give grants to under-funded, small organizations and projects providing direct services to underserved communities. The majority of these organizations and projects receive little, if any, government or mainstream funding and may be in the early stages of development. The Sisters are especially attracted to progressive grassroots projects that promote wellness, identity, tolerance and diversity within our communities. They have a vision that encompasses diverse communities and groups that have a common interest in human rights, people of every gender, gender identity, race, class, age and sexual orientation. They favor projects that serve the Bay Area or particularly embattled communities in other locales around the country and the world.


    Palace of Fine Arts League Announces New Managing Director of Palace of Fine Arts Theatre

    Palace of Fine Arts League announced the appointment of Jason Hoover as the new Managing Director of the historic Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. Located in San Francisco’s Marina District, the 962-seat theatre is one of the Bay Area’s pre-eminent entertainment and performance venues. Hoover joined the Palace of the Fine Arts Theatre in June 2016 with a wealth of experience in theatre management. Since 2010, Hoover has served as the Artistic Director for Ray of Light Theatre in San Francisco. Additionally, he was the Executive Director for Broadway by the Bay in Redwood City. He is an accomplished freelance theatre director who received his B.A. in Fine Arts at the University of California, Riverside.


    Seattle Joins Growing Number of Jurisdictions Protecting LGBTQ Kids from Conversion Therapy

    The Seattle City Council unanimously voted to protect LGBTQ youth in the city from conversion therapy, making Seattle the 10th jurisdiction—along with California, New Jersey, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Vermont, Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, and Miami Beach, FL—to protect youth from this dangerous practice. The 9–0 vote protects LGBTQ youth from mental health providers attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity through practices that are linked to substance abuse, extreme depression, and suicide. Providers who violate the ordinance will be fined $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for each additional offense.