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    Marching Into Spring

    By Joanie Juster–

    Update from Ukraine

    In the February 22 issue of the San Francisco Bay Times, I wrote an article about the situation in Ukraine as we marked the second anniversary of the war. San Franciscan Laura Pauli shared her experiences as a humanitarian aide volunteer there. Laura has also been raising funds to help people there, including funding portable wood-burning stoves that can both provide heat and cook food in areas where the infrastructure has been utterly destroyed. A portable, affordable heater/cookstove that could be used anywhere, by civilians as well as by soldiers on the front lines, seemed like such a practical way to help—and it costs less than my PG&E bill for the month! So, I donated enough to pay for a stove—and less than two weeks later, the little stove sent with love from San Francisco is warming fighters on the front lines in Dnipro, Ukraine.

    Want to send a stove? They are made in Ukraine, so you are helping multiple people with each donation. And you can have a personalized plaque put on the stove to send your love and support! Here’s the link:

    Easter with The Sisters

    If you live in San Francisco, you know that Easter includes celebrating with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in Dolores Park. They are back again this year with an Easter egg hunt for the kids in the morning, followed by the ever-popular Hunky Jesus and Foxy Mary Contest in the afternoon. The event truly qualifies for the description “only in San Francisco.” It is free and open to the public, but if you really want to polish your halo, you can sign up to volunteer! This kind of magical event doesn’t really happen by magic; it takes a lot of hands to make it happen. Sign up here:

    Also: It just so happens that this year marks the 45th anniversary of the Sisters, so there will be some very special events during Easter Week leading up to the big show on Easter Sunday. Sisters from all over the world will be coming to San Francisco to celebrate and to participate in a conclave. While some of the events are private, others are open to the public, including The Monster Show: Sisters Takeover, an evening of drag performances, pageantry, joy, and fundraising at The Edge, from 9 pm–1:30 am on Thursday, March 28.

    It Can Happen Here

    We may seem to live in a precious bubble of safety and inclusion here in the Bay Area, but every now and then reality slaps us upside the head and reminds us that not everyone around us is on the same page. In Half Moon Bay, an LGBTQ Center, Coast Pride, reported recently that their headquarters had been vandalized for the second time this year. Their Progress flag was destroyed and removed, a rock was thrown through a window, and other damage was reported. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

    The vandalism was a sad reminder of the divisions that can tear us apart. But they are also a reminder of our responsibilities to love, support, and look after one another. If you would like to show some love to Coast Pride, either with a donation or with what is sure to be a very welcome message of solidarity, here’s their link:

    And It Can Happen Anywhere

    The sad news that the official cause of Nex Benedict’s death was not injuries from the attack they suffered, but suicide, just compounds the original heartbreak of this young person’s tragic death. While the “official” cause of death may have been self-inflicted, we all know that the real cause was the toxic atmosphere of bullying and hatred against non-conforming, non-binary people that has been fostered and weaponized across the country, often by the very people whose job description includes supporting and protecting youths.

    Being young is hard enough. Being young and not fitting into rigid societal norms is even harder—especially in this current antagonistic climate. Do your part to protect them from harm. Show love and respect. Let them know you have their back. Stand up for their right to be who they are, and love them for whoever they choose to be.

    Save the Date: Gay Power, Gay Politics: 44 Years Later

    The GLBT Historical Society has announced an event that promises to provide a fascinating look at our not-so-distant past. On Thursday, April 4, they will be showing a program called Gay Power, Gay Politics, which first aired on CBS Reports in 1980. The show proved to be so biased and controversial that CBS actually issued an on-air apology—widely considered the first such public apology by a national news organization. This event will include a screening of the entire original broadcast, and a discussion led by founding San Francisco Bay Times News Editor Randy Alfred and Myron Caringal. It will take place at the GLBT Historical Society Museum on April 4 from 6–8 pm. Admission is $10; free for members.

    So You Think You Can Drag?

    As someone who completely lacks the glamor gene, I am awed both by the huge hair and the huge hearts of our drag community. I’m hoping to see you all at So You Think You Can Drag?– a drag fundraiser and competition to benefit the Harvey Milk Elementary School. It is an annual benefit presented by the Grand Ducal Council. This year the truly fabulous Kylie Minono will be hosting the event that will feature an all-star lineup of some of our best local drag talent—and special celebrity judge Sister Roma. In addition to the professional drag artists, the top five community members who have signed up to raise funds for the school will be put in drag to compete for the crown. Come to The Café at 2369 Market Street on Saturday, March 23, from 5–8 pm, and have a great time for a good cause.

    The Return of Spring

    After a grey, often wet winter, longer days are here, and California is alive with brilliant colors. Get outside and soak up the sights, sounds, and smells of spring. It will feed your soul.

    Joanie Juster is a long-time community volunteer, activist, and ally.

    In Case You Missed It
    Published on March 21, 2024