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    Mayor Breed Signs Legislation Making the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band ‘The Official Band of San Francisco’

    On December 18, in what had to be one of the most festive, uplifting and enjoyable signing ceremonies ever held at City Hall, Mayor London Breed signed into law legislation declaring that the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band (SFLGFB) is now “the official band of San Francisco.” Former San Francisco Bay Times columnist, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, stood beside Mayor Breed since he authored the legislation and has long championed the Band.

    The moment marked Supervisor Mandelman’s first legislation signed into law and his first signing ceremony as a member of the Board of Supervisors.

    “The arts, in particular, have played such an important role for the LGBT community and the broader San Francisco community in getting us through the tragedies of the last 40 years and getting us to the triumphs and to a better place,” Supervisor Mandelman said.

    He thanked Tom Temprano from his team, as well as former State Assemblyman and San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who 20 years ago declared that the SFLGFB was the city’s official band, albeit without the formal legislation. A similar moment was repeated by the Board of Supervisors 5 years later. As a result, Mayor Breed several times joked that the unofficially official band of San Francisco is now officially official!

    Mayor Breed also shared that one of her first visits to City Hall was with her 8th grade band at Benjamin Franklin Middle School. She held aloft the French horn that belonged to SFLGFB founder Jon Reed Sims (1947–1984), as she was also a French horn player. For a moment, it even seemed that she might play a few notes, but the program continued.

    State Senator Scott Wiener, who also spoke during the ceremony, mentioned that in the 4th grade he desired to play the clarinet, but the school ran out of the instruments so he wound up playing trumpet—until he got braces. “I tried really hard,” he said, before mentioning how important SFLGFB is to him and to the city.

    SFLGFB President Doug Litwin was additionally at the podium. He mentioned that the ceremony marked “the most exciting day in the Band’s history,” following efforts made by “3 mayors and more than a few supervisors” over the decades. Nevertheless, he added, SFLGFB will always be tied to Supervisor Mandelman and his work in making the legislation a reality.

    The Band then played rousing versions of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” followed by “San Francisco (Open Your Golden Gate).” Turning to the SFLGFB members, Mayor Breed happily instructed: “(You must) work harder than you’ve ever worked before,” since they will be needed at many city events in the months and years to come.

    All of us at the San Francisco Bay Times congratulate the Band on this tremendous honor. We are proud that both the Bay Times and the SFLGFB share anniversaries, since both were founded in what proved to be a landmark year for the LGBTQ community—1978. We join forces each year for a holiday party.

    For more information about the SFLGFB: