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    In the News: 02.08.2018

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    City’s Oldest Gay Bar Closes After 108 Years

    The Gangway, in operation since 1910, closed on January 28. While this establishment at 841 Larkin Street did not identify as a gay bar until 1961, it was still considered to be San Francisco’s oldest bar for our community. Its last owner, Jung Lee, informed the San Francisco Chronicle that a wage-related lawsuit and the death of a longtime manager contributed to his decision to sell the bar. Preserving LGBT Historic Sites in California reported that the new owner, Sam Young, has applied for permits to open “a laundromat with a kung fu theme.” Young also owns Kozy Kar on Polk Street and Kozy Kar 2 in Santa Rosa. The proposed name for the new venture is “Young’s Kung Fu Action Theater & Laundry.” Many long-time customers of The Gangway said “goodbye to an old friend” with notes posted via social media, such as at the bar’s Facebook page (

    Iconic Castro Store ‘Worn Out West’ Announces Closure

    Worn Out West, established in 1980, soon will be closing, according to owner Mike Holland. The store, located at 2352 Market Street, offers vintage clothing and consignment. It was previously located on Castro Street. “We need to close the doors because of continuing business losses,” Holland informed the San Francisco Bay Times. “We appreciate all of the community support and are very sorry we cannot continue.” Worn Out West, like The Gangway, held iconic status in the LGBT community. Its loss will be felt deeply by its long-standing customers and represents greater change in the Castro, where high rents, competition from internet sales and more continue to impact brick-and-mortar stores. Inquiries concerning Worn Out West should be sent to

    Transgender Assaults at De Anza College Being Investigated as Hate Crimes

    On January 24, transgender student Deejea Smith was attacked near the Flint Garage on the campus of De Anza College in Cupertino, according to police. The suspect, an adult male, yelled an anti-gay slur before punching Smith in the face. “I was unconscious,” Smith told NBC News. “Don’t know for how long; I just know that I was.” Smith added that he was punched five days earlier in the same garage, but did not see who committed the crime. The college released a statement on February 5: “We are saddened and angered that such an incident could occur on our campus, which is deeply committed to inclusion. We have provided on- and off-campus resources to assist the student and are planning a series of events on countering hatred.” The police are investigating the attacks as hate crimes. Anyone with information is asked to contact the college district police at 650-949-7313.

    No Clear Losers, Winners During First San Francisco Mayoral Debate

    With the June 5 special election for mayor of San Francisco now less than 5 months away, the candidates have been participating in multiple publicly held events, such as the recent “mayoral forum” sponsored by the United Democratic Club. Five of the participating candidates—all of whom identity as Democrats—participated in the February 3 event: Angela Alioto, London Breed, Jane Kim, Mark Leno and Amy Farah Weiss. According to analysists such as Haley Rothwell of the organization California Blog and Tim Redmond of 48 Hills, the candidates shared similar thoughts on many topics. “For example,” Rothwell wrote, “they all felt strongly about keeping the city’s status as a sanctuary city. They also all expressed a need to make sure that affordable housing, public services, and the police department continue to be well-funded and supported.” Redmond concludes that the lack of clear winners and losers in the race is “a problem when the city is in a serious crisis and so many voters are undecided.” and

    Black History Month Now Underway

    February is Black History Month. The annual event has been observed since former President Gerald Ford proclaimed it in 1976. A precursor event, established by Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, was launched in 1926 and was celebrated during the second week of February. To mark the current Black History Month, San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell said: “San Francisco has long been at the forefront of the country’s civil rights struggle, and our City’s African American residents have always been the leaders in that valiant charge. This month, we celebrate this proud history of fearless and courageous activism, while acknowledging that the fight for justice and fairness is far from over.” He added, “I understand that recent political events and years of an unfinished agenda have caused pain and anguish within the City’s African American community. I want to assure our community members that I will make every effort to heal any wounds and continue to honor contributions from our African American leaders of the past, present and future.” (For more information about Black History Month, see page 5 of this issue.)

    Thousands of Marijuana Convictions to Be Expunged in San Francisco

    District Attorney George Gascón announced on January 31 that the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office will be retroactively applying Proposition 64, which legalized the possession and recreational use of marijuana for adults ages 21 years or older, to misdemeanor and felony convictions dating back to 1975. Although the initiative, which reduced criminal penalties for marijuana offenses after its passage in November 2016, provides reduction or dismissal upon a petition filed by a convicted individual, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office will be reviewing, recalling and resentencing up to 4,940 felony marijuana convictions and dismissing and sealing 3,038 misdemeanors that were sentenced prior to the initiative’s passage. This will not require that any action be taken by those who are eligible pursuant to Proposition 64. “While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead to undo the damage that this country’s disastrous, failed drug war has had on our nation and on communities of color in particular,” said Gascón, who added that a “criminal conviction can be a barrier to employment, housing and other benefits, so instead of waiting for the community to take action, we’re taking action for the community.”

    Tree Dedication Held at Pink Triangle Park

    Pink Triangle Park + Memorial invited the public to attend a special re-placing tree dedication for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27 at noon. The Pink Triangle Park at 2454 Market Street is the first permanent, free-standing memorial in the U.S. dedicated to the persecuted and murdered homosexuals during the Nazi era. The park and monument were conceived and built by the Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association, a neighborhood association for the Castro, Upper Market and Duboce Triangle areas. The park continues to evolve as a living human rights memorial with the dedication from local residents and businesses, school kids, tourists and visitors, along with the generous support from private and public donors.

    Senator Wiener Adjourns California State Senate in Memory of Cannabis Activist Dennis Peron

    Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) adjourned the California State Senate in memory of cannabis activist Dennis Peron (April 8, 1945–January 27, 2018). Wiener honored Peron for his leadership in the cannabis legalization movement, particularly for how he dedicated himself to helping people living with HIV. “Dennis Peron was a hero,” said Senator Wiener. “He fought for the health needs of people living with HIV during a very dark period—when our federal government not only abandoned us but was hostile toward us. Dennis was willing to put his own freedom on the line to help people access medical cannabis. Dennis will go down in history for his work, and we all mourn his passing.” (For Rink’s photo tribute to Peron, see page 18.)

    GLAAD Study Finds Less Than Half of Americans Now Accept LGBT People

    For the first time in four years, Americans are less accepting of LGBTQ people in a dangerous, yet not entirely unexpected, reversal of progress. GLAAD recently released the findings from its fourth annual Accelerating Acceptance report, showing that the attacks on the community by the Trump administration are having a real effect. While the past several decades have yielded remarkable progress for the LGBTQ community in the United States, acceptance of LGBTQ people is slipping, and discrimination is increasing, in the face of attacks, bias, and erasure by the Trump administration. This is the first time the Accelerating Acceptance report has shown a drop in acceptance for LGBTQ people. 2017 has demonstrated that the path to full equality and acceptance is not guaranteed, but in the face of this erosion, GLAAD says it will work to ensure 100% acceptance of LGBTQ people everywhere.

    Randall Museum to Reopen on February 11

    The Randall Museum at 199 Museum Way in San Francisco’s Corona Heights Park will be reopening on February 11, following extensive renovations. The museum, popular with LGBT families due to its proximity to the Castro and Haight-Ashbury districts, focuses on science, nature and the arts. The new museum will feature improved accessibility, a STEM lab, expanded exhibits and more. Corona Heights Park also features fantastic views of the Bay Area skyline and a popular Dog Play Area.