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    In the News 03.08.2018

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    Gays Against Guns Launches San Francisco Chapter

    Gays Against Guns (GAG) is an inclusive direct-action group of LGBTQ people and their allies who are committed to nonviolently breaking what the founders say is “the gun industry’s chain of death—investors, manufacturers, the NRA and politicians who block safer gun laws.” The group is based in New York, but chapters have been established in other cities, and interest in the effort continues to grow. GAG will be holding a meeting on Thursday, March 8, from 6–8 pm at MCC San Francisco, 1300 Polk Street, to launch the San Francisco Chapter. According to the event announcement, “GAG chapters work in other cities to ensure safety for all individuals, particularly vulnerable communities such as people of color, women, people who struggle with mental health issues, LGBTQ people and religious minorities. GAG condemns white supremacy, all instances of excessive force by police, and police militarization.” The chapter is forming ahead of “March for Our Lives,” a gun control rally that will be held in cities across the country on March 24.

    California’s Sanctuary Policies Under Federal Attack

    At a speech given on March 7 at the California Peace Officers Association’s annual meeting in Sacramento, Attorney General Jeff Sessions criticized California’s sanctuary policies, which help to protect the state’s estimated over 2.3 million undocumented immigrants. Sessions said, “California, absolutely, appears to me, is using every power it has—powers it doesn’t have—to frustrate federal law enforcement. So, you can be sure I’m going to use every power I have to stop them.” He specifically mentioned Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s decision to warn her constituents last month about an impending raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He alleged that her announcement prevented the arrest of 800 illegal immigrants and put ICE agents in danger. The Justice Department’s lawsuit, however, focuses on three California laws: Assembly Bill 450, Assembly Bill 103 and Senate Bill 54. Before Sessions’ speech, hundreds gathered in Sacramento to protest the federal stance on immigration matters, and to support immigrant rights. The participants yelled out chants such as “Sí, se puede;” “Stand up, fight back;” and “No justice, no peace.” The protest, called “Stand Up for Immigrants,” was organized by the Black Young Democrats of Sacramento, Latinx Young Democrats of Sacramento County, Fem Dems of Sacramento and several other organizations.

    Debate Rages Over Immigrant ‘Dreamers,’ Including the 75,000-Plus Who Are LGBT

    On February 26, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a federal judge’s order that the Trump administration continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program that was previously set to end on March 5. The denial leaves in place DACA for now, but the debate over the fate of DACA recipients—including Dreamers—and other illegal immigrants has been affecting many in the Bay Area. Federal immigration officials recently concluded a days-long sweep of Northern California, with ICE reporting the arrests of at least 232 people. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s warning prior to the ICE actions triggered a firestorm of controversy and review by the Department of Justice. Other Bay Area mayors, such as Gabriel Quinto of El Cerrito, who is an out member of our LGBT community, also reaffirmed the state’s sanctuary bill, SB 54. On February 28, hundreds of activists held an “emergency rally” outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in San Francisco, demanding an end to the ICE raids and calling for support of immigrants’ rights. According to The Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law, there are over 75,000 LGBT Dreamers in the U.S. Of that number, over 36,000 have participated in DACA. The vast majority of these LGBT DACA participants live in California, Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida.

    San Francisco Establishes 24-Hour Multilingual Hotline in Response to ICE Actions

    In collaboration with community-based organizations, the City of San Francisco has established a 24-hour multilingual rapid response hotline to respond to the heightened enforcement actions by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Individuals facing enforcement activities and those who are in need of immediate assistance are asked to call the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network hotline at 415-200-1548. For all other legal immigration services, contact the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs at 415-581-2360.

    Former SF Gay Bar Turned into $5.9 Single-Family Home

    In 1969, the Lion Pub was established in Pacific Heights at 2062 Divisidero. It evolved to become a gay bar for a large portion of its history, particularly drawing the male leather community. The location made it all the more important, as it provided LGBT men with a gathering place outside of other more established gay neighborhoods and active nightlife spots such as Polk Street, South of Market and the Castro. The Lion Pub closed in 2016, with many wondering what might happen to the beloved bar, which is still on Google reviews. (“An eclectic crowd warms up by this bar’s fireplace with cocktails featuring freshly squeezed juices.”) The circa-1900 Victorian has since been transformed into a contemporary, single-family residence with an asking price of $5.9 million. Because the new home took over an additional space, the address is now 2060 Divisidero. Photos and more information about the property are at a Paragon Real Estate Group website (

    GLAAD Calls for Increased and Accurate Media Coverage of Transgender Murders

    GLAAD is calling on the media to report on the brutal violence perpetrated against transgender people, particularly transgender women of color. With violence against transgender people at an all-time high and rising, GLAAD finds national media coverage is severely lacking. “The media must do a better job of reporting these murders and bringing needed attention to a community under vicious and violent attack,” says MJ Okma, Associate Director of News & Rapid Response for GLAAD. “In order for people to be aware of the horrific violence affecting the community, the public needs to know it is happening. The media has a responsibility to communicate about the deadly realities faced by transgender people.” GLAAD’s “Doubly Victimized: Reporting on Transgender Victims of Crime” offers clear guidelines for reporting respectfully on stories where transgender people have been victimized by crime. GLAAD’s “Media Reference Guide” also offers a glossary of terms and best practices for fairly and accurately covering transgender stories.

    Mayor Mark Farrell and Health Director Barbara Garcia Announce Expansion of City’s Conservatorship Beds

    Mayor Mark Farrell and Health Director Barbara Garcia have announced the opening of the San Francisco Healing Center, a major expansion of services for residents experiencing serious mental illness in the city. “The mental health problems on our streets are one of the biggest issues facing San Francisco,” said Mayor Farrell. “By more than doubling our conservatorship beds through our San Francisco Healing Center, we can provide real results for those with severe mental illness, along with our residents and businesses.” The new center, located at St. Mary’s Medical Center, will add 54 new conservatorship beds to the city’s system of mental health care, more than doubling the current number in the county. It is hoped that the Center will serve a critical need for clients who are placed on conservatorship and who are too ill to live independently, but do not require acute hospital care. Expanding the supply of these beds in San Francisco will increase the county’s capacity to serve people with serious mental illness.

    Housing Site for Homeless Veterans and Low-Income Families Breaks Ground

    Mayor Mark Farrell, Supervisor Jane Kim, and the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure Executive Director Nadia Sesay joined public and private partners to break ground on a new 100 percent affordable housing development at 1150 Third Street in Mission Bay. During the ceremony on March 1, Mayor Farrell dedicated the site to former Mayor Edwin Lee, and proclaimed that upon completion, the building will be named after him. “Today we are doing right by our veteran residents and lending a hand to struggling low-income families who deserve to call our city home,” said Farrell. “This project moves us one step closer to bringing chronic veterans homelessness in our city to an end and I can think of no better tribute than to dedicate this new development to Mayor Lee, a man who spent his life uplifting those in need.” The building will house 62 formerly homeless veterans and 56 low-income families with on-site supportive services.

    Castro Library Closes Parking Lot for Construction

    The Eureka Valley/Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library parking lot located at Pond and 16th Streets is now closed for construction. While the library itself remains open, the lot will remain closed until May. According to Mindy Linetzky, the library’s manager of communications, this is the beginning of SF Public Works construction on phase two of the Library Landscape Improvement Project. There will be no access via the parking lot, but a book drop facing Pond Street will be available for patrons’ use.

    Castro Comic Book Store Relocates

    The comic book shop in the Castro, Whatever Store, is relocating to 2275 Market Street in the former location of Books, Inc., which closed in 2016. Opened in May 2006, after nearly 12 years at 548 Castro Street, Whatever Store is closing there and moving a few blocks away—still in the Castro. Customers can check out the shop’s Facebook page ( for ongoing updates. 

    Renewed Commitment to Help HIV+ Women

    March is officially Women’s History Month, a celebration of the vital contributions of women throughout history, and March 10 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. During this time, San Francisco AIDS Foundation says they are reminded of the women we lost as well as those who responded in the early days of the AIDS epidemic—many being lesbians. SFAF says they will renew their commitment to serving women living with and at risk for HIV today and to supporting women who continue leading efforts to end this epidemic. Each year, SFAF welcomes over 25,000 people through their doors. Many are women who face unique health risks and barriers to prevention and care, including domestic abuse, substance use, discrimination, and access to affordable housing. SFAF notes that the rate at which African-American women, in particular, are being diagnosed with HIV is alarming.

    Lyft Announces Free Rides to ‘March for Our Lives’ Rallies Nationwide

    Lyft rideshare company will offer free rides to “March for Our Lives” demonstrations across America. The protests, organized by surviving students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, will occur on March 24 all across America. “We believe there is something seriously wrong when the threat of gun violence is so frequent and real throughout our country. And, like many, we are inspired by your leadership,” the company’s co-founders wrote. “We’d be honored to support your work with free Lyft rides to March for Our Lives rallies across the country on March 24.”