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    In the News: 10.19.2017

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    Governor Brown Signs SB 179, the Gender Recognition Act

    Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Senator Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) met at the SF LGBT Community Center, joining advocates of a series of bills that expanded the rights of LGBT people in California. These included SB 179, the Gender Recognition Act, co-authored by Wiener and Atkins, which Governor Brown signed on October 15, as well as SB 219, the LGBT Senior Bill of Rights, and SB 239, which modernizes HIV criminalization laws. The Gender Recognition Act makes California the second state in the nation—following Oregon—to allow residents to be identified by a gender marker other than “F” or “M” on their driver’s license and the first to allow a third gender marker on birth certificates. It also makes it easier for residents to receive a gender change from state agencies and the courts. For example, it removes the requirement that applicants obtain a physician’s letter stating that they have undergone appropriate medical treatment and replaces it with self-attestation. “With the passage of SB 179, California continues its fight for a more inclusive society, even as some in Washington continue to try to take away rights from LGBT people,” said Senator Wiener.

    Rainbow World Fund Responds to the Fires in Northern California

    Rainbow World Fund has partnered with a number of local LGBTQ groups that are mobilizing to provide front-line aid to victims of the fires in Northern California. They are raising funds and collecting needed supplies to deliver to the affected areas. According to the organization, RWF is the world’s first and only all-volunteer humanitarian aid agency based in the LGBT community. Their mission is to promote peace, unity and hope by leading the LGBTQ movement in participating in humanitarian relief efforts. RWF has donated over $4.4 million dollars of life saving aid throughout the years. On October 15, the colorful RWF Bus of Hope was parked at Jane Warner Plaza in the Castro neighborhood collecting both monetary and in-kind donations. To donate online, visit

    #MeToo Floods Social Media with Stories of Sexual Harassment, Including in the LGBT Community

    Revelations about decades of sexual abuse inflicted by individuals such as Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and even President Donald Trump have led to many individuals sharing personal stories of sexual assault using the rallying cry #MeToo. For example, event producer and filmmaker Marc Huestis, who produced many shows at the Castro Theatre, wrote at Facebook: “I once was raped by a very beloved independent SF filmmaker in the early 80s … He was known as a sexual outlaw/enfant terrible so he probably felt he could get away with it. He later died of AIDS.” Huestis added, “I know what pain these women (victims of sexual abuse) go through in exposing these male violations, and just to know it happens with gay men as well.” According to HRC, LGBT women are especially affected by the problem, with 44 percent of lesbians and 61 percent of bisexual women experiencing rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 35 percent of heterosexual women. For more information, see Andrea Shorter’s related story on page 5 of this issue.

    Openhouse and Mercy Housing California Celebrate Groundbreaking at 75/95 Laguna Street

    A groundbreaking ceremony for The Marcy Adelman and Jeanette Gurevitch Openhouse Community took place on Tuesday, October 17. The new housing at 95 Laguna adds 79 LGBT-welcoming senior living apartments to the community complex. In addition, the building includes a new community center at 75 Laguna that will showcase Openhouse programming with over 7000 square feet over two floors. Speakers at the history-making event included Adelman, who is also a San Francisco Bay Times columnist; Openhouse Executive Director Karyn Skultety; Mercy Housing California President Doug Shoemaker; Wells Fargo SF Region President Greg Morgan and Bruce Prescott, the Project Architect who is with the firm Santos Prescott and Associates. State and local elected officials, including the Honorable Mark Leno and State Senator Scott Wiener, attended the event as well.

    Stream Over 30,000 Movies for Free with Your SF Public Library Card

    This week, the streaming service Kanopy announced that it is teaming up with the San Francisco Library to offer its Netflix-like offerings for no additional charges to San Francisco Public Library card holders. The on-demand video platform “allows users to experience a curated collection of more than 30,000 of the world’s best films,” including movies and documentaries from award-winning filmmakers, film-fest picks, indies, classics, world cinema, rare and hard to find titles, and critical favorites, SFist reported. It even includes films from the prestigious Criterion Collection, as well as many San Francisco-centric flicks. A quick search reveals several LGBT-related titles, such as The Times of Harvey Milk and We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco. Kanopy may be accessed via Roku, iOS, Android and, soon, Apple TV.

    Dolores Park Security Cameras to be Installed

    After a series of violent crimes occurring in Mission Dolores Park in recent months, the City is having security cameras installed there. The first cameras will be placed in the next few weeks and will cost approximately $250,000 for installation. This will be financed by the City’s general fund. The incident on August 3, when three people suffering from gunshot wounds were found near the park’s footbridge, helped to push forward the project. Along with other organizations, including Dolores Heights Improvement Club, Dolores Park Works urged the City to improve security, including the installation of cameras. The park has also added two full-time rangers since July.

    Maitri Compassionate Care Announces First Female Executive Director in Three Decades

    Anne Gimbel, M.A., LMFT, has been announced as the new Executive Director of Maitri Compassionate Care, an organization that provides residential care for people living with HIV/AIDS. Gimbel is Maitri’s first female ED in 31 years. Her official start date is October 30. For the past five years, Anne was the Regional Director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Coachella Valley that includes Palm Springs. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has worked in both Chicago, her hometown, and Los Angeles. Anne had prior experience as the Executive Director of Lawyers for the Creative Arts, a nonprofit that covered the entire state of Illinois for many years, and served as the Director of Development at Make-A-Wish Foundation in Century City and Geffen Playhouse during the fourteen years that she and her husband lived in Santa Monica. Bill Musick, Maitri’s Board President, served as the organization’s interim leader before Gimbel’s selection. Musick said, “With Anne’s leadership, the community can look forward to many more years of Maitri serving as a beacon of hope and nurture to those who otherwise might fall between the cracks of our health and social systems.”

    Trump Is First U.S. President to Speak at Hate Group Gathering

    President Trump addressed the Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., becoming the first president to address the gathering of white supremacists, far right activists and religious zealots. Trump shared the stage with former Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, who has said he wants to “rid the earth” of “wicked” gays. Also appearing was Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has said he doesn’t know whether or not gays and lesbians should be put to death, and was recently removed as a state supreme court justice for instructing state employees to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality. Also appearing was House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, who was recently wounded in a mass shooting in D.C. Scalise’s life had been saved by a lesbian police officer who shot and killed the attacker. Scalise has said the incident did not change his mind about gun control or LGBT rights.

    Rainbow Crosswalk Installed Near Pulse Gay Nightclub in Orlando

    Crews have completed a rainbow-colored crosswalk near Pulse, the site of a gay nightclub in Florida where a gunman killed 49 people. Omar Mateen had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State during a three-hour standoff at the nightclub before he was killed in a shoot-out with police officers in June 2016. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history until October 1, when Stephen Paddock killed 58 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas.​ Thousands of people had earlier signed a petition asking the city of Orlando for a colorful memorial to the victims on the street just south of Pulse nightclub in Orlando. This is reportedly just the first step in the memorializing process.

    Rainbow Flag to Fly Permanently Over NYC’s Stonewall Monument

    The Rainbow Flag, the international symbol of LGBT liberation and pride, was unveiled in a special ceremony on Wednesday, October 11, National Coming Out Day, at the historic Stonewall National Monument, where, thanks to the efforts of activists, it will claim a permanent home. Stonewall National Monument is located within Christopher Street Park in New York’s Greenwich Village. The park is on the corner of Christopher Street and 7th Avenue South. This historic event marks the first time that the LGBT flag will wave over federally-funded land, under the permanent stewardship of the National Park Service.