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    In the News: 2.13.20

    SF First in Nation to Fund Services for Transgender Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities

    San Francisco on February 10 became the first city in the nation to fund services specifically for transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) older adults and adults with disabilities, according to a press release from the SF Human Services Agency that was shared with the San Francisco Bay Times by columnist and Openhouse Co-Founder Dr. Marcy Adelman. The services will focus on providing programming and social services for these populations in a supportive and gender-affirming environment.

    The Department of Disability and Aging Services (DAS) has granted approximately $1 million over three years to create programs centered on fostering community, creating social connections, and addressing unmet social service needs for TGNC seniors and adults with disabilities.

    “We are proud that San Francisco continues to lead the country in providing comprehensive programs and policies that support our LGBTQ community,” said Mayor London Breed. “This first of its kind program will provide much needed support tailored for trans seniors and adults with disabilities who often experience higher rates of discrimination and isolation.”

    The DAS conducted a Community Needs Assessment that found LGBTQ+ populations participate in DAS services at lower rates than the overall population. Participation in these services is even less for the City’s older and disabled TGNC residents.

    For TGNC older adults and adults with disabilities, there is an added layer of complexity in accessing services. Experiences of stigma or discrimination have contributed to an environment of mistrust, especially in health and social service settings. People often feel safer and more comfortable participating in services with other TGNC community members or at organizations that employ TGNC staff. 

    The DAS is partnering with nonprofit community providers Openhouse and Curry Senior Center to create these vital support programs.

    “We are so excited to be able to provide services for transgender communities of older people and adults with disabilities,” said Shireen McSpadden, Executive Director of the DAS. “These programs will help bring our neighbors into supportive services and connect them with resources that will help them age with dignity within their communities.”

    “Trans rights today are due to the efforts of our trans seniors who paved the way for equality,” said Clair Farley, Director of the Office of Trans Initiatives. “We owe it to them and the future of our movement to ensure our communities can age with dignity and joy. Our elders deserve to age connected with their chosen family, in San Francisco, the city they love and call home.”

    “We hear from TGNC seniors that the current system of care does not meet their needs or support aging in community,” said Dr. Karyn Skultety, Executive Director of Openhouse. “We are grateful to DAS and the City of San Francisco for investing in change, and we intend to better serve TGNC older adults by listening and following the leadership of the TGNC community. We are deeply fortunate to have trans-led organizational partners working beside us, and we are beyond thankful to the TGNC communities and seniors who are giving us a chance to better serve the community.”

    “We are grateful for the City’s ongoing investment in our trans community,” said Toni Newman, Executive Director of the St. James Infirmary. “Together with Openhouse, Curry Senior Center, and our partners, we are working to ensure trans and gender-nonconforming seniors and trans adults with disabilities have access to inclusive housing and vital resources so our communities can thrive at any age.”       

    For more information, please visit:

    DAS Benefits and Resource Hub:


    Curry Senior Center:

    AIDS Memorial Quilt Panels Arrive in Bay Area, Volunteers Needed

    Numerous panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt are being transported from Atlanta to the Bay Area this month and will be stored at a warehouse near the Oakland Airport. Kelly Rivera Hart for the National AIDS Memorial shares that “some strong, able-bodied, and energetic folks” are needed “to help unload and shelve it. There are three big trucks coming over the next three weeks and we will have teams of four volunteers doing two shifts each day that trucks are scheduled to arrive.” The dates are: 2/14, 2/15, 2/16, 2/18, 2/19, 2/20, 2/21, 2/22, and 2/23. The shifts will be from 10 am–2 pm and from 1pm–5 pm. Be a part of history in welcoming the Quilt back home! The panels sent back to the Bay Area will go on display at Golden Gate Park April 3–5. If interested in volunteering, contact Hart at

    Governor Newsom Posthumously Pardons Bayard Rustin, Announces Clemency Initiative

    Governor Gavin Newsom on February 5 launched a new clemency initiative to pardon people who were prosecuted in California for being gay. The move was inspired by a legislative call to pardon Bayard Rustin, a humanitarian and civil rights leader who was convicted of a misdemeanor vagrancy offense for consensual adult sexual activity. In launching the new clemency initiative, Governor Newsom issued Rustin a posthumous pardon. “In California and across the country, many laws have been used as legal tools of oppression, and to stigmatize and punish LGBTQ people and communities and warn others what harm could await them for living authentically,” said Governor Newsom. “I thank those who advocated for Bayard Rustin’s pardon, and I want to encourage others in similar situations to seek a pardon to right this egregious wrong.” On August 8, 2013, then President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Rustin, who died in 1987, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, describing him as “an unyielding activist for civil rights, dignity, and equality for all.” The full clemency initiative executive order may be viewed at

    SF Pride Names New Executive Director

    Following a nationwide search for a new leader, the San Francisco Pride Celebration Committee on January 31 named longtime member Fred Lopez as its newest Executive Director. Lopez joined the organization in 2016, working as a contractor with the SF Pride Parade Team. In 2017, he became a staff member as Communications Manager and last July was named Interim Executive Director. “I am grateful to be able to help steer San Francisco Pride into 2020,” Lopez said. “On the cusp of this landmark 50th commemoration, we are tasked with acknowledging the incredible history of LGBT strength in San Francisco and with looking to the future and what it holds. I look forward to being a part of it.” Lopez’s activism goes beyond SF Pride and the Bay Area, given that he previously spent more than 14 years serving the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities.

     Horizons Foundation Announces New Slate of Grantee Partners

    The world’s first LGBTQ community foundation, Horizons Foundation, on January 30 announced its latest slate of grantee partners through its flagship Community Issues Funding Program. They are as follows: ABO Comix, Ahead of the Curve,

    AIRspace for New Queer Performance, AlterTheater (Alternative Theater Ensemble), APIENC (API Equality – Northern California), Bay Area Old Lesbians Organizing for Change (OLOC), California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Caminar,

    CoastPride, Colectivo Acción Latina de Ambiente, Community United Against Violence, Compton’s Transgender Cultural District, Dolores Street Community Services, Drag Queen Story Hour – SF Bay Area Chapter, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Face to Face: Sonoma County AIDS Network, Foglifter Press, Gay Asian Pacific Alliance Foundation, Health Initiatives for Youth, HealthRIGHT 360, Homeless Youth Alliance, HOMOBILES, In Lak’ech Dance Academy, Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, Louise Lawrence Transgender Archive, Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, Oasis Legal Services, On the Move, Peacock Rebellion, Positive Images, Queer LifeSpace, Queer Rebels Productions, Rainbow Women’s Chorus, Reclaim UGLY: (U)plift (G)lorify & (L)ove (Y)ourself, RYSE, San Francisco Trans March, San Francisco Transgender Film Festival, San Mateo County Pride Center (a program of StarVista), Sins Invalid, Solano Pride Center, Somos Familia, Sunny Hills Services dba Side by Side, Swords to Plowshares Veterans Rights Organization, Texas Rose, The LGBT Asylum Project, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Inc., TurnOut, and the Vallejo Stonewall Film Festival. Together, the organizations received $415,734 in funding. Horizons’ total grantmaking since 1980 now exceeds $48.6 million. “As the foundation celebrates 40 years, these grantee partners—across the nine counties of the Bay Area, across many facets of LGBTQ life and identity—exemplify the work our community needs to live freely and fully,” said Horizons’ President Roger Doughty.

    OurTownSF Nonprofit Expo 2020 Canceled

    For the past four years, OurTownSF—a program of the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation (REAF) and directed by Paul Margolis—has annually hosted the OurTownSF Nonprofit Expo. The event was always held at the Eureka Valley Recreation Center a few weeks after the Castro Street Fair. Members of the San Francisco Bay Times team were looking forward to the 2020 Expo, but on February 4, Margolis announced that the event has been canceled. He shared, “We were excited to hold OurTownSF Nonprofit Expo for its 5th year but the staff at Eureka Valley Recreation Center feel that they can no longer collaborate due to increased workloads. Due to this, we must now adhere to new rules and fees imposed by SF Rec’s and Parks.” Margolis added that the rules require that he and his team must hire a Certified Waste Diversion provider, involve the Health Department if they are to serve food or beverages even if the items are pre-packaged, and must pay “several thousand dollars in new fees.” He continued, “They have also denied us from holding this event on the same schedule as in previous years. We have requested sustained financial support from the City to help cover our costs for years but we have received none. It has therefore been decided that it is not viable to hold OurTownSF Nonprofit Expo this year.” OurTownSF will continue to handle reservations for the Nonprofit Window at Walgreens and will publish its website that promotes over 330 groups serving the San Francisco LGBTQ community. Margolis concluded, “We at OurTownSF apologize for any inconvenience this causes you. We are evaluating whether to hold an Expo in the future and investigating other means in which to promote our beloved nonprofits.”

    Published on February 13, 2020