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    In the News: 5.3.2018

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan–

    SF Board of Supervisors Approves Creation of Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District

    On May 1, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the Leather Cultural District Resolution calling for the establishment of an LGBTQ Cultural District in the South of Market area. As the resolution holds, SoMa “has been a local and world capital for Leather culture since the 1960s, as well as one of the city’s most significant and distinctive LGBTQ neighborhoods since the 1950s, with a unique concentration of businesses, institutions, organizations, events, individuals and artists that has been an integral part of the City’s cultural richness, economic prosperity, and historical significance … .” San Francisco already has four cultural districts, and city leaders desire to have this new one and even more in order to protect and promote businesses, cultures and affordable housing. It is expected that the new Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District will gain negotiating rights in future development as well as access to public funds.

    Give OUT Day, National LGBTQ Online Fundraiser, Shatters Records

    Give OUT Day, the only national LGBTQ day of giving, had its record-breaking success on its sixth annual event. 2018’s Give OUT Day, held on April 19, raised more than $932,000 for over 400 participating organizations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition, the effort broke its previous record for number of donations made in 24 hours: 12,500. The total marked a 28.2% increase over last year’s fundraising total and a 32.9% increase in number of donors participating. Give OUT Day is a program of San Francisco’s Horizons Foundation. “In these days of challenges on many fronts, it is encouraging to see Give OUT Day demonstrate the power of our communities rallying around so many important organizations,” stated Horizons Foundation President Roger Doughty. “In the past year, our community has faced enormous opposition politically and through a simple act of giving, we’ve stood up to adversity and hatred and strengthened the resistance,” stated Give OUT Day Program Manager Nikole Pagan. “It is thrilling to watch Give OUT Day bring our community and allies together.”

    First of Its Kind San Francisco Mayoral Candidate Town Hall Held

    The Dignity Fund Coalition, co-sponsored by the SCAN Foundation and the San Francisco Bay Times, hosted the first San Francisco city-wide mayoral candidate town hall regarding seniors and people with disabilities. Members of one of the fastest growing populations in San Francisco, seniors and people with disabilities asked San Francisco mayoral candidates Angela Alioto, London Breed, Jane Kim and Mark Leno where they stood on issues affecting the dignity and quality of life for the 25% of San Francisco residents who are seniors and/or disabled. Representatives from more than 40 San Francisco nonprofit and community organizations also attended the event at Herbst Theatre on April 26. The moderator was Yomi Wrong, Community Activist.

    New Filing Fires Back at Trump Administration Request to Move Forward with Trans Military Ban

    The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed their opposition on April 26 to a Trump-Pence Administration request to dissolve the nationwide preliminary injunction that U.S. District Court Judge Jesus G. Bernal issued December 22, 2017, in Equality California’s lawsuit, Stockman v. Trump. There are currently four separate preliminary injunctions issued by four separate federal courts, blocking Trump’s ban from moving forward while the cases are being heard by the courts. On March 23, the Trump administration had filed a motion to dissolve the injunction, claiming to issue a “new policy” on transgender military service. However, as NCLR and GLAD demonstrate in the opposition filing, that policy merely details the steps the military plans to take to implement the ban that Judge Bernal and three other federal court judges have already blocked from taking effect. “No matter what the White House calls it, this is the same unpatriotic and discriminatory ban that four federal courts have already blocked from moving forward,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “At a time when our nation faces serious threats around the world, it’s baffling that President Trump remains focused on undermining our military by ripping thousands of distinguished service members from their posts.”

    Thousands Marched on May Day in the Bay Area for Immigrant and Worker Rights

    Participants on both sides of the Bay marched for immigrant and worker rights on May 1, which is International Workers’ Day. ILWU Local 10 led the Oakland march, which was co-organized by numerous groups such as the Anti-Police Terror Project and Critical Resistance. They mobilized around a theme of “No Ban, No Raids, No Wall: Sanctuary for All,” demonstrating the communities’ commitment to defending immigrants, people of color and working-class people against the increased attacks they face from the Trump administration and local law enforcement. The San Francisco rally, led by the Progressive Workers Alliance, included organizers such as the Black Workers Center, Mujeres Unidas y Activas and Young Workers United. The gathering at 16th Street and Mission included speakers who called for an end to ICE raids, displacement and violence.

    SF Pride to Bestow Jewelle Gomez with Lifetime Achievement Award

    Jewelle Gomez has been selected by the SF Pride Board of Directors to be Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshal in the June 24 Parade. Gomez is the author of seven books including the double Lambda Literary Award-Winning vampire novel The Gilda Stories. She has taught creative writing and popular culture at institutions of higher learning from San Francisco State University to Hunter College (NYC). She has written for numerous publications and is playwright in residence at New Conservatory Theatre Center. She was the recipient of a National Endowment on the Arts Fellowship in Literature and two California Arts Council Artist in Residence grants. In 2017, Gomez received the Barbary Coast Trailblazer Award from LitQuake. She was on the founding boards of GLAAD, The Astraea Lesbian Foundation, and the Open Meadows Foundation.

    Equality California Seeks Public Vote on Its Pride Slogan

    It may be May, but Pride season is just around the corner. EQCA Communications Director Samuel Garrett-Pate says, “Pride is so much more than a day, a weekend or a month of celebrating inclusion. It’s a positive stance against discrimination and in support of full equality and social justice for the LGBTQ community.” Last Pride, EQCA marched in resistance to the Trump-Pence administration’s attempts to roll back queer civil rights. But after a year of fighting back and standing our ground, EQCA wants this year’s Pride to be about the future. So, they are asking the public to pick via online vote one of six slogans: “Love Persists,” “The Future is Fearless,” “Pride is Power,” “Forward Together,” “United for Equality” or “Power in Pride.” The online voting site is

    Mayor Mark Farrell and Cork, Ireland’s Mayor Tony Fitzgerald Reach New Cooperative Agreement to Strengthen LGBTQ Rights

    San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell and Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald of Cork, Ireland, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on April 23 that will enhance ties and establish new relationships between the two cities’ LGBTQ communities. “San Francisco’s LGBTQ community has long been on the forefront of advancing critical civil rights issues—we are proud to partner with Cork to share and advance these ideals,” said Farrell. “Compassion, empathy and inclusion are universal values, regardless of which side of the Atlantic you reside. By working with Cork and Lord Mayor Fitzgerald we can strengthen our collective LGBTQ communities while sharing our messages of hope with other cities across the globe.” San Francisco and Cork, which are Sister Cities, will be working together to exchange best practices, programs and policies regarding critical LGBTQ issues. Additionally, the cities are partnering on a joint application for membership of the International Rainbow Cities Network. A successful application would result in San Francisco becoming the first U.S. city and Cork the first city of Ireland to secure membership. San Francisco has long been recognized for its support and commitment to LGBTQ residents, and the City has encouraged other cities across the world to follow suit. In 2013, San Francisco gifted Cork a Rainbow Flag, and as a result, Cork became the first city in Ireland to fly the Rainbow Flag from a civic building. Cork was the only city in Ireland to include LGBTQ community members in their development plans to combat transphobia and homophobia and to host LGBT community celebrations.

    LGBTQ Community Leaders Appointed to California Complete Count Committee

    California Governor Jerry Brown has formed the California Complete Count Committee, a statewide panel of community members that will guide the state’s outreach for the 2020 federal census. Three LGBTQ people were among the appointees: Kate Kendell (executive director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights since 1994 and a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah from 1990 to 1994); Nicholas Hatten (executive director at the San Joaquin Pride Center since 2011); and John Joanino (senior communications associate at Advancement Project California since 2017). “It is vitally important for California to do everything it can to ensure that every Californian is counted in the upcoming census,” said Governor Brown. The 25 Committee members represent a diverse cross-section of the state with participants from both the public and private sectors. Governor Brown appointed 23 individuals to the Committee, and openly lesbian Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon each appointed one member to the Committee.

    AB 2943 Bill, Declaring Conversion Therapy a Fraudulent Practice, Passes in State Assembly

    Assembly Bill 2943, drafted by openly gay Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley), Chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus, declares conversion therapy a fraudulent practice in the state of California. The bill passed the Assembly on April 19 by a bipartisan vote of 50–18. Although conversion therapy with minors is illegal in the state, there are no such protections for adults. In 2009, an American Psychological Association task force issued a report declaring that the practice “poses critical health risks” and contributes to anti-LGBT stigma. “The pain and fear suffered by those who have been subjected to conversion therapy are something that I can personally identify with,” said Assemblymember Low. “This legislation finally creates accountability for those who claim to provide therapy but are in fact peddling an unfounded and destructive practice.” The American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the American Medical Association all oppose the practice on the basis that it is not evidence-based and is potentially harmful to the patient’s mental health. The practice also contributes to social stigma by characterizing homosexuality as a mental illness, a view that has been discredited for decades. AB 2943 now heads to the Senate.