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    In the News: 6.7.2018

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    President Trump Refuses to Proclaim National LGBT Pride Month

    It has been traditional practice for the President of the United States to annually declare June as National Pride Month, but President Trump has noticeably skipped the tradition. Instead he has declared the following for June: African-American Music Appreciation Month, National Homeownership Month, National Ocean Month, National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, and Great Outdoors Month, among others. While the Democrats have issued a public statement to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month, homophobic Vice President Mike Pence and Trump are ignoring it.

    San Francisco LGBT Community Leaders React to Masterpiece Cakeshop Decision by Supreme Court

    In 2012, a same-sex couple visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado to order a custom wedding cake. Masterpiece’s owner, Jack Phillips, declined their cake request, informing the couple that he did not create wedding cakes for same-sex marriages due to his Christian religious beliefs. In a decision made on June 4, the Supreme Court held that Phillips did not get a fair hearing on his complaint, saying a state commission had violated the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom in a ruling against the baker. The court, however, expressly recognized that states can seek to prevent the harms of discrimination in the marketplace, including against LGBT people. Rebecca Rolfe, Executive Director of the SF LGBT Center, commented that the “ruling was a case specific ruling, and though it is disappointing, it is not a win for anti-LGBTQ people. Let’s remember that 60% of our states lack explicit protections from LGBT people being discriminated against in the workplace, housing, stores and restaurants. It is just another reason why we need an equality act on a national level; so that there is one set of rules for everyone.” Senator Scott Wiener echoed these remarks, adding that we “dodged a bullet” in that “the Supreme Court did not reach the ultimate question of whether people have a constitutional right to violate anti-discrimination laws based on their religious beliefs.” Robin Knauer Maril, Associate Legal Director of the Human Rights Campaign, reminded: “The Court’s decision also did not change our nation’s fundamental civil rights laws.” For more legal analysis, see Ann Rostow’s column in this issue. and other reports

    LGBTQ Leaders Hold Rally to Denounce Supreme Court Ruling

    Local LGBTQ leaders, including Mark Leno, Rafael Mandelman, Bevan Dufty, Honey Mahogany and Gina Simi, held a special press conference in Harvey Milk Plaza on the afternoon of June 4 to denounce the Supreme Court ruling on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission earlier that day. The organizers indicated that the decision sets a new precedent protecting business owners from being sued for refusing services based on religious grounds, overruling laws in 21 states that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Mandelman said, “The Supreme Court has given the LGBTQ community a bitter start to Pride month. It is absolutely clear with this decision that we have not achieved legal equality.” and other reports

    San Francisco Pride Announces Entertainers and Speakers for 2018 Celebration

    SF Pride has announced the hosts, speakers and performers scheduled for their Main Stage at the steps of City Hall for this year’s celebrations. They are as follows: June 23: Persia, Yves Saint Croissant (hosts); The Tenderloin Museum’s Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, Children’s After School Arts, Rafiki Coalition, Equality California (speakers); and International DJ/Producer Hector Fonseca, Natascha Bessez, The Stud with DJ set by Siobhan Aluvalot, Femme Deadly Venoms, Ms. Nzuri Soul, JMxJM, Trangela Lansbury, ieuan, SUMif, Noctuary SF (performers). On June 24 they will be Sister Roma and Honey Mahogany (hosts); Dr. Karyn Skultety of Openhouse, Kate Kendell of NCLR, Ivy B of HeadCount, Gavin Grimm concerning Transgender Rights, Dr. Cynthia Gomez of Planned Parenthood, Bay Area American IndianTwo-Spirits (BAAIT-S), Annie Steinberg of the Metropolitan Community Church, a tribute to Community Grand Marshal Soni Wolf (speakers); Yaeji, Le1f, Evelyn “Champagne” King, Our Lady J, Shopping, Ada Vox Presented by Salesforce, Alphabet Rockers, CHEER SF, Midtown Social, Glamamore, House of PRIDE, BOIGRL and Thrillhammer (performers).

    NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell Receives Proclamation From the City

    Monday, June 4, was proclaimed as “Kate Kendell Day” in San Francisco, with the popular Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) honored during the Pride Month kick-off ceremony at SF City Hall. With several LGBTQ leaders and allies in attendance, Kendell received the 2018 Teddy Basham-Witherington Award as well as the proclamation. The latter reads, in part, that Kendell’s “charisma, passion and vision have resulted in NCLR becoming one of the most creative and effective advocacy organizations in this country, and every LGBTQ person has benefited because of her incredible leadership … .” Kendell earlier this year announced that, after 22 years at NCLR, she is stepping down from her role as head of the organization.

    AIDS/LifeCycle Raises Record-Breaking $16.6 Million This Year for HIV Programs

    On June 3, AIDS/LifeCycle announced that participants have raised more than $16.6 million dollars—a record amount in the event’s history—to support San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the HIV/AIDS-related services of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. AIDS/LifeCycle remains the world’s largest single event HIV/AIDS fundraiser. As of this writing, the 7-day, 545-mile journey for the participants is still underway. “Our tireless riders and roadies have once again risen to the occasion, raising millions of dollars to make a difference in the fight against HIV and AIDS,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “Thanks to their hard work and the generosity of their donors, we will continue to be able to provide free or low-cost HIV testing and medical services—caring for those most in need and reducing the incidence of HIV infection.” Since 2002, when AIDS/LifeCycle first began, participants have raised more than $251 million and completed more than 61,000 journeys on bikes from San Francisco to Los Angeles. “The enduring commitment of the AIDS/LifeCycle community demonstrates the tenacity we need to end the HIV epidemic for all communities,” said San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Joe Hollendoner. “Because of awareness and funds raised by AIDS/LifeCycle participants, San Francisco AIDS Foundation is able to provide 25,000 clients with services that prevent new infections and promote the health of those living with HIV, all free of charge.”

    Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN Sue Defense Department Over Policies Denying People Living with HIV

    Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed a lawsuit on May 30 on behalf of a sergeant in the D.C. Army National Guard who was denied the opportunity to serve as an officer and faces possible discharge from the armed services because he is living with HIV. The lawsuit challenges the Pentagon’s current policies preventing enlistment, deployment or commissioning as an officer if a person is living with HIV, and likely would affect implementation of the new “Deploy or Get Out” policy unveiled by the Trump administration in February. Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed the lawsuit on behalf of Sgt. Nick Harrison, a veteran of two overseas combat zones who was denied a position in the Judge Advocate General Corps because current Pentagon policy considers service members living with HIV non-deployable, and will not allow them to enlist or to be appointed as officers. OutServe-SLDN is also an organizational plaintiff in this case to advance the interests of its members who are living with HIV and serving in the military. In a companion lawsuit, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN are representing an anonymous service member living with HIV who the Air Force refused to commission as an officer after he graduated from the Air Force Academy, despite recommendations from medical personnel to do so.

    Designer Kate Spade Supported LGBTQ Community at Critical Time

    Kate Brosnahan Spade’s death by apparent suicide on June 5 shocked and saddened many in the fashion world and beyond. Although Spade sold her successful namesake company in 2007, it has remained strongly associated with her. In 2011, as the fight for nationwide marriage equality was ramping up, the companies Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Levi’s joined Human Rights Campaign’s “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality Campaign.” Each of the companies devoted their storefront windows to marriage equality themes. The bold statements garnered both national and international attention. As HRC York Senior Strategist Brian Ellner said at the time, the effort helped to promote “equality and fairness.” Spade’s suspected cause of death unfortunately also reminds that suicide rates are on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate for Caucasian women is particularly high, increasing by 60% from 1999–2014, the CDC reports. San Francisco Suicide Prevention hosts at least seven different 24-hour hotlines. Information is online ( and

    Estimate of U.S. LGBT Population Rises to 4.5%

    The percentage of American adults identifying as LGBT increased to 4.5% in 2017, up from 4.1% in 2016 and 3.5% in 2012 when Gallup began tracking the measure. The latest estimate is based on over 340,000 interviews conducted as part of Gallup’s daily tracking in 2017. Extrapolation to the latest census estimate of adults 18 and older in the U.S. suggests that more than 11 million adults identify as LGBT in the country today. The expansion in the number of Americans who identify as LGBT is driven primarily by the cohort of millennials, defined as those born between 1980 and 1999. The percentage of millennials who identify as LGBT expanded from 7.3% to 8.1% from 2016 to 2017, and is up from 5.8% in 2012. By contrast, the LGBT percentage in Generation X (those born from 1965 to 1979) was up only .2% from 2016 to 2017. There was no change last year in LGBT percentage among baby boomers (born 1946 through 1964) and members of the so-called Silent Generation (born prior to 1946).