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    In the News: 7.13.2017

    Compiled by Dennis McMillan

    HRC Enacts Its Largest Ever Grassroots Expansion

    The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) this week announced a grassroots expansion that is larger and bolder than any in the organization’s 37-year history. “It’s not enough to resist the hateful policies and attacks coming from the Trump-Pence regime—we’ve got to accelerate the pace of progress toward full equality and secure protections for LGBTQ people in states and communities across the country,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “Our grassroots army of over 3 million has proven that, even in the face of unprecedented challenges, we can make incredible progress and defeat the hateful politicians who’ve been emboldened by Donald Trump when we organize and mobilize. The power and determination of the 10 million LGBTQ voters and our allies across America will only continue to grow stronger in the face of discriminatory attacks on our rights and freedoms.” At least $26 million will go toward the expansion that will, in part, support pro-equality candidates in coming elections. HRC has also begun recruiting at least 20 additional full-time staff, including dedicated political, field, grassroots organizing, volunteer engagement, communications, and digital staff, who will join more than two dozen existing staff working on the initiative.

    More Than a Million Estimated to Have Attended SF’s 47th Pride Parade

    Pride events nationwide have been experiencing an uptick in attendance this year, mostly due to renewed activism countering the Trump-Pence administration. San Francisco appears to have been no exception, with several media reports estimating that over a million people attended the Pride Parade on Sunday, June 25. The largely peaceful event, which had the theme “A Celebration of Diversity” mixed with messages of resistance, involved more than 240 groups and organizations.

    Former President Obama to Attend First Political Event Since Leaving Office

    Former President Barack Obama this evening, July 13, will headline a political fundraiser in D.C. hosted by former Attorney General Eric Holder, who is now leading the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. The event is relatively small, being in a private home, but analysts say it marks Obama’s return to official political activities. “Restoring fairness to our democracy by advocating for fairer, more inclusive district maps around the country is a priority for President Obama,” Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, told CNN. “The President supports NDRC, Holder’s efforts to address unfair gerrymandering practices that leave too many American voters feeling voiceless in the electoral process.” The Obama Foundation ( has also been ramping up its efforts.

    Hate Crimes Rising Against LGBT Individuals Statewide

    The state’s attorney general has announced that hate crimes are up by double digits for the second consecutive year in California. Gay men were among the most targeted groups. Across the state, 931 hate crimes were reported in 2016, almost 100 more than in the previous year. This amounts to an increase in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes of about 10 percent.

    SF Drag Performer Refused Ride by Lyft

    LOL McFiercen, a San Francisco drag performer, performed earlier this month on stage at The Stud’s regular “Desperate Living” party. She then called for a Lyft ride, only to be refused service. McFiercen (birth name Kevin Seaman) reported the incident to Lyft, and received a $10 coupon for a free ride and assurance that she would not receive that same driver again. She was also informed: “Discrimination of any kind on the Lyft platform is completely unacceptable, and we believe no one using our service should ever feel discriminated against because of who they are. What is being described by the passenger in this case is completely inappropriate and against our values as a company, as well as against Lyft’s anti-discrimination policy, violation of which can result in deactivation from the platform. We ask anyone facing discrimination of any kind to report those incidents to our Critical Response Line so they can be properly investigated.” Should others experience the same, a link to Lyft’s Critical Response Line is at:

    Joe Garrett Announced as New Deputy Director of the National AIDS Memorial Grove

    Joe Garrett has joined the National AIDS Memorial Grove’s (NAMG) team. Garrett will be taking on the role as Deputy Director and brings with him a depth of experience and passionate connection to the NAMG mission. Garrett brings much experience in the Bay Area philanthropic community to the National AIDS Memorial Grove. During his personal life and career, he has led numerous local, national and international organizations as Board Chairman, and has been a senior advisor, major donor, and fundraiser for many years. He and his husband Spike Lomibao will be walking with the NAMG team at this Sunday’s AIDS Walk.

    Nightlife Bill Clears Assembly Committee

    The Assembly Governmental Organization Committee approved with bipartisan support Senate Bill 384, a bill authored by Senator Scott Wiener to allow—but not require—local communities to extend alcohol service to as late as 4 am. The LOCAL Act, which stands for Let Our Communities Adjust Late Night, applies to bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, but not to liquor stores. The Appropriations Committee is the last stop for the bill before being considered by the full Assembly. In May, the LOCAL Act passed the Senate with a bi-partisan super-majority vote of 27–9. American cities with late-night service hours beyond 2 am include Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Buffalo, Las Vegas, Louisville, Atlanta, Miami Beach, New Orleans, and Atlanta.

    Gay Men and Transgender People Face Discrimination in Housing Market

    Gay men are less likely to be told about available housing and, when they are, are quoted higher prices than straight men, according to the results of a new study conducted by the Urban Institute on LGBT housing discrimination. Researchers also found that transgender people are less likely to hear about available units compared to cisgender people. Lesbian women and straight women, though, were generally treated the same.

    SFMTA/MUNI Plans for 18th Street Construction in Castro

    Starting at 10 pm tomorrow, July 14, and ending at about 4 am on Monday morning, July 17, “No Parking Tow Away” will be posted and enforced continuously on the north side of 18th Street between Collingwood and the top (western end) of 18th Street at Upper Market Street. On Saturday, July 15, between 3 am and 9 am and again that day between 8 pm and 2 am (early Sunday morning the 16th), and then again on Sunday July 16 between 8 pm and 2 am (early Monday morning the 17th) the north sidewalk in the same area will be subject to a “rolling closure” as crews actively work to replace Muni’s overhead power cable above that sidewalk. The contractor will have safety personnel on site during these times to guide pedestrians and to assure continued local access for businesses, residents, and vehicles. During active work, pedestrians are advised to use sidewalks on the south side of 18th Street.

    Angry Birds on Patrol Near Church & Market

    If you have been dive-bombed recently while walking near the Safeway at Church and Market, you are not alone. Birds have been tapping pedestrians on the head as they pass near the supermarket. “Every year, this is a common occurrence all over the city,” noted Officer Edith at Animal Care and Control, the City’s chief wildlife wrangler. The birds, properly identified as Brewer’s blackbirds, “are protecting their nests” and “won’t injure you,” she said. The blackbirds are likely nesting in the branches of street trees with recently hatched chicks, so when someone gets too close, they remind pedestrians to keep moving. “We recommend using the opposite sidewalk until the babies have fledged, which should be in a couple of weeks,” said Officer Edith.