Recent Comments


    Vice President Elect Kamala Devi Harris Will Always Be a Friend to the LGBTQ+ Community

    By Rebecca Prozan–

    The year was 2003. After working at City Hall, attending law school, co-chairing former Supervisor Bevan Dufty’s first campaign, and taking the bar exam, I went on a cross country road trip with my wife. When we returned, around the last week in August, my old friend and district attorney candidate Kamala Harris called. She was looking for a campaign manager for her insurgent run. 

    We met at her political consultant’s office. When I asked how the polls were, she said she was at 8%. I responded with, “What am I supposed to do with that?” and she looked at me and replied, “Just get me into the runoff, Rebecca, I know I can win if I’m in a runoff.” At that time, there were no instant runoffs and so the top two vote getters faced off after making it through the first round. The District Attorney’s Office had floundered under its current leadership and Harris’ chops as a professional, experienced leader were exactly what the office and the City needed at the time. 

    With just 15 weeks on the job, managing a LOT of supporters and naysayers, and with significant twists and turns, low and behold, Kamala Harris won that first race and took off from there.

    The LGBTQ+ community can rest assured that we have more than an ally in the Vice President Elect. She often spoke then, as she does now, that she was raised in the Civil Rights Movement, and she understood from an early age that all of us deserve equality and equity.

    The Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club stood firm as a key endorser, and the Vice President Elect attends almost every Pride Parade Breakfast in San Francisco. Alice saw, as did many others at that time, that justice and equality are the Vice President Elect’s North Star. 

    As District Attorney, she placed members of the LGBTQ+ community in highly visible roles—notably Chief of Administration Paul Henderson, Chief of Policy Tim Silard, as well as significant hires in the rank and file, including Julius DeGuia, Susan Christian, Martha Knutzen, David Fujimoto, and myself. 

    The office organized a forum on the trans panic defense, a legal strategy in which a person claims that anti-LGBTQ+ violence or murder is justified because the victim made sexual advances toward the perpetrator. Additionally, she ensured a substantive hate crimes unit addressed our needs in that crimes perpetrated against members of our community would be prosecuted. 

    District Attorney Harris also performed same-sex wedding ceremonies during the Winter of Love in 2004. I remember calling her on my way to City Hall to let her know that Julia and I were to be married during that time. Later on, she would attend a private ceremony for the two of us in 2008 during the window of legality.

    Much has been written about her courage not to defend Proposition 8, allowing the courts to find that law unconstitutional. She also publicly performed the ceremony of Kris Perry and Sandra Stier, one set of plaintiffs in the case. It bears repeating because the best judge of someone’s future is to review how they have acted. Our Vice President Elect has proven time and time again that she will fight for us.

    With all of this in mind, a group of us went to Maricopa County in Arizona to help turn it blue. Those of you who know me know I won’t sugar coat what we saw—there is a whole world outside San Francisco that does not see things the way we do—and the messaging that should work isn’t. We have a lot of work to do to have people see and experience how Democratic Party policies can improve lives. The way we did things before isn’t translating.

    It’s quite a moment for San Francisco in that one of our own, out of our street fighting politics, made it all the way to the White House.

    Rebecca Prozan is the Senior Manager of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Google, where she is also the Head of Public Affairs. Previously she served as Director of Community Relations for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Legislative Aide to former Supervisor Bevan Dufty, City Commissioner, and Campaign Manager for Kamala Harris for District Attorney (2003).

    Published on November 19, 2020