Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 46 / 16 November 2017

Farley named new trans adviser by SF mayor

by Sari Staver

Clair Farley, the director of economic development at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center for the past 11 years, has been named the mayor’s senior adviser on transgender initiatives, replacing Theresa Sparks, a trans woman who is retiring.

(Clair Farley)

(Clair Farley)

Farley, 34, is a transgender woman and will begin the position December 4.

“Clair Farley has been an inspirational leader in our city on LGBTQ economic and social rights issues,” Mayor Ed Lee said in a news release. “In her new role she will carry on the important work that Theresa Sparks set in motion and will assure that San Francisco continues to pioneer policies and programming that inspire the rest of the country to follow suit. San Francisco has a long-standing commitment to advancing and protecting the rights of the transgender community and with Clair’s leadership we will continue our work to make San Francisco a safer, more diverse, and more equitable city.”

In an email to the Bay Area Reporter, Farley said she was honored to have been appointed to the job.

“This has been a remarkable month despite these challenging times, with over seven transgender candidates winning elections across the country and the passing of vital trans policy in California,” Farley wrote.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more in Thursday’s paper.

— Cynthia Laird, November 20, 2017 @ 1:34 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Homeless people, activists to sleep out at Powell St. BART

Homeless people and their allies will lay out their sleeping bags at 5 p.m. Thursday at San Francisco’s Powell Street BART station to protest what the Coalition on Homelessness calls “ongoing abuses of homeless people and the failure of the city to provide adequate housing.”

The action, which will include live music, movie screenings, and free haircuts, comes as other organizations are also planning “Sleep Out” events this week.

There are more than 1,100 adults on a waitlist for shelter beds, the coalition said in a news release, which also pointed to the tent encampments that have become common in the city.

“It is clear that now is the time for long-term solutions, not shortsighted political posturing or band-aid solutions,” the coalition said. “Unfortunately the city has chosen to ramp up sweeps of encampments rather than offer housing to those struggling on the streets.”

According to the group, campers have spoken of losing family heirlooms, medications, and other belongings during the sweeps.

“The ongoing criminalization of poor and homeless people serves only to exacerbate existing addictions and mental health issues, while doing nothing to place people in stable housing,” Sam Lew, the coalition’s policy director, stated. “This Sleep Out action will call attention to the inhumanity of move along to nowhere homeless sweeps and cry out for real solutions.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 16, 2017 @ 4:29 pm PST
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Man robbed on Muni train near Duboce Park

A man was robbed on a Muni train near San Francisco’s Duboce Park Wednesday night.

According to police, the 61-year-old victim was riding the train at about 8:15 p.m. When the train stopped at Duboce and Noe streets, another man, who appeared to be 20, punched him and took his cellphone before leaving the train and fleeing in an unknown direction.

The victim was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

No arrests have been reported.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:40 pm PST
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SF police association head wants apology from DeJesus for Taser comments

The president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association is calling on lesbian police commissioner Petra DeJesus to apologize for calling officers who use Tasers “lazy.”

DeJesus was one of three commissioners who voted November 3 against equipping officers with Tasers, which are also known as Electronic Control Devices. (DeJesus’ effort was unsuccessful, as the motion passed 4-3.)

According to POA President Martin Halloran’s November 15 letter to DeJesus, she told KTVU TV on the day of the vote, “Using Tasers is the lazy cops’ way of getting someone to do something. Oh, if you don’t move quickly enough, I’ll tase you. If you don’t get out of the car, I’ll tase you. It’s a hands on job. They can use other things.”

Halloran told DeJesus, “You have an important position in our community to make such ill-informed and juvenile remarks. You embarrassed not only your colleagues on the commission but all of the hard-working officers on our streets who are trying to make a difference in people’s lives. You seem to think law enforcement is a game. It’s not. Go go a midnight watch line-up at Bayview Station [one of the city’s most crime-ridden districts] or any other station for that matter and explain to them why you think using ECDs is a lazy option.”

He added that DeJesus should either apologize to the officers of the San Francisco Police Department “or have the courage to tell them to their face that you believe they are lazy.”

DeJesus didn’t immediately respond to the Bay Area Reporter’s requests for comment. The longtime police commissioner has opposed Tasers for years, and earlier this year, Supervisor Ahsha Safei backed labor leader Olga Miranda’s effort to unseat DeJesus. Miranda eventually ended her bid after the B.A.R. and other media outlets reported on allegations that she’d been physically and verbally abusive toward others.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:18 pm PST
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Traffic stop data collection rules finalized; includes LGBT info

Attorney General Xavier Becerra

Attorney General Xavier Becerra

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Wednesday that the regulations drafted by the state Department of Justice for collecting law enforcement stop data have been finalized.

With the regulations, which are part of Assembly Bill 953, the Racial and Identity Profiling Act of 2015, officers will have to track their perception of each person’s race, gender, and whether they perceive that person as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, among other provisions.

The nine largest agencies will begin collecting the stop data July 1, 2018 and report it to the DOJ.

“Public safety is a job for all of us – our peace officers, of course, but a cooperative citizenry as well,” Becerra said in a news release. “Trust is the glue that makes the relationship between law enforcement and the community work. This new RIPA data collection and reporting process is meant to strengthen, and in some cases repair, that trust.”

Along with perceived orientation and gender identity, officers will also be required to collect information on the reason for and result of the stop.

Chief Edward Medrano, Co-Chair of the RIPA Advisory Board and President of the California Police Chiefs Association, stated that the association “has routinely proven to be a collaborative partner with various stakeholders throughout California in our efforts to increase public safety and enhance community trust in law enforcement. The Racial and Identity Profiling Act and the recently approved regulations is another tool to ensure our officers continue to provide fair and impartial policing to the communities we serve.”

Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, who authored AB 953, said, “With these regulations we will have the comprehensive hard data necessary to understand the scope of the problem and to make practical decisions about how to reduce over-policing persons of color, a practice that wastes resources, engenders mistrust and compromises public safety.”

More information is available at

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 15, 2017 @ 5:20 pm PST
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SF Symphony’s Tilson Thomas selected for CA Hall of Fame

by Cynthia Laird

San Francisco Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas has been inducted into the California Hall of Fame, Governor Jerry Brown’s office announced Tuesday, November 14.

(SF Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas. Photo: Courtesy SF Symphony)

(SF Symphony music director Michael Tilson Thomas. Photo: Courtesy SF Symphony)

Tilson Thomas, a gay man, recently announced that he will step down in 2020, after 25 years with the symphony.

According to the symphony’s website, Tilson Thomas, 72, is currently the longest-tenured music director at any major American orchestra. Tilson Thomas became the symphony’s 11th music director in September 1995.

Tilson Thomas and the orchestra have been praised for innovative programming, enhancing the orchestral concert experience with multimedia and creative staging, showcasing the works of American composers, and attracting new audiences to orchestral music, both at home at Davies Symphony Hall and through the orchestra’s extensive media projects, the website noted.

The California Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, December 5, at the California Museum in Sacramento.

According to the Sacramento Bee, which broke the news Tuesday, other inductees include: comedian Lucille Ball, former Oakland Raiders and Stanford University quarterback Jim Plunkett, director Steven Spielberg, bioscientist Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Native American artist and activist Mabel McKay, Nobel Prize recipient and atmospheric chemist Mario J. Molina, poet Gary Snyder, and vintner Warren Winiarski.

Tilson Thomas will be the fourth out gay man inducted. There have also been two lesbians, and a woman who had a same-sex relationship but doesn’t identify as LGBT.

This week’s Bay Area Reporter arts section in Thursday’s paper will have more on Tilson Thomas.

— Cynthia Laird, November 14, 2017 @ 3:21 pm PST
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Bill Clinton coming to National AIDS Memorial Grove

Former President Bill Clinton is expected to visit the National AIDS Memorial Grove Friday, December 1, World AIDS Day, the Bay Area Reporter has learned.

(Former President Bill Clinton.)

(Former President Bill Clinton.)

Exact details are not known, and the grove did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But two sources have indicated that Clinton will be there.

The grove typically has a public event on World AIDS Day.

The grove’s “Light in the Grove,” a fundraiser held the night before, will feature gay San Francisco mayoral candidate Mark Leno, according to sources.

As the B.A.R. reported in 2009, in 1996 the grove did gain some prominence when Congress and then-President Bill Clinton designated it a national memorial, one of only two in California. Yet Clinton never visited, nor has any president ever stepped foot in the grove while in office. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has visited the grove many times and was instrumental in seeing it designated a national memorial.

Hillary Clinton, then the first lady, did attend the ceremony establishing the national recognition of the grove.

Bill Clinton has long been an AIDS advocate, especially since leaving the White House. The Clinton Foundation has funded programs in developing countries to combat HIV/AIDS, including lowering the costs of medications for people.

The post will be updated when we get more information.

— Cynthia Laird, November 9, 2017 @ 11:13 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF mayor marks Milk election anniversary

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement Wednesday marking the anniversary of slain gay icon Harvey Milk winning election to the Board of Supervisors.

“On this day 40 years ago, Harvey Milk forever changed our city and helped reshape politics in our state and nation,” said Lee in his November 8 statement.

“As the first openly-gay elected official in California history, Harvey broke down barriers and opened up boundless possibilities for members of the LGBTQ community. He was a fearless trailblazer who refused to be marginalized, and his courage inspired countless others follow in his footsteps,” Lee continued.

Milk, a Castro district camera shop owner, won election November 8, 1977, after previous attempts to win a seat failed. A year later, in November 1978, he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by former supervisor Dan White.

“As we continue to witness assaults on our civil rights – particularly the rights of our LGBTQ members – now more than ever we need to embrace the spirit of Harvey,” stated Lee. “In San Francisco, we will embody his legacy by being a city that stands up and proudly fights on the behalf of all of our residents. We will forever remember what Harvey used to say – hope will be never silent.”

In other news this week, several out LGBT candidates across the country won their elections. See the Thursday, November 9 edition of the Bay Area Reporter for details.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 8, 2017 @ 1:04 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Installation begins on next round of SF LGBT history walk plaques

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, left, AT&T store manager Devina Ewing, and Rainbow Honor Walk Board Member David Perry unveiled one of seven new plaques for the Honor Walk on Castro Street during an event June 3 at the Powell Street AT&T store. Photo: Rick Gerharter

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, left, AT&T store manager Devina Ewing, and Rainbow Honor Walk Board Member David Perry unveiled one of the new plaques for the Honor Walk on Castro Street during an event June 3 at the Powell Street AT&T store. Photo: Rick Gerharter.

Work has begun to install the next set of eight plaques for the Rainbow Honor Walk, a project in San Francisco’s gay Castro district that celebrates deceased LGBT luminaries.

In September 2014 the first group of 20 LGBT individuals who left a lasting mark on society was honored with bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalk on the 400 and 500 blocks of Castro Street and a portion of 19th Street.

In June of 2016 the next set of 24 names to be added to the walk was revealed, though organizers of the project opted to add the plaques for the LGBT historical figures in batches as the estimated cost to pay for production of the 24 individual bronze plaques is $120,000.

This past June the names of the first octet and their plaques to be embedded along upper Market Street were unveiled at the AT&T Store downtown and displayed there during Pride Month. Employees with San Francisco Public Works began tearing up the sidewalk along Market Street near Castro Street this morning (Monday, November 6) to begin the process of securing the plaques in the ground.

On the south side of Market Street, where the Chevron gas station is, between 17th and Noe Streets will be plaques for drag queen Jose Sarria, a gay man who founded the Imperial Court system; Rikki Streicher, who owned several now-closed San Francisco lesbian bars and helped found the Gay Games Federation; Glenn Burke, the first out Major League Baseball player; and We’Wha, a Zuni Native American two-spirit/mixed gender tribal leader.

On the north side of Market Street, where the Pottery Barn store is, will be plaques for lesbian astronaut Sally Ride; gay Iranian poet Fereydoun Farakzhad; lesbian lawmaker Barbara Jordan; and gay Japanese-American civil rights activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya.

Project co-founder David Perry, a gay man who owns an eponymously named public relations firm, told the Bay Area Reporter that all eight of the plaques could be laid into the sidewalk as early as this Thursday.

“Never has it been more important to celebrate the contributions of LGBT heroes and heroines,” stated Perry, who chairs of the Rainbow Honor Walk’s board, in an emailed reply. “With these next eight Rainbow Honor Walk honorees, we turn the corner from Castro onto Market Street. One day, we hope these stories in bronze will pave the way all down Market Street to inspire new generations of activism, education and justice.”

The eight plaques cost $48,437.61, with all of the money to pay for them raised from private funds, wrote Perry. The honor walk board has banked $31,000 to date to cover the cost for the next 16 plaques and continues to raise funds to cover the entire amount needed.

“I’m quite confident we’ll have all the funds needed for manufacture and installation of the final 16 before Pride 2018,” Perry told the B.A.R. this week.

Since the new plaques were “unveiled” in June, Perry said the project’s board isn’t planning to host a big event with media and local dignitaries to celebrate their installation. Instead, it is working on plans to hold a small reception sometime this month to mark the public debut of the project’s second phase of plaques.

For more information about the Rainbow Honor Walk, as well as longer bios about all of the honorees, visit

— Matthew S. Bajko, November 6, 2017 @ 4:14 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay man found dead in Hayes Valley apartment

Alkoraishie Ali, left, and Keith Harris in undated photo. (Photo courtesy of Gus Bean.)

The body of Keith Harris, right, seen in this undated photo with his boyfriend, Alkoraishie Ali, was discovered in Hayes Valley on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Gus Bean.)

The man who was found dead in Hayes Valley Thursday, November 2, was Keith Harris, 48, a gay man whose boyfriend is now missing, according to people who knew Harris.

The medical examiner’s office has not confirmed the name of the man who died, but Paul Novales, the manager of the Estrella Apartments at 340 Hayes Street, said that he got a call at about 2 p.m. Thursday because Harris hadn’t been seen in a couple days.

Novales said that he knocked on Harris’ door, but there was no response, so he unlocked it.

When he opened the door, there were “big drops” of blood “on the floor and smears of blood on the wall and the door going into the bathroom,” he said. He immediately walked away from the door to the apartment and called 911.

Novales said that there was an open door inside the one-room apartment that blocked the view of the rest of the unit, and he didn’t see Harris’ body.

He said that a woman who lives next to Harris’ apartment heard “loud voices” coming from there at about 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, November 1, but she couldn’t tell what was being said.

Police said that Harris had suffered “stab wounds” and that a knife was used as the weapon, but they have not released much more information.

Harris was an “absolutely nice, normal guy,” said Novales, “the kind of tenant that everyone wishes they had.”

He said that he didn’t know very well Harris’ partner, Alkoraishie Ali, and police have not announced Ali as a suspect. Ali hasn’t responded to Facebook messages from the Bay Area Reporter.

Longtime San Francisco party promoter Gus Bean, who was friends with the couple, said that Ali, who’s in his early 20s, has frequently worked for him as a go-go dancer.

“Nobody seems to know where he is,” said Bean. “His phone goes to voicemail.”

He added, “They seemed like a perfectly happy couple. … Keith’s an absolute sweetheart, the sweetest guy ever,” and “Ali seemed like a really sweet guy.”

Bean said that he didn’t know of Ali having any trouble involving drugs or crime.

“When he came to work at the parties, he seemed completely sober and always did a really great job and was definitely professional,” he said.

Besides dancing, Ali has also worked at the Body clothing store on Castro Street. One worker there Thursday declined to comment, indicating he was too busy.

Residents of the building described Harris as a kind man and said they weren’t aware of him having any trouble. Several people said they did not recognize Ali from photos on his Facebook page.

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the Thursday, November 9 edition of the paper.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 3, 2017 @ 5:23 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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