Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Queer Berkeley student loses election bid

UC Berkeley third-year student Eunice Kwon came up short in her bid to be president of the student government at the East Bay campus.

Had she won, the 21-year-old queer Asian American studies major would have been the first LGBT person elected to lead the ASUC, which stands for the Associated Students of the University of California.

According to preliminary results posted to the ASUC’s Web site late Tuesday, April 13, Noah Stern with the political party known as Student Action won the presidency post.

It did not say by how wide of a margin Stern had won the race. A story in campus newspaper The Daily Cal did not include the vote totals for the presidential match-up, but the story did point out that Stern’s victory is being investigated as his opponents have accused him of rigging the election.

Another out candidate on Kwon’s CalSERVE slate also failed to win his race for a government post. Lean De Leon was defeated in his bid to be executive vice president.

Three out candidates from the progressive party did win seats in the Senate: Kenny Gong, Alex Tan, and Larry Bach. A fourth out candidate, Nevin Rao, failed to win enough votes.

According to the ASUC, more than 12,000 students voted in the 2010, one of the highest turnout rates in the history of the university. Between  April 6 and April 8, 12,383 UC Berkeley students cast their ballot, as compared to the 11,016 students who voted in the 2009 elections. This year saw a 12.4 percent increase in turnout.

— Matthew S. Bajko, April 14, 2010 @ 1:23 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF Harvey Milk Day Diversity Breakfast tix on sale

Tickets are now on sale for the inaugural San Francisco Harvey Milk Diversity Brunch.

The breakfast is to mark the first Harvey Milk Day in California and is modeled after a wildly successful event that was launched in San Diego last year.

It will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 22, which would have been Milk’s 80th birthday. It will feature Milk’s openly gay nephew Stuart Milk (pictured at right) as well as other speakers and guests.

It will be one of many events being held that day in the city and around the state to celebrate Milk, who in 1977 became the first openly gay person elected to public office in a major U.S. city by winning a seat on the Board of Supervisors. In November of 1978 Milk’s life was cut short by an assassin’s bullet.

Three decades later state leaders passed a bill pushed by openly gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who once held the supervisor seat considered to be Milk’s, to create the first official holiday for an out LGBT person.

Due to the cancellation of a Milk awards show, which was to be held Friday, May 21, the brunch is now the signature Milk Day event in San Francisco. There are also plans for a street party in the Castro and several dances throughout the weekend.

Tickets cost $65 and $80 for the breakfast, which will be held at The ARC of San Francisco, 1500 Howard Street @ 11th.

Catering is being provided by Hott Box Catering through La Cocina. A fundraiser for the recently started Harvey B. Milk Foundation, the brunch will also feature a silent auction  and a photo exhibit featuring nine international artists, including residents of Germany, Iran, USA, Canada and Mexico.

To buy tickets visit

— Matthew S. Bajko, April 13, 2010 @ 2:49 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Kaplan a step closer to Oakland mayoral run

In a move expected for months, lesbian Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan has taken the first step toward running for mayor of the East Bay city.

According to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Kaplan pulled papers today (Tuesday, April 13) to establish an exploratory committee for a potential mayoral campaign.

In a post on the national LGBT group’s blog at, Kaplan said she “represent[s] a clear new direction for our City – a practical progressive with a bold vision and a commitment to roll up my sleeves and tackle the issues that face Oakland at this important crossroads for our city’s future.”

She won her at-large seat on the council in 2008 and, from the start, Oakland political observers had pegged the former AC Transit director as a formidable candidate for mayor.

Kaplan, 39,  doesn’t have to declare her candidacy in the November election until August. But she is now free to begin raising money for the race. She is expected to face former state Senate Pro Tem Don Perata (D-Oakland), fellow City Councilmember Jean Quan; and Green Party candidate Donald MacLeay.

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums has yet to decide if he will seek a second term. Kaplan has refused to say if she would drop out of the race should Dellums run.

It could be anyone’s race to win. For the first time this fall Oaklanders will use an instant voter runoff system to elect their mayor.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 11:19 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF partially welcomes Welcoming Schools

According to the Human Rights Campaign, Berkeley school officials are supporting HRC’s “Welcoming Schools Guide,” which is improve school climates for gay and other students.

In a statement, HRC also said the program’s being piloted in San Francisco. But there’s a little more to it than that.

Kevin Gogin, who works in support services for LGBTQ youth for the district’s school health programs department, told the Bay Area Reporter that the district had piloted Welcoming Schools, but decided not to use it. At least, not all of it.

“After teachers piloted the curriculum in three schools, teachers decided that the curriculum was not ‘gay enough’ and that it didn’t add anything to the curriculum we were using in other areas about bullying or respect promotion,” Gogin explained in an e-mail.

“We refined several of our other lessons, and then added some elementary lessons to the curriculum instead,” he added.

The elementary lessons are available at the district’s pioneering LGBT Web site.

The Welcoming Schools guides are a resource for educators, parents, and others looking to strengthen their school’s approach to family diversity, gender stereotyping and bullying. The guides are specifically developed for elementary schools.

Asked in a phone interview about San Francisco’s inclusion in her organization’s statement, Ellen Kahn, HRC’s family project director, said they’re technically in the final year of the Welcoming Schools pilot in San Francisco – doing things like collecting classroom observations and “wrapping things up” by the end of the school year.

In a follow-up e-mail, Kahn wrote the San Francisco district has “implemented aspects” of Welcoming Schools.

Gogin confirmed that in an e-mail to the B.A.R.

“While we have not adopted the entire curriculum as a District, lessons, aspects, and some of the children’s literature used within the Welcoming Schools Curriculum, is used by classroom teachers in conjunction with the adopted curriculum that can be found on our website … This collaboration with HRC and the accompanying evaluation has been critical in improving our overall elementary program,” Gogin wrote.

In the HRC statement, Neil Smith, Berkeley assistant superintendent said, “Berkeley Unified School District has a real desire and commitment to create a welcoming culture at every school and the Welcoming Schools Guide I believe is an essential component in that entire picture.” Smith could not be reached Friday.

HRC said in its statement that last month the Berkeley public school board unanimously supported adopting the guides, but a Berkeley schools spokesman didn’t confirm that today, and March board minutes weren’t immediately available.

According to their statement, HRC’s program is being piloted in Minneapolis, Minnesota and New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Lawrence J. Finnerty, former assistant superintendent of New Bedford public schools and a current member of the New Bedford school committee, wrote in an e-mail that the curriculum subcommittee would be reporting and advising to the whole school committe Monday, April 12.

“If accepted the pilot of accepted lessons will go forward,” he wrote.

In HRC’s statement, Finnerty said, “Welcoming Schools is playing an important role in the New Bedford Public Schools. Our pilot program explicitly demonstrates that this community acknowledges and respects all children and their families in the life of the school. Safe schools start with respect for all so that everyone truly feels welcomed.”

Jessi Tebben, who coordinates Out 4 Good, Minneapolis public schools’ LGBT support program, said in an interview that one of their schools participated in the pilot program last year, and Welcoming Schools will be available to to teachers who are interested in using it, with some restraints.

Tebben also said Minneapolis schools don’t have curriculum specifically related to LGBTs, but their perspective is that “all curriculum should be inclusive” of the community.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, April 9, 2010 @ 4:43 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sisters might head indoors for Easter party

With rain showers predicted for Sunday, April 4, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are considering moving their annual Easter celebration indoors.

The event has typically been held at Dolores Park, at 18th and Dolores streets.

According to the Sisters’ Web site, if it’s raining Sunday, they’re working on having the celebration – which usually includes a Hunky Jesus competition and other fun activities – at Eureka Valley Recreation Center, 100 Collingwood between 18th and 19 streets.

More details were to be posted on the Sisters’ site by late today (Friday, April 2). No updates were available on the site by the Bay Area Reporter‘s deadline.

The theme of this year’s celebration is Sisters Through the Looking Glass.

If the event does go on in Dolores Park, it’s set to run from noon to 4 p.m., with Easter festivities for children at 11 a.m.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, April 2, 2010 @ 4:59 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Presentation on STDs to be part of officials’ meeting

San Francisco’s HIV Prevention Planning Council is set to hear a presentation Thursday, April 8 on the state of sexually transmitted diseases in the city.

Dr. Susan Philip, acting director of STD prevention and control services, will be speaking at 4 p.m. at the meeting, which will be at the Quaker Meeting House, 65 Ninth Street. The general meeting starts at 3 p.m.

The health department’s February STD report offers a glimpse at the latest statistics. In some places, there’s been decline. For example, there were 87 adult syphilis cases reported in the first two months of 2010, compared to 115 cases for the same time period last year.

In 2009, city health officials re-launched the successful Healthy Penis campaign, which includes Phil the Syphilis Sore (pictured at left). Syphilis has been predominantly found among men who have sex with men, and the comical prevention campaign starring cartoon penises and syphilis sores is credited with increasing gay men’s awareness of the need to get tested for STDs every three months if they are sexually active.

Not all the statistics look promising. There were 114 methamphetamine-related visits to San Francisco General Hospital’s emergency departments through February, compared to 86 visits during that period in 2009.

Totals for past months may change due to delays in reporting from labs and providers.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:18 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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