Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Anti-gay group speaks on member’s ‘rent boy’ drama

The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality released a statement today [Thursday, May 6] on George Alan Rekers, the anti-gay Family Research Council co-founder who’s reportedly been caught with a “rent boy.”

Rekers (pictured at left) is an officer of the organization, whose members are “dedicated to assisting individuals dealing with unwanted homosexual attractions.”

“NARTH takes seriously the accusations that have been made, and we are currently attempting to understand the details behind these press reports,” the group said in its statement, referring to recent media coverage of Rekers. “We are always saddened when this type of controversy impacts the lives of individuals, and we urge all parties to allow a respectful and thorough investigation to take place.”

The Miami New Times reported this week that Rekers arrived at Miami International Airport from a European vacation in the company of a “rent boy.” Rekers attempted to explain the situation by claiming that he hired the young man, identified only as “Lucien,” to carry his luggage because he had just had surgery. But the paper reported that it was Rekers who was pushing a heavy luggage cart.

In its statement, NARTH said, “At this difficult time for the families and individuals involved, we extend our sympathies. We also wish to reiterate our traditional position that these personal controversies do not change the scientific data, nor do they detract from the important work of NARTH.”

There was no immediate response to an after-hours phone message left at NARTH’s Salt Lake City, Utah headquarters today.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 6, 2010 @ 3:48 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Castro mixed-use project wins merchants’ support

A project to build 18 apartments for sale above two retail spaces in the gay Castro District won the support of the area’s merchant group today (Thursday, May 6). But a battle over parking spots at the site has delayed the development from going forward.

The site at 2299 Market Street at the intersection of 16th and Noe Streets has been vacant for three decades and is derisively known as the “Hole in the Ground.” Once the site of a church, a fire set by an arsonist destroyed the building and plans to rebuild the sanctuary never came to fruition.

Developer Angus McCarthy acquired the site several years ago and some had hoped his plans would include a new home for the GLBT Historical Society’s museum and archives. But negotiations collapsed and McCarthy opted to include two spaces for retail businesses below the housing units.

Initial drawings for the new building (as seen above) had shown an Apple store. But plans revealed this morning at the monthly meeting of the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro had labeled the retail space with the generic “store” label. McCarthy said he has no tenants lined up for the spaces, which as planned would be 2,600 square feet and 1,800 square feet.

“We haven’t had anyone serious come forward yet,” he said. “We aren’t sure what would work or not.”

The for-sale housing plans call for nine 1-bedrooms, eight 2-bedrooms and one 3-bedroom unit all entered to from 16th Street. Each unit would have its own parking space in an underground garage entered from Noe Street.

But some residents of the nearby Duboce Triangle neighborhood are objecting to the parking and want to see the spaces reduced. The fight over how many cars to accomodate on-site has delayed the project from going before the city’s Planning Commission for approval.

Merchant leaders are backing the developers in the car dispute, and MUMC’s members voted this morning to support the project with 18 parking spaces.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:23 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Assemblywoman’s daughter calls her a “poster PFLAG parent”

Sirona Skinner Nixon wasn’t exactly surprised to learn last December during dinner with her mom, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), that she had helped orchestrate a coup in the Legislature’s lower body that would make gay political history.

“She is dedicated and a hard worker who gets everyting done that she feels so strongly about. It is what makes her an extremely devoted leader,” said Nixon.

Nixon, Skinner’s (pictured at right) only daughter from her first marriage, and her partner of nearly 9 years, Sinead O’Rourke, went out to eat Friday, December 4 with the freshman lawmaker at Trattoria Corso  in North Berkeley.

Unbeknownst to the couple, Skinner had been plotting for most of 2009 to elect fellow freshman Assemblyman John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles) as speaker of the Assembly, which would mark the first time an openly gay lawmaker had held the powerful post.

“She told me she was working really really hard working with other people in Sacramento to get John Perez elected,” recalled Nixon. “She kept saying, ‘I am helping to get the first gay speaker elected isn’t that so cool.'”

As the Bay Area Reporter reported today, (May 6) Skinner saw the election of Perez as a way to offset the pain her family felt over the passage of Proposition 8, the ban against same-sex marriage in California. She has described her pushing Perez to be speaker as “a gift” she could give her daughter.

Nixon said while the Prop 8 defeat was a motivating factor for her mom, Perez’s election shouldn’t be seen as a consolation prize to make up for the blow to marriage equality efforts in the state.

“I think you have to look at it as a separate victory. It isn’t, ‘Oh, we are doing this because Prop 8 was such a hard defeat.’ We need to celebrate this moment making gay history for what it is: electing the first gay speaker to the California state Assembly. Tying it up with Prop 8 takes something away from it,” said Nixon.

Nixon and O’Rourke were not ready to marry when the gay nuptials were legal in 2008, and seeing voters take away rights from her daughter on the same night as she was elected to the Assembly was a devastating moment for both Skinner and her family.

“To be totally honest with you, I feel a good phrase would be she was heart broken when Prop 8 passed because it affected her family,” said Nixon, who spoke with the B.A.R. after today’s paper went to press. “As a mom, particularly with only one daughter, any type of anything you watch [your children] go through it is just going to affect her personally. It is going to touch her.”

Skinner had in fact shared a campaign office with the No on 8 campaign in the East Bay so the family watched the vote counts come in Election Night with marriage equality activists.

“It was pretty hard to be there celebrating and to see our friends who we knew from the No on 8 office,” recalled Nixon, who came out to her mom at age 14.

This Sunday Nixon said she isn’t sure if she will be able to see her mom to celebrate Mother’s Day, as she is working as a chef at Camino Restaurant in Oakland. She said she has always appreciated how supportive her mom has been of her being lesbian and wanting to get to know the women she has dated in her life.

“I would call her a poster PFLAG parent. She is genuine; she cares,” said Nixon. “As her daughter I feel like emphasizing the personal relationship I have with my mother feels separate from her poltical life. What is more heartfelt coming from me is she has been an incredible support to me. Coming out at a young age as I did, she was extremely open with everything.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:58 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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