Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

LGBT youths face loss of services in SF

Several San Francisco groups that serve LGBT youth are facing cuts that would greatly hurt their efforts.

The potential funding problems are part of discussions around the city’s budget for 2010-11, which is currently being worked out by the Board of Supervisors.

The looming losses come at a time when the city’s facing tough choices about many programs. On June 1, Mayor Gavin Newsom proposed a $6.48 billion budget that closes a projected city deficit of $482.7 million. The city’s fiscal year begins Thursday, July 1.

The LGBT transitional age youth services at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, which is among the service providers facing cuts, works with people ages 18-24 who’re homeless or marginally housed.

According to the center, the cuts would mean elimination of the program, which provides meals and clothing, as well as links to employment and HIV testing, among other services.

The meals and other services are endangered because the city’s Department of Children, Youth and Their Families is not making available any funding outside the limited workforce development funds for transitional age youth. However, the center, which is seeking $96,000 to continue the meals and similar services, is set to receive money from the department for work it’s doing in schools.

Rebecca Rolfe, the center’s executive director, said that unstable funding makes the program vulnerable every year, and the fiscal instability “contributes to the sense that transitional aged youth are not worthy of support.”

She said many of these youth have already gotten the message that they’re not important from their families, and many of them have come out of foster care.

Tiamara Whetstone (pictured at right), who’s transgender, said the center’s internship program – which is among the services that would be lost – has allowed her to connect with other LGBT youth, which she’d never been able to do before.

“In the six months here at the internship, I’ve been exposed to the community more than I have in 24 years of living,” said Whetstone.

Maria Su, executive director of the children, youth, and families department, appeared sympathetic to the center’s needs, but said her agency received close to $71 million in requests for services from kindergarten all the way up to transitional aged youth for next year, “and we only had $20 million available.

Jodi Schwartz, executive director of the Lavender Youth, Recreation, and Information Center, said her group is facing reductions of about $475,000 next year and more in the future because many of the city’s recent funding decisions apply to multiple-year funding cycles.

Schwartz said the cut’s coming from multiple places, but the most severe cuts are coming from children, youth and families department, as well as the Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

Neither Su nor the workforce development office confirmed the figure.

Schwartz said her group, which is hoping for an additional $180,000 for next year, is trying to develop a multi-pronged strategy “to allow us to have the next year to really look at new funding streams and strategies to ensure that LYRIC exists for another 20 years, because as I always say, new queer youth come out every day and they’re going to need a place like LYRIC.”

Openly gay Supervisors David Campos, who’s on the board’s budget and finance committee, and Bevan Dufty are helping the LGBT center, LYRIC, and other groups advocate for funding.

Dufty said funding from the children, youth, and families department has traditionally been limited to people under 18, and they’ve used a blend of funding for children with general fund money in order to provide services for LGBT youths as old as 24.

“These are pretty significant impacts when the general fund is squeezed like it is this year,” said Dufty. “The impact is heavy on this population.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 28, 2010 @ 5:01 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man dies in Castro shooting

The “Pink Saturday” pre-Pride party in the Castro was abruptly shut down Saturday night after a shooting in which three people were injured, according to news reports.

[Updated Sunday, 2:30 pm: One of the injured, a 19-year-old man, died, Police Chief George Gascon told the Bay Area ReporterSunday morning. Gascon, who attended the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club’s annual Pride breakfast, also said the early investigation into the shooting indicated is was a “known dispute,” rather than a random incident.

District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty also said it was his understanding it was not a random act. Dufty went to San Francisco General Hospital shortly after the incident and spoke with one of the less severely injured people.

“The police feel they’ve recovered a lot of evidence,” Dufty said.]

According to the California Beat, the shooting happened at 11:30 p.m. near the intersection of Market and Castro streets when a 19-year-old male pulled out a gun and began firing.

A man in his late teens was struck in the torso and was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital, police said. Two other victims, a male and a female, were struck by gunfire in the legs and are expected to survive their injuries, according to reports. (At right, a photo of police on the scene Saturday night after the shooting. Photo: Matt Baume)

News reports said that the suspect was arrested by police at the scene. The pistol he used was recovered as evidence.

B.A.R. reporter Matt Baume was at the scene.

“It was very unclear what had happened at first — they just shut down
the stages abruptly and made no announcements, so a lot of people
though that the event was just ending,” Baume said.

He confirmed the time at about 11:30pm.

“The subway was running very infrequently, so a big crowd gathered at
the top of the stairs,” Baume added. “The event had barricaded the stairs and would
only let a few people through at a time, then close the barricades
again until the next train came. The gap between trains was probably
about 10 minutes. There was also no designated area for cabs to pick
people up; a lot of people just started walking up Castro toward
Divisadero in the hopes of finding a cab.”

— Cynthia Laird, June 27, 2010 @ 7:15 am PST
Filed under: News

Commission approves Walgreens, historical society plan

San Francisco’s Planning Commission has approved a project that will allow the GLBT Historical Society to open a new Castro museum space.

The commission’s 7 to 0 vote Thursday, June 24 had been jeopardized due to changes Planning Department staff sought in order for the project to win city approval.

The plan is to allow Walgreens to expand its specialty pharmacy into a portion of the vacant storefront next door to it on 18th Street.

Construction should begin “virtually immediately,” said  Paul Boneberg, the historical society’s executive director.

“This was the last big hurdle for us,” he said.

“We’re grateful to the commission, and grateful to all the people that came forward and supported us,” including the Merchants of Upper Market & Castro and others who wrote letters supporting the project, said Boneberg.

In return for the city’s sign off on the partial expansion, the plan is for Walgreens to lease the remainder of the space to the historical society for five years. The LGBT nonprofit plans to relocate its exhibitions and programs to the Castro space as early as this fall.

But planners had wanted to see Walgreens relocate its build out of patient consultation rooms from the middle to the back of the empty former Laundromat. They were concerned that allowing the national chain to move forward with its plan could leave an oddly shaped store for rent in the future.

“We learned early this week that is not acceptable to Walgreens, meaning if that condition is applied they will not proceed,” Boneberg said before the commission’s vote, adding that he’d only learned of the planner’s request late last week. “It is also counteproductive to what the historical society wants.

“We are flabbergasted,” Boneberg had added. “We think it is an error by planning department staff.”

Boneberg said that the historical society expects to open their silver anniversary exhibit in early September.

All exhibits and public programming, such as speakers, will occur at the 18th Street location.

For now, the group’s archives and offices will stay at 657 Mission Street, but Boneberg said they hope to move someplace larger and less expensive by early next year.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 25, 2010 @ 4:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Breaking: Supreme Court upholds public disclosure law

by Lisa Keen

The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld a law that requires public disclosure of the names of people who signed a petition to put an anti-gay referendum on the ballot in Washington state.

The 8-1 decision, with only Justice Clarence Thomas in dissent, said the law requiring records of petition signers to be available to the public does not violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts (pictured at right), whose questions, during oral arguments, appeared to indicate he would be inclined to strike down the law.

The case, Doe v. Reed, questioned the constitutionality of a Washington state law that makes public the names and addresses of citizens who sign petitions to put various issues onto the ballot. A group called Protect Marriage Washington and two “John Doe” plaintiffs brought the appeal on behalf of citizens who signed a petition to put a referendum on the ballot – Referendum 71 – against a new domestic partnership law. They said the public disclosure of their names violated their right to privacy and freedom of speech. A federal district court judge in Seattle had agreed with them but the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals did not, so they appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that the “First Amendment protects citizens from intimidation resulting from compelled disclosure of their identity and beliefs and their private associations.”

Roberts said that the state’s interest in preserving the “integrity of the electoral process” was sufficient justification for its public records law. He said the law helps prevent fraud, mitigates mistakes, and promotes “transparency and accountability in the electoral process.”

He said plaintiffs’ contention that the disclosure law subjected supporters of a referendum on the state domestic partnership law to harassment could not – on that specific referendum – justify striking down the public records law for all referenda.

“Faced with the state’s unrebutted arguments that only modest burdens attend the disclosure of a typical petition,” wrote Roberts, “plaintiffs’ broad challenge to the PRA [public records act] must be rejected.” He suggested plaintiffs might have more luck with a more narrowly focused legal challenge.

During oral argument, Justice Antonin Scalia, the court’s most staunch conservative and a consistent vote against pro-gay positions, said the First Amendment did not protect citizens “from criticism or even nasty phone calls when you exercise your political rights to legislate, or to take part in the legislative process.” It was essentially the same point made by five national gay legal and political groups in their friend-of-the-court brief. The gay brief was filed by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, along with the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

Scalia wrote an opinion concurring in the judgment, as did several of the other justices.

The result has implications beyond Washington state and disputes over domestic partnership laws. It could affect campaign contribution disclosures.

— admin, June 24, 2010 @ 8:28 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

UPDATE: Planning staff conditions could kill gay Castro museum project

Late Wednesday (June 23) GLBT Historical Society Executive Director Paul Boneberg (seen at right) told the Bay Area Reporter that the archival group’s plans to open a new Castro museum space are in jeopardy due to changes Planning Department staff are seeking in order for the project to win city approval.

As reported online earlier today, the planners have recommended the Planning Commission approve the project, which would allow Walgreens to expand its specialty pharmacy into a portion of the vacant storefront next door to it on 18th Street.

In return for the city’s sign off on the partial expansion, Walgreens would lease the remainder of the space to the historical society for five years. The LGBT nonprofit plans to relocate its exhibitions and programs to the Castro space as early as this fall.

But planners want to see Walgreens relocate its build out of patient consultation rooms from the middle to the back of the empty former Laundromat. Their concern is allowing the national chain to move forward with its plan could leave an oddly shaped store for rent in the future.

“We learned early this week that is not acceptable to Walgreens, meaning if that condition is applied they will not proceed,” said Boneberg, adding that he only learned of the planner’s request late last week. “It is also counteproductive to what the historical society wants.

“We are flabbergasted,” added Boneberg. “We think it is an error by planning department staff.”

The city has already given the historical society $100,000 toward producing the new LGBT museum exhibits. And District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty and various neighborhood groups are supporting Walgreens’ initial proposal.

Boneberg has been asking supporters to attend tomorrow’s hearing (Thursday, June 24) to object to the planning staff’s requested changes..

“We will be asking the commission to approve the permit without the redesign,” said Boneberg. “The best benefit to the city of San Francisco and the Castro district is to allow us to go in.”

The Planning Commission meets inside City Hall in Room 400. The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m.

The Castro LGBT museum project is listed as the 7th item on its regular agenda for Thursday and is expected to be heard sometime after 2:15 p.m.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 23, 2010 @ 4:25 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Congresswoman Jackie Speier will host a public SF town hall over Pride weekend, appear in parade

Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) will be meeting with her San Francisco-based constituents during the city’s upcoming Pride weekend.

Speier (seen at left at a 2009 town hall she held at San Francisco’s LGBT Community Center) has invited residents of her 12th Congressional District, which covers the southern portion of San Francisco, and the press to discuss financial reform, the Gulf Coast oil spill, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, jobs, the economy and health care.

The public event will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m.  Saturday, June 26 at Temple United Methodist Church, 65 Beverly Street in San Francisco’s Merced Heights neighborhood near San Francisco State University.

Following the meeting Speier will join with city officials at the 1 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony that day for the reconstructed Laguna Honda Hospital in the Forest Hills district. As a state Senator in Sacramento, Speier authored legislation that allowed San Francisco to tap into federal funds to help pay for the construction costs.

She will also be riding in a red Camaro in this Sunday’s Pride parade.

Speier’s public meeting comes as the city’s other House member, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has faced calls from some local LGBT activists to hold her own meetings with the city’s LGBT community. Gay blogger Michael Petrelis and Patrick Connors, a gay columnist for the SF Weekly, have both criticized Pelosi for her lack of engagement with her LGBT constituents.

It is unclear when, if ever, Pelosi has held an open public forum with LGBT residents in San Francisco. Last fall when the Bay Area Reporter asked her spokesman Drew Hammill about it, he did not answer the question directly.

Instead, Hammill merely replied in a one-sentence email, “The speaker regularly sits down with community leaders for an in-depth and candid discussion about LGBT priorities in Congress.”

This past May Pelosi organized a private phone call with leaders of California-based and national LGBT groups. Five days later she also appeared at a $100-per-person fundraiser for Equality California May 21 at the LGBT Community Center in the same room that Speier held her September meeting, which was arranged at the last minute.

Asked then when Pelosi had last been in the Castro for an event with LGBT community members, Hammill told the B.A.R. that the speaker spoke at a June 2008 rally in the gayborhood where she endorsed Mark Leno for state Senate.  Also in 2008, he wrote that Pelosi visited the No on 8 campaign headquarters on Market Street near Noe “to rally the troops at a campaign mobilization event” the last Sunday prior to Election Day.

Last fall, Hammill said that Pelosi held a candidate fundraiser at Tangerine, a popular Castro brunch spot on 16th Street.

Pelosi will not be at Pride in person Sunday, but she has taped a video message that will be broadcast around 3 p.m. It is the first time a House Speaker has addressed an LGBT Pride event.

At the insistence of Petrelis and Connors, a statement will be read by Pride board president Mikayla Connell urging the speaker to hold a vote on the pro-gay Employment Non-Discrimination Act and engage with her local LGBT constituents on a regular basis.

Pelosi has said she will not bring ENDA up for a vote until Congress repeals the military’s ban against gays and lesbians serving openly. The stance has angered LGBT activists across the country who want to see the House take immediate action on ENDA.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:42 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Planning Commission expected to approve Thursday a Castro gay museum project

San Francisco planning officials are expected to approve plans for a Castro LGBT museum project at their meeting this Thursday, June 24.

The site (pictured at right) has been vacant since November of 2006, when the As the Suds Turn Laundromat closed. The following year Walgreens proposed expanding its specialty pharmacy next door into the 2,140 square‐foot storefront at 4127 18th Street. In addition to providing private rooms to meet with its customers, Walgreens’ plans included teaming at the site with a local AIDS agency that wanted to relocate into the Castro.

The proposal met with fierce neighborhood resistance due to Walgreens’ already extensive real estate holdings in the Castro. Even merchants expressed misgivings at seeing the national chain’s footprint in the city’s LGBT district grow.  In February of 2009 Planning Commissioners rejected the company’s expansion plans.

Following that defeat, Walgreens officials discussed with the GLBT Historical Society relocating its satellite exhibit space in the Castro, which it had to vacate by October of 2009, into the vacant coin-operated laundry space. In return for offering the storefront at a reduced lease, Walgreens proposed carving out a portion of the space to build rooms where pharmacists could meet privately with customers.

After months of negotiations, the two sides signed a lease agreement in April. There has been little opposition to Walgreens’ revised plans, and three Castro neighborhood groups wrote letters of support for the proposal to the Planning Department.

Planning Department staff, in their report on the project, have recommended the commission approve the plans. But they have proposed changes to the initial proposal.

Rather than situate the expanded pharmacy area in the middle of the space, planners want Walgreens to build it in the back of the storefront.

“As proposed, Walgreens’ expansion configuration will result in an irregular shape for the adjoining commercial space. This may prevent future small businesses from finding the commercial space usable. Hence the Department recommends locating the Walgreens expansion to the rear of the commercial space, so as to maintain the usability of the remaining space,” wrote planner Sharon Lai in her report to the commission.

Paul Boneberg, the historical society’s executive director, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday. Based on a full-page ad the society is running in tomorrow’s Bay Area Reporter, it expects the project to be approved and the new exhibit to be open by September.

The society has signed a 5-year lease for the space.

The Planning Commission meets inside City Hall in Room 400. The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. but the Castro LGBT museum project is listed as the 7th item on its regular agenda for Thursday. A PDF file of the staff report on the project can be downloaded from the agenda posted online here.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 11:50 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Proposal would allow for more Castro restaurants

Legislation that would allow for more restaurants in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood is set to go before the city’s Planning Commission today [Thursday, June 17.]

The proposal, which openly gay Supervisor Bevan Dufty introduced at the Board of Supervisors in April, would amend the city’s planning code to allow new restaurants, including full-service eateries, into the neighborhood with conditional use authorization.

“I am not on a mission to bring 10 restaurants to the Castro,” said Dufty, who represents the largely LGBT neighborhood. However, he said, “We ought to be more flexible than what the law currently allows.”

Current law prohibits new full-service restaurants, small self-service restaurants, and self-service specialty food establishments. A large fast-food restaurant is authorized under limited circumstances.

New eateries can’t open unless they move into spaces that have already been restaurants.

Dufty said the legislation does not apply to bars, but full-service restaurants serving alcohol could apply for permits.

He said the current cap “depresses our ability to have new types of restaurants in the neighborhood, and overvalues existing restaurants.”

Dennis Richards, president of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, said his group hasn’t taken a position on Dufty’s proposal, but said there needs to be a balance in the neighborhood between restaurants and other businesses.

“We’re a neighborhood, we’re a regional center, and we’re a global tourist destination … all the conditional uses need to address that,” said Richards.

The planning commission has preliminarily approved the measure. The meeting starts at 1 p.m. in Room 400 of City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 17, 2010 @ 10:21 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Join MEUSA at Prop 8 closing arguments, Pride events

Same-sex couples who are married and those who want to marry can join LGBT and allied supporters outside the federal courthouse in San Francisco on Wednesday, June 16 for a rally before closing arguments are heard in the Proposition 8 trial.

Marriage Equality USA media director Molly McKay said the 8 to 10 a.m. community gathering is being held to illustrate the importance of marriage equality. Couples are encouraged to bring copies of their marriage license, photos, or other items. Coffee will be provided.

Closing arguments in the federal trial, known as Perry V. Schwarzenegger, will immediately follow the gathering at 10 a.m. and are scheduled to continue all day. The Phillip Burton Federal Building is located at 450 Golden Gate Avenue. The gathering will take place outside on the plaza.

For more information, visit

Pride events
MEUSA is also in the process or recruiting people for its various Pride activities. Those include dancing with a flash mob, singing with the Joy Choir and Full Heart Band on the main stage, and marching in the Pride Parade.

The flash mob will take place at noon on Sunday, June 27 in the Civic Center. MEUSA is teaming up with Love Warriors for the event. Rehearsals are taking place now through June 24. A full schedule is available at the Facebook group, “Flash Mob for SF Pride Festival.”

MEUSA is partnering with the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living’s Joy Choir and the Full Heart Band for this year’s marriage equality event on the main stage on June 27 at 12:30 p.m. The contemporary gospel choir and live musicians are performing inspirational songs with an uplifting message. If you love to sing and want to join them (and can make two rehearsals on June 16 and 23 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.), e-mail McKay at

Finally, McKay said that everyone is welcome to march with the MEUSA contingent in the LGBT Pride Parade Sunday, June 27. People should show up at 9 a.m. Couples in wedding garb will have hearts on sticks for people to write messages on and carry with them. The exact location of the contingent is not yet known, but will be posted when MEUSA gets its assignment from SF Pride. It will be somewhere right off the Embarcadero BART/Muni station one or two blocks south of Market.

— Cynthia Laird, June 11, 2010 @ 10:55 am PST
Filed under: News

Federal housing agency adds protections for LGBTs

For the first time in its history, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will require grant applicants  to comply with state and local anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBTs.

HUD published a notice this week detailing what competitors for 2010 grants will have to do.

“We’re using every avenue to shut the door against discrimination,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan (pictured at right) said in a statement announcing the requirements Monday, June 7.  “Today, we take an important step to insist that those who seek federal funding must demonstrate that they are meeting local and state civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

In March, the agency launched a website so people can comment on the design of an unprecedented national study that will examine housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Earlier this year, HUD recently hosted town hall meetings in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City to solicit feedback on how it might approach such ground-breaking research.  This ‘online suggestion box ‘ is intended to offer the public throughout the U.S. an opportunity to comment on HUD’s study.

HUD has already required competitive grant applicants to comply with all federal fair housing and civil rights requirements, including those expressed in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Now, the agency will require that applicants and their sub-recipients must comply with state or local laws regarding housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Federal fair housing law does not ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act does.

Approximately 20 states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation discrimination. Twelve states and the District of Columbia prohibit discrimination based on gender identity, according to HUD.

In addition to the notice published this week, HUD will propose rules that clarify the term “family,” ensuring that its core housing programs are available to all families, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 10, 2010 @ 4:48 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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