Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 50 / 14 December 2017
 

Castrobear founder Harry Lit is ill, needs help

Harry Lit (pictured below at right), founder of Lazy Bear Weekend and Castrobear Presents, became extremely ill earlier this week while hosting a bear event in Cancun, Mexico. Today, plans were made to fly Lit back to San Francisco via an air ambulance, but his friends are appealing to the community for financial help to defray the cost.

On Monday morning, October 25, Lit was found unconscious and unresponsive by his husband, Allen Eggman. Lit was rushed to a local hospital and placed in critical care. Over the next few days, Lit’s condition deteriorated; tests showed a swelling in his brain and fluid in his lungs, according to Jack Sugrue of the Lazy Bear Fund.

Sugrue said that given Lit’s pre-existing health issues, his San Francisco doctors determined the best course of action was treat him back in the Bay Area. The only transportation option was an air ambulance, which insurance does not cover. The estimated cost of getting Lit home for treatment is $30,000, said Sugrue.

Lit’s friends have set up several ways that folks can donate: First there is a PayPal account dedicated to gathering donations to pay for Lit’s transportation back to the Bay Area. On both the Castrobear website (www.castrobear.com) and the Lazy Bear site (www.lazybearweekend.com) there is a PayPal “Donate” button where folks can contribute using their credit card or PayPal account. To donate with a check, please make it out and sent to:
Harry Lit Emergency Fund
2261 Market Street #490
San Francisco. CA 94114

Donors can also stop into any Wells Fargo Bank and tell them that they want to contribute to the help Harry Lit. His emergency fund is included on Well Fargo’s list of emergency accounts.

Sugrue noted that although donations are not tax deductible, please know that 100 percent of funds raised will go toward helping Lit.

Additionally, the Lone Star Saloon, 1354 Harrison Street, will be hosting a fundraiser on Sunday, October 31, to help pay for Lit’s expenses. The beverage benefit is from 4 to 8 p.m.

“We know that times are tough and money’s tight – but Harry has spent the last 25 years of his life building our community and being a positive force in the LGBT community,” Sugrue said. “He has touched our lives and the lives of tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters.”

— Cynthia Laird, October 29, 2010 @ 3:46 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


EQCA reports noose left at Orange County office door

A noose was reportedly left on the doorknob of Equality California’s Orange County field office this week, and EQCA says police refused to file a criminal complaint.

According to EQCA, an officer who came to the Santa Ana office referred to the noose by saying, “What is it, a string on a door?” They claim he also said, “Sometimes you just have to live with being a victim.”

A Santa Ana police spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment today (Friday, October 29).

Geoff Kors said in an EQCA statement, “This is an outrageous, despicable attempt to intimidate the [LGBT] community just a few days before the election, but we will not be silenced. We will strengthen our fight to elect pro-equality candidates who champion full equality for our entire community and who shun anti-LGBT initiatives that foster discrimination and prejudice.”

EQCA has been campaigning for pro-LGBT candidates including Democrat Jerry Brown, who’s currently the state attorney general and is running for governor, and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, the Democrat running for attorney general.

Kors called the officer’s alleged conduct “dismissive and deeply offensive,” and he stated it “sends the message that LGBT community members cannot rely on the police for protection against the kind of hatred and prejudice that can lead to violence.”

The statewide LGBT advocacy group is calling on Orange County residents to demand Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters investigate “the atrocious hate crime” and discipline the officer in question. EQCA also plans to file a complaint with police.

For more information, visit www.eqca.org.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 3:02 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Rally against sit/lie ban in Castro Saturday

A rally is planned for Saturday, October 30, to remind voters of San Francisco’s history as a sanctuary city for LGBT homeless youth and immigrants.

The event in Harvey Milk Plaza, near the Muni Castro station at Market and Castro streets, comes just before Election Day, November 2. That’s when the city’s voters will decide the fate of the Prop L sit/lie ban, which would prohibit sitting or lying on public sidewalks. Critics have said the measure could be used to harass homeless queer youth and undocumented immigrants.

The rally, which begins at 1 p.m., is intended to invoke the spirit of Milk, the gay civil rights icon and city supervisor who was assassinated in 1978. Over 100 costumed community members will engage in theatrical demonstration to spread the message “No on L, No One is Illegal.”

Drag In Action and Pride at Work are the organizers of the event.



— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 9:51 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Castro merchant turns window into display for gay youth; gives hint to names for LGBT walk of fame

A Castro antiques dealer has turned his storefront window into a display aimed at keeping LGBT youth from committing suicide by showing they are part of a community that has made countless contributions to society.

It is also providing some hint to the names of famous LGBT people that might someday line the sidewalks of San Francisco’s LGBT district as part of a gay walk of fame.

Isak Lindenauer removed the heirlooms and other items for sale he had in his eponymously named store at 4143 19th Street earlier this month and replaced them with pink colored posters (seen at right) that contain dozens of peoples’ names in black lettering.

They include artists Andy Warhol and Keith Haring; comedian Rosie O’Donnell; tennis star Billie Jean King; writers Virginia Woolf and E.M. Foster; activists Harry Hay and Del Martin; and singer Billie Holiday.

The names are of LGBT people, some famous round-the-world, others forgotten by time. The lists also include the names of local LGBT people who contributed to San Francisco’s LGBT community but are not widely known.

The list of luminaries is compiled from the suggestions Lindenauer has received for a project known as the Rainbow Honor Walk. The concept, a reworking of an idea that local gay publicist David Perry initially came up with in the 1980s, involves placing placards into the sidewalks throughout the Castro with names of famous and not-so-famous LGBT people who have made significant contributions to society.

The city has granted initial approval to the project, and as the Bay Area Reporter noted in an article September 30th, the backers of the project are close to finalizing the first 20 people to be honored. The board has kept the names it is considering a closely guarded secret.

They have disclosed that the first group of honorees will include only those people who are deceased and had publicly acknowledged they were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. The board was expected to have finalized its decision this month but it remains unclear when the list will be publicly revealed.

The public did get a sneak peek at some of the names that have been sent in as possible people to be be honored on the street plaques at the honor walk’s booth at this year’s Castro Street Fair. Pink panels (such as the one at left) containing the various names lined the walls of the tent the Rainbow Honor Walk was assigned at the October 3 event.

Following the recent spate of LGBT youth suicides that has gained worldwide news coverage, Lindenauer decided that rather than put the posters into storage, they should remain on public view. He worked with Tom Ryan, the inclusion teacher from Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy who sits on the honor walk board, to turn them into a window display for his shop.

“We came back from the Castro Street Fair and that night I couldn’t stop thinking about all the new kids who had done themselves in and all of a sudden it all sort of crystallized,” Lindenauer wrote in an email to the B.A.R. this week.

He said he plans to keep the display up for at least the next three months but will update it with new themes.

“After Halloween, we’ll change it and feature books by gay authors, also perhaps art-again with the idea of educating and promoting another aspect the walk will deal with,” wrote Lindenauer. “In December we’ll do a third window, again not quite fully formed yet, but perhaps dealing with politics, science, sports-other aspects of ways in which LGBT people have affected the growth of the world through their contributions.”

He cautioned that the names on display should not be seen as a list of the people who will be part of the Rainbow Honor Walk.

“The names are names gathered in the course of trying to develop people we might consider for the walk. None are formal at this point,” wrote Lindenauer. “The idea was simply to spark interest at the fair by showing the diversity of our people.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, October 28, 2010 @ 4:38 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


DMV investigating alleged harassment of SF transgender woman

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles is investigating a report that an employee sent a transgender San Francisco woman a letter calling her “an abomination,” a DMV spokesman said today (Thursday, October 28).

“The department takes allegations like this very seriously, and we are investigating it to the fullest extent,” said Mike Marando. The department’s internal affairs division, which investigates personal misconduct or illegal use of DMV equipment by employees, is handling the case, he said.

“Hopefully we’ll know something within the next week or so,” said Marando.

Asked whether the person is still working for the DMV, he would only say, “Right now we have an open investigation on the employee.”

The Transgender Law Center said in a statement Wednesday that Amber Yust received a letter from the worker calling her “an abomination” and telling her that she’s going to hell.

According to the center, Yust had gone to the DMV last week with her court-ordered name change and DMV paperwork with her, and had obtained a new driver’s license in her new name.

But Monday she received a letter at home from the employee who’d processed her name change. The DMV worker quoted from the Bible and stated that Yust had made a “very evil decision” and that homosexuals should be put to death, the center stated.

The group didn’t make Yust available for an interview, but in the TLC statement, she said she was “shocked.”

“I would never have expected that a DMV employee could use information from my name change application to reach out and personally attack me,” stated Yust. “This has been a traumatic experience for me and I want to ensure that nothing like this happens to anyone else.”

The DMV’s Marando said, “The investigation is under way, and we have policies and procedures in place which we aggressively follow.” He confirmed the allegation involved an employee in the department’s Fell Street office in San Francisco.

Marando said sensitivity training is included in employees’ overall policies. He indicated he didn’t know whether transgender issues were included in that training, but he said, “the department doesn’t condone or tolerate the access or use of personal information for non-work related purposes.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:16 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


“KKKatie” graffiti artist convicted of 11 charges

After a day and a half of deliberations a San Francisco jury convicted defendant Katherine Dunbar, a.k.a. “KKKatie ,” of  10 misdemeanors and 1 felony today (Wednesday, October 27), the district attorney’s office has announced.

Photo: Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District

Over a five-month period, Dunbar displayed her work at locations including the Diesel store  in the Castro (pictured at left), the War Memorial, the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, Grace Cathedral and San Francisco General Hospital.

Dunbar’s graffiti incorporated the term “KKK” and depicted swastikas, Nazi SS bolts, the Circle-A “Anarchy” symbol, and her signature “KKKatie.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 27, 2010 @ 4:37 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Muni contractor involved in gas line rupture that shut down Castro

A contractor working for San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency – better known as Muni – was involved in a gas line rupture that shut down the heart of the city’s Castro gayborhood last week, a spokesman with the agency has confirmed.

In an e-mail today, Paul Rose wrote, “We are reviewing what exactly occurred.” He added, “if appropriate,” the agency will “seek restitution for the service impacts that day.”

Castro Street between 19th and Market streets was closed for several hours Thursday (October 21) after a contractor ruptured a 2-inch PG&E gas distribution line.

Several businesses in the area were also evacuated, the Castro Muni light rail station was shut down, and several bus lines through the area were re-routed for much of Thursday.

City safety personnel and others on the scene that day had said a private contractor was involved, but they didn’t know who it was.

Katie Romans, a PG&E spokeswoman, said in a phone interview that day,“We try to work closely with contractors and property owners to provide them with the information they need to safely make any kind of property improvements or repairs around our equipment.”

People are encouraged to phone the statewide 811 “Call Before You Dig” line before doing any such work, said Romans.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:55 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF Pride board votes to cooperate with controller’s review

The board of San Francisco’s LGBT Pride Celebration Committee has approved a proposal for the city controller to review the organization’s finances and governance.

“The board has asked that our general counsel be the one to facilitate, to make sure we provide every piece of information that the review needs,” Shawn Parker, a Pride co-chair, said this morning (Wednesday, October 27).

Supervisors Bevan Dufty and David Campos asked Pride’s to cooperate with the city controller’s office in an assessment of Pride. The move follows the resignations this month of Amy Andre, Pride’s executive director, and Mikayla Connell, the board president.

Andre and Connell left the organization with a deficit for this year that’s close to $100,000, in addition to local groups who are owed at least $50,000.

The two out gay supervisors have offered to help Pride officials raise money and look for a new executive director. Dufty said recently that since they’ve offered to help restore Pride’s financial stability and community trust, “we requested the board’s cooperation with a controller’s review and assessment of Pride.”

Pride’s board voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve going ahead with the assessment.

Parker said Pride’s general counsel will be facilitating cooperation with the controller’s office because members of the board “always [have] day jobs.”

Ben Rosenfield, the city’s controller, referred to the assessment as an “assistance project.”

“When they are functioning well and working well, the city is getting its best return on its investment,” so they spend time “finding out how we can help,” he said.

Rosenfield said earlier this week that he hopes to have a report to Campos and Dufty and Pride’s board within 60 days.

“Generally speaking, we’ll be making recommendations,” rather than suggesting punitive actions, said Rosenfiled.

The goal “is about capacity building and improving outcomes of nonprofits with which we do business,” he said.

He said on the “rare occasion” there’s a recommendation to terminate city funding.

Nikhila Pai, who works in the controller’s office, said, “We leave those decisions to the funding department,” which in this case is the city’s Grants for the Arts office. This year, the office granted $58,400 to Pride. “We focus on the nuts and bolts, the infrastructure that supports  the program.”

Pai indicated a review of this type typically include financial documents, as well as information that help them assess governance. That includes bylaws, articles of incorporation, and board meeting minutes.

So far, said Rosenfield, “It’s too early for us to say what we see the issues being.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:31 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF youth commission, Obama voice support for young LGBTs

San Francisco’s Youth Commission passed a resolution this week addressing the recent suicides of several youths across the country who were reportedly the victims of anti-gay bullying.

In addition, President Barack Obama has added a video to the thousands of others appearing on the It Gets Better site designed to support youth.

In his message, added Thursday, October 21, Obama says anti-gay bullying shouldn’t be tolerated and says, “You are not alone. You did not do anything wrong. You didn’t do anything to deserve being bullied.” In the video, the president wears a lavender tie

Recent deaths include 13-year-old Seth Walsh, of Tehachapi, California, who died in September, nine days after hanging himself. He’d apparently been bullied for being perceived as gay.

The San Francisco commission’s 17 members voted unanimously for the resolution Monday, October 18.

“My heart goes out to the families of those youth who have taken their own lives,” said Lily Marshall-Fricker, a 15-year-old commissioner and the primary author of the resolution, in a statement released October 21. “These painful events make it plain that there is so much more to be done to make tolerance and acceptance a reality for queer young people.  As the statistics in our resolution bear out, there is still a lot of work to be done even right here in San Francisco.”

The resolution cites data illustrating the challenges faced by the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning students. For example, more than half of the San Francisco Unified District’s LGBTQ students reported being bullied or harassed due to their sexual orientation. Over eight out of 10 students had heard derogatory statements based on sexual orientation in the previous school year, according to SFUSD survey data.

But the resolution also acknowledges the city’s “robust” support system for students.

“LGBTQ young people in San Francisco are supported by a number of institutions that are very queer-friendly,” stated Tobias Hirano, another youth commissioner. “Our Mayor and Board of Supervisors and Board of Education have consistently reaffirmed the importance of a social safety net for LGBTQ youth, especially mental health and youth support services.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 22, 2010 @ 10:58 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Castro Street set to reopen by 6 p.m. after gas leak shutters neighborhood

Castro Street between 17th and 18th is expected to reopen by 6 p.m. today (Thursday, October 21), five hours after a ruptured gas line first caused the area to be evacuated.

Katie Romans, a PG&E spokeswoman, said crews are working to repair a 2-inch distribution line that was ruptured by a private contractor’s equipment.

Castro between 18th and 19th streets had also been shut down but have been reopened, according to Romans.

Romans said that seven customers whose service had been interrupted should have service again by 6.

The area includes a Walgreens and several restaurants and shops. Romans said it also appeared a residential customer was affected.

She said she wasn’t sure what kind of work the contractor was doing or who the contractor was.

“It’s unrelated to PG&E,” said Romans.

Asked how often such ruptures occur, Romans said, “I can’t say how common this is, but it is something that does happen from time to time.”

She said, “We try to work closely with contractors and property owners to provide them with the information they need to safely make any kind of property improvements or repairs around our equipment.”

People are encouraged to phone the statewide 811 “Call Before You Dig” line before doing any such work, said Romans.

The gas was coming out of a 2-inch plastic distribution line. Joe Molica, a PG&E spokesman who was on the scene this afternoon, said for safety reasons PG&E crews had to dig by hand to reach the line and then squeeze it off.

PG&E received its first calls about the leak around 1 p.m.

Lieutenant Mindy Talmadge, a San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman, had cautioned that this sort of accident occurs often when contractors are doing work on the city’s streets and that Castro residents need not worry of a fire breaking out similar to what occurred on the Peninsula last month.

“If it were me and my neighborhood, I would” worry as well, said Talmadge. “But this is not a transmission line; it is a service line which is smaller.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 21, 2010 @ 4:01 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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