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

Suspects ask man walking with girlfriend, ‘Are you gay?'; fight ensues

San Francisco police are investigating a fight that happened after a man walking with his girlfriend was asked if he was gay.

According to a police summary, the incident occurred at about 2 a.m., Monday, September 12, in the 4800 block of Mission Street.

The victim’s girlfriend told police that she and her boyfriend had been walking down Mission Street, heading to a restaurant. The suspect, along with two other men, started following them and taunting her boyfriend, police said.

They made “hate crime oriented comments” and eventually surrounded the victim, according to police. As the couple reached the restaurant, the main suspect stepped in front of the boyfriend and punched him in the head.

An officer at Ingleside Police Station who declined to share his name with the Bay Area Reporter said that the suspects asked the victim “Are you gay?” in English and Spanish, “and it escalated and they got into a fight.”

He said when the girlfriend came to the victim’s aid, the men told her, “Fuck you, bitch” in English.

According to the police summary, after punching the victim, the suspects separated and walked away in different directions.

The Ingleside officer said the couple had been dancing at a club in the area, but he couldn’t say which club. He said the victim and his girlfriend didn’t know the suspects, and the officer didn’t know if the suspects had also been at the club.

Witnesses and the victim identified the primary suspect, according to police. The victim’s girlfriend pointed out the man to responding officers and told them he had hit her boyfriend. The officers detained the suspect, who had been “quickly attempting to walk away,” police said. The other two men couldn’t be found.

The main attacker was taken into custody and booked on felony charges. Paramedics responded and transported the victim to San Francisco General Hospital.

The officer at Ingleside Station said the case has been reassigned to the hate crimes unit and declined to answer further questions. A call to the hate crimes unit today (Thursday, September 15) wasn’t returned. The police department’s media relations unit also wouldn’t talk about the case.

The police summary didn’t provide any specific descriptions of the suspects or victim. The synopsis also didn’t say what the suspect was charged with, or the exact nature of the victim’s injury.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 15, 2011 @ 2:56 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


ACLU to honor Ammiano

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California will be honoring out gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco, seen at left) as its Legislator of the Year this weekend, the state lawmaker announced today (Wednesday, September 14).

“I am honored to receive this award from the ACLU,” Ammiano said in a statement.  “From fighting the [anti-gay] Briggs initiative to putting an end to the bullying of LGBT students, we can never rest in our efforts to defend our fundamental rights as citizens especially in a time when civil liberties continue to be eroded in the name of security.”

Ammiano has a long history of activism and is the author of four prominent ACLU bills this year, including Seth’s Law (Assembly Bill 9), which is designed to make schools safer for LGBT students.

That bill is named after Seth Walsh, who committed suicide in 2010 at the age of 13, after experiencing anti-gay harassment.

AB 9, which is co-sponsored by groups including the ACLU in California and Equality California, passed the Legislature earlier this month. Governor Jerry Brown has until October 9 to veto the bill or sign it into law.

The ACLU of Southern California will honor Ammiano this Sunday, September 18 in Los Angeles.  For more information, visit www.aclu-sc.org.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 14, 2011 @ 6:05 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Baum plans PG&E protest for noon today

San Francisco mayoral candidate Terry Baum, an out lesbian, is planning a protest for noon today (Friday, September 9) outside Pacific Gas and Electric Company headquarters (77 Beale Street) to mark the first anniversary of the San Bruno pipeline explosion.

The rupture of the PG&E line in the small Peninsula city killed eight people.

“We must bring criminal charges against PG&E executives, because there was criminal negligence,” Baum (seen at left), a Green Party candidate, said. The company knew of problems, “and they did nothing.”

The National Transportation Safety Board recently released a report citing work by PG&E, among others, for the disaster.

No one at PG&E was immediately available for comment.

On August 30, the five-member NTSB released a report on the disaster.

“Our investigation revealed that for years, PG&E exploited weaknesses in a lax system of oversight,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a statement. “We also identified regulators that placed a blind trust in the companies that they were charged with overseeing to the detriment of public safety.”

At about 6:11 p.m. on September 9, 2010, a 30-inch diameter segment of a natural gas transmission pipeline, owned and operated by PG&E, ruptured in a residential neighborhood in San Bruno.

The force of the rupture ejected a 3000-pound, 28-foot-long section of pipe about 100 feet from where it had been buried four feet underground. The released natural gas ignited into a towering fire that destroyed 38 homes and damaged 70.

As a result, eight people were killed, dozens were injured, and many more were evacuated from the area and displaced from their homes, according to NTSB.

The board said their investigation showed that PG&E didn’t know what kind of pipe it had installed beneath San Bruno in 1956.  Investigators also determined that the ruptured section of pipe was a collection of short pipe pieces known as “pups.” Among other problems, those pieces were joined together with welds that investigators found were poorly constructed, the NTSB statement said.

Failure of one of the improperly welded seams caused the San Bruno rupture, the board stated. The NTSB “determined that the accident was clearly preventable … . PG&E’s inadequate pipeline integrity management program failed to identify, detect, and remove the substandard pipe segments before they ruptured,” the board stated.

The NTSB also placed blame for the pipeline rupture with the California Public Utilities Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

A synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause, conclusions, and a complete list of all the safety recommendations, is available.

Baum said she also wants to promote community choice aggregation, which is known locally as CleanPowerSF.

The city has worked on a plan to eventually have 51 percent of the electricity sold to consumers come from renewable resources, such as solar and wind power. PG&E, San Francisco’s electricity supplier, would still be responsible for getting power to residents, but the city would hire a contractor to handle procurement.

The city should be “creating our own power from renewable sources,” Baum said.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 9, 2011 @ 10:29 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Education Department plans anti-bullying summit

The U.S. Department of Education will host the second annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit Wednesday and Thursday, September 21-22, in Washington.

“This year’s summit will expand on last year’s goal of crafting a national strategy to prevent bullying, and will work towards engaging private and public organizations committed to providing needed tools and resources to ensure the safety of students,” a statement from the department said.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (seen at left), Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez are expected to appear and reaffirm the Obama Administration’s commitment to addressing bullying.

The department’s statement mentioned participating groups associated with Asians and Pacific Islanders and people with disabilities, but none clearly focusing on LGBTs.

The first day of the summit, which is invitation-only, will feature two panels discussing the use of media to inform bullying prevention efforts. Campaigns from Seventeen and ABC Family Channel, as well as the launch of a new Ad Council campaign sponsored by AOL,TimeWarner and Facebook, will be discussed.

In addition, a performance by the Michigan-based Trust Theater Ensemble of the Bullycide Project will highlight the importance of youth-led storytelling in addressing bullying.

The second day will feature a discussion with several individuals whose family members’ suicides were attributed, in part, to bullying.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 8, 2011 @ 7:46 pm PST
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Groups promote neighborhood watches in Castro

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and other community members worked last month to rid the intersection of Market and Sanchez streets of negative energy, days after an anti-gay hate crime occurred there.

In the wake of several recent violent incidents around the Castro area, including anti-gay hate crimes, several community groups are working to promote neighborhood watch programs.

SF-Safety Awareness for Everyone, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and Castro Community on Patrol are leading a project they’re calling “Secure Our Streets.”

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday, September 18, volunteers will be asked to deliver information packages encouraging neighbors to form block watches. The event will begin at Jane Warner Plaza, 17th and Castro streets.

The project’s goal is to encourage the development of neighborhood and business watch programs on every block within the Castro, Duboce Triangle, and ultimately surrounding neighborhoods.

“Watch programs engage neighbors collaboratively to look out for each other,” Ken Craig, vice chair of Castro Community on Patrol, said in a statement announcing the endeavor. “They provide closer connections to law enforcement and non-profit resources that can assist in addressing safety and security concerns. They offer additional information, training and confidence to participants and increase the likelihood that neighbors or business employees will observe, note and call law enforcement when the observe suspicious activity or crimes in progress.”

There are only a few active neighborhood watch programs operating in the Castro and Duboce Triangle neighborhoods, according to Craig.

“We seek to increase that number 100-fold by the end of 2011, with your help and assistance,” he said.

For more information and to sign up, visit the  Stop the Violence Facebook page.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 7, 2011 @ 3:57 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Alleged anti-trans hate crime victim calls for ‘defying gender binary’ at hearing

A San Francisco transgender woman who allegedly was the victim of a hate crime in April is asking supporters to come to court Thursday, September 8. An attorney for one of the men accused of attacking her wants the case against his client to be dismissed.

In an email to the Bay Area Reporter this week, Mia Tu Mutch (seen at left) wrote, “It’s really important to not have the hate crime dismissed when there’s evidence to the contrary. … If we can’t prosecute hate crimes in San Francisco, a trans Mecca, where on earth can we?”

She’s asking people to come to court “defying the gender binary in some way,” wearing “something people wouldn’t expect you to because of your gender.”

That could mean coming in makeup and facial hair, big muscles and a push-up bra, or high heels and jogging pants, she said.

In an interview, Tu Mutch, 20, said, “Everyone should have the right to express their gender identity whatever that looks like for them, without being scared of being attacked.”

Lionel Jackson, 32, and Maurice J. Perry, 37, face charges including assaulting Tu Mutch with force likely to cause great bodily injury and second-degree robbery. The two allegedly attacked her near Mission and 16th streets and took her cell phone.

Jackson and Perry have both been held to answer on the assault and robbery charges, but in June, Superior Court Judge Bruce Chan certified the hate crime accusation against each man only as a misdemeanor.

District Attorney George Gascón is pressing for a jury to hear evidence that he said supports prosecuting the accusations as a felony hate crime.

In July, Jackson and Perry were again arraigned with the hate crime and other charges as a felony. Both pleaded not guilty. The trial is scheduled to begin October 14.

Gascón has said Tu Mutch was singled out because she’s transgender, and he wants to send the message that such crimes are “unacceptable.” He’s also said, “Very disgraceful comments against transgender women in general” were allegedly made during the incident, and there’s a “nexus” between those comments and the assault.

Tu Mutch said the September 8 hearing was brought by Perry’s attorney, who’s seeking to have the case dismissed, specifically the hate crime allegation.

Gascon’s spokesman Seth Steward confirmed the information. David Harrison, who’s represented Perry, didn’t respond to an interview request for this story.

However, Harrison has said, “The allegations of a hate crime were not supported by the evidence that was presented.” He also has said that Tu Mutch and two witnesses have said that Perry didn’t do anything. When Perry was in handcuffs just after the incident, Tu Mutch had said, “That’s not him,” Harrison said, citing testimony.

A transcript of the preliminary hearing hasn’t been available. Asked previously about what Harrison said, Tu Mutch wouldn’t comment on his remark about Perry not doing anything.

However, she didn’t think she’d ever said, “That’s not him.” She said she hadn’t been able to positively identify Perry at the time, “because I wanted to be 100 percent sure” it was him. She did positively identify Jackson, and other witnesses have confirmed Perry’s identity, she said

Tu Mutch has also claimed she was sexually assaulted by a third man immediately after Jackson and Perry attacked her. She said she hasn’t received word of any progress in that investigation.

Asked this week whether she was worried about the reaction from people in the Hall of Justice if supporters come in bras and jogging pants, Tu Mutch said, “I’m not asking people to make a circus of it” or “cause disruption.”

Unlike many crime victims, Tu Mutch has not been shy in talking about her case. In her email this week, she urged prominent coverage of her story.

“Let’s get this on the cover of the BAR,” she said. “I’m sick of all the marriage and who resigned from Pride articles :)”

The September 8 hearing is expected to begin by 9:30 a.m. in Department 23 of the Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant Street.

Youth Commission

Tu Mutch received some pleasant news recently when Supervisor Jane Kim appointed her to the city’s Youth Commission. Tu Mutch said she wants to help implement a policy designed to assist nonprofits to be more supportive of LGBT youth.

Hate crime forum

The San Francisco Police Chief’s LGBT community advisory forum is organizing a free public information event on the subject of hate crimes. The meeting is meant to explore how such crimes are classified, investigated and prosecuted, as well as what resources and support is available to survivors.

The event will include presentations from the Department of Justice, the FBI, the DA’s office, and the San Francisco Police Department. The presentations will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

The event will be held from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., Thursday, October 13, in the Rainbow Room of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center,  1800 Market Street.

For more information, visit the event’s Facebbok page.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 2, 2011 @ 1:22 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Blue Shield foundation gives Lyon-Martin $50,000

Staff and supporters of San Francisco’s Lyon-Martin Health Services gathered today (Thursday, September 1) to celebrate the struggling agency  accepting new patients for the first time in months.

Those gathered had more to applaud when Brenda Solorzano, chief program director for the Blue Shield California Foundation, announced her organization was giving Lyon-Martin $50,000.

Solorzano said the clinic has a long history of providing culturally competent, valuable care, and the nonprofit serves “as a symbol of hope” to those who “can’t always feel welcome.” She said she looked forward to coming back with another check every year.

Lyon-Martin serves women and transgender people, many of whom are uninsured.

In late January, the agency’s board announced they were more than $500,000 in debt and would have to shut down the 30-year-old nonprofit in days. The clinic immediately stopped accepting new patients, and the board’s lack of planning almost meant the abandonment of about 2,500 existing clients.

Community supporters quickly rallied, however, and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help keep Lyon-Martin open.

The agency is named after pioneering lesbians Phyllis Lyon, who was present today, and her wife, the late Del Martin, who died in August 2008.

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, referred to the clinic as the couple’s “incredible legacy,” and said, “You can’t be around Phyllis at a moment like this and not miss Del.”

Kendell added she “really could not abide the thought of Lyon-Martin closing,” and “to have this phoenix rise is such an incredible story of what we can do” against uncaring “powerful interests.” She didn’t say to which interests she was referring.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, whose Dis6rict 5 includes the clinic,  which is at 1748 Market Street, noted that months ago, he and others “were just about writing the obituary” of Lyon-Martin.

The city should never have allowed the clinic “to come this close to closing,” he said. He also referred to a $150,000 loan he’d proposed for the clinic that died in a Board of Supervisors committee in May, and said that he and others were “amazed” that the money hadn’t been needed.

Tangerine Brigham, director of the city’s Healthy San Francisco program, was also on hand to cheer Lyon-Martin’s survival.

“It doesn’t matter how difficult a task can be,” she said. “All of us rise in adversity.”

Brigham spoke of the need for a clinic like Lyon-Martin, providing health care to patients who don’t otherwise have access, and said relations between the agency and the city’s health department would continue “for years to come.”

Board Chair Marj Plumb, who’s a former Lyon-Martin executive director and who joined the clinic’s board in April, credited interim Executive Director Dr. Dawn Harbatkin for her work, saying it was because of Harbatkin that “the quality of health care has never been affected by this crisis.”

Harbatkin, who also serves as the agency’s medical director, said if anyone would have asked her in late January if clinic staff and supporters would be standing in front of the clinic today celebrating, she would have said they were “insane.” She said every day, patients tell her, “Thank God you’re still here.”

“We’re struggling, but we’re here,” Harbatkin said.

Plumb echoed that, saying, “We have a long way still to go.” She noted the overall debt – about $1.1 million – remains unchanged. However, she promised, “I will be here for the last check mailed to the last entity we owe money to.”

Asked after the event about the debt, Plumb said clinic officials plan to start paying down short-term debt, which she estimated comes to about $250,000.

Plumb said that debt is mostly comprised of what’s owed to vendors. However, she said, some if it is money owed to staff, including Harbatkin, who had voluntarily gone without pay. The hope is to have the short-term debt paid off within a year, Plumb said.

Harbatkin said there were five paychecks she didn’t receive last year. She couldn’t immediately recall the total amount.

Fundraising efforts for Lyon-Martin continue. Plumb said she’d be walking a mile every day for 30 days as part of the “30 Days of Health” campaign.

For more information on the clinic, visit www.lyon-martin.org (415) 565-7667. For more details on fundraising efforts, go to www.savelyonmartin.org.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, September 1, 2011 @ 6:28 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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