Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Behan named Pride executive director

Brendan Behan (seen at left), who’s helped steer the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee out of its recent troubles, will become the group’s executive director, the organization announced today.

Behan, 30, has served as interim director since April, and this summer had indicated he would leave the nonprofit in December.

When Behan took his current Pride post this year, the committee was in the midst of steep financial and leadership woes. He said today that things have changed so much since then that Pride could be looking at its most financially successful year ever.

“After a tough year, I think we’re all extremely happy we’re in a place that at our most optimistic seemed like it was still a blue sky kind of vision,” Behan, who’s gay, said.

Despite Pride stabilizing since he took over, Behan’s future with the organization had been uncertain until now. He said in August that he had no plans to stay past December. However, weeks later, still refusing to say exactly what his intentions were, he said he and the board were discussing his status.

The Pride organization is responsible for one of the world’s largest LGBT events and has distributed almost $2 million to other Bay Area nonprofits over the years.

In October 2010, facing a pile of debt and complaints from community partners that they hadn’t received their fair share of proceeds from that June’s Pride events, former board President Mikayla Connell and Executive Director Amy Andre announced they were quitting the organization.

About three months later, in December, the city controller’s office revealed that Pride’s debt was $225,000.

Besides Connell, numerous other board members also left the nonprofit, but in recent months several others have joined. Behan said today that applications to join Pride’s governing panel are still welcome.

He estimated that for the fiscal year that ended this past September, there was at least $100,000 in surplus income.

“That makes it one of our best years, in terms of budget performance, and depending on when the books are closed, it could be perhaps the best,” he said.

Additionally, he said Pride has about $100,000 in unrestricted funds in the bank. As of September, the organization still owed about $26,000 to the Department of Public Works. Behan said today that would be paid off by next June.

The 2011-12 budget should be settled “within the next couple weeks,” Behan said.

Pride board Chair Lisa Williams said in a statement today, “During his time as the Interim Executive Director, Brendan proved his ability to lead and grow our organization by providing inspiring leadership, institutional knowledge, and the ability to fundraise. We’re excited to officially have him on board as the Executive Director, and look forward to working with him as we continue to adapt with our ever-evolving movement for rights, dignity, and equality for the LGBT community.”

Behan’s salary in his current post is $65,000. He wouldn’t say exactly what his new pay would be. He said it would be “modest,” and “much less” than the $105,000 that Andre had made.

Behan will officially assume the executive director’s position January 1, 2012.

Delayed decision

Pride’s board decided to retain Behan at their retreat November 19-20 at San Francisco’s Hotel Adagio. Behan couldn’t say what the vote tally was, since the matter was discussed in closed session.

Asked about whether his reluctance over the past few months to make a commitment was related to Pride’s future direction or how much he’d be paid, Behan said, “It was mostly about having the right kind of time to talk to the board about what it is that we all wanted to do.”

A particular concern was addressing recommendations the controller’s office had made when that agency revealed Pride’s debt last year. City officials urged Pride’s board to take more responsibility for the nonprofit’s health.

Behan said part of the process has been figuring out how to move day-to-day duties from board members back to staff, while determining how the board could do more fundraising. He said he and the board are working to lay out what specific goals would be in terms of bringing in money.

Years of work at Pride

Behan began working with Pride in 2006 as the organization’s administrative assistant and volunteer coordinator. He became deputy executive director in 2008.

In 2010, Behan left Pride, but it was only a short time before his return last April.

Out gay Supervisor Scott Wiener, who’d appeared surprised and displeased earlier this year when it looked like Behan might leave Pride, stated today, “Brendan has been instrumental in stabilizing Pride and moving it forward. Keeping Brendan is a very smart move by the Pride board.”

The 42nd annual Pride Parade and celebration, themed “Global Equality,” will be held June 23-24, 2012.

For more information visit

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 30, 2011 @ 7:27 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Two SF LGBT institutions announce challenge grants

Amid the push to attract end-of-year donations, which can then be used by donors as a tax deduction, two LGBT institutions announced challenge grants this week.

The GLBT Historical Society, which operates the GLBT History Museum (pictured at right) in the Castro, disclosed in an email to supporters Wednesday, November 30 that it had been given a $17,000 matching grant from the city to support operations at the 18th Street museum space.

The city has been one of the museum’s major funders since it opened nearly a year ago. It has agreed to match new donations dollar for dollar up to the total of $17,000.

To qualify for the funds, the society must raise an equal amount of money from new individual donors or increased donations from past donors.

“Now is the time to become a new member or to supplement any recent donation,” stated Paul Boneberg, the society’s executive director, in the emailed newsletter under the headline “SF Asks: Can the GLBT History Museum Rise to the Challenge?”

Boneberg noted that every dollar raised will be doubled and no amount is too small or too large. Donations can be made online here.

“If you give $10, the city will turn it into $20 – and if you give $500, the city will make it $1,000,” he wrote.

With its executive director having turned 50 recently, the LGBT Community Center is also trying to reach its own $10,000 fundraising challenge. This time the donor is George Rolfe, the father of Rebecca Rolfe, who will be feted at a party Thursday night, December 1.

“Rebecca’s dad, George, has started us out with a $10,000 challenge gift in honor of the center’s upcoming 10 year anniversary. Help us honor Rebecca – and help the center – by raising $10,000 to match George’s generous gift,” stated an invite to the party sent to boosters of the Market Street facility.

A $50 donation is requested to attend and can be made online here.

The party will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Medjool Restaurant and Lounge, 2522 Mission Street.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 5:05 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Congresswoman Jackie Speier calls for more AIDS funding

On the eve of the annual World AIDS Day observances December 1, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) is calling for increased funding for HIV prevention and treatment services around the globe.

She also warned against complacency toward fighting the AIDS epidemic, now entering its fourth decade, amid reports that the number of people dying from AIDS globally has declined for the third consecutive year.

“There is much to be concerned about,” stated Speier (seen at right)  in a statement released by her office today, Wednesday, November 30.

Estimates are that donor assistance declined from $8.7 billion in 2009 to $7.6 billion last year, noted Speier, amid a worldwide economic malaise. And while 6.6 million people are under treatment, the lawmaker decried that “worse yet,” there are 7.6 million people who need AIDS drugs but are not being treated.

“The global economic downturn is reducing monies devoted to AIDS research and treatment,” warned Speier.

In the United States the AIDS epidemic has stabilized yet more than 56,000 people are newly infected with HIV each year. In California alone, more than 160,000 residents currently live with HIV or AIDS and another 7,000 are infected each year.

Speier touted the fact that Congress passed and President Obama signed into law a four-year reauthorization of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program, though advocates argue it remains grossly under-funded. She also hailed the establishment of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which set a target of reducing HIV transmission by 30 percent by 2015.

But she also bemoaned the fact that efforts to eradicate AIDS in other countries have been “far less successful, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.” An estimated 22.9 million people living with HIV call the region home, and 1.9 million more people there contracted HIV just last year.

“The bottom line is that we still haven’t found a cure for AIDS and until that day comes, we must continue to raise awareness that the fight to stop AIDS requires prevention, research and treatment,” stated Speier. “These actions, in turn, deserve appropriate levels of funding from not only our government, but from the world at large. AIDS should be everyone’s concern.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 4:27 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Bisexual pop stars, same-sex marriage topped online searches in 2011

The lives of celebrity bisexual tabloid favorites Lindsay Lohan and Lady Gaga ranked within the top 10 online searches about famous people in 2011. Which states allow same-sex couples to marry also landed among the list of top political questions the public turned to the web for answers this year.

According to Oakland-based online search site, the female starlets and marriage equality were among the top trending search terms and corresponding questions in 2011.

Coming in at number three among the top 10 questions about celebrities was whether Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has face implants. Answer: her “horn-like protrusions” she was seen sporting were just make-up effects.

At number nine on the list was whether Lindsay Lohan (seen at left) was going to jail? Answer: The actress served time in jail last year and faced the possibility of another stint due to violating her probation terms. So far she only spent a few hours in jail this year and could be sent back if she fails to fulfill her court-ordered community service duties.

The top question this year was whether reality TV star Kim Kardashian faked her wedding. Answer, who knows.

Ranking seventh on the list of top political searches and questions was which states allow gay marriage. Of course Bay Area Reporter readers know that list is short. Only six U.S. states – Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont – and Washington, D.C. are on it.

The number one political question people asked this year was whether President Barack Obama would be re-elected. Voters, though, can only answer that query when they head to the polls next November.

Interestingly, despite that piquing users the most during the last 11 months, the website failed to make a prediction on who would win the presidential race of 2012. Instead, the site’s top prediction is that actor George Clooney will win a second and third Academy Award.

And it predicts there will be a lot of little Pippas running around in the years to come. The name, made famous by the sister of the future queen of England Kate Middleton, will jump into the top ten baby names in 2012 according to

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:29 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay Softball World Series settles with bisexual players

The National Center for Lesbian Rights announced today that a San Francisco softball team’s second-place finish in the 2008 Gay Softball World Series has been reinstated as part of a settlement with the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance on behalf of three bisexual players.

“It means a lot to me that NAGAAA is going to recognize our second place finish in 2008,” said D2 player/coach LaRon Charles, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “I am happy NAGAAA has also made rule changes to let players like me know they are welcome. I look forward to continuing to play ball with my friends, teammates, and community in NAGAAA’s tournaments.”

San Francisco’s D2 (team pictured at right) was playing in the championship game in Kent, Washington against the Los Angeles Vipers when the game was repeatedly stopped for an ad hoc panel to review an eligibility challenge filed by another team. The challenge said that D2 was in violation of NAGAAA’s Rule 7.05, which restricts teams in the series to a maximum of two heterosexual players. According to papers filed in the lawsuit, five players fro D2 were questioned. Even though players say they gave similar answers to detailed questions about their personal lives and preferences, two Caucasian players were ruled “gay,” but three players – Charles, Steven Apilado and Jon Russ – were ruled “not gay.” All three are men non-Caucasian.

Earlier this year, NAGAAA amended its rules to be more inclusive of bisexual and transgender athletes, eliminating any restriction on the number of players who identify as bisexual or transgender.

UC Berkeley law professor Russell K. Robinson, one of the experts whose research was used by NCLR, said. “Hopefully NAGAAA’s rule changes will help make the league more welcoming of LGBT people of color. A number of studies have shown that men of color are more likely to identify as bisexual as opposed to gay. By explicitly including all bisexual people in its revised definitions, NAGAAA’s rule changes reduce the likelihood that men of color will disproportionately face exclusion from its tournaments.”

In a statement published Monday, NCLR said that as part of the settlement, “NAGAAA recognized that disqualifying the players from the 2008 tournament was not consistent with NAGAAA’s intention of being inclusive of bisexual players. NAGAAA now recognizes the players’ team-D2-as a second-place winner of the 2008 Gay Softball World Series, and will award the team a second-place trophy. In the settlement, NAGAAA also expressed regret at the impact the 2008 protest hearing process had on the players and their team. NAGAAA confirmed that its records will be amended to reflect the players’ participation in 2008, including the results of all games played by their team.”

NAGAAA, NCLR, and law firm K and L Gates LLP, which represented the plaintiffs, also agreed to participate to continue discussions about making sports more inclusive and to co-sponsor a panel discussion at the 2012 Gay Softball World Series in Minneapolis about different ways to create and sustain inclusiveness and fight homophobic discrimination.

“This case has helped shine a light on the continuing negative effects of pervasive, historic homophobia and discrimination in sports at all levels and the continued need to combat negative perceptions and stereotypes about LGBT athletes,” said attorney Suzanne Thomas.

The lawsuit had challenged the invasive and subjective process by which the disqualifications were made and the unconstitutionality of an LGBT organization being allowed to bar straights from an activity in a public park protected by non-discrimination laws. An earlier court ruling on the case found that NAGAAA as an “expressive group” like the Boy Scouts of America had the right to discriminate. Chris Stoll, senior staff attorney for NCLR, told the Bay Area Reporter that ruling will stand despite this settlement.

“The decision does remain on the books, but because it is so inconstant with other court rulings it will not be cited much,” Stoll said. “The ruling is kind of confusing. I think the judge just has the law wrong. We were pretty confident that if we continued with the litigation that ruling would have been overturned.”

– by Roger Brigham

— Cynthia Laird, November 28, 2011 @ 9:49 am PST
Filed under: News,Sports

Castro tree lighting coming Monday

The Castro neighborhood’s annual holiday tree lighting ceremony is approaching.

The Merchants of Upper Market and Castro are hosting the event, which begins at 6 p.m., Monday, November 28, in front of the Bank of America a1 18th and Castro streets.

Bay Area Reporter society columnist Donna Sachet will emcee the brief program, which will include carols from the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, and others; greetings from Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials, and a blessing by The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Santa and his elf are also expected to make an appearance.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 23, 2011 @ 4:27 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

San Jose LGBT center hosts Thanksgiving meal

San Jose’s LGBT center is hosting a Thanksgiving meal for those in the South Bay city alone on the holiday Thursday, November 24.

They are also asking people to drop off a toy or gift card for a child with HIV during tomorrow’s event.

The free luncheon is open to anyone and is being hosted by Carlos Flores along with chef Rafael Hernandez. As of Wednesday afternoon 19 people had RSVPed on the event’s Facebook page.

Anyone wishing to attend is asked to bring a side dish, a dessert or beverages. The organizers note that there are no cooking facilities at the Center, so anything brought must be ready-to-serve.

For those unable to bring something, they can fiscally contribute toward the LGBT facility. Cash donations can be given to any board or staff member at the event, notes the invite.

Otherwise, the only requirement is “that you bring yourself and share holiday cheer with others in attendance.”

The Thanksgiving luncheon will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center is located at 938 The Alameda in downtown San Jose.


— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:33 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Butler picks up LGBT legislative caucus endorsement in heated LA Assembly race

The state Legislative LGBT Caucus has issued an endorsement of straight Assemblywoman Betsy Butler (D-Marina Del Rey) in a hotly contested race for an LA Assembly seat next year.

The news was announced today (Wednesday, November 23) amid the Thanksgiving travel rush and marks an apparent reversal in the caucus members’ thinking about the group’s stance in the race.

Just two weeks ago openly gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) had told the Bay Area Reporter that the caucus would not make an endorsement in the race for the newly drawn 50th Assembly District out of deference to lesbian candidate Torie Osborn.

Leno himself had endorsed Osborn, a former executive director of the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, but switched to Butler once she jumped into the race. The lawmaker’s decision to seek the seat centered in Santa Monica and West Hollywood has infuriated Osborn’s camp, which contends Butler is carpet-bagging into the seat.

Despite her having to move into the new district, Butler argues she is the incumbent in the race because her current 53rd Assembly District boundaries overlap with a portion of West Los Angeles included in the new district. Now Butler and Osborn have been fiercely competing for the support of LGBT voters in the district and donors throughout the state.

A spokeswoman for the current caucus chair, lesbian state Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), who is pictured at right, had told the B.A.R. last week that despite the fact all seven members of the LGBT caucus have endorsed their legislative colleague Butler in the race, they were “individual ones” and “there was not a caucus endorsement.”

But Butler’s campaign website since launching earlier this fall had listed the Legislative LGBT Caucus among her endorsers. Sometime over the last seven days the caucus decided to make it official.

“It was no surprise that the Legislative LGBT Caucus offered our unanimous support to Betsy Butler,” stated Leno in a news release issued by Butler’s campaign. “Betsy has been an unflinching advocate for LGBT Californians during her time in the Assembly and throughout her career. She is a steadfast champion for equal rights and we need her as an ally in the Legislature.”

Kehoe is quoted as saying that the caucus is “proud” to back Butler because “there is no better choice for the LGBT community than Betsy Butler. Betsy has spent decades supporting us and now it is time for us to stand with her.”

The caucus is at odds with two of its former members on whom to back in the race, which also includes Democratic Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom. Lesbian former state Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg and lesbian former state Senator Sheila Kuehl, who once dated Osborn, have backed her bid for public office.

The women were among seven current and former state elected leaders endorsing Osborn that her campaign touted in a press release sent out Monday, November 21. The one current legislator included was Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), who is termed out of office next year.

The release noted that Goldberg announced her endorsement after an advisory committee interviewed candidates and unanimously recommended Osborn to receive Goldberg’s endorsement. It is an apparent dig at Equality California, whose political action committee recently came under fire for endorsing Butler without interviewing the lawmaker or the other candidates in the race.

Goldberg stated she is supporting Osborn due to her leadership skills, experience, and “sheer energy and drive.”

“She is the right candidate to serve the residents of California’s new, open 50th Assembly district, and continue its proud tradition of sending true progressive leaders to Sacramento,” stated Goldberg.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:13 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

CA court grants standing in Prop 8 case

California’s Supreme Court has granted backers of voter-approved initiatives the right to defend the ballot measures in federal court when state officials opt against doing so.
The issue, known as “standing” in legal parlance, is key in the legal fight over Proposition 8, the ban against same-sex marriage Golden State voters adopted in 2008. If the anti-gay groups behind the measure had not been allowed standing in the case, then a federal district judge’s ruling last summer that Prop 8 is unconstitutional would automatically been upheld.
California’s governor and attorney general, as well as their predecessors, have all refused to defend Prop 8 in federal court. Attorneys for the two same-sex couple plaintiffs had argued that only the elected state leaders could pursue an appeal of the lower court ruling, and therefore, since they opted not to then the case should come to an end.
The matter is currently before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge panel for the appellate court will once again take up the case, known as Perry vs. Brown, December 8.

— Matthew S. Bajko, November 17, 2011 @ 11:10 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Police to meet Thursday with Eagle Tavern site owner

A San Francisco Police Department inspector plans to meet with the owner of the former Eagle Tavern property Thursday morning, November 17.

Inspector Dave Falzon wouldn’t say exactly when the meeting is, explaining, “I don’t think it’s appropriate for me” to get into that.

The fate of 398 12th Street (seen at left, earlier this year) remains unclear. Eagle owners John Gardiner and Joseph Banks shut down the bar in April, saying they were losing money. They were also facing a lawsuit from landlord John Nikitopoulos over unpaid rent.

Nikitopoulos filed an application with the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in August to transfer the license from a closed Mission neighborhood restaurant to the Eagle site. That license could be changed to a liquor license. Gardiner and Banks owned the Eagle liquor license, which has expired.

The South of Market neighborhood tavern was well known for Sunday afternoon beer busts that raised money for numerous LGBT organizations over the years.

In an October 13 letter to the state ABC’s local office bearing the names of Falzon and Police Chief Greg Suhr, police recommended denying transfer of the license.

“The Department protests this license as it would create or add to a law enforcement problem and/or an undue concentration of licenses,” the letter, a copy of which the ABC provided to the Bay Area Reporter, says. “It would also create problems and be a nuisance to the neighboring community.”

But in an interview, Falzon said the letter represents “a standard response to allow us an opportunity to reach out to both the community and the business operator.”

Falzon said he’s been at his job for 12 years and indicated that he couldn’t recall having problems with the Eagle. Among other issues, Falzon said that he wants to talk to Nikitopoulos about what type of bar he’s planning, whether it’s a neighborhood, sports, or gay bar.

“We’re looking at the impact on the community,” Falzon said.

For example, he said, if the plan is to convert the site to a sports bar “and put in 50 big screen televisions and other things … that could adversely impact the community. Those are things we want to look at and go in with our eyes open.”

Nikitopoulos has never responded to numerous interview requests from the B.A.R. A recording  on his cell phone today said that the mailbox was full.

Falzon said usually, once police meet with the involved parties “we amend our denial letter.”

“Ultimately, this will go before the Board of Supervisors,” he said.

In April, Supervisor Jane Kim – whose District 6 includes the Eagle space – along with out gay Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos sent the police a letter asking them to closely scrutinize any transfer of the liquor license for the bar.

In September, Kim told the B.A.R. that the license issue “is not something we’d legislate, but something we hope would come from the community.”

Falzon said outreach to the community has included letters sent out to residents living within 500 feet of the Eagle building, and a posting at the site. A formal community meeting isn’t planned, he said, but “If there’s interest, we’ll always have meetings. That’s what we do. We’re a community police department.”

In an October 25 letter he sent to the ABC, Clyde Wildes, who lives near the Eagle site, also expressed concern about the transfer.

“The owner has not shared his operational plans with the neighborhood,” Wildes wrote in the letter, which he shared on the Save the Eagle Tavern Facebook page. “I have a strong interest in having the 398 12th Street space operate in the same manner as the previous operation catering to the same clientele. The previous operation existed for over 30 years without problems.”

Falzon said that within the Eagle site’s census tract (0177), there are 33 active liquor on-sale licenses, which cover businesses like bars and restaurants. The state allows only seven.

“We are over the state recommended average, but I would caution that that’s very common in San Francisco,” Falzon said. And apparently San Franciscans like to drink. He said the city has almost 3,800 active liquor licenses within its 49 square miles.

“There’s nowhere in California like that,” he said.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 16, 2011 @ 5:35 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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