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

Court allows California ‘ex-gay therapy’ ban to stand

A roadblock to California’s law banning “ex-gay therapy” has been removed now that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday (August 29) that the law should be upheld.

Sen. Ted Lieu

Sen. Ted Lieu

Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1172, authored by Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), into law September 29. The legislation bans state-licensed mental health professionals from attempting to engage in efforts to alter the sexual orientation of LGBT youth 18 years and younger.

The groundbreaking law had been set to go into effect January 1, 2013, but a 9th Circuit panel had delayed the implementation date until the conclusion of the court case. The ban doesn’t affect religious groups or ministers.

In a statement Thursday, Lieu said, “Today’s federal court opinion puts another nail in the coffin for the discredited and harmful practice of gay conversion therapy. The Constitution never has allowed, and never will allow, psychological child abuse.”

He added, “Now the law has caught up to the truth: sexual orientation is not a mental illness or defect, but rather the beautiful realization of what it means to be human.”

Hayley Gorenberg, legal director for Lambda Legal, an SB 1172 co-sponsor, stated, “With this ruling, LGBTQ youth across California are protected from the trauma of so-called ‘ex-gay therapy’ and the devastation these discredited methods cause youth and their families.”

The ruling came in two separate lawsuits, which the appeals court combined: Pickup v. Brown and Welch v. Brown.

According to Equality California, another SB 1172 co-sponsor, the court found that the plaintiffs failed to show that the ban infringes therapists’ free speech rights.

EQCA Executive Director John O’Connor said in a statement, “The court’s decision today on Senate Bill 1172 is a major victory for anyone who cares about the well-being of our youth. It will directly impact the lives of thousands of young people by protecting them from this horrific practice.”

Other SB 1172 co-sponsors were the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Mental Health America of Northern California, and Gaylesta.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 29, 2013 @ 2:49 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Parties, bike ride kick off Pride weekend in Oakland

Back for a third year, fiveTen Productions has several events planned this weekend, in the run-up to the fourth annual Oakland Pride festival Sunday, September 1.

FiveTen (the Oakland area code) is a mix of dance parties, live performances, and a bike ride. It’s promoted by Eden Pride Events and produced by Christine De La Rosa and Chaney Turner. The events are open to men and women alike.

(The Memorials will headline the fiveTen Pride after-party Sunday in Oakland.)

(The Memorials will headline the fiveTen Pride after-party Sunday in Oakland.)

First up is Casino Royale Friday, August 30, the official Oakland Pride kickoff party. The action takes place at the Den inside the historic Fox Theatre, 1807 Telegraph Avenue, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

There will be blackjack, roulette, craps tables, and more. Guests who purchase advance tickets will earn $100 in credit to play at the tables. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Eden LGBTQ Youth Foundation. DJs Val G, Lay Fingaz, and Trinity will be spinning the hottest beats.

The foundation, which launched earlier this year, is a separate entity from Eden Pride Events. The events are produced by fiveTEN Oakland Events.

On Saturday, August 31, fiveTen will host its second annual Oakland Pride Bike Ride. Participants should meet at lake Merritt (El Embarcadero Street) at 5:30 p.m.; the ride goes from 6 to 8 and ends at New Parish, 579 18th Street, where valet bike parking will be available The ride is free.

Following the ride, New Parish will host WERQ! Vogue Ball until 2 a.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. The party will feature two dance floors, food vendors, an outside patio and a vogue competition. The night will feature some of the bay’s finest voguers, whackers, and house dancers who will all battle it out for cash prizes and ultimate vogueing supremacy. The party is hosted by Lady Lana and Aima the Dreamer.

Finally, fiveTen’s events will conclude Sunday, September 1 with a music fest and after-party from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Oakland Metro, 630 3rd Street. VIP tickets are $20, general admission is $15 in advance or VIP $25, general $20 at the door.

This year’s line-up is amazingly diverse with headliners The Memorials, Lila Rose, Aima the Dreamer joined by Raw G., Billie Jr., Micah Tron, Queens D. Light, we have artists representing multiple genres of music. Hip-hop, R&B, indie rock and soul music.

For more information on any of the above events, visit http://www.fivetenoaklandevents.com.

As for the Oakland Pride festival, it takes place Sunday, September 1 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the city’s Uptown district. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids between 2-12. Entrance is at 20th and Broadway, near the 19th Street BART station. For more information, visit www.oaklandpride.org.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 10:58 am PST
Filed under: Arts,News


Harvey Milk school supporters raise money after burglary

Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy (Photo: www.city-data.com)

Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy (Photo: www.city-data.com)

Supporters of Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy are raising money to replace stolen items and make repairs after a recent burglary at the school in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood.

During the incident, which happened between the night of August 5 and the morning of August 6, the school was “burglarized, ransacked and vandalized,” according to an email from Alan Beach-Nelson, president of the Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association. CEVNA and other groups so far have raised more than $2,500 for the school, which is located at 4235 19th Street. Supporters are hoping to gather more than $5,000 altogether.

An art room and other spaces were “completely thrashed with paint thrown over everything, files and papers dumped, medical supplies breached, stamps, [and] school supplies and some office furniture destroyed,” said Beach-Nelson in his plea. Twelve student video cameras were also stolen, along with Principal Tracy Peoples’ school laptop.

The first day of school, August 19, “was great, despite the unfortunate incident,” said Peoples in an email to the Bay Area Reporter. “The staff and I worked really hard to ensure that our students first day back was positive. This was not something we wanted to burden our students with. … We are appreciative for the community support we have been receiving.”

U.S. Bank, 443 Castro Street, recently set up donation buckets for the effort, which along with CEVNA is being spearheaded by Herth Real Estate.

Checks payable to “Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy” may be brought to Herth Real Estate, 555 Castro Street, or U.S. Bank. The last day to donate is August 30.

 

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 28, 2013 @ 3:47 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Under One Roof Castro pop-up store to remain

1004405_10151431478231050_1283183623_nIt was meant to be a temporary summer retail location, but Under One Roof‘s Castro pop-up store will be staying open for business.

The nonprofit that funnels proceeds from merchandise sales to local AIDS agencies announced today (Wednesday, August 28) that its Bizarre Bazaar Pop Up will remain in place at 541 Castro Street.

“As August comes to a close, we are happy to announce that our Castro Pop-Up store will be open on a month-to-month basis. So stop on in and check out the sales going on there,” the volunteer-run agency announced in an email to supporters.

In January Under One Roof decided to shutter its Castro store due to declining sales and an onerous lease agreement. Then in April it opened a store in the Crocker Galleria in downtown San Francisco after the shopping center gave it a generous deal on a month-to-month lease.

Earlier this summer Les Natali, who owns several gay bars and the long-shuttered Patio restaurant, decided to offer the vacant storefront adjacent to the eatery rent-free to Under One Roof. Natali recently won approval for the permits he needs to reopen the Patio, which could occur in late September.

According to Under One Roof’s 2012 990 filing with the IRS, the nonprofit had revenues totaling $492,329 last year. That was a decrease from 2011, when it reported $553,576 in revenues.

It reported being short $25,210 in expenses versus revenues, though Under One Roof ended 2012 with $136,295 in net assets, according to the tax document.

It listed giving out two grants last year: $6,600 to Pets are Wonderful Support, or PAWS, and $6,850 the AIDS Legal Referral Panel.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:34 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


CA lawmakers back gay mayor’s state Assembly bid

State Assembly candidate Evan Low (left) with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Assemblyman Rich Gordon

State Assembly candidate Evan Low (left) with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Assemblyman Rich Gordon

Gay Campbell City Councilman Evan Low is drawing strong backing from state lawmakers for his 28th Assembly District campaign as he shores up support for his 2014 bid.

Today, (Wednesday, August 28)  the South Bay politician announced he had been endorsed by five Bay Area state Assemblymen, including Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park), chair of the California Legislative LGBT Caucus.

Assemblymen Luis Alejo (D-Salinas), Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) also endorsed Low’s campaign for the seat currently held by his boss, Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino). Fong, who will be termed out of office next year, has also endorsed Low’s Assembly bid.

“It is an honor to have the confidence and support of these outstanding Bay Area leaders,” stated Low. “I look forward to working with them in the legislature to continue moving our state and region forward.”

The endorsements follow ones made by other state politicians, such as lesbian Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and state Controller John Chiang.

Should he win the race, the 30-year-old Low would be the first out LGBT person of Asian descent to serve in the statehouse. So far he has yet to draw a significant challenger ahead of the June primary next summer.

Last month Low’s campaign reported it had raised $290,000 during the first six months of 2013 and had more than $240,000 cash on hand in its campaign account.

He has drawn considerable media attention this summer by protesting the U.S. ban against gay men donating blood. A change.org petition he launched aimed at having the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reverse its policy stance had garnered nearly 24,000 signatures as of this week.

 

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 12:43 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Herrera sues to block panel from closing City College

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera Thursday filed dual legal challenges involving the termination of City College of San Francisco's accreditation.

Last month, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges revoked City College's accreditation, effective July 2014. The college has appealed the ACCJC's decision, but the August 22 court filings by Herrera, if successful, could also keep the institution open.

(City Attorney Dennis Herrera. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

(City Attorney Dennis Herrera. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

In one of the lawsuits, Herrera alleges that the private ACCJC unlawfully allowed its advocacy and political bias to prejudice its evaluation of college accreditation standards. He said in the filing that because City College's policies foster a different vision for community colleges, the ACCJC retaliated by pulling the school's accreditation.

“The ACCJC has been a leading advocate to dramatically reshape the mission of California's community colleges through more restrictive policies focusing on degree completion to the exclusion of additional vocation, remedial, and non-credit offerings,” said a press release from Herrera's office.

The complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court concludes that the accrediting commission's “multiple conflicts of interest, improper evaluation process, and politically motivated decision-making constitute unfair and unlawful business practices under California law,” Herrera's statement said.

Rafael Mandelman, an openly gay member of the college's board of trustees, applauded the lawsuit in a message on his Facebook page.

In a separate legal action also filed August 22, Herrera targeted improper actions by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, the public agency charged by statute with overseeing the state's 112 community colleges and 72 community college districts. The legal challenge and rulemaking petition alleges that the state board impermissibly delegated its statutory obligations to set standards and determine eligibility for public funding to an unaccountable private entity in the ACCJC.

“Nothing about the actions I've filed today should distract or delay City College from doing everything in its power to solve the problems threatening its survival,” Herrera said in the statement. “But neither should these steps tempt accreditors to consider – even for one moment – retaliating against City College for legitimate challenges to their conduct and authority under the law.”

Representatives for the ACCJC did not immediately return a request for comment.

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— Cynthia Laird, August 22, 2013 @ 1:58 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Manning comes out as transgender

Convicted Army Private Bradley Manning on Thursday (August 22) released a statement in which she said that she is a transgender woman and will now be known as Chelsea E. Manning.

(Private Chelsea E. Manning)

(Private Chelsea E. Manning)

Manning, 25, was sentenced by an Army judge this week to 35 years in prison for leaking classified government documents to WikiLeaks. Manning was found guilty of most of the charges against her during a court-martial but the judge, Colonel Denise Lind, acquitted Manning of the most serious charge, aiding the enemy.

Lind also ordered that Manning, a former private first class, be reduced in rank to private and be dishonorably discharged from the Army.

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning said in her statement. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible.”

“I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility). I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.”

Manning is expected to serve his sentence at a military facility in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Gay rights and civil liberties groups quickly issued statements in support of Manning’s decision and calling for appropriate medical care for her.

“Regardless of how she came to our attention, Private Chelsea Manning’s transition deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” Jeff Krehely, vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “As she requested in her letter, journalists and other officials should use her chosen name of Chelsea and refer to her with female pronouns. Using the name Bradley or male pronouns is nothing short of an insult.”

Krehely also said that Manning should be afforded appropriate care while incarcerated.

“As Private Manning serves her sentence, she deserves the same thing that any incarcerated person does – appropriate and competent medical care and protection from discrimination and violence,” he said. “The care she receives should be something that she and her doctors – including professionals who understand transgender care – agree is best for her.”

Krehely also noted that Manning’s case is unique.

“What should not be lost is that there are transgender service members and veterans who serve and have served this nation with honor, distinction, and great sacrifice,” he said. “We must not forget or dishonor those individuals. Private Manning’s experience is not a proxy for any other transgender man or woman who wears the uniform of the United States.”

The America Civil Liberties Union also released a statement referencing Manning’s future medical care.

“[P]ublic statements by military officials that the Army does not provide hormone therapy to treat gender dysphoria raise serious constitutional concerns,” said Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT Project. “Gender Dysphoria is a serious medical condition in which a person’s gender identity does not correspond to his or her assigned sex at birth, and hormone therapy is part of the accepted standards of care for this condition.”

Strangio pointed out that the policy of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which does not oversee military detention facilities, and most state agencies is to provide medically necessary care for the treatment of gender dysphoria. Courts have found that denying such care based on blanket exclusions violates the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution, he added.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 10:40 am PST
Filed under: News


SF district attorney expands neighborhood courts to nights

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced this week that the neighborhood court initiative is expanding to evenings. The program, which Gascón launched in 2011, is an alternative to the traditional criminal justice process.

The Southern Neighborhood Court will hold its first night court at the Eucharist Church, 285 Main Street, from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, August 22.

“The success of Neighborhood Court can be attributed to the volunteer adjudicators who play a principle role in the safety and vitality of their neighborhoods,” said Gascón in a Tuesday, August 20 news release. “Due to an increase in cases, members of San Francisco’s communities requested expanded hours to increase participant and community participation. The expansion to night court ensures Neighborhood Court’s continued success.”

Gascón designed the neighborhood courts initiative to increase efficiency in case resolutions and reduce recidivism, among other goals. As part of the program, neighborhood prosecutors refer certain misdemeanors and infractions to neighborhood courts, where volunteer adjudicators hear the cases. Typical incidents include vandalism and other non-violent offenses.

Neighborhood court participants can have their cases heard within a couple of weeks, while the traditional court process can take several months. Through the neighborhood system, cases cost about $850 to resolve, compared to over $1,500 per case in the traditional process.  Last year, $330,000 was saved, according to the DA’s office.

There are 10 neighborhood courts across the city. In 2012, prosecutors referred over 700 cases to the system.

For more information, visit www.sfdistrictattorney.org.

 

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 21, 2013 @ 3:50 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Applicants sought for vacant seat on SF LGBT seniors panel

Members of the LGBT Seniors Task Force, including the late Jazzie Collins, left, were sworn in last fall. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Members of the LGBT Aging Policy Task Force, including the late Jazzie Collins, left, were sworn in last fall.                                 (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Applicants are being sought for a vacancy on San Francisco’s LGBT Aging Policy Task Force due to the sudden death last month of the volunteer panel’s vice chair.

Jazzie Collins, a transgender woman and longtime progressive leader, died July 11 at the age of 54. She was one of the inaugural members of the LGBT seniors panel that was convened last fall and had been elected by her colleagues to the leadership post.

The task force is set to conduct its most important round of meetings this fall, as it will finalize a report on the issues facing LGBT older adults in the city and present recommendations on how to address their needs to the Board of Supervisors in early 2014.

Due to the death of Collins and the resignation last November of panel member Felicia Elizondo, also known as Felicia Flames, the task force no longer has any transgender representation on it. The lack of transgender voices is a significant disadvantage for panel’s upcoming discussions, especially as a survey of local LGBT seniors conducted for the task force found transgender older adults to be facing significant challenges as they age.

In late July the clerk for the Board of Supervisors posted an announcement that applications were being accepted for those willing to serve in the vacant seat. With the board on recess until next month, it could be October until the new person is appointed and seated on the task force.

“We are hoping for a replacement in September but no hearing will be put on the calendar until the board comes back from recess. We no longer have any transgender members and none of us are happy about that,” task force chair Bill Ambrunn told the Bay Area Reporter. “We miss Jazzie for many reasons!”

According to the board clerk’s posting, applicants for the vacant Seat 4 on the task force must be an LGBT senior, aging adult, or person with expertise or experience working on issues affecting LGBT seniors. It added that applicants must be residents of San Francisco, unless otherwise stated.

The supervisors’ rules committee will review the applicants for the vacancy and vote on whether to forward a recommendation to the full board for approval. The committee does not meet again, however, until Thursday, September 19 and has yet to post the agenda for that day.

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:48 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Protest tonight in SF over sentencing of gay leaker Bradley Manning

01_13_Pride_GM_17_MED_Manning-copy-210x300Supporters of gay Army Private First Class Bradley Manning will gather tonight in San Francisco to protest his sentencing today (Wednesday, August 21) for leaking a massive trove of secret U.S. documents to WikiLeaks.

A military judge sentenced Manning to 35 years in prison for disclosing more than 700,000 government files to the online group, resulting in global media reports about America’s clandestine military and diplomatic activities around the world.

The sentence is the longest ever handed down in a case involving a leak of United States government information for the purpose of having the information reported to the public, noted the New York Times.

Manning, 25, will be eligible for parole in about seven years, his lawyer told reporters following the two-minute hearing this morning before Judge Army Col. Denise R. Lind. As part of his punishment,  Manning will be dishonorably discharged and reduced in rank from private first class to private, the lowest rank in the military.

Considered a hero by many progressives and free speech activists, Manning became a cause celeb within San Francisco’s LGBT community this year after the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee rescinded honoring him as a grand marshal at this year’s parade.

The controversy continues to flare within the local Pride organization, as several backers of Manning are now seeking to be elected to the board of directors that oversees the annual LGBT celebration at the end of June.

This evening a number of groups, both gay and straight, will be convening at 5 p.m. to protest the judge’s sentencing decision. Among the organizations are Courage to Resist, Veterans for Peace, World Can’t Wait, and LAGAI: Queer Insurrection. They will also be calling on President Barack Obama to pardon Manning.

The demonstration will take place at Justin Herman Plaza, which rally organizers are renaming Bradley Manning Plaza, at the foot of Market Street in downtown San Francisco across from the Ferry Building.

Speakers include Rainey Reitman, co-founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network; SF queer activist Tommi Avicolli-Mecca; and Sue Englander with the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, which bestowed its In His Footsteps Award on Manning at its gala this summer.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:34 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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