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

Santa Clara officials to raise transgender flag to mark day of visibility

Last July the city of Vancouver flew the transgender flag in front of its city hall to mark the start of the local Pride week. Courtesy the Calgary Herald.

Last July the city of Vancouver flew the transgender flag in front of its city hall to mark the start of the local Pride week. Courtesy the Calgary Herald.

In what is being billed as a national first for a county, Santa Clara County will raise the transgender pride flag next week in front of the county government building.

The event, which will take place at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 22, is to mark the sixth annual International Transgender Day of Visibility, which will be celebrated Thursday, March 31. The event is a counterpoint to the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance held annually in November to honor those individuals who have been killed.

Next week’s flag raising ceremony is the first time that the South Bay county has observed the day of visibility by flying the transgender pride flag in McEnery Plaza at the County of Santa Clara Government Center, located at 70 W. Hedding Street in San Jose.

Several Canadian cities, such as Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Barrie in Ontario, have flown the transgender pride flag, which features colored bands of blue, pink and white, in the past to honor their transgender citizens.

The transgender pride flag has been flow in various U.S. cities on certain occasions, such as at Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco’s gay Castro district in November of 2012 after a public debate about doing so. Last year Drexel University flew it at three of its campuses to mark the college’s Transgender Remembrance Week, and the city of Philadelphia raised the flag in front of its City Hall last June in coordination with a yearly transgender health conference it hosts.

In an email gay Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager sent late yesterday (Wednesday, March 16) to constituents informing them about the event, he wrote that it will make “ours the first county in the nation to do so.”

Yeager will be joined by local transgender rights activist Lance Moore at the ceremony, and at the board meeting later that morning, he will ask his colleagues to adopt a proclamation declaring Transgender Day of Visibility in Santa Clara County.

“The Transgender Pride Flag, which will fly through the entire month of April, will fly just below the Rainbow Flag, which I had the honor of raising last June following the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality,” wrote Yeager. “I encourage you to come out for this special occasion.”

The South Bay Transgender Day of Visibility will be held Saturday, April 2 at the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center. The newly created Santa Clara County Office of LGBTQ Affairs will be taking part in the daylong event, which starts at 1:30 p.m. and will feature resources on medical care, legal concerns, social issues, economic opportunity, family relationships and more, according to Yeager’s office.

The evening will feature variety show entertainment from 7 to 10 p.m. and all proceeds will benefit the programs and services of the Billy DeFrank Center. There will also be an afterhours party hosted by Renegades bar, which is located very near to the center at 501 W. Taylor Street in downtown San Jose. For more information and the schedule of events, visit the web page here.

“Transgender Day of Visibility reminds us of the progress we’ve made and the work still unfinished in the fight for transgender equality,” noted Yeager. “I’m proud of the county’s involvement in this event, and with support from the new Office of LGBTQ Affairs I look forward to continue working for the health and well-being of our transgender community year round.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 17, 2016 @ 1:45 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Books Inc. to close Castro shop

Books Inc. announced this morning (Tuesday, March 15) that it’s closing its location in San Francisco’s Castro district. The shop has lost its lease, owners said.

“We have served authors and customers in the Castro for over 20 years and thank everyone for the support,” said CEO Michael Tucker in a news release. “We look forward to continuing service for the community in the Opera Plaza location” on Van Ness Avenue.

The Castro shop is expected to close in June.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in the Thursday, March 17 edition.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 15, 2016 @ 11:00 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF Pride announces first grand marshals for 2016

Larry Yang. Photo: Facebook.

Larry Yang. Photo: Facebook.

San Francisco’s LGBT Pride Celebration Committee has announced Larry Yang, Janetta Johnson, and Black Lives Matter as the first round of grand marshals for the 2016 parade and festival.

Yang is a meditation and mindfulness teacher who’s “committed to serving multicultural, queer and activist communities,” according to Pride. He was a key player in developing the East Bay Meditation Center and the Insight Community of the Desert, among other achievements. He’s also on the teacher’s council of Spirit Rock Meditation Center.

Pride described Johnson, executive director of the Transgender Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project, as a “healer” whose “experiences as a formerly incarcerated trans person have inspired and informed her work to affirm the value of black trans lives through media, education and community-building.” TGI Justice works to help people who’ve been incarcerated.

Black Lives Matter is an international network working to rebuild the black liberation movement “and affirm the lives of all black people, specifically black women, queer and trans people,” and others, according to Pride.

More grand marshals are expected to be announced soon. This year’s Pride festivities are June 25-26.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on the grand marshals in the Thursday, March 17 edition.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 10, 2016 @ 7:47 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man arrested in Duboce Triangle fire station burglary

San Francisco Fire Station #6 in Duboce Triangle. Photo: Google.

San Francisco Fire Station #6 in Duboce Triangle. Photo: Google.

San Francisco police arrested a man Wednesday night for allegedly stealing a fire turncoat and other items from a fire station in the Duboce Triangle.

Robert Greve, 30, was arrested after “anonymous citizens” told the victim that someone “had just run out of the fire station with some items” at 11:50 p.m. in the 100 block of Sanchez Street, Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said in a summary.

The victim chased the suspect, since identified as Greve, caught him, retrieved the items, and called police.

Greve, who’s already on parole, was arrested on suspicion of burglary, according to Esparza.

Along with the coat, Greve allegedly stole a radio and flashlight.

Esparza didn’t say whether the victim, 45, is a firefighter.

He said he didn’t have a city of residence or other address information for Greve.

A December 2015 San Francisco Chronicle story mentions a Robert Greve and indicates Greve may be transgender.

“Robert Greve has seven years in and out of custody and nothing good to say about San Francisco’s County Jail at the Hall of Justice on Bryant Street,” the story says. “…There are few counseling or educational programs, and the transgender inmate feels unsafe.”

“They don’t got no place for us,” Greve is quoted as saying.

The Bay Area Reporter wasn’t immediately able to verify it’s the same Robert Greve.

Sheriff’s department records don’t list him as being in custody. Police haven’t released his booking photo.

 [Update, Friday, March 11]: According to the sheriff’s department, Greve is in custody, without bail, on felony charges of second-degree burglary and grand theft of personal property, as well as parole violation. A court date wasn’t available.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:50 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man beaten in Castro robbery


Photo: Rick Gerharter

A man was beaten Sunday night in San Francisco’s Castro district by two men who attacked him and took his phone.

The March 6 incident started at 11 p.m. at 18th and Castro streets as the victim, 24, left a bar, according to police.

One suspect asked to borrow the victim’s phone, and he let him. When he asked for his phone back, the suspect said “he didn’t have it,” Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said in a summary.

The two men started “fighting over the phone,” and a second suspect joined in, Esparza said. The men punched and kicked the victim several times and fled with the phone.

The victim suffered lacerations to his face, elbow, forehead, and hip.

The suspects are described only as black men between the ages of 20 and 30.

No arrests have been made.



— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 9, 2016 @ 3:36 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Duboce Triangle couple seeks help after attack

Dean and Mary Ayers

Dean and Mary Ayers

A queer Duboce Triangle couple are looking for help after they were recently attacked near their home.

Friends of Dean and Mary Ayers have started a Gofundme campaign to help pay for medical expenses and other costs. As of Thursday, almost $18,000 toward the $25,000 goal had been raised.

In interview, Dean Ayers said four men approached him and his wife Tuesday, February 23 on Sanchez Street. One of the men said he wanted to rape her and then assaulted the couple. Both were injured, and Mary Ayers is still in the hospital.

Video surveillance footage has been obtained, but police Sergeant Robert Terry said no arrests have been made yet. It does not appear the incident was related to the couple’s LGBT status.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in the Thursday, March 10 edition.

Anyone with information in the case can contact the SFPD anonymous tip line at (415) 575- 4444. People may also text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line. The incident number is 160160871.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, March 3, 2016 @ 5:31 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Massage Envy owner considers opening Castro shop

The owner of a Massage Envy shop in San Francisco is contemplating a move to the Castro district.

Dexter Lee told members of the Castro Merchants business group this morning (Thursday, March 3) that he’s looking at the former Radio Shack space at 2280 Market Street, but that spot is only a “possibility.”

Lee, whose current Massage Envy is at the Metreon entertainment complex in the South of Market neighborhood, said he’s also looking at other locations on Market and Church streets, but the Radio Shack space is “the furthest along in the discussion.”

He said he realized it’s “a little bit early” to make his presentation to the group, since he hasn’t signed a lease or begun the conditional use permit process yet. He’d need to get a conditional use permit, in part because there are already 1,100 Massage Envy locations in the country, and the neighborhood has restrictions on chain stores.

With 1,500 services a month, Lee said, his current shop is “quite busy.” He said the fact that many of his customers come from the Castro, Noe Valley, and other neighboring areas is “what’s driving this look to expand” to the district.

He said there would be seven to eight treatment rooms, and up to 25 employees. There would be no showers or locker rooms.

“The customer comes, receive their service, then they leave,” Lee said. However, he said, the business would be “a good neighbor for other retailers because of the traffic we generate.”

He added, “We’re quiet. We don’t make a lot of noise.”

If he uses the former Radio Shack site, “the façade would not be covered,” although, “obviously, you wouldn’t be able to see into the massage rooms.”

Lee, a Castro resident, said he hoped to return to the group, which could eventually offer its support as he tries to get approval from the city’s planning department, in “the next few months with a more concrete proposal.”



— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 4:26 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

FGG breaks off talks with GLISA over single LGBT sporting event

The Federation of Gay Games has broken off talks that would have merged the Gay Games with the World Outgames and is launching site selection process for the host of Gay Games XI, to be held in 2022.

“The federation and GLISA have developed a very cordial, positive working relationship over the past four years, which made this decision difficult,” Joanie Evans, co-president of the FGG, said of the end of negotiations with the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association in a federation statement released Thursday, March 3. “But given the due diligence we underwent, we concluded such a venture would be ‘high risk.’ We could not justify the major investment required to launch a new organization now. Doing so would require valuable financial and human resources that could better be spent helping Paris 2018 be the best Gay Games ever.”

(FGG Co-President Joanie Evans)

(FGG Co-President Joanie Evans)

The FGG posted a timeline document on its website ( explaining why the FGG board of directors voted unanimously Sunday, February 28, to terminate talks. The rationale presented closely echoed a Team San Francisco proposal that would have kept the FGG focused on producing the sports-focused Gay Games and invited GLISA to drop its World Outgames and stage human rights conferences as a separate event held in conjunction with the Gay Games (See April 9, 2015 JockTalk,

The FGG statement said risk analysis in recent months of a proposal to create a new organization to run a new, “merged” event made the board reconsider the agreement with GLISA.

“Although our due diligence process revealed that a joint partnership with GLISA would be high risk, it has also shown that we can work together amicably,” the statement said. “Given what is at stake, we continue to invite GLISA to collaborate with the FGG so that together we can use the power and passion of sport and culture to promote LGBT plus human rights around the globe. The FGG continues, as it has for nearly a decade, to extend an open invitation to GLISA to consider becoming a member organization of the FGG General Assembly. Joining the FGG in this way would allow GLISA to maintain its Continental Associations, work with other member organizations to coordinate events in non-Gay Games years, and potentially facilitate a human rights conference for a future Gay Games.”

The Gay Games were founded in 1982 in San Francisco by Dr. Tom Waddell. The quadrennial event thrived without a competitor until Gay Games VII, when the presumptive host, Montreal 2006, walked out of license agreement negotiations and announced it would hold a new rival event, the World Outgames. GLISA was formed to oversee the event and sanction a quadrennial Outgames the year before subsequent Gay Games.

The competing global events were only superficially similar. The Gay Games were heavily focused on sports with cultural events as another component. The FGG and its sports organization members worked in close proximity with host organizations to provide LGBT sports expertise hosts lacked. The World Outgames offer parties and human rights conferences as other major components and leave sports event organization to the hosts.

Since 2007, various talks have been held between the two organizations to create a single global event, but they have been unsuccessful and have increasingly led to the alienation of many longtime Gay Games supporters – including Waddell’s widow, Sara Waddell Lewinstein.

“I am 100 percent opposed to this proposal,” she said after GLISA and the FGG signed a memorandum of understanding last May to create a new organization to oversee a merged event. “The Gay Games have always been about individuals and families being able to participate in sports regardless of their athletic ability. They have not been about conferences. If Tom wanted conferences, he would have put them in. If they go through with this, I want Tom’s name taken off of it. I want our pictures taken off, everything. And I want to see financial statements from each of the Gay Games and from the World Outgames before we talk about adding anything.”

The Waddells’ daughter, Jessica, created an online petition and wrote an Advocate article opposing the proposed merger. Many Gay Games supporters also dropped the FGG from their wills because of concerns negotiations were leading to the loss of the Gay Games mission, with the some of those bequeathals reportedly reaching close to $2 million (See May 28, 2015 JockTalk,

“Since 2012, GLISA has been unwilling or unable to provide current and updated documents or records, despite multiple requests, or agree to an external, third party assessment of both operations,” the FGG statement release this week said. “As a result, the FGG board passed a motion in June 2015 to ensure a risk analysis would be conducted prior to proceeding further with any agreement. Upon receiving and reviewing the full risk analysis summary and recommendation, the FGG Board of Directors voted unanimously on 28 February 2016 to accept the recommendation to cease working toward a partnership with GLISA to develop a One World Event partnership. In making this decision, the FGG Board of Directors recognized that the time had come to rededicate its efforts to help make Paris 2018 a world-class sport and cultural event worthy of the global LGBT+ community, building on the 34-year legacy and vision established in 1982 for the inaugural Gay Games in San Francisco.”

At its 2015 general assembly meeting in Ireland, the board told members that site selection for 2022 was being prepared and potential bidders were being told the name of the event was the Gay Games. But at the time, no one could say what that event would look like or whether it would be run under the FGG model, the GLISA model – or something new entirely. This week’s announcement clarifies that picture.

Bidder inquiries can be sent to The deadline for request for information documents to be submitted is April 15.

– reported by Roger Brigham

— Cynthia Laird, @ 12:27 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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