Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Lawsuits ask for 2016 SF Pride party to be called off

Anthony Wayne channels Sylvester on the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee float in 2015. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Anthony Wayne channels Sylvester on the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee float in 2015. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Lawsuits filed Wednesday against organizers of San Francisco’s LGBT Pride parade and celebration seek an injunction that would prevent this year’s party from taking place, according to Mary Sanks, a spokeswoman for Rosenfeld, Meyer, and Susman, the Beverly Hills-based law firm representing the plaintiffs. The parade would still be able to happen. The Pride parade and celebration are set to take place June 25-26.

The lawsuits were brought by a man who was shot near last year’s celebration, along with two other people who Sanks says were injured in gun violence.

In a news release announcing the lawsuits, Sanks says her firm’s presenting evidence that the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee has admitted to being “negligent” and holding events “in an unsafe and injurious manner.”

Documents also show that the San Francisco Police Department concluded the Pride celebration “could not safely be held, and the entity that holds the event summarily ignored” recommendations from the department “year after year,” according Sanks.

In a news release, Sam Singer – a communications strategist often hired by organizations facing controversy – said the injunction attempt “is without legal merit and will most likely be rejected by the court.”

George Ridgely, the committee’s executive director, stated, “The threatened injunction is meant to intimidate our organization and would have a massive and long- term negative impact on the LGBTQIA community of San Francisco. We will not be bullied by false claims and strongly believe the court will see this action for what it is.”
The news release also said Pride organizers work “closely and in partnership with the San Francisco Police Department, as well as private security and crowd control staff, so that all participants and spectators can enjoy a collective experience that is safe and enjoyable.”
The celebration is free, but there’s a suggested donation at the gate.  Proceeds from the festivities have resulted in over $2.5 million going to local nonprofits that work on issues ranging from HIV/AIDS to homelessness, and that funding “would be jeopardized” by the proposed injunction, Singer said.

Rosenfeld, Meyer, and Susman is the same firm that represented Trevor Gardner, a Los Angeles man who sued the Pride committee after he was shot at the 2013 festival. His case was settled earlier this year, but lawsuit by another man shot in 2013 is still pending.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in the Thursday, May 26 edition.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 19, 2016 @ 9:29 am PST
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Man convicted of anti-trans hate crime attack in Sacramento

A Sacramento jury today (Wednesday, May 18) convicted a man for attacking a transgender woman he’d struck up a conversation with at a store.

Trayvon Kirkendoll, 23, is expected to be sentenced to up to 13 years in prison after jurors found him guilty of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and determined the offense was a hate crime, the district attorney’s office announced.

Kirkendoll was at the Bonfare Market in Sacramento’s Oak Park neighborhood when he saw the victim walk into the shop, according to the agency.

He approached her and talked to her, but when he realized she’s trans, “he became embarrassed and then angry,” prosecutors said.

Kirkendoll went to his car, where two female friends were waiting for him. When the victim tried to leave the shop, Kirkendoll and his friends approached her, “told her that Kirkendoll wasn’t gay,” and then “repeatedly punched, kicked, and stomped the victim,” according to the DA’s office.

During the attack and afterward, the three “referred to the victim using derogatory insults, which referenced their perception of her sexual orientation,” the agency said.

The date of the incident wasn’t provided, but the sheriff’s department says Kirkendoll was booked into custody July 14, 2015. He’s not eligible for bail and remains in jail. His sentencing is set for July 23.

Defense attorney Amanda Reeves didn’t immediately respond to an interview request.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Morgan prosecuted the case.

Prosecutors didn’t say whether Kirkendoll’s friends were also charged in the incident.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 18, 2016 @ 4:09 pm PST
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Man robbed, injured in Castro ride share fight

01_07_Milk_Movie_52_lrgA man who fought with two others in a ride share car early Saturday morning in San Francisco’s Castro district was robbed and suffered a “mild concussion,” according to Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman.

The incident occurred at Castro and Market streets at 2:30 a.m. May 14 when the victim “got into an argument” with two other men while he was entering the car, Esparza said in a summary.

One of the suspects “slammed [the victim’s] head into the car,” and the victim had his phone “smashed,” Esparza said. The victim’s money was also taken.

The ride share driver took the victim, who’s 22, to a hospital.

No arrests had been made as of Monday. The suspects were described only as two men in their 20s. One is black and the other’s race is unknown.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:52 pm PST
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Man beaten, robbed near Dolores Park

Dolores Park (Photo: Pete Thoshinsky)

Dolores Park (Photo: Pete Thoshinsky)

A man was beaten, robbed, and left with “a shoe print” on his head Thursday night near San Francisco’s Dolores Park after arguing with several other men, according to police.

Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said in a summary that the victim was walking near 18th and Dolores streets at about 6 p.m. May 12 when he and six other men “got into a verbal altercation.”

The suspects, described only as 17-year-old black males, “punched and kicked” the victim, who fell, Esparza said. The other men took his phone and fled south on Oakwood Street.

The victim, who’s 28, was left with non-life threatening “cuts, head swelling,” and the shoe print. No arrests have been made.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 13, 2016 @ 11:26 am PST
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EQCA defends its financial support of Wiener’s state Senate bid

Equality California is defending its financial support of Scott Wiener’s state Senate bid after it came under attack today by the campaign of Jane Kim.

The two San Francisco Democratic supervisors are running for the 11th Senate District seat, which covers all of San Francisco and portions of northern San Mateo County. Gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) is termed out of office this year and has endorsed Wiener, who is also gay, to succeed him. (The Bay Area Reporter also endorsed Wiener in the race today.)

The statewide LGBT advocacy group’s political action committee has made electing Wiener to the state Legislature its top priority this election year. Its aim is to replenish the ranks of the California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus, as two of its current seven members will be termed out of office come December.

EQCA’s PAC also wants to ensure San Francisco retains LGBT representation in Sacramento. With the city’s two Assembly seats currently held by straight men, San Francisco would be without any out lawmakers in its state delegation since 1996 should Kim win the Senate seat.

“The reason why we are focused on and made Scott’s race a priority is because of the terming out of Senator Leno and other members of the Legislature. Maintaining a strong LGBT caucus is our top priority,” said EQCA Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We know Mark Leno has been a champion in the Senate since 2008, and the Senate seat has been held by an LGBT person since 2004. Scott has been endorsed by Leno and the LGBT caucus.”

Nonetheless, EQCA’s financial backing of Wiener’s Senate bid came under fire today by Kim’s campaign, which accused it of using money from gas giant Chevron that had been funneled through the independent expenditure group known as Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy.

Kim’s campaign claimed that Chevron’s $300,000 donation to the committee April 11 was used later that day to transfer $70,000 to the Equality California PAC. It then noted that on May 2 the Equality California PAC disclosed two independent expenditures on behalf of Wiener: a $113,203 television ad buy and another $8,937.50 expenditure for polling.

“While the money gets passed from committee to committee, the source remains the same – oil giant Chevron,” stated a media release from Kim’s campaign.

Zbur said the EQCA PAC receives financial support from a variety of business interests and political leaders. It began airing its ad in support of Wiener on television last week, added Zbur, in order to boost his name recognition in certain areas of the Senate district.

“None of our contributors have control over where we spend our money,” he said. “We ask them to support our allied candidates. We make the decisions on where we are spending our money based on our priorities.”

An online ad Scott Wiener's campaign posted Monday features his encounter with a Fox News reporter in City Hall.

An online ad Scott Wiener’s campaign posted Monday features his encounter with a Fox News reporter in City Hall.

Wiener was also criticized by Kim for benefiting from “thousands of dollars” home-sharing site Airbnb has spent to support his Senate campaign. And her campaign mocked Wiener for claiming in an online ad that he “doesn’t talk to Fox News” but is “perfectly happy” accepting financial help from its parent company, Fox Entertainment Group, which has given upwards of $20,000 to the Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy committee.

“This committee in turn has donated heavily to Equality California PAC which will be running television advertisements in support of Wiener (possibly on Fox News itself!),” noted Kim’s campaign.

“Scott Wiener has rejected sensible limits on donations and has been the beneficiary of tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Chevron, Airbnb and other major corporate interests,” stated Gustavo Arroyo, Kim’s campaign manager. “In this election Scott Wiener is standing with the big corporations while Jane Kim fights for the working families of this District.”

Zbur was critical of Kim’s campaign for focusing on it’s spending in the race rather than issues important to the voters.

“When you can’t talk about the issues, you start focusing on side red herring sort of issues,” he said.

Wiener’s campaign manager, Maggie Muir, told the B.A.R the attack from Kim is another sign that Wiener is the clear front runner in the race.

“As Supervisor Kim’s campaign fails to gain traction, it’s not surprising that she is desperately trying to conjure a false conspiracy theory to attack Scott Wiener for an independent expenditure over which he has no control. Indeed, Wiener is legally prohibited from coordinating with outside groups,” she wrote in an emailed reply.

Muir added that it “is surprising” to see Kim “attack and impugn” one of the largest state-based LGBT rights groups in the country, adding that “Scott Wiener is proud, as a gay man, to have EQCA’s support.”

According to Muir, Wiener’s campaign is refusing to “take a penny from the oil industry.” She also noted that Wiener is the sole recipient of the California League of Conservation Voters endorsement.

“The League of Conservation Voters refused to endorse Supervisor Kim, even though the League frequently makes dual endorsements. That decision was based on Scott Wiener’s unparalleled environmental record at the Board of Supervisors, including his groundbreaking legislation requiring solar panels and water recycling in new developments,” she wrote. “Scott is proud to run on his environmental record because, unlike Supervisor Kim, he actually has an environmental record.”

EQCA PAC is supporting several candidates

EQCA’s Zbur also took issue with Kim’s campaign focusing on the group’s PAC only making independent expenditures to Wiener this year.

According to its filings with the secretary of state’s office, the EQCA PAC has directly donated thousands of dollars to more than a dozen straight and gay or lesbian candidates throughout the state, as well as the San Diego Democratic County Party.

The PAC raised $247,000 during the first quarter of the year and spent $181,112. As of April 23 it reported having $81,016.91 in its account.

“No, we haven’t just spent money on Scott,” said Zbur. “We maxed out to almost all the LGBT candidates.”

There are 14 out California statehouse candidates this year, and as noted in the B.A.R.‘s Monday, May 9 Political Notes column, eight of the gay and lesbian candidates have outraised their opponents in their respective races.

Wiener has been one of the most prolific fundraisers. Since announcing his bid last year, Wiener’s total fundraising haul is more than $1.3 million. Kim has raised more than $514,000.

This is not the first time Kim has attacked Wiener’s fundraising, as she was critical of his accepting money from real estate interests during their first debate co-hosted by the B.A.R. in April.

Nor has Wiener shied from attacking Kim on her financial backers in the race. During that same debate he criticized Kim for accepting donations from out of state real estate money.

— Matthew S. Bajko, May 12, 2016 @ 2:55 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Breaking: SF’s Tea Room Theatre to close

The Tea Room Theatre. Photo: Google.

The Tea Room Theatre. Photo: Google.

The Tea Room Theatre, one of the last sex clubs in San Francisco and one of the last gay businesses in the Tenderloin district, is closing, the Bay Area Reporter has learned.

The theater, which has been open for decades at 145 Eddy Street, offers male strippers, porn movies, and spaces where customers engage in sex acts.

The business’s last day will be Sunday, May 15, according to one source who didn’t want to be named. The Tea Room’s owner couldn’t be directly reached for comment. An employee confirmed the closing but declined to be interviewed.

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the Thursday, May 12 edition.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 9, 2016 @ 11:32 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Input sought from people with HIV for presidential forum

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at a CNN debate. (Screenshot courtesy of Common Dreams/CNN)

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders at a CNN debate. (Screenshot courtesy of Common Dreams/CNN)

A survey has been launched to gather input from people living with HIV ahead of a forum with Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

The nonprofit Q Foundation, formerly known as AIDS Housing Alliance, today (Friday, May 6) released 2016 HIV + Community Member’s Survey of Attitudes & Priorities for people to share their needs.

Clinton and Sanders are set to meet with a small group of representatives from HIV/AIDS organizations to discuss how they “can make ending the AIDS epidemic a priority in their first year in office,” a news release from Q Foundation said.

“Feedback is important in shaping a national dialogue regarding the path forward in the struggle for people living with HIV/AIDS,” the group said.

Brian Basinger, the nonprofit’s executive director, stated that the survey “seeks to add to that effort by ensuring the democratic inclusion of the authentic voices of people with HIV/AIDS to drive awareness of their lived experiences and to enhance support for the variety of programs required to both live and thrive. … We thought the candidates should hear from people living with HIV/AIDS on the full scope of needs and priorities that impact our lives, communities and our nation at large.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 6, 2016 @ 8:36 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

‘When We Rise’ to film in the Castro

Filming for the ABC TV miniseries When We Rise will take place in San Francisco’s Castro district Saturday, May 7.

The film, which is based on the upcoming memoir of Harvey Milk confidante Cleve Jones, covers the lives of Jones and others who helped lead the LGBT rights movement from the 1970s through today.

The scene shot Saturday will be “of a man riding a bike up a hill,” location manager Heather MacLean said in a bulletin posted in the Castro this week. Filmmakers have requested a street closure from 7 a.m. to noon for 20th Street between Collingwood and Eureka streets, and Diamond Street between 19th and 21st streets.

“Residents will be allowed through our closure, but please identify yourself as a resident” to police, MacLean said in her announcement.

“No parking” signs will be posted in the area to make room for cars from the 1970s and to make sure no modern cars show up in the scene.

“We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this temporary filming activity may cause. … We are here to answer any concerns that you may have and will work to treat your neighborhood with respect,” said MacLean, who provided the email address ( and phone number (415-554-6241) for the city’s Film Commission, among other contact information.

Recent filming has included a recreation of the White Night Riots at City Hall. The 1979 riots involved fiery battles between police and residents that erupted after a jury convicted Milk assassin Dan White only of manslaughter, rather than murder.

Milk became the first out LGBT elected official in California when he won a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1977. White, a former supervisor, assassinated Milk and Mayor George Moscone in City Hall in November 1978.

After Milk’s death, Jones, who lives in the Castro, went on to become a well-known AIDS and labor activist, founding the AIDS quilt. His book is set to be released on his 62nd birthday, October 11.

Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for his screenplay for the 2008 Milk biopic, also wrote the screenplay for When We Rise.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 5, 2016 @ 2:57 pm PST
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