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

Bill Clinton coming to National AIDS Memorial Grove

Former President Bill Clinton is expected to visit the National AIDS Memorial Grove Friday, December 1, World AIDS Day, the Bay Area Reporter has learned.

(Former President Bill Clinton.)

(Former President Bill Clinton.)

Exact details are not known, and the grove did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But two sources have indicated that Clinton will be there.

The grove typically has a public event on World AIDS Day.

The grove’s “Light in the Grove,” a fundraiser held the night before, will feature gay San Francisco mayoral candidate Mark Leno, according to sources.

As the B.A.R. reported in 2009, in 1996 the grove did gain some prominence when Congress and then-President Bill Clinton designated it a national memorial, one of only two in California. Yet Clinton never visited, nor has any president ever stepped foot in the grove while in office. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has visited the grove many times and was instrumental in seeing it designated a national memorial.

Hillary Clinton, then the first lady, did attend the ceremony establishing the national recognition of the grove.

Bill Clinton has long been an AIDS advocate, especially since leaving the White House. The Clinton Foundation has funded programs in developing countries to combat HIV/AIDS, including lowering the costs of medications for people.

The post will be updated when we get more information.

— Cynthia Laird, November 9, 2017 @ 11:13 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

SF mayor marks Milk election anniversary

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement Wednesday marking the anniversary of slain gay icon Harvey Milk winning election to the Board of Supervisors.

“On this day 40 years ago, Harvey Milk forever changed our city and helped reshape politics in our state and nation,” said Lee in his November 8 statement.

“As the first openly-gay elected official in California history, Harvey broke down barriers and opened up boundless possibilities for members of the LGBTQ community. He was a fearless trailblazer who refused to be marginalized, and his courage inspired countless others follow in his footsteps,” Lee continued.

Milk, a Castro district camera shop owner, won election November 8, 1977, after previous attempts to win a seat failed. A year later, in November 1978, he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by former supervisor Dan White.

“As we continue to witness assaults on our civil rights – particularly the rights of our LGBTQ members – now more than ever we need to embrace the spirit of Harvey,” stated Lee. “In San Francisco, we will embody his legacy by being a city that stands up and proudly fights on the behalf of all of our residents. We will forever remember what Harvey used to say – hope will be never silent.”

In other news this week, several out LGBT candidates across the country won their elections. See the Thursday, November 9 edition of the Bay Area Reporter for details.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 8, 2017 @ 1:04 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Installation begins on next round of SF LGBT history walk plaques

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, left, AT&T store manager Devina Ewing, and Rainbow Honor Walk Board Member David Perry unveiled one of seven new plaques for the Honor Walk on Castro Street during an event June 3 at the Powell Street AT&T store. Photo: Rick Gerharter

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, left, AT&T store manager Devina Ewing, and Rainbow Honor Walk Board Member David Perry unveiled one of the new plaques for the Honor Walk on Castro Street during an event June 3 at the Powell Street AT&T store. Photo: Rick Gerharter.

Work has begun to install the next set of eight plaques for the Rainbow Honor Walk, a project in San Francisco’s gay Castro district that celebrates deceased LGBT luminaries.

In September 2014 the first group of 20 LGBT individuals who left a lasting mark on society was honored with bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalk on the 400 and 500 blocks of Castro Street and a portion of 19th Street.

In June of 2016 the next set of 24 names to be added to the walk was revealed, though organizers of the project opted to add the plaques for the LGBT historical figures in batches as the estimated cost to pay for production of the 24 individual bronze plaques is $120,000.

This past June the names of the first octet and their plaques to be embedded along upper Market Street were unveiled at the AT&T Store downtown and displayed there during Pride Month. Employees with San Francisco Public Works began tearing up the sidewalk along Market Street near Castro Street this morning (Monday, November 6) to begin the process of securing the plaques in the ground.

On the south side of Market Street, where the Chevron gas station is, between 17th and Noe Streets will be plaques for drag queen Jose Sarria, a gay man who founded the Imperial Court system; Rikki Streicher, who owned several now-closed San Francisco lesbian bars and helped found the Gay Games Federation; Glenn Burke, the first out Major League Baseball player; and We’Wha, a Zuni Native American two-spirit/mixed gender tribal leader.

On the north side of Market Street, where the Pottery Barn store is, will be plaques for lesbian astronaut Sally Ride; gay Iranian poet Fereydoun Farakzhad; lesbian lawmaker Barbara Jordan; and gay Japanese-American civil rights activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya.

Project co-founder David Perry, a gay man who owns an eponymously named public relations firm, told the Bay Area Reporter that all eight of the plaques could be laid into the sidewalk as early as this Thursday.

“Never has it been more important to celebrate the contributions of LGBT heroes and heroines,” stated Perry, who chairs of the Rainbow Honor Walk’s board, in an emailed reply. “With these next eight Rainbow Honor Walk honorees, we turn the corner from Castro onto Market Street. One day, we hope these stories in bronze will pave the way all down Market Street to inspire new generations of activism, education and justice.”

The eight plaques cost $48,437.61, with all of the money to pay for them raised from private funds, wrote Perry. The honor walk board has banked $31,000 to date to cover the cost for the next 16 plaques and continues to raise funds to cover the entire amount needed.

“I’m quite confident we’ll have all the funds needed for manufacture and installation of the final 16 before Pride 2018,” Perry told the B.A.R. this week.

Since the new plaques were “unveiled” in June, Perry said the project’s board isn’t planning to host a big event with media and local dignitaries to celebrate their installation. Instead, it is working on plans to hold a small reception sometime this month to mark the public debut of the project’s second phase of plaques.

For more information about the Rainbow Honor Walk, as well as longer bios about all of the honorees, visit

— Matthew S. Bajko, November 6, 2017 @ 4:14 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay man found dead in Hayes Valley apartment

Alkoraishie Ali, left, and Keith Harris in undated photo. (Photo courtesy of Gus Bean.)

The body of Keith Harris, right, seen in this undated photo with his boyfriend, Alkoraishie Ali, was discovered in Hayes Valley on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Gus Bean.)

The man who was found dead in Hayes Valley Thursday, November 2, was Keith Harris, 48, a gay man whose boyfriend is now missing, according to people who knew Harris.

The medical examiner’s office has not confirmed the name of the man who died, but Paul Novales, the manager of the Estrella Apartments at 340 Hayes Street, said that he got a call at about 2 p.m. Thursday because Harris hadn’t been seen in a couple days.

Novales said that he knocked on Harris’ door, but there was no response, so he unlocked it.

When he opened the door, there were “big drops” of blood “on the floor and smears of blood on the wall and the door going into the bathroom,” he said. He immediately walked away from the door to the apartment and called 911.

Novales said that there was an open door inside the one-room apartment that blocked the view of the rest of the unit, and he didn’t see Harris’ body.

He said that a woman who lives next to Harris’ apartment heard “loud voices” coming from there at about 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, November 1, but she couldn’t tell what was being said.

Police said that Harris had suffered “stab wounds” and that a knife was used as the weapon, but they have not released much more information.

Harris was an “absolutely nice, normal guy,” said Novales, “the kind of tenant that everyone wishes they had.”

He said that he didn’t know very well Harris’ partner, Alkoraishie Ali, and police have not announced Ali as a suspect. Ali hasn’t responded to Facebook messages from the Bay Area Reporter.

Longtime San Francisco party promoter Gus Bean, who was friends with the couple, said that Ali, who’s in his early 20s, has frequently worked for him as a go-go dancer.

“Nobody seems to know where he is,” said Bean. “His phone goes to voicemail.”

He added, “They seemed like a perfectly happy couple. … Keith’s an absolute sweetheart, the sweetest guy ever,” and “Ali seemed like a really sweet guy.”

Bean said that he didn’t know of Ali having any trouble involving drugs or crime.

“When he came to work at the parties, he seemed completely sober and always did a really great job and was definitely professional,” he said.

Besides dancing, Ali has also worked at the Body clothing store on Castro Street. One worker there Thursday declined to comment, indicating he was too busy.

Residents of the building described Harris as a kind man and said they weren’t aware of him having any trouble. Several people said they did not recognize Ali from photos on his Facebook page.

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the Thursday, November 9 edition of the paper.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 3, 2017 @ 5:23 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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