Issue:  Vol. 46 / No. 42 / 20 October 2016

Kim receives high-profile LGBT endorsement

(Cecilia Chung, a longtime transgender activist, has endorsed Jane Kim.)

(Cecilia Chung, a longtime transgender activist, has endorsed Jane Kim.)

San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim, locked in a tight race for state Senate with gay Supervisor Scott Wiener, on Thursday received a high-profile endorsement from a longtime LGBT leader.

Cecilia Chung, a transgender woman and member of the San Francisco Health Commission, announced that she is backing Kim in the November 8 election.

“Over the course of this campaign, I have closely watched both candidates,” Chung said in an October 20 news release issued by Kim’s campaign. “And after watching their actions and listening to their words, I have made the decision to endorse Jane Kim.”

(State Senate candidate Jane Kim. Photo: Steven Underhill)

(State Senate candidate Jane Kim. Photo: Steven Underhill)

Chung said that Kim “continues to be our number one champion for affordable housing, safe schools, and criminal justice reform.”

Chung, who is also HIV-positive, becomes the latest high-profile LGBT leader to back Kim’s state Senate bid. Others, including activist Cleve Jones and former state Senator Carole Migden, are also backing her.

— Cynthia Laird, October 20, 2016 @ 3:36 pm PST
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Trump won’t say if he’ll accept election result

The news coming out of Wednesday’s third and final presidential debate was that Republican nominee Donald Trump refused to say he would honor the results of the election.

(Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton met in Las Vegas Wednesday for the final presidential debate. Photo: AP)

(Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton met in Las Vegas Wednesday for the final presidential debate. Photo: AP)

His comments, coming near the end of the 90-minute forum at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, led virtually all coverage Thursday, October 20, and critics said his possible reluctance to concede – should he lose – would be harmful to democracy.

Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who served as moderator, pointedly asked Trump about statements he has been making during the past two weeks, claiming the election is “rigged” against him.

“I want to ask you here on this stage tonight,” said Wallace, “… will you absolutely accept the result of this election?”

Trump balked.

“I will look at it at the time. I’m not looking at anything now. I will look at it at the time,” he said.

Wallace pressed again.

“Sir, there is a tradition in this country … the peaceful transition of power. And that no matter how hard fought a campaign is, that at the end of the campaign, the loser concedes to the winner. Not saying that you’re necessarily going to be the loser or the winner,” said Wallace, “… but the loser concedes to the winner and the country comes together in part for the good of the country. Are you saying you’re not prepared now to commit to that principle?”

“What I’m saying is I’ll tell you at the time,” said Trump. “I’ll keep you in suspense, OK?”

Former Log Cabin president Rich Tafel said he thought Trump’s comment that he may not accept the results of the election is “a threat to our democracy.”

“I’m hoping Trump loses badly,” said Tafel.

Supreme Court

In the first few minutes of the debate, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton reiterated she would appoint justices that would preserve marriage equality. Trump reiterated his promise to nominate conservative justices, but he did not specify, as he has in the past, that his nominees would be in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

The issue of the U.S. Supreme Court was the first of several questions raised by Wallace at the nationally televised debate. Among the other topics that came up, sometimes by the candidates themselves, were the attack on the LGBT nightclub in Orlando and the acceptance of donations by the Clinton Foundation from countries where gays are executed.

Gay Democratic activist Richard Socarides said the contrast between the two candidates on the Supreme Court is paramount.

“Now we know, we must elect Hillary Clinton to protect a Supreme Court majority for civil rights, but also to protect our very democracy,” said Socarides. “The choice could not be more clear.”

Log Cabin Republicans national President Gregory Angelo said the most powerful moment was when Trump challenged Clinton to return donations to the foundation that have come from countries that persecute gays.

“Trump directly confronted Hillary Clinton on her hypocrisy in being in favor of LGBT equality but accepting money from countries with horrendous records on LGBT equality,” said Angelo. “Hillary Clinton never answered that question. She never said whether she would return those monies.”

The foundation issue came up when Wallace asked Clinton whether, as secretary of state, she gave “special access” to foundation donors. Clinton said “everything I did as secretary of state was in furtherance of our country’s interests and our values.” She praised the Clinton Foundation for making it possible “for 11 million people around the world with HIV/AIDS to afford treatment.”

Trump called the Clinton Foundation a “criminal enterprise” and said it had taken money from donors in countries “that push gays off buildings.”

“These are people that kill women and treat women horribly. And yet you take their money,” said Trump. “So I’d like to ask you right now: Why don’t you give back the money that you have taken from certain countries that treat certain groups of people so horribly? Why don’t you give back the money?”

Clinton responded that she would be “happy to compare what we do with the Trump Foundation, which took money from other people and bought a six-foot portrait of Donald.” She noted that 90 percent of the foundation’s money was spent on providing HIV treatments around the world.

Socarides called Trump’s challenge a “ludicrous idea.”

“Would he like to try to get the HIV drugs back?” asked Socarides.

On the first question of the evening, about the Supreme Court, both Clinton and Trump responded with positions they have already fairly well established.

Clinton said, “We need a Supreme Court that will stand up on behalf of women’s rights, on behalf of the rights of the LGBT community, that will stand up and say no to Citizens United, a decision that has undermined the election system in the country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system.”

“I have major disagreements with my opponent about these issues and others that will be before the Supreme Court,” said Clinton, “but I feel that, at this point in our country’s history, it is important that we not reverse marriage equality, that we not reverse Roe v. Wade, that we stand up against Citizens United, we stand up for the rights of people in the workplace, that we stand up and basically say the Supreme Court should represent all of us.

“That’s how I see the court,” said Clinton. “And the kind of people that I would be looking to nominate to the court would be in the great tradition of standing up to the powerful, standing up on behalf of our rights as Americans, and I look forward to having that opportunity. I would hope that the senate would do its job and confirm the nominee that President Obama has sent to them. That’s the way the constitution fundamentally should operate. The president nominates and then the Senate advises and consents or not. But they go forward with the process.”

President Barack Obama nominated federal Judge Merrick Garland several weeks after Scalia’s death in February but the Senate has not taken any action.

Trump said it is “so imperative that we have the right justices.”

“Something happened recently where Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg made some very inappropriate statements toward me and toward a tremendous number of people, many, many millions of people that I represent, and she was forced to apologize, and apologize she did. But these were statements that should never ever have been made,” said Trump.

Ginsburg (an appointee of President Bill Clinton) said in an interview in July that she “can’t imagine” what the court or the country would be like under a President Trump. She speculated that, if her late husband were alive, he would want to move to New Zealand if Trump became president. She later expressed regret for making those remarks, adding, “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect.”

Trump added that the country needs a Supreme Court that “is going to uphold the Second Amendment and all amendments, but the Second Amendment, which is under absolute siege.”

“I feel that the justices that I am going to appoint – and I’ve named 20 of them – the justices that I’m going to appoint will be pro-life, they will have a conservative bent, they will be protecting the Second Amendment, they are great scholars in all cases, and they’re people of tremendous respect,” said Trump. “They will interpret the Constitution the way the founders wanted it interpreted. And I believe that’s very, very important. I don’t think we should have justices appointed that decide what they want to hear. It’s all about the Constitution of – and so important, the Constitution the way it was meant to be and those are the people that I will appoint.”

In answering a question to defend her idea for a no-fly zone in Syria, Clinton said she thinks the plan would save lives of Syrians. She then referred to Trump’s earlier remarks that stopping Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. would “stop radical Islamic terrorism in this country.” Clinton said, “The killer of the dozens of people at the nightclub in Orlando, the Pulse nightclub, was born in Queens, the same place Donald was born.”

A CNN instant poll following the debate settled some suspense Wednesday night: 52 percent said Clinton “won” the debate, 39 percent said Trump did.

– reported by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, @ 1:19 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

4-alarm fire in the Castro displaces 7

A four-alarm fire swept through a building in the Castro early Thursday, displacing seven people.

(San Francisco firefighters battled a four-alarm blaze in the Castro early Thursday. Photo: SFFD via Twitter)

(San Francisco firefighters battled a four-alarm blaze in the Castro early Thursday. Photo: SFFD via Twitter)

According to media reports, the fire broke out at about 12:17 a.m. San Francisco Fire Department Lieutenant Jonathan Baxter said the fire affected 25, 27, 29, and 31 Hattie Street. It quickly went to four alarms, and was under control by about 2 a.m. Three buildings were affected as one shares an address, Baxter said.

Baxter said that during the fire there were 38 fire department apparatuses and 120 firefighters on the scene.

Baxter said that four firefighters suffered injures; one suffered a possible fractured wrist and was transported to a hospital; the other three were treated at the scene.

The Red Cross was offering assistance to those displaced.

Baxter said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The San Francisco Examiner reported – and Baxter confirmed – that a female tabby cat is missing from one of the affected buildings.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the Castro, said in a news release Thursday that he had visited the site.

“The fire … displaced six adults and one child,” Wiener said, adding that the blaze may have involved a gas line break.

“My thoughts are with the residents who were burned out of their homes, and with the brave firefighters who responded to the fire, especially those who were injured,” Wiener stated.

He said that his office will work with city departments and local organizations to aid residents who need assistance.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 10:59 am PST
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Meeting set for Milk library branch next week

(The Eureka Valley Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library in the Castro. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

(The Eureka Valley Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library in the Castro. Photo: Rick Gerharter)

The San Francisco Public Library has announced that a meeting will be held next week at the Eureka Valley Harvey Milk Memorial Branch Library to discuss a landscaping project.

According to library officials, representatives from San Francisco Public Works will be on hand to present proposed plans for the branch’s landscaping project.

The meeting takes place Wednesday, October 26 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the branch library, 1 Jose Sarria Court (16th Street near Market). Interested people are welcome to attend.

— Cynthia Laird, October 19, 2016 @ 10:40 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

UPDATED: Apparent mystery ED hired at Maitri

Two months after the board of directors of the Maitri Compassionate Care announced that it had begun searching for a new executive director, the organization has apparently hired someone to replace Michael Smithwick, who is retiring.

(Maitri hospice has apparently hired a new executive director, but won't say who it is.)

(Maitri hospice has apparently hired a new executive director, but won’t say who it is.)

On October 17, Maitri, a 15-bed hospice at Church and Duboce streets, announced on its website and on the community site Nextdoor that the organization would introduce its new executive director at its annual holiday open house December 17.

But just who that person is remains a mystery.

Emails to Smithwick and to consultant Michael Colbruno, seeking information on the new executive director, were not answered.

Updated: 11:40 a.m.:Maitri development director Toni Newman said in an email that the agency has not yet hired an executive director.

“Maitri is still interviewing ED candidates and no ED has been selected by Maitri,” Newman stated. “I posted on Nextdoor website about our annual holiday open house event and we hope to have a final selection for the ED job to announce Saturday, December 17, at the open house.” End of update

In August, when Maitri announced Smithwick’s retirement, Colbruno, who heads the Milo Group consulting firm, said that negotiations to rent the agency’s 4,000 square foot ground floor space were “this close” to being complete. But no further details have been released.

Maitri’s ground floor space has been mired in controversy since Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which operates a chain of Out of the Closet thrift shops, settled an eviction lawsuit with Maitri over its rejection of a rent increase in 2015.

Maitri then endured harsh criticism earlier this year when it announced plans to lease the space to a sex offender rehab company, without giving nearby residents a heads up. That deal fell apart after a neighborhood uproar, and the space has remained vacant.

– reported by Sari Staver

— Cynthia Laird, @ 10:06 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

No injuries in Castro fire

Nobody was injured or displaced after a fire that occurred Wednesday (October 12) at an apartment building in San Francisco’s Castro district.

Fire Department spokesman Johnathan Baxter said that the fire, which occurred at 37 State Street, was an outside fire that “under a porch-style vestibule.” The blaze was reported at 12:11 p.m. and was extinguished within 15 minutes, Baxter said.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 12, 2016 @ 1:53 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

12 LGBT papers endorse Clinton

In an unprecedented move, all 12 of the country’s longest-serving and most award-winning LGBT newspapers are each separately endorsing Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for president.

(Hillary Clinton greeted supporters during a campaign appearance in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Photo: Rudy K. Lawidjaja)

(Hillary Clinton greeted supporters during a campaign appearance in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Photo: Rudy K. Lawidjaja)

The announcement was made Wednesday, October 12 by the National Gay Media Association, a trade group of the country’s major-market legacy LGBT newspapers. NGMA members have a combined circulation in print and online of more than 1 million readers a week.

The Bay Area Reporter is part of the NGMA and endorsed Clinton back in May, ahead of the California primary.

But some of the other LGBT publications rarely – or ever – make endorsements in a presidential race. Some don’t make election endorsements at all.

For example, NGMA member Dallas Voice has never endorsed for any race in its 32 years.

The Windy City Times in Chicago is endorsing Clinton after having only endorsed a presidential candidate once in 16 years. That was for Barack Obama in 2008, publisher Tracy Baim told the B.A.R. in an email.

Baim said her paper previously endorsed at all levels of races, but stopped in 2000.

“The race for president is showing this country a clear choice of moving backward or moving forward on LGBTQ and other human rights,” Baim, also a spokeswoman for NGMA, said in a statement. “We know that the LGBTQ community is made up of diverse political voices. But the homophobia, transphobia, racism, anti-immigrant, and sexist nature of Republican candidate Donald Trump means that we can’t sit on the sidelines this election season.”

Clinton made history last week when she penned an opinion piece for NGMA member paper Philadelphia Gay News. In it, she talked about how, as president, she would advance the historic pro-LGBTQ equality agenda she and her running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, have embraced.

“If I’m fortunate enough to be president, I’ll protect that progress we’ve fought so hard to achieve – and I’ll keep fighting until every American can live free from discrimination and prejudice,” Clinton wrote.

The other NGMA papers are: the Washington Blade, Between the Lines (Detroit), Bay Windows (Boston), Georgia Voice, South Florida Gay News (Ft. Lauderdale), Watermark (Orlando), Gay City News (New York), and the Pride LA (Los Angeles).

For more information, visit

— Cynthia Laird, @ 6:51 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

National Park Service releases LGBTQ theme study

The National Park Service used the occasion of National Coming Out Day (October 11) to release its mammoth history of the LGBTQ community, which preservationists hope will assist in the protection of various LGBTQ historic sites across the country.


Called “LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History,” the document, at more than 1,200 pages, looks at several U.S. cities, as well as demographic groups such as African-American, Asian-American, Latino/a, two-spirit, and transgender people.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who oversees the Park Service, is expected to be on a conference call with reporters later Tuesday to discuss the theme study.

Events that took place in San Francisco, as well as leaders within the local LGBT community, can be found throughout the document. Among those mentioned are the Compton’s Cafeteria riot of 1966, the late gay supervisor Harvey Milk, the early lesbian group Daughters of Bilitis, the late historian Alan Berube, and bisexual leader Lani Ka’ahumanu, who was a peer reviewer of the study.

LGBTs and straight allies involved with the project praised the Park Service for completing the document, which was edited by Megan Springate, a queer woman who is seeking her Ph.D. in archaeology at the University of Maryland.

“I am really pleased that the Park Service is really expanding the entire system so that all Americans of every walk of life can have some experience they can relate to in the park system,” said Santa Rosa Junior College anthropology Professor Sandra Hollimon, a straight ally whose husband is a retired California state park ranger. “I am absolutely delighted these park sites in the system are being honored.”

The Bay Area Reporter will have a story on its website later Tuesday morning and more on the theme study in Thursday’s paper.

– Matthew S. Bajko and Cynthia Laird

— Cynthia Laird, October 11, 2016 @ 5:00 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

‘San Francisco AF’ campaign to help Strut health center

San Francisco AF at the Castro Street Fair (Photo: SFAF)

San Francisco AF at the Castro Street Fair (Photo: SFAF)

San Francisco AIDS Foundation has launched the “San Francisco AF” campaign to benefit Strut, its health center at 470 Castro Street.

Donations range from $5 for a pack postcards to $30 for a T-shirt, tote bag, and the postcards.

Strut, which opened in January, offers HIV testing and counseling, among other services.

The nonprofit is letting people decide for themselves what “AF” stands for, but a flashing logo suggests it means “As Fuck,” and an email from the group says, “And yes, ‘AF’ means what you think it means, millennials!”

The campaign officially debuted Sunday, October 2 at the Castro Street Fair.

Strut “is leading our work at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in turning the tide of HIV in San Francisco,” the nonprofit, which is playing a key role in the city’s Getting to Zero campaign, said in an email.

“What could be more San Francisco AF than reaching zero new HIV transmissions, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero HIV stigma?”


— Seth Hemmelgarn, October 5, 2016 @ 4:52 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay actor George Takei among 2016 CA Hall of Fame inductees

CA Hal of Fame inductee George Takei. Photo: courtesy Takei's Facebook page.

CA Hall of Fame inductee George Takei. Photo: courtesy Takei’s Facebook page.

Gay actor George Takei is among the 2016 California Hall of Fame inductees, the second time a member of the LGBT community has been granted such an honor during Governor Jerry Brown’s current term.

Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, along with the California Museum, announced the 10th class of inductees in a news release issued today (Monday, October 3).

“I am a proud second generation Californian, humbled to be honored by a state singular in its beauty, diversity and dynamism,” stated Takei, famous for his role as Lieutenant Sulu in the science fiction series Star Trek and a vocal supporter of LGBT rights. “To be inducted to join the inspiring trail blazers in the arts, industry, academia, sports and political affairs is an honor beyond words. This is truly the Golden State.”

Last year gay British artist David Hockney was inducted into the hall. It was the first time the Brown administration had named an LGBT inductee.

There had been a community effort to have the late gay icon and drag queen Jose Julio Sarria, who was the first gay person to seek public office when he sought a San Francisco supervisor seat in 1961, be inducted last year. The backers of the campaign had hoped to see him be inducted this year.

Created in 2006 by the California Museum, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his now estranged wife, Maria Shriver, who is also an inductee this year, the Hall of Fame honors residents of the state who have made lasting contributions to society. Honorees receive the Spirit of California medal, and their accomplishments become part of the permanent record in the California State Archives.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a January 2015 story, there are few LGBT people among the more than 110 people who have been selected for the hall. The list now includes two lesbians and three gay men, as well as a female inductee who has had same-sex relationships but does not identify as lesbian or bisexual.

In 2009 Schwarzenegger and Shriver chose the late gay Supervisor Harvey Milk as a member of the fourth class to be inducted.

They had selected tennis great Billie Jean King, an out lesbian, to be among the first class picked a decade ago. The biographies for both King and Milk posted on the California Museum’s website mention their ties to the LGBT community.

Also among the inaugural group was astronaut Sally Ride, but her online bio does not mention that she came out as a lesbian upon her death in 2012.

The bio for another member of the first class, author Alice Walker, does not disclose that her lovers have included singer Tracy Chapman.

Joining Takei and Shriver as the other 2016 inductees are acclaimed author Isabel Allende; film icon Harrison Ford; baseball legend Tony Gwynn; distinguished artist and social justice advocate Corita Kent; former U.S. Secretary of Defense and nuclear deterrence expert William J. Perry; and music business pioneer Russ Solomon.

The induction ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 30 at the California Museum, located at 1020 O Street in Sacramento.

In addition to the ceremony, inductees will be commemorated with an exhibition of artifacts highlighting their lives and achievements, which opens to the public at 10 a.m. Thursday, December 1 at the California Museum.

— Matthew S. Bajko, October 3, 2016 @ 1:57 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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