Issue:  Vol. 46 / No. 29 / 21 July 2016

Man behind SF Pride parade’s Orlando tribute moving back to Florida

The 29-year-old Florida transplant who organized the “We are Orlando” contingent in this year’s San Francisco LGBT Pride parade has decided to move back home later this month.

Richard Sizemore, a queer man who has lived in the Castro for the past five years, told the Bay Area Reporter in an email that his decision to move stemmed from “many things.”

(Richard Sizemore organized the Orlando tribute contingent in this year's LGBT Pride parade. Photo: Richard Sizemore)

(Richard Sizemore organized the Orlando tribute contingent in this year’s LGBT Pride parade. Photo: Richard Sizemore)

“I don’t belong here anymore,” said Sizemore, who, until April worked at Falcon Studios in San Francisco.

“I feel completely disconnected from the city,” he said. “I can’t seem to find a space here that I feel comfortable in anymore. We live in a progressive city and state, which is why I moved here. Florida isn’t very gay-forward, so it seemed amazing to live in a state where the laws on the books were there to protect you and not persecute you. Now I feel like instead of moving here to be safe, I ran.”

Sizemore said he’d like to help bring about “political and social change for gay rights” when he returns to Florida.

“I also have an aching need to be there. To see Pulse, to cry my heart out with my friends in Florida, and to be closer to my mother and father,” he said, referring to the LGBT nightclub where 49 mostly gay men of color died and 53 others were injured in the June 12 mass shooting.

Sizemore moved to San Francisco in 2011, and for a time volunteered with Haus of Starfish, which raises money for the Leather Walk.

While organizing the parade contingent, Sizemore’s roommate asked him to move and after a monthlong search, he concluded it was impossible to find anything affordable.

Sizemore initially loved living in San Francisco.

“I lusted after it in the beginning, but that’s just changed. It requires such a hustle just to make it by, and we’ve just lost unique, quirky people that I loved that it’s just time,” he said.

Just after the Pride parade, where he organized and led a contingent of marchers honoring those lost in Orlando, Sizemore told the B.A.R., “Walking the three quarters of a mile in the parade turned out to be the most moving moment of my life.”

He said “the response we got – the clapping and the crying – people really appreciated our efforts to memorialize” the victims.

Over the past month, Sizemore said he’s “received so many thank yous and heartfelt messages from people around the world. It was just amazing to experience. An amazing group of people came together to make what was an amazing tribute. It still blows my mind.”

“It’s bittersweet to be leaving, but I know it’s the right thing to do,” he added.

When Sizemore returns to Florida, he plans to initially live with his mother in Melbourne, a beach town 70 miles east of Orlando. He is planning to ask the San Francisco Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence – who marched with the Orlando contingent – to reach out to their colleagues in Florida to connect him like-minded people in central Florida.

“It will probably take me six months or a year to try and establish a footing with the gay community there again, and develop my reputation in regards to volunteer work,” Sizemore said.

Until then, he’s packing his belongings and hoping to couch surf in San Francisco for the next week or two.

– reported by Sari Staver

— Cynthia Laird, July 25, 2016 @ 3:00 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Kaine has solid LGBT rights record

Many political observers have described Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as a moderate, but his record on equal rights in fact shows a commitment to LGBT citizens.

(Hillary Clinton, with her vice presidential running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. Photo: Courtesy CNN)

(Hillary Clinton, with her vice presidential running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine. Photo: Courtesy CNN)

After signaling her intent through a Twitter post Friday night, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Saturday (July 23) afternoon formally announced Kaine as her vice presidential running mate.

Clinton said Kaine is “a progressive who likes to get things done.” She praised his “commitment to social justice,” noting that his early work as an attorney was as a civil rights attorney and praising his leadership on LGBT equality.

Kaine used his first speech on the campaign trail to criticize Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. He also talked about his faith, his interest in social justice, and caring for everyone in the “rainbow of cultural diversity that embraces all people … regardless of sexual orientation.” He praised Clinton for fighting for the rights of minorities, including LGBT Americans. He said the Clinton-Kaine ticket would have a “strong progressive agenda.”

Since entering his first term in the U.S. Senate in 2013, Kaine, 58, earned a 90 score from the Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard. The 10-point deduction appears to have been his decision not to co-sponsor two bills: the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act.

But Kaine is a chief sponsor of Equal Dignity for Married Taxpayers Act, seeking to provide for equal treatment of LGBT citizens under federal tax codes. He is a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, which seeks a federal law to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace and housing. And he voted for and co-sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2013, when the Senate passed the measure.

He also urged President Barack Obama to issue an executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by contractors doing business with the federal government.

Last month, following the attack on an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Kaine joined lesbian Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) and 22 other senators in a letter to urge the Food and Drug Administration to end its “discriminatory blood donation policy for men who have sex with men.” He was also among 40 senators to ask the Department of Education to provide guidance to schools on how to best provide for the “protection of LGBT students.”

Also last month, Kaine signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief in a case in the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act already prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Kaine began elective office in 1994 as a member of the city council of Richmond, Virginia; then as mayor. He next served as lieutenant governor and governor of Virginia before being elected to the Senate.

As governor, Kaine banned discrimination based on sexual orientation for state employees. Although he was for giving same-sex couples the same rights as straight couples in marriage, he initially referred only to giving same-sex couples “relationship equality,” which many took to mean he preferred civil unions or domestic partnerships. But he campaigned against an effort to amend the state constitution to explicitly ban marriage for same-sex couples and, by the time he reached the Senate, he became a co-sponsor of a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

Gay Virginia state Senator Adam Ebbin called Kaine “a great choice.”

“He is a genuine and authentic leader who is respected by Virginia politicians from both sides of the aisle. As a governing partner with Hillary Clinton, all Americans will benefit from Tim Kaine’s leadership – including the LGBT community,” said Ebbin.

“It is worth noting that, on then-Governor Kaine’s first day in office, in 2006, he issued an executive order barring discrimination in state hiring based on sexual orientation,” said Ebbin. “Later in 2006, when Virginia voters were faced with an anti-marriage equality constitutional amendment, then-governor Kaine announced his opposition to the measure on the steps of the Governor’s Mansion with his wife and her parents.”

Kaine is married to the daughter of another former governor of Virginia, Republican Governor Linwood Holton. Kaine’s wife, Anne Holton, was appointed by Virginia’s Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, as state secretary of education.

In the Senate, Kaine serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee.
Kaine is a Catholic and attends a predominantly black church. He spent a year as the principal of a Jesuit school in Honduras as a missionary. There, he became fluent in Spanish. He has said that his religious beliefs render him personally opposed to abortion, but he has stood up for a woman’s right to have an abortion if she chooses. He is opposed to capital punishment but did not stop several executions from taking place when he was governor of Virginia.

The Human Rights Campaign praised the selection of Kaine, saying he has demonstrated “a solid commitment to LGBTQ equality.”

“While Donald Trump doubled down on discrimination by picking Mike Pence,” said HRC President Chad Griffin, referring to the Indiana governor who has made a name for himself by opposing equal rights for LGBT people. “Hillary Clinton has bolstered her campaign’s historic commitment to LGBTQ equality by choosing Tim Kaine.”

Kaine’s nomination for vice president will be approved by the Democratic National Convention, which begins Monday in Philadelphia.

– reported by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, July 24, 2016 @ 7:52 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Clinton taps Kaine for running mate

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Friday announced that Virginia Senator Tim Kaine would be her vice presidential running mate.

(Virginia Senator Tim Kaine)

(Virginia Senator Tim Kaine)

Kaine, 58, a former Virginia governor, was expected to appear with Clinton at a Miami rally Saturday. The two are also set to appear on CBS’ 60 Minutes Sunday for a joint interview.

Clinton announced her choice Friday evening via Twitter.

The Democratic National Convention begins Monday in Philadelphia.

— Cynthia Laird, July 23, 2016 @ 8:07 am PST
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Trump receives applause at mention of LGBTQ people

It was an odd moment in Republican National Convention history: The nominee of the nation’s most conservative party thanked the arena filled with the GOP faithful for “cheering for what I just had to say.”

(Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech Thursday. Photo: Michael Key/Washington Blade)

(Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump delivers his acceptance speech Thursday. Photo: Michael Key/Washington Blade)

Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump had just said that, “Only weeks ago, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist – this targeting the LGBTQ community. No good, and we’re gonna stop it.”

“As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful, foreign ideology – believe me,” said Trump.

A few in the audience at Quicken Arena in Cleveland had begun to applaud after he said “oppression” but, after he specified “foreign ideology,” the larger crowd roared.

Departing from the text of his nomination acceptance speech Thursday night – at least a draft of the speech that was leaked late Thursday afternoon – Trump then added, “And I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just had to say. Thank you.”

Having a Republican nominee describe LGBT people as “wonderful Americans” and promise to protect them from foreign hatred and oppression is new for the GOP, and many LGBT Republicans were ecstatic.

“This night keeps getting better!! DJT recognizes LGBTQ community re: Orlando and thanks the convention for supporting him on that issue and our community!” said gay Trump delegate Charles T. Moran, former president of the California chapter of Log Cabin Republicans.

“Incredible,” said Gregory Angelo, president of the national Log Cabin Republicans group, Friday morning, when asked how he felt about the convention.

Angelo said Trump’s remarks Thursday night were the first time in any political party that a nominee “explicitly referenced the LGBTQ community.”

While acknowledging that the party platform is the most anti-LGBT in history, Angelo said the platform is “not the GOP I know and the convention in many ways proved that.”

He noted, among other things, that right-wing Republican presidential hopeful Senator Ted Cruz said, in his speech Wednesday night, “Whether you are gay or straight, the Bill of Rights protects the rights of all of us to live according to our conscience.”

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel was given a prime-time slot on Thursday night’s dais and acknowledged being gay. Others speakers, signaling support for LGBT people included former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Eric Trump Foundation Vice President Lynne Patton, and a minister delivering Thursday’s invocation.

“I am proud to be gay, I am proud to be a Republican, but most of all, I am proud to be an American,” Thiel said during his remarks, drawing big applause.

Thiel referenced anti-gay laws such as North Carolina’s HB 2 that requires trans people to use public restrooms that correspond with their gender assigned at birth. Now, said Thiel, the debate is about “who gets to use which bathroom. Who cares?”

But mostly, Thiel stuck to economic themes and the tech industry, although he noted that he doesn’t agree with every plank in the party’s platform, a nod to its anti-LGBT positions on conversion therapy and marriage.

He also gave a full-throated endorsement to Trump.

“Stand up and vote for Donald Trump,” Thiel said.

Angelo said that he has long maintained Trump being gay-friendly.

“I’ve said time and again since August of last year that, if Donald Trump were to become the Republican nominee, he would be the most pro-gay nominee. What we saw, not only last night but throughout the GOP convention, was absolutely crescendo affirming that fact,” said Angelo.

Angelo said Log Cabin has made a request to meet with the campaign and hasn’t heard back yet. The group will not make an endorsement until that happens, he said.

A news release from LGBTrump, a group organized by gay conservative Chris Barron, said more than 500 people attended its event Tuesday night.

“We could not be any happier with how this event went,” said Barron. “We set out to hold an event that would both highlight the threat that radical Islam poses to LGBT Americans and show that there are lots of gay people and gay-friendly people supporting Donald Trump. It is clear that we succeeded by any metric.”

Not everyone was happy.

The Human Rights Campaign sent out a news release following Thursday night’s address, calling Trump’s expression of support for the LGBT community “appallingly feigned.” And social media postings from others criticized Thiel for dismissing the controversy over transgender use of bathrooms as “a distraction from our real problems – who cares?”

The Democratic National Convention opens Monday in Philadelphia.

– reported by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, July 22, 2016 @ 10:20 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

NBA will move All-Star Game out of North Carolina

The NBA is poised to announce it will move next year’s All-Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, because the state’s anti-LGBT law remains in effect, according to published reports Thursday in USA Today and other outlets.

Update:The NBA released a statement Thursday afternoon confirming the 2017 All-Star Game would be moved.

“The NBA has decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019,” the league stated.

(NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Photo: Courtesy

(NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Photo: Courtesy

The city stands to lose millions of dollars in hotel stays and other revenue from the move; All-Star weekend typically includes numerous associated activities in the city where it’s held.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been saying for months that he hoped North Carolina’s governor and lawmakers would modify the law, which went in effect this spring and forces trans people to use restrooms that correspond to their gender assigned at birth, rather than the gender with which they identify. The state has already seen cancellations of concerts and other events as a result of the law, known as House Bill 2.

“We were frankly hoping that they would make some steps toward modifying the legislation, and frankly I was disappointed that they didn’t,” Silver said at the league’s board of governors meeting in Las Vegas last week, according to USA Today.

The Bay Area Reporter, in an editorial, called on the NBA to move the All-Star Game back in April, citing North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law.

It was not immediately clear where the game would be moved, though reports said that New Orleans was being eyed as a possible site. The league said the new site would be announced in the coming weeks.

The Vertical was first to report the move.

— Cynthia Laird, July 21, 2016 @ 1:56 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Lesbian GGNRA superintendent being sent to Grand Canyon

Christine Lehnertz, the superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, has been reassigned to the Grand Canyon. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Christine Lehnertz, the superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, has been reassigned to the Grand Canyon. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Christine Lehnertz, the superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is being reassigned to oversee the Grand Canyon National Park, which is still reeling from a sexual harassment scandal.

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis made the announcement Tuesday afternoon. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was reportedly instrumental in selecting Lehnertz for the new position.

The news comes after Dave Uberuaga announced he would retire as superintendent of the Grand Canyon park June 1. His decision followed the release of a scathing report in January that criticized him for failing to address “evidence of a long-term pattern of sexual harassment and hostile work environment’’ among park service employees assigned to the Grand Canyon.

“Chris brings outstanding leadership skills and an outsider’s perspective to the National Park Service. Since she joined the NPS, she has helped us think differently about conservation, preservation, employee engagement and public collaboration,” Jarvis stated, according to a story on SFGate.

A lesbian and one of the highest-ranking LGBT employees with the National Park Service, Lehnertz, 54, will be the first female superintendent of the internationally renowned Arizona park. She is scheduled to relocate in August with her wife, Shari Dagg, and Choco, a “courageous cat” they rescued when she worked at Yellowstone National Park.

“Like all organizations, the NPS has its ups and downs. In the midst of a very bright up, the Centennial year, we have learned of some very dark downs – sexual harassment in at least two national park units. The sexual harassment at Grand Canyon National Park and Cape Canaveral National Seashore means that some of our NPS colleagues have suffered immeasurable harm, and the outrageous misconduct of a few park employees has driven dedicated professionals away from federal service,” Lehnertz wrote in an email announcing her departure to her staff at GGNRA that was obtained by National Parks Traveler. “We can’t wait another moment for this to change dramatically, or for the NPS to honestly, directly, and completely address these issues. As part of that change, Secretary Jewell and Director Jarvis have asked me to report to the Grand Canyon as the park’s new superintendent.”

Born in Texas but raised in Colorado, Lehnertz graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder and began her career in the Rocky Mountains. She worked for a variety of conservation agencies, including the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before joining the park service in 2007 as Yellowstone’s deputy superintendent.

In 2010 she was named the regional director for the park service’s Pacific West region. And last year she was named superintendent of the sprawling Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which encompasses multiple properties in three Bay Area counties.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a story in April, Lehnertz is no stranger to handling park service controversies. Her yearlong tenure overseeing the GGNRA has included a series of public outcries.

She has had to respond to inflamed opinions over everything from bonfire policies at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, restricting access to more popular sites like Muir Woods in Marin, and the rewriting of rules for where dogs can be walked off leash and are banned outright throughout the park’s many sites.

— Matthew S. Bajko, July 20, 2016 @ 5:31 pm PST
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Milk club early endorses gay SF college board candidates

SF college board candidate Tom Temprano

SF college board candidate Tom Temprano

The Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club has early endorsed a trio of candidates for San Francisco’s college board this fall, including two of the three gay men in the race.

At its meeting Tuesday night (July 19), the progressive queer political club gave early nods to incumbent college board member Rafael Mandelman, the current president of the oversight body who is seeking re-election, as well as non-incumbents Tom Temprano and Shanell Williams.

Mandelman and Temprano are both past presidents of the Milk club and had earned the club’s backing of their previous bids for seats on the City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees. Four years ago Mandelman, an attorney, first won election to a seat on the board and is again seeking a four-year term.

In November Temprano, a nightlife promoter and Mission bar owner, fell short in his bid to unseat gay college board member Alex Randolph, who was tapped by Mayor Ed Lee last year to fill a vacancy. He landed in second place, behind Randolph, in the four-person race and is now seeking election to a full four-year term.

Williams, who is African American and a graduate of City College, works as a community engagement specialist for the UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative. She had served on the college board as the student representative for two terms as it battled to maintain its accreditation.

In 2012 the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges threatened to revoke City College’s accreditation, setting off a firestorm of criticism and plunging the school into a crisis it continues to resolve.

Both Randolph and Amy Bacharach, who won the race in 2014 for a two-year term on the board, are now running for re-election this year to full four-year terms.

One of the four college board seats on the November ballot will be open as Steve Ngo has said he will not seek re-election. The deadline for candidates to file is Friday, August 12 by 5 p.m., though it will be extended a week if Ngo, as the incumbent, does not run.

According to elections officials, the three incumbents and two challengers  are so far the only people to have pulled papers to run.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:41 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gay SF toxicologist resigns

Dr. Nikolas Lemos (Photo: Facebook)

Dr. Nikolas Lemos (Photo: Facebook)

San Francisco’s chief toxicologist, a gay man, is leaving his post.

Dr. Nikolas Lemos, who’s worked for the medical examiner’s office since 2003, said in an email to the Bay Area Reporter Tuesday night, “The first-ever openly gay chief forensic toxicologist in the world has resigned.”

Lemos didn’t offer more information, saying only, “More details in my resignation letter – I hope you get to access it and read it…”

He didn’t provide a copy of the letter, and he hasn’t responded to requests for further comment.

Christopher Wirowek, deputy director of the medical examiner’s office, wasn’t immediately available for comment.

As the chief toxicologist, Lemos’ job includes testing blood and urine for drugs. Attorneys involved in criminal court cases regularly rely on his office’s reports.

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the Thursday, July 28 issue of the paper.



— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 12:49 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Trump picks Pence as running mate

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced on Twitter Friday morning that he has selected Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate.

Trump was to have announced his pick at a news conference, but postponed that until Saturday, citing the shocking Bastille Day attack in Nice, France that left 84 people, including 10 children and adolescents, dead.

(Indiana Governor Mike Pence)

(Indiana Governor Mike Pence)

Pence is widely regarded as anti-gay in LGBT and Democratic circles, but in the eyes of the conservative Republican Party base, he’s seen as too soft on LGBT people.

That seemed to be the general assessment of various commentators this week as they imagined the reception Republican and conservative voters might have.

Pence, a former congressman, had himself pondered a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 when he got high marks from conservative organizations.

As a member of the House of Representatives, Pence opposed every piece of pro-equal rights legislation that came to the floor, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He also voted for amending the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. In each of those years, his record on LGBT issues earned him a zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard.

Speaking at an event in Iowa in 2011, Pence suggested that allowing gay couples to marry would lead to an economic meltdown. He told MSNBC that repeal of DADT amounted to trying to “advance a liberal social agenda” and “mainstream homosexuality.”

In 2014 as governor, Pence led support behind a state bill to ban recognition of same-sex marriages. The cut sentence called for also banning recognition of other forms of same-sex relationships, such as civil unions. And in 2015, he supported and signed a bill that would have allowed citizens to discriminate against LGBT people by claiming to hold a religious belief that compelled them to do so.

That law led to a backlash among companies such as Salesforce and others, who threatened to pull business from the state.

As news about Trump’s choice as Pence for his running mate leaked out this week, Bob Vander Plaats, who has headed up anti-gay campaigns in Iowa, told an Iowa television station that Pence will attract evangelicals to the ticket because he is “pro-life” and against marriage for same-sex couples.

But Pence disappointed some conservatives last year when – after first supporting and signing the so-called religious freedom bill – he signed a “clarification bill” aimed at “resolving controversy” and “making clear every person feels welcome and respected” in Indiana.

The Republican convention begins Monday in Cleveland, Ohio. At least one out gay speaker has been announced: Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal and a Facebook board member, will address the delegates.

– reported by Lisa Keen

— Cynthia Laird, July 15, 2016 @ 8:18 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Castro’s Cafe Flore is for sale

The Castro’s iconic Cafe Flore, a popular LGBT hangout for the past four decades, is for sale.

(The iconic Cafe Flore has been put on the market.)

(The iconic Cafe Flore has been put on the market.)

On July 11, the business, including use of its liquor license, was offered for sale for $495,000.

The funky dining and drinking spot, which was awarded best place for lunch and best outdoor patio in the Bay Area Reporter’s Besties readers’ poll this year, has hosted many charity fundraisers and community events, including last year’s 25th anniversary party for ACT UP.

Steven “Stu” Gerry, one of the owners, told the B.A.R. in a phone interview that the current partners would also be open to selling an interest in the business to people who could provide the capital to make some necessary improvements.

“Our hope is that Cafe Flore will continue,” said Gerry, who said he was showing the business to three prospective buyers just one day after it was listed. The property itself, owned by J.D. Petras, is not for sale.

“We’re willing to stay on in some capacity” to keep the business operating, said Gerry. “There are all kinds of possibilities” in structuring the deal, he said.

The decision to sell “was a tough call,” he said.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this in Thursday’s paper.

– reported by Sari Staver

— Cynthia Laird, July 12, 2016 @ 3:51 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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