Best Of The Gays
compiled by Cynthia Laird
Best LGBT Activist, Best Politician
State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) is nearing the end of his legislative career – at least for now. Ammiano, 72, is termed out of the Assembly and will leave office in December.
Over an impressive tenure in Sacramento, Ammiano has seen groundbreaking bills become law, most recently Assembly Bill 1266. Called the School Success and Opportunity Act, AB 1266, which went into effect January 1, ensures that California public schools are committed to the success of all students, including those transgender-identified. Under the law, transgender students have the right to participate in all school activities, like sports teams, and use school facilities like bathrooms based on their gender identity. An effort by anti-gay opponents to qualify a referendum to repeal the bill failed to obtain enough valid signatures and the new law remains in effect.
Ammiano told the Bay Area Reporter last year that he plans to write a memoir after leaving office. We can't wait. Stories about his previous careers as a teacher and stand-up comedian, combined with Sacramento politics, should make for a great read.
Supervisor Scott Wiener
State Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco)
Best Politician (East Bay)
Oakland's mayor has long been a supporter of the LGBT community and is regularly in attendance at Pride and other events. Quan is facing a tough re-election fight this fall, as the city wrestles with crime and other problems. Lower housing costs has meant that many people who can't afford to live in San Francisco are giving Oakland a look. The city's vibrant restaurant scene is a hit with residents and visitors alike.
Representative Barbara Lee (D-Oakland)
Best LGBT Youth Activist
Jason Galisatus, 21, is best known for co-founding Bay Area Youth Summit, a biennial leadership training conference for LGBT and allied youth to learn about anti-bullying tactics to exercise in their school environments. Empowerment, Galisatus told the B.A.R. in an interview last year, is the core purpose of the conference, which is a combination of workshops and speakers.
"The speakers inspire, motivate, and provide that pathos that drives people to get involved," he said. "The workshops teach how and when one can apply that new activist drive."
Following last year's summit, Galisatus stepped down from BAYS to help ensure a smooth leadership transition.
In a recent email, Galisatus said that he is in his third year at Stanford and looking forward to completing his degree in political science. Since stepping down from BAYS, he has traveled around the country speaking on LGBT issues.
"I am also working on forming an LGBT commission in San Mateo County to give policy advice to the Board of Supervisors on how to make the Peninsula a more welcoming place for LGBT individuals."
Up next for the young man is an internship in Washington, D.C. in the press office for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco).
"I would like to thank the readers of the B.A.R. for this incredible honor as well as my fellow outstanding LGBT youth activists who fight every day for the right simply to go to school without fear," Galisatus said.
Best Resource for Seniors
LGBT Community Center
The San Francisco LGBT Community Center remains a hub for seniors in the community. It is the landlord for Openhouse, the LGBT senior services agency. Openhouse holds its Health and Wellness Fourth Fridays, drop-in groups, and the popular Game Day every Saturday at the center. For more information, see http://openhouse-sf.org/event/lgbt-community-center/.
San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street, San Francisco, (415) 865-5555. www.sfcenter.org.
Best Politician You Love to Hate
San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener is once again the winner in this category. His supporters point to his work on issues like HIV/AIDS funding and working to increase affordable housing options. Most recently, he is proposing legislation that would amend the planning code to allow for construction of an additional dwelling (in-law) unit within the existing envelope of a residential building or auxiliary structure on the same lot on any parcel in the Castro Street Neighborhood Commercial District (with a few exceptions).
His detractors believe he is too beholden to lobbyists and "downtown" business.
Wiener, who is up for re-election this year, has no major opponents so far, although that could change as the filing deadline is still several months away.
In an email to the B.A.R., Wiener said he didn't mind winning the category.
"I'm flattered, since if no one is mad at you, you're probably not getting much done," he said. "Since taking office, I've proposed fresh approaches to our housing crisis, worked to protect funding for HIV and LGBT youth services, demanded that we invest in our public transit systems, and focused on improving our parks and public spaces.
"I've also worked with the community to deliver for our neighborhoods, including advancing the Castro Street sidewalk widening project, saving the Noe Valley farmers market by purchasing the site for a future park, and moving forward renovations of Dolores Park, Glen Canyon, and other parks," he added. "I'll continue to do this work, even if not everyone loves me all the time."
SF Mayor Ed Lee
Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco)
Best Personal Trainer
Matt Moore/Fitness SF
According to his webpage on the Fitness SF site, personal trainer Matt Moore specializes in building core strength, muscular development, weight loss, and food and nutrition counseling. He is a certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist, and a food nutrition specialist. He is an evolution 2 level trainer, and is one of several at the popular Castro gym. B.A.R. readers obviously like his technique.
Fitness SF, 2301 Market Street, San Francisco, (415) 348-6377. www.castro.fitnesssf.com.
Local photographer Joe Mazza is a repeat winner in this category. Originally from Los Angeles, Mazza moved to San Francisco more than 16 years ago and is a freelance photographer and acting coach. On his website, Mazza notes that it's his goal to "recognize the vision you have for your project and to translate that vision into beautifully captured images. I am most interested in getting a sense of what's unique about you, and which sides of yourself you would like to capture." Clients have included Yorkies underwear and the American Idol website.
Joe Mazza Photography, (415) 552-6844. http://www.joemazzaphotography.com.
Dr. Balathazar Guzman, DDS, is a Bay Area native who grew up in the North Bay. He offers a full range of dental services. "In our practice, we will do everything within our power to give you the most individual care possible," he says on his website. "It is our goal to offer you the most accurate diagnosis possible and to make sure your treatment is as comfortable as possible.
Balathazar Guzman, DDS, 2001 Union Street, Suite 664, San Francisco, (415) 567-4600. www.guzmandental.com.
Paul Ryan Lake
Best Healthcare Provider
UCSF Medical Center
There was a close race in this category, but UCSF was the favorite of B.A.R. readers by a whisker. UCSF Medical Center consistently ranks as one of the top 10 hospitals in the United States. Recognized for innovative treatments, advanced technology, collaboration among health care professionals and scientists, and a highly compassionate patient care team, UCSF Medical Center serves as the academic medical center of UCSF. The medical center's nationally preeminent programs include children's health, the brain and nervous system, organ transplantation, women's health, and cancer. It operates as a self-supporting enterprise within UCSF and generates its own revenues to cover the operating costs of providing patient care.
Thomas R. Burns
Attorney Thomas R. Burns won this category for the second consecutive year. He specializes in bankruptcy, with offices located in San Francisco and Walnut Creek. According to his website, Burns and his team have provided help and relief to clients when they experience unmanageable financial situations.
Bankruptcy Law Center of Thomas R. Burns, 703 Market Street, San Francisco, (415) 543-9900. www.tburnslaw.com.
Best Tax Preparer
When people think of tax preparers they usually think of H&R Block. With the April 15 tax deadline looming, expect their numerous Bay Area offices to be busy.
H&R Block, 2370 Market Street, San Francisco, (415) 241-0318. www.hrblock.com.
Olsen and Partners, CPA
Best Day Spa
A repeat winner in this category, 360 Skin was founded by Brandon Doyle. The medical esthetics practice is fully licensed, and offers a wide variety of treatments for skincare issues. Facials, waxing, chemical peels, and more are available.
360 Skin, 21 Columbus Avenue, Suite 227, San Francisco, (415) 501-0360. www.360skin.com.
Kabuki Springs and Spa
Castro Day Spa, M Spa (tie)
Best Place to Get Your Hair Done
Glama-Rama is a new winner this year. The salon offers a full range of services with everything from haircuts and colors to dreadlocks and chemical straightening. The company also just opened a new store in Oakland.
Glama-Rama, 304 Valencia Street, San Francisco, (415) 861-4526; 6399 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, (510) 655-4526. www.glamarama.com.
Fellow Barber (formerly FSC)
Best Nail Salon
Queen Bee Nail and Spa
A repeat winner in this category, Queen Bee does more than nails. The salon also offers facials and waxing. For more information, visit the Facebook page.
Queen Bee Nail and Spa, 2380 Market Street, San Francisco, (415) 252-8092.