Community pushes Trevor Project for Milk camera store
by Matthew S. Bajko
A grassroots effort has launched to press the Human Rights Campaign to sublease a portion of its new home in the Castro to the Trevor Project, a national LGBT youth organization.
HRC's plan to relocate its store and action center into the retail space where the late gay Supervisor Harvey Milk had his camera store and campaign operations has sparked fierce controversy. Friends of Milk, the city's first out elected official, have criticized the proposal, as has Dustin Lance Black, who wrote an Oscar-winning screenplay about the gay leader's rise to power in San Francisco.
This week a Facebook page was launched to urge HRC officials to rethink their use of the storefront at 575 Castro Street. As of Wednesday, more than 300 people had said they "like" the idea of allowing the Trevor Project operate a call-in center at the store.
Openly gay state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) told the Bay Area Reporter he thinks it would be an ideal compromise that Milk would also like.
"Harvey would be pissed and amused and then try to leverage it. This might be the common ground solution," said Ammiano. "He would want for us to not be fighting in public as much and come to some solution that would be really beneficial."
Cleve Jones, who was close with Milk, has broached the idea with HRC officials.
"Try as I might, I can't think of anything that would be more appropriate, more perfect for Harvey Milk's store," said Jones, who has repeatedly spoken out against HRC's moving into the space.
Officials with the Trevor Project did not respond to the B.A.R. 's calls for comment. Black, who sits on the group's board, would only say that he personally likes the idea.
"Talk about an idea that Harvey would have loved, to have those phone calls from Altoona being answered in that shop and have a drop in space for those who come to San Francisco," said Black, referring to Milk's anecdote about receiving a phone call from a young gay man in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
As for HRC, spokesman Fred Sainz said it has no plans to sublease the store to another group.
"That location will be an HRC action center and store," said Sainz.
A protest against HRC's moving into the store is planned for this Saturday, December 18 from noon to 2 p.m.