Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Political Notebook: Gay, HIV-positive political aide seeks elected post


DCCC candidate Gary McCoy
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Having managed the campaigns of two local politicians and worked as an aide to several supervisors, Gary McCoy is now running to serve on the governing body of San Francisco's Democratic Party.

McCoy is the second gay man living with HIV seeking a seat on the Democratic County Central Committee, referred to as the D-triple-C for short. DCCC secretary Matt Dorsey, currently the only person living with HIV on the oversight panel, is seeking re-election this year on the June primary ballot.

"I am ready to have my own voice heard," McCoy, 37, told the Bay Area Reporter.

The Castro resident last year worked as the senior aide for District 3 Supervisor Julie Christensen, who was appointed to the seat by Mayor Ed Lee . In November she lost her bid to serve out the last year of a four-year term to Aaron Peskin, who had served as the District 3 supervisor.

McCoy was no stranger to City Hall, as he had served stints as a temporary aide to gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener and Board President London Breed when their full-time staff needed to take prolonged leaves. In 2014 he served as the campaign manager for Wiener as he sought re-election to the board.

Two years prior McCoy was the campaign coordinator for Joel Engardio's unsuccessful bid for the District 7 supervisor seat. Last November Engardio, a gay man appointed to a vacancy on the DCCC last year who is now running for a full term, profiled McCoy in his San Francisco Examiner column.

It was McCoy's first time disclosing publicly his battles against meth addiction that left him homeless. Now sober, housed, and married to Kory Powell-McCoy, McCoy wants to use the DCCC to advocate for others struggling with addiction and/or homelessness.

"I want to help other people in my situation, and if it is possible, to get out of that," said McCoy, recently appointed by Lee to the city's shelter monitoring committee. "I don't think enough people on the DCCC are open about their real experience in the city. I have been in the trenches, so to speak."

The DCCC's 24 elected seats are divided between the city's two state Assembly Districts. McCoy is running for one of the seats from the 17th Assembly District, as are Dorsey, and Wiener, while Engardio is running for a seat from the 19th Assembly District.

With most of the current DCCC members seeking re-election this year, McCoy said he doesn't see his bid as "trying to knock anybody off" the committee. He is more interested in using a committee seat to recruit "more people like me" to the Democratic Party.

A number of community leaders and elected officials, including Wiener, Breed, and Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), have endorsed McCoy's DCCC bid.

As for using the DCCC as a platform to seek higher office someday, such as supervisor, McCoy said it was unlikely.

"At one time a little part of me wanted to be a city supervisor," he admitted, "but now I prefer behind the scenes."

For more information about McCoy, visit his campaign website at


SF Dems poised to denounce porn condom measure

At their meeting Wednesday, January 27, the members of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee are poised to pass a resolution denouncing a November ballot measure that would require condoms be used on all porn sets in California.

The initiative is backed by the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which passed a similar local measure that covered porn sets in Los Angeles County. The agency contends the rule is needed to protect the health of porn actors.

But those opposed to the measure say that in addition to condoms it would mandate the use of eye goggles by porn actors. They also worry passage of the initiative would create a "sue-a-porn-star" provision in state law, as anyone could bring a lawsuit against those who violate it.

And they are concerned that the state's $6 billion porn industry would move to another state with less restrictive policies California has already enacted to protect the health of porn actors.

"Worst of all, it's part of a larger narrative to discredit PrEP, and declare it a failure. It's part-and-parcel of 'PrEP denialism,' which is hurting the cause of HIV prevention," DCCC member Dorsey, the lead sponsor of the resolution against the ballot measure, told the B.A.R.

Dorsey has already lined up six other DCCC members as co-sponsors and has been reaching out to local Democratic clubs to also sign on, as the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club's political action committee did Tuesday night. But he cautioned it is too soon to say if the measure will be adopted by the full DCCC.

Austin Padilla, 24, a gay man who is HIV-positive and a founding member of the city's Getting to Zero committee, which aims to largely end HIV transmission in San Francisco by 2020, has been urging DCCC members to sign on to Dorsey's resolution.

Asked why they should, Padilla said, "I think, specifically because of San Francisco's position as one of the first cities to combat the epidemic." He added that the ballot measure sends the wrong message, particularly to youth.

"It can never be just condoms or just PrEP. You want to talk about both PrEP and condoms and meet them halfway on what is a realistic method of prevention when you talk to youth," said Padilla, who co-chairs the Getting to Zero plan's Ending Stigma Committee.

Milk club president runs alone

Unable to recruit a female member to serve alongside him as co-president, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club Co-President Peter Gallotta plans to seek re-election next week as the sole president of the progressive political group.

As the Political Notebook reported last month, club Co-President Laura Thomas decided not to seek a third term this year. Thus, Gallotta had been trying to recruit someone to succeed her.

"After many discussions with members as well as current and past leadership of the club, I am running alone for president this year," Gallotta informed the B.A.R. this week.

He informed the B.A.R. Wednesday that there are nine women running for board positions on the slate. With Thomas as an ex-officio, there are a total of 10 women out of 19 total positions.

"This is a definite shift from previous representation of women on our board, at least in my time with the Harvey Milk club over the past five years," wrote Gallotta in an email.

In response to the B.A.R.'s question of who was running for the club's three vice president positions, he disclosed that Lee Hepner was up for VP Political, Paulina Maldonado for VP External Affairs, and Cynthia Crews for VP Internal Affairs. Hepner and Maldonado are current board members.

There is talk of a potential leadership fight when the club members meet Tuesday, January 19, to elect the new board. Candidates can be nominated up until that day for the board seats.

When asked if she intended to seek the club's female co-president position or wished to be re-elected as the club's vice president of political affairs, Mahnani Clay demurred. Instead, she voiced concerns about the lack of transparency regarding the election and suggested it should be postponed 30 days.

"Friday's Milk club email explained the nomination process in brief and for the first time. Does not inspire confidence in current leadership's commitment to a transparent and democratic executive board election process!" Clay told the B.A.R.


In last week's column of political predictions, Bevan Dufty sent in the name of the wrong Castro twin for who he believes Hillary Clinton will pick as her vice presidential nominee. He meant to say it would be U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro , not his twin brother Joaquin Castro , a Democratic congressman from Texas. The online version has been corrected.


Web Extra: For more queer political news, be sure to check Monday mornings at noon for Political Notes, the notebook's online companion. This week's column reported on the hiring of staff for Santa Clara County's new Office of LGBTQ Affairs.

Keep abreast of the latest LGBT political news by following the Political Notebook on Twitter @

Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or e-mail




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