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Preview: SFGate Features: Gay & Lesbian

Gay & Lesbian


SF supes limit business with firms in states with anti-LGBT laws

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 01:11:30 UT

San Francisco would no longer enter into contracts with companies based in states that bar civil-rights protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, under legislation passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. The legislation is an effort to increase pressure on three states with laws that limit transgender rights: When the legislation was proposed in April, it told The Chronicle, “We understand the concerns expressed by the city and county of San Francisco, and Bank of America has been very clear in calling for the repeal of North Carolina’s (law) based on concerns about the impact of the legislation on our employees and our customers.” A North Carolina law, HB 2, bans people from using restrooms in schools and other public buildings that don’t match their birth sex, even if it matches their gender identity. A Mississippi law, HB1523, allows private businesses and religious groups to deny services to LGBT people if doing so would violate their religious beliefs. The North Carolina law has generated the most backlash, including the announcement earlier this month that the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Atlantic Coast Conference were moving championship games out of the state in opposition. [...] on Tuesday, Supervisor Jane Kim introduced a resolution urging the city to explore the possibility of annexing 684 acres in Brisbane scheduled for a massive commercial development because it includes no new housing. Kim said she believes the real reason behind the housing prohibition is that Brisbane doesn’t want new residents voting in the city. [...] on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved a nearly $5 million settlement with a motorcyclist who was badly injured in 2013 when a fire truck driven by a city firefighter suspected of being drunk slammed into him. The $4.99 million settlement with Jack Frazier caps an embarrassing episode that ensnared the Fire Department and the Police Department that botched the investigation.

Folsom Street Fair lives up to its leather-clad reputation

Mon, 26 Sep 2016 02:08:57 UT

In the city to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, the couple from Massachusetts, sporting T-shirts and shorts, stuck out like a big, straight thumb amidst the hundreds of thousands of nude or near-naked passersby who hung leather whips from spiky necklaces and yanked one another around by G-strings at this year’s Folsom Street Fair. A man with pointy devil horns, his shirtless chest glistening with sweat under a cloudless sky as temperatures eclipsed 90 degrees, rolled by on a motorized scooter. A group of naked middle-aged men, some modestly donning strategically placed beaded contraptions depicting a parrot or a dragon draped over a certain body part, followed close behind. “I want my old-lady friends at the garden club to still like me when I get back,” Bonin said, laughing. Organizers expected to raise more than $300,000 for nonprofit LGBT groups, including the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, said Edwin Morales, the president of the board of directors of the nonprofit that organizes the event. Morales, who kicked off the planning for this year’s fair back in January, said organizers worked with the San Francisco Police Department to beef up security this year after the massacre at the Orlando gay nightclub Pulse and the bomb threat at a Los Angeles pride parade in June. Two gay tourists in town from Manhattan for the Folsom Street Fair were pepper-sprayed Saturday night in the Western Addition in a possible hate crime, but Morales said such incidents are rare at Folsom, as it’s affectionately nicknamed by veterans. The event has gotten “more straight” over the years from its explicitly gay roots, Frank said, as he typed out a text to a straight female friend who planned to meet up, her boyfriend in tow. [...] the sex-charged freedom of it all hasn’t changed a bit, said a nearby man — who gave his name as Rocky Angel — with an orange-and-blue painted face, a chunky metal choker and absolutely nothing below the belt.

Ugandan police stop gay pride parade deemed illegal

Sat, 24 Sep 2016 20:49:05 UT

Ugandan police stop gay pride parade deemed illegal ENTEBBE, Uganda — Ugandan police prevented organizers from holding a gay pride parade Saturday on the orders of a government minister who said such an event is illegal. In August, Ugandan police briefly arrested about 20 people attending a gay pride event at a nightclub in Kampala. On Wednesday, Simon Lokodo, the Ugandan minister in charge of ethics and integrity, issued a strong statement condemning public activities of homosexuals and urged police to arrest them if they went ahead with the parade.

25th annual Leather Walk kicks off Leather Week in SF

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 21:59:51 UT

The smell of sunscreen filled the air as the 200 partially clad participants of the 25th annual Leather Walk gathered under cloudless skies in the Castro neighborhood Sunday to celebrate community and kinky fetishes. “This is an opportunity for the leather community to come together outside a bar setting,” said Demetri Moshoyannis, executive director of Folsom Street Events, which sponsors the Leather Walk, the fair and other events over the next week. The event celebrates the leather community, which includes a wide range of personal choices in attire and sexual activities, said Edwin Morales, 35. While leather — in the form of vests, pants, hats, harnesses, straps and G-strings — was the most popular choice, there was also neoprene, denim and fur. For Vicente Montoya, 37, who wore imitation leather shorts over a pleather wrestling singlet, the event offered a space “to let your freak flag fly, whatever that is.” A member of the Rubber Men of San Francisco club, he chose a full catsuit, with see-through sections on his chest, back and legs. While fun was the order of the day, the annual event is also a fundraiser for the AIDS Emergency Fund and Breast Cancer Emergency Fund. “The leather community is at the heart of the LGBT community,” a group of people deeply affected by the AIDS epidemic.

Heavy security for gay pride march in Serbia

Sun, 18 Sep 2016 21:42:40 UT

BELGRADE, Serbia — Thousands of Serbian riot police cordoned off central Belgrade on Sunday to protect a gay pride march from possible attacks by extremist groups in the predominantly conservative Balkan country. Authorities have canceled several pride events after huge clashes with right-wing groups and soccer hooligans in 2010, when more than 100 police and extremists were injured and major damage was caused in central Belgrade. Serbia has since sought to boost gay rights as part of its bid to join the European Union, including appointing for the first time an openly gay minister in the government that was formed last month. Fueling fears of unrest before the pride march were clashes in Belgrade late Saturday between rival soccer fans — who are linked with right-wing extremists — and who also clashed with the police.

Oakland Pride celebration brings parade, music and more

Sun, 11 Sep 2016 22:35:25 UT

Members of Bike East Bay make their way down Broadway during the Oakland Pride parade in downtown Oakland, which also included a performance by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band (inset).

New trial ordered in Rutgers suicide case

Sat, 10 Sep 2016 21:47:09 UT

NEWARK, N.J. — A new trial was ordered for a former Rutgers University student whose roommate killed himself after being captured on a webcam kissing another man, with a New Jersey appeals court throwing out his 15-count conviction. The judges on Friday ordered a new trial on other counts including invasion of privacy, tampering with evidence and hindering apprehension because, they wrote, the evidence prosecutors used to prove the bias charges “tainted the jury’s verdict on the remaining charges, depriving defendant of his constitutional right to a fair trial.” “The social environment that transformed a private act of sexual intimacy into a grotesque voyeuristic spectacle must be unequivocally condemned in the strongest possible way,” the judges wrote.

GLAAD looks to the future at annual gala

Fri, 9 Sep 2016 20:36:46 UT

Tyler was just as excited to meet Barbara, a singer who later took the stage with her classmates to perform “Ring of Keys” from the Broadway musical “Fun Home.” The wide-eyed singer received a standing ovation led by one guest whipping her dinner napkin in the air. “Until people started telling their stories in the LGBTQ movement, we were demonized and we were vilified,” said actor Wilson Cruz, former GLAAD national spokesman. Halfway through the gala, Cruz took the stage and told the story of his aunt, Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, who was murdered in the terrorist attack in June on Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando. Through ticket sales, an auction and directly asking guests for money, the organization hoped the gala would raise $1 million. Thanks to a promise by the night’s spotlight honoree, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, to match direct donations, Ellis probably hit the goal. Benioff received the organization’s Ric Weiland Award, which honors innovators who advance LGBTQ equality through tech and new media. Youth poets Melanie Harra, Cameron Sandal and Gabriela Martinez performed spoken-word pieces about the experiences of LGBTQ teens and LGBTQ teens of color, standing from their seats to recite their poetry. Later, writer and activist Monica Roberts was awarded special recognition for her work as the founder of TransGriot, a website focused on and for trans people of color.

Oakland Pride may be lesser known, but it’s no less fun

Tue, 6 Sep 2016 23:18:57 UT

Oakland Pride, now in its seventh year, might not get the sort of international attention that San Francisco Pride gets, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve it. The Pride Festival takes up several blocks in downtown Oakland and features four music stages, including a Latin stage, a community stage and a womyn’s stage. Venues like the Wild Horse Bar, the New Parish and Starline Social Club all have Pride parties scheduled throughout the weekend.

New York court expands definition of parenthood

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 21:36:31 UT

NEW YORK — Expanding the definition of what it means to be a parent — especially for same-sex couples — the New York State Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday that a loving caretaker who is not related to, or the adoptive guardian of, a child could still be permitted to ask for custody and visitation rights. The ruling emerged from a dispute between a gay couple from Chautauqua County, known in family court papers only as Brooke S.B. and Elizabeth A. C.C. In 2008, Elizabeth became pregnant with the couple’s child through artificial insemination. Brooke sued for custody and visitation privileges, but was turned down by a lower court, which found that legal precedent under a state case called the Matter of Alison D. vs.

Judge blocks North Carolina restroom restriction

Sat, 27 Aug 2016 21:55:51 UT

RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge ruled Friday that two students and an employee must be allowed to use restrooms matching their gender identity at University of North Carolina campuses, and he said they have a strong chance of proving the state’s restroom-access measure violates federal law, a judicial rebuke hailed by transgender rights advocates. Schroeder said that while his injunction shouldn’t pose any hardship to the state leaders seeking to defend the law, failing to block the restroom provision “would cause substantial hardship to the individual transgender Plaintiffs, disrupting their lives.” The plaintiffs challenging the law include a student at UNC’s Greensboro campus, an employee at its Chapel Hill campus and a high school student at the state School of the Arts, which is also run by the university system.

For LGBT entrepreneurs, identity becomes an asset

Sat, 27 Aug 2016 00:06:45 UT

Starting a business is a challenge in itself, but for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their identities can present an additional hurdle. There’s often pressure on these entrepreneurs to withhold aspects of their personal lives from professional circles to steer clear of controversy. Since last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage, more LGBT business owners are driven by shifting public opinion and diversity-hungry companies to start openly embracing who they are. “While people may be out in their personal lives, connecting it to their business is a relatively new phenomenon,” said Jonathan Lovitz, a vice president at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Since starting his own firm in 2000, Miller joined the gay and lesbian chamber’s supplier diversity program, which he calls a “professional way to come out” that is less frightening. The program, which started in 2004, certifies LGBT-owned businesses and connects them to a network of corporate partners looking to improve diversity in their supply chain. The certification can help a new business get noticed and make new connections, said Teresa Mock, owner of wedding planner L’Etoile Events in Minneapolis. Mock, who started her business in January 2015, displays her chamber certification on her website and says it’s a good way to filter out a “poor match.” LGBT consumers are especially drawn to companies that reflect their values, according to a 2015 survey by Community Marketing Inc., an LGBT market research firm. [...] their buying power is not one to scoff at — a 2014 survey by the U.S. Census Bureau found that about 783,000 same-sex couples earned an average of nearly $118,000 year. Lovitz said that the chamber has its sights on legislation that would allow LGBT-owned businesses to vie for a portion of government contracts that are awarded to businesses owned by women, minorities, disabled people and veterans.

Judge blocks Obama’s transgender order

Tue, 23 Aug 2016 02:15:51 UT

AUSTIN, Texas — A federal judge in Texas has blocked the Obama administration’s order that requires public schools to let transgender students use the restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen gender identity. In an injunction signed Sunday, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the federal education law known as Title IX “is not ambiguous” about sex being defined as “the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.” The law, the first of its kind in the nation, requires public schools to let each student use restrooms and other facilities that are “consistent with his or her gender identity.” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, had argued that halting the Obama order before school began was necessary because districts risked losing federal education dollars if they did not comply.

Harvey Milk saluted at Navy ship naming ceremony

Wed, 17 Aug 2016 01:21:07 UT

The slain San Francisco supervisor and gay rights icon was accorded one of the Navy’s highest honors Tuesday when the secretary of the Navy and a legion of gold-braided Navy brass gathered in San Francisco to declare that the Navy’s newest ship would be named in Milk’s honor. The ship, a supply vessel that will bring spare parts and fuel to larger vessels in the fleet, hasn’t been built yet and isn’t expected to have a Champagne bottle smashed across its bow until 2021. [...] that didn’t prevent 200 community leaders, well-wishers and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus from gathering on a sun-splashed lawn on Treasure Island for a ceremony officially naming the prospective vessel. The military, Mabus noted, was celebrating not only Milk’s life but also the fifth anniversary of the end of the notorious “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that effectively prevented gay servicemen and women from revealing their sexual orientation. The U.S. Navy ship Harvey Milk will be one of 17 double-hulled “fleet replenishment oilers” to be built to honor American civil rights heroes, including Chief Justice Earl Warren, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, women’s rights activist Lucy Stone and abolitionist Sojourner Truth. A Navy ship named for Milk, the mayor said, would “tell people around the world” that Milk was a “great American who belongs in the great pantheon of civil rights leaders.” Many in the audience joined Neira in fighting back tears as a giant photograph of a ship similar to the Harvey Milk was unveiled and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus performed a rousing rendition of the gay rights anthem “Never Ever.”

Gay, lesbian teens report ‘heartbreaking’ levels of violence

Thu, 11 Aug 2016 22:39:43 UT

Doctors and teachers who work with gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers have long warned that they are especially vulnerable to a host of psychological and physical harms. [...] the first national study to identify these high school students and track their health risks confirms those fears: sexual-minority teens are indeed at far greater risk for depression, bullying and many types of violence than their straight peers. “I found the numbers heartbreaking,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, a senior official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes a division that administers this school health survey every two years. The survey documents what smaller studies have suggested for years, but it is significant because it is the first time the federal government’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the gold-standard of adolescent health data collection, looked at sexual identity.