SAN FRANCISCO: Voters May Consider Renaming Airport For Harvey Milk
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering a ballot measure which would rename the airport for slain LGBT rights icon Harvey Milk.
A charter amendment sponsored by Supervisor David Campos would put the question of creating Harvey Milk-San Francisco International Airport on San Francisco’s November ballot. If five of Campos’ colleagues agree to submit the proposed name change to voters and the amendment goes through in the fall, the city would become home to the world’s first airport honoring an openly gay person, said Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk. Milk, who runs an international gay rights foundation in his uncle’s memory, said that adding an airport to the list of public venues named for Harvey Milk would mark a milestone since flights to and from San Francisco International serve 68 countries where homosexuality is illegal.
The wingnuts are gonna love this one. (Image via Harvey Milk Foundation)
USA: Trans Beauty Queen kylan Wenzel To Compete In Miss California
Transwoman Kylan Arianna Wenzel, 26, will compete in this weekend’s Miss California pageant. Karen Ocamb reports at Frontiers:
In April, following international fallout when pageant officials disqualified 23-year-old Miss Canada Jenna Talackova after learning she was a transgender woman, Donald Trump and his Miss Universe Organization announced a significant rule change to allow trans women to compete for any of their pageant titles. Because of that rule change, 26-year-old Kylan Arianna Wenzel of Century City left her job as a shift manager at Jamba Juice, moved her sex reassignment surgery up six months and decided to pursue her life-long dream of confidently entering the Miss California beauty pageant. “The first time I watched a beauty pageant was when I was 11, in 1997, when Miss USA won Miss Universe. And ever since then, it’s kind of been implanted in my brain,” Wenzel told Frontiers during a Jan. 3 phone interview. “I wasn’t sure how it would happen for me, but it was something I put out there.
Saturday’s preliminaries will feature 229 contestants. Only 20 will go on to compete in the televised finals on Sunday night.
CALIFORNIA: Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Bill Banning “Ex-Gay” Therapy For Minors
Last night [Saturday 29th, September] California Gov. Jerry Brown finally signed the billthat bans “ex-gay therapy” for children under the age of 18.
The bill, SB1172 by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance (Los Angeles County), bars mental health practitioners from performing so-called reparative therapy, which professional psychological organizations have said may cause harm. Gay rights groups have labeled them dangerous and abusive. “This bill bans non-scientific ‘therapies’ that have driven young people to depression and suicide. These practices have no basis in science or medicine and they will now be relegated to the dustbin of quackery,” Brown said in a statement to The Chronicle.Brown approved the ban after the public release of two other lists of bills signed and vetoed earlier Saturday. Lieu’s bill is expected to appear on a new list to be released Sunday.
National Center for Lesbian Rights: ”Governor Brown has sent a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families. This law will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the dangerous and deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be ‘cured.’”
Equality California: ”Governor Brown today reaffirmed what medical and mental health organizations have made clear: Efforts to change minors’ sexual orientation are not therapy, they are the relics of prejudice and abuse that have inflicted untold harm on young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians. We thank Senator Ted Lieu and Governor Brown for their efforts in making California a leader in banning this deceptive and harmful practice.”
Truth Wins Out: “This is a historic day that protects LGBT youth from child abuse disguised as genuine therapy. We thank Gov. Brown for signing legislation that can serve as a model for similar bills across the nation.”
Human Rights Campaign: ”We’re grateful to Governor Brown for standing with California’s children. LGBT youth will now be protected from a practice that has not only been debunked as junk science, but has been proven to have drastically negative effects on their well-being. We commend Governor Brown for putting children first, and call on all states to take California’s lead on this issue. We will continue our fight against this kind of child abuse, which has been deemed harmful to children by all major mental health, medical, and child welfare organizations.”
Courage Campaign: ”Governor Brown has shown courage for enacting the first law in the nation to ban ‘conversion therapy’ for gay people. The Governor’s action will protect thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth of California. This law will save lives here and across the nation by ending the torture of young people through the quackery that suggests that gay people can decide somehow not to be gay, which is akin to white people deciding not to be white. Once again, California is a model for the nation.”
CALIFORNIA: Berkeley City To Recognize Bisexual Pride Day
The Huffington Post reports:
Woody Allen once said that bisexuality “doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.” Now, the city of Berkeley, Calif., may soon become the first municipality in the country to proclaim a special holiday just for bisexual individuals, separate from the other LGBT pride days held around the world every June. Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington proposed the idea as a way to deal with the marginalization that bisexuals often feel from both the gay and straight communities. ”Bisexuals can experience prejudice from both directions,” Worthington told theSan Francisco Chronicle. “Increasing bisexual visibility is a way of saying, yes, they do exist, and they deserve our support and acceptance.” Worthington hopes to hold Berkeley’s Bisexual Pride Day on September 23, the same day bisexual activists around the country have been holding Celebrate Bisexuality Day events for over a decade. “Ever since the Stonewall rebellion, the gay and lesbian community has grown in strength and visibility,” Gigi Wilbur-Raven, one of the progenitors of Celebrate Bisexuality Day, said in a statement announcing the creation of the holiday during the annual meeting of the International Lesbian and Gay Alliance in 1999. “Thebisexual communityalso has grown in strength but in many ways we are still invisible. I too have been conditioned by society to automatically label a couple walking hand in hand as either straight or gay, depending upon the perceived gender of each person.” Wendy Curry, one of Wilbur-Raven’s other co-founders, explains some of reasons behindpushing bi pride days: In the 90’s, much of the bisexual activism involved one of three actions: 1) “we’re here too” at “gay” events; trying to prove we were an important part of the GLBT family 2) countering the belief that bisexuality is just a phase. Because so few people identified as bisexual in the previous decades, we’d prop up the one or two people we could find who had identified as bi for a decade or two and say “see? it is possible to be bi for life!” 3) Fight our biggest obstacle - invisibility. Because most people at the time see other’s sexuality based on their current partner or whom they see you eyeballing, few bisexuals were/are recognized as such, but misidentified as straight or gay. Other cities, such as Boston and Los Angeles, host bisexual pride events on that same day. However, Berkeley would be the only city in the country to give the event official recognition. The idea has already garnered some support around Berkeley’s political circles. “The more we can learn about each other, the more tolerance grows,” Nancy Carleton, a bisexual former zoning board chair, told the Associated Press, noting thatofficial recognition of the daywould go a long way to giving the local bisexual community some much needed visibility. A study by UCLA’s Williams Institute found that aboutfour million Americans identify as bisexual, roughly equal to the number of people who identify as gay/lesbian, or a little over the entire population of the state of Oregon. Worthington’s measure will go before a vote of the Berkeley City Council later this week.
GOLD’s GYM San Francisco Bay Area, Now Fitness SF, Cuts Ties With Parent Company After CEO’s Anti-LGBT Donation
The Huffington Post reports:
A group of San Francisco Bay Area Gold’s Gym franchises has relinquished affiliation with its parent company in protest against theCEO’s substantial 2010 donation to a conservative organization with anti-LGBT ties. The franchise group is now calledFitness SF. The group is privately owned and includes four gyms located in Oakland, Marin and San Francisco’s SoMa and Castro Districts, and has long been a pillar of the LGBT community. The group regularly donates to LGBT organizations, and the Castro location often participates in the San Francisco Pride Parade. The Huffington Post reported on the donation and the backlashin 2010 when Gold’s Gym CEO Robert Rowling gave $2 million toAmerican Crossroads, a conservative political group founded by former Bush advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. At the time, Gold’s Gym Bay Area Director of OperationsDon Dickerson released a response to the news on the company’s Facebook page, condemning the move and vowing to sever ties when the group’s contract expired: We were as surprised by [CEO] Mr. [Robert] Rowling’s action as anyone but because our company believes in and lives up to the ideals of equality for all we are going to take the following actions: 1: Our contractual obligation with Gold’s Gym expires on September 15th, 2012 and on or prior to that date (our legal counsel is reviewing our options) we will leave the Gold’s Gym brand. It is a major initiative to create a new brand and leave Gold’s Gym which has been our identity for over 20 years but we will begin that process today. 2: For every dollar we pay Gold’s Gym in franchise fees we will donate an equal or greater amount to LGBT charities. While we donate much more than this to charities and community groups that support the LGBT community we want to make a commitment to match or exceed this amount until our relationship with Gold’s Gym can be severed. 3: Our management and staff will continue to support LGBT causes in every way possible and we will use our business as a platform to fight for change and equality for everyone. We have always taken great pride in being a leader in the LGBT community and we will continue to. After the 2010 backlash, Gold’s Gym quickly sent HuffPost a statement: Gold’s Gym did not make a donation to American Crossroads (or any other political organization) and in no way supports anti-gay causes. Quite the contrary, the Gold’s Gym family has been strong supporters of the LGBT community over the years. This includes supporting PRIDE events, sponsoring LGBT media outlets and donating to various LGBT charities in the communities we serve. Gold’s Gym is a non-political organization and our member’s dues are not used to fund political candidates. Bob Rowling, the CEO of our ownership group, TRT Holdings, made a private donation completely independent from (and not on behalf of) Gold’s Gym. Nevertheless, Gold’s Gym Bay Area and LGBT activists were unmoved. AChange.org petitioncondemning the donation noted that money gained from Gold’s Gym was funding Rowling’s donation. “Using both his corporate and personal bank accounts, Rowling has given upwards of $2 million to Karl Rove’s new organization, American Crossroads,”stated the petition. “In turn, that money has been used to support some of the most virulently anti-gay politicians in the country.” The petition soon gained nearly 10,000 signatures. Now that the September 2012 deadline has approached, Dickerson and Gold’s Gym Bay Area have kept to their word, changing the company’s name and branding, and severing all ties with Gold’s Gym.
“Very rarely in a situation like this does a business stand up and actually take a position on the matter, which is why I think people have been so happy that we’ve taken this course of action,”said Dickerson to CBS. “Our company has worked for over twenty years to support our LGBT staff, members and community in everyway possible and we will continue to.”
Well known Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence member, one-time San Francisco mayoral candidate, and early AIDS activist Jack “Sister Boom Boom” Fertig passed away Sunday night at age of 57. The Sisters send us this remembrance:
On August 5, 2012 at 9:30 PM, Sister Boom Boom aka Jack Fertig succumbed to liver cancer in the loving presence of his partner Elias Trevino and dogs, Chloe and Perry. Jack was also known to many as teacher, astrologer, artist, and a devout and faithful scholar of Islam. Sister Boom Boom was a key Queer pioneer who took Queer Consciousness to the mainstream. In 1982, Sister Boom Boom nearly won a Board of Supervisors seat by running a uniquely San Francisco campaign of radical politics and nun drag. She won 23,124 votes with her occupation listed as “Nun of the Above.”
A year later, Boom Boom ran for the 1983 mayoral race against incumbent Dianne Feinstein and, as a result, San Francisco passed a law that requires candidates to only use their legal names on the ballot. This law is often referred to as the “Sister Boom Boom” law. Due to internal disputes, Jack Fertig broke from the Sisters in 1985. Jack Fertig went on to pursue his Divine calling and became an award-winning astrologer and respected Queer Muslim activist. He was also an avid organizer in the leather and sober communities. Cleve Jones, AIDS activist and creator of the NAMES Project AIDS Quilt remembers Sister Boom Boom as a “dear friend” and a “fierce advocate for the poor and immigrant communities.”
Fertig eventually reconciled with the Sisters, who will announce a public memorial for Sister Boom Boom shortly.
CALIFORNIA: Chikin Graffiti Artist, Manny Castro, Comes Forward
The man who spray-painted “Tastes Like Hate” on a California Chick-Fil-A franchise has voluntarily come forward and he is openly gay NYC-trained artist Manny Castro. His online bio reads:
After studying at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, Castro launched his fine art career with his first solo show being the main window installations for Saks Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and subsequently additional installations at Barney’s New York and Fred Segal. Since relocating to Los Angeles, some of Hollywood’s greatest have posed for him including Milla Jovovich, Derek Blasberg, Agnes Bruckner, Amanda Lepore, Patrick McMullan, and Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan from “Karmin”. He has remained true to his belief that art is an experience that should be easily accessible to everyone.
“Everybody is entitled to free speech, but it seems like for the gay tribe, this is more of an issue of equal rights — human rights,” explained Castro. “I’m against what these people stand for, what this company stands for. They’re trying to take away what little rights we already have.” And when Castro saw news photos of thousands of Americans lined up around the block to buy a sandwich in support of the company on “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” his heart sank even more. “I thought of the photographs from 40 years ago of Christians protesting blacks marrying whites,” said Castro. “It is the same thing.”
Commenters on Michelle Malkin’s Twitter-based site Twitchyhave launched a campaign calling Castro’s prosecution by local authorities. Sample comments:
-“So when are they going to arrest, fine, prosecute and jail this idiot communist artist? He has no consideration for Private Property, nor the cost to the taxpayers to clean up his mess. If that were my wall, he’d be dead right now.”
-“We need to be sure that this “artist” is prosecuted. Everyone needs to e-mail the Torrance police office and make sure they arrest Castro. Remind them that if they don’t they aren’t a force for justice, but for politics. Email: Communityaffairs (at) torranceca.gov.”
-“This guy has two things against him ,he is Gay and a Mexican ,can’t get any worst !!”
CALIFORNIA: Military Members Make First Ever Gay Pride Appearance In Full Uniform In San Diego
For the first time since the repeal of DADT, today in San Diego members of the military marched in a gay pride parade in full uniform. Earlier this week the Pentagon, which typically does not allow uniformed personnel to march in civilian events, said that it was making a one-time exceptionfor San Diego Pride.
The loudest cheers from the parade crowd of nearly 200,000 were reserved for them. The U.S. military contingent included about 40 members — some active, some retired. As they assembled in the staging area, countless spectators took pictures of and with them. Most of the active-duty personnel said they were under orders not to give interviews although photos were fine. Sean Sala, 27, who left the Navy last year but helped organize the military group, said the significance of this year’s active-duty uniformed participants is bolstered by government approval for the first time. “I think everybody wants to make it a gay thing, but it’s just an American thing,” he said. “These are people that have laid down their lives for their country, you know, and they deserve recognition for their service regardless of their sexuality.”
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