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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the April 15, 2003 Meeting

Committee Members Present: Commissioner Martha Knutzen, Jason Alley, Kirsten Boyd, Sally Buchmann, Melchor Bustamante aka Mara Montenegro, Chris Caldeira, Jay Dwyer, Julie Frank, Jordy Jones, Danny Kirchoff, Bill Kirkpatrick, Nancy Lawlor, Yoseñio Lewis, Aleem Raja, Lisa Scheff, Stephen Schwichow, Morningstar Vancil, Lauren Williams.

Committee Members Absent: Commissioner Theresa Sparks (excused), Virginia Benavidez (excused), Scott Campbell (excused), Chris Carnes (excused), James DeVinny, Ted Guggenheim (excused), Johnnie Pratt, Jorge Romero-Lozano (excused).

Staff Present: Larry Brinkin, Ellise Nicholson.

Guests Present: Robert Haaland, Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Call to Order and Roll Call:

Commissioner Knutzen called the meeting to order at 5:40 p.m. Mr. Brinkin called the roll.

Approval of Minutes of March 18, 2003:

Mr. Stephen Schwichow moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Jordy Jones seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda:


Discussion re: Appointment of a San Francisco Police Department Liaison to Political Demonstrations:

Due to the absence of Chief Alex Fagan, discussion was postponed.

Retreat Planning and Approval of Retreat Agenda:

Staff member Ellise Nicholson stated that the retreat planning committee met last week. Since James DeVinny and Ms. Nicholson were the only people at the meeting, they went ahead and planned the retreat. The agenda is similar to last year’s, with a couple of minor changes. Members approved the draft agenda. Ms. Nicholson asked members to think about what issues they would like to work on in the coming year and to consider what form their proposal would take. She also asked members to email any ideas for icebreakers. Finally, Ms. Nicholson passed around a sign-up sheet for members to volunteer to bring drinks and snacks.

Report from Senior Issues Task Force:

Larry Brinkin reported that on March 27, 2003 the Human Rights Commission unanimously approved the Senior Issues Public Hearing Report. On April 2, 2003, the Aging and Adult Services Commission approved it as well, and praised the report and the collaborative efforts. Mr. Brinkin reported that we still need to find photographs for the report. The report will be on the HRC website. The next meeting of the task force is scheduled for May 6, 2003. Julie Frank suggested that we might take photos for the report ourselves. Bill Kirkpatrick said that he has photographs that will work for the report. Mr. Brinkin stated that he would contact Mr. Kirkpatrick regarding the photographs. Mr. Brinkin added that at the May 6, 2003 meeting the task force would begin developing an implementation plan.

Report from Gender Identity Guidelines Revisions Task Force:

Larry Brinkin reported that we are still waiting for the City Attorney to review the draft guidelines. The task force cannot proceed further until her review is completed, and will not meet until that time.

Discussion of 2003 Pride Day Activities:

Larry Brinkin reported that he does not yet have a definitive answer on the booth money. He stated that we might be able to get the money from the Friends of the HRC. Jordy Jones stated that the Pride Committee will waive the fee if we cannot get the money. Mr. Brinkin responded that he wants to avoid having to request a waiver given that we are a City agency. Commissioner Knutzen stated that we should proceed on the assumption that we will get the money for the booth.

Commissioners’ Report:

Commissioner Knutzen began her report by stating that member Scott Campbell has been very ill with lymphoma. She passed around a card for Mr. Campbell for members to sign. Commissioner Knutzen reported on a meeting between the HRC and San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) Chief Alex Fagan, Sgt. Stephen Thornr, and Deputy Chief Heather Fong regarding transgender cultural competency. This issue was first brought forward in 1994 at the public hearing on transgender discrimination, and then by the Office of Citizen Complaints (OCC) a couple of years ago. The Police Commission passed a resolution to establish a task force on the issue. The task force is made up of members of the community, the HRC, the SF police department, and Community United Against Violence (CUAV). The task force met for over a year and established a framework and a draft report with recommendations to the SFPD. This report was sent to the SFPD, and the recent meeting was held in order to discuss the SFPD response to the report. Chief Fagan essentially said that he agreed with everything in the report, and made clear that they would make a serious effort to implement the recommendations contained in the report, starting this May. Chief Fagan added that the SFPD would begin with transgender sensitivity trainings for their top captains. He also agreed to recommend to the Police Commission amendments to department general orders that would add protections against gender identity harassment. Commissioner Knutzen stated that staff would send a copy of this report in the next member packets. Commissioner Knutzen asked visitor Rober Haaland if he might comment on his involvement in this issue. Mr. Haaland, the President of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, stated that he was arrested during a protest a couple of years ago. During the course of his detainment by the SFPD, he was verbally harassed and sexually assaulted by officers. He stated that the culture within the police department allowed this to occur despite the many witnesses present. He stated that the purpose of the harassment was to humiliate him. He thanked the HRC for taking the lead on this issue, adding that it is one of the more important civil rights moments in the history of San Francisco. Larry Brinkin added that over the time the task force has been meeting, SFPD officers involved have developed a greater understanding of the problem. Mr. Brinkin also stated that City Attorney Dennis Herrera championed the issue when he was on the Police Commission, and has continued to check in on its progress since being elected City Attorney. Commissioner Knutzen commented on the community response to Jay Leno’s joke regarding Commissioner Sparks. She stated that national organizations have been responding to Mr. Leno without conferring with Commissioner Sparks first. A lot of people wrote letters. Jay Leno ended up apologizing to Mark Leno. The Commission wrote a letter discussing Commissioner Sparks as a person, a colleague, and a friend, which Commissioner Knutzen distributed to members and guests. Commissioner Knutzen reported that the Commission’s present work mostly concerns the M/WBE ordinance. Commissioner Knutzen distributed a list of workshops on environmental racism that members might wish to attend.

Staff Report:

Larry Brinkin reported that on June 11, 2003, staff member Marcus Arana will be organizing a transgender panel for a brown bag lunch for Macy’s employees. Mr. Arana also will be part of a four-hour training that will be conducted for San Jose State University public health students. Regarding the budget situation, Mr. Brinkin reported that it continues to be frightening. The current City deficit is between 350 and 360 million dollars. At this point it is pretty certain that there will be layoffs and that those layoffs will hit this department. Mr. Brinkin stated that we have to be concerned with layoffs in our department as well as bumping from people in other departments. Mr. Brinkin further reported that work on the complaint database continues, and by the end of the fiscal year we hope to produce good reports about complaint handling. Cynthia Goldstein, co-manager of the LGBTH unit, testified in Sacramento this April 1, 2003 regarding the proposed statewide equal benefits law. Mr. Brinkin reported that Ms. Goldstein is a recognized authority throughout the country on equal benefits law. Her testimony included a great deal of information garnered from the San Francisco experience. The Assembly Judiciary Committee voted in favor of the bill after testimony was completed. Supporters of the bill feel that in order for it to pass, it must have more business support. The State Chamber of Commerce has come out against the bill. Mr. Brinkin stated that the LGBT division would be reporting at the next Commission meeting regarding LGBT legislation at the City and State levels. The meeting will be on April 24, 2003 at 4:30 at City Hall room 416. Commissioner Knutzen stated that this would be a good report for the Committee to hear as this year’s pending LGBT legislation is quite impressive. Finally, Mr. Brinkin stated that this is the last chance for members to request free tickets to the LGBT night at the opera on Wednesday June 11, 2003.

Old/New Business:



Sally Buchmann stated that the Harvey Milk Democratic Club honored Denise D’Anne with a lifetime achievement award. Jay Dwyer stated that CastroGuys is co-sponsoring a "spring clean," which is a chance to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Mr. Dwyer also invited members to come to "Splendor in the Grass," at Dolores Park this Sunday from 12p.m. to 4p.m. with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. There will be an Easter egg hunt from 12p.m. to 1p.m., and from there the event will get progressively wilder. Morningstar Vancil reminded members about the Dyke Diva/Dyke Daddy contest on May 3, 2003. Ms. Vancil also mentioned that she will be going to the Philippines as a delegate for the Gay Summit in November and will be conducting fundraising soon.

13. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 6:45pm.