City and County of San FranciscoHuman Rights Commission

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  Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the January 17, 2006 Meeting



Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Whitney Bagby, Dora Balcazar, David Cameron, Julie Frank, Ted Guggenheim, Danny Kirchoff, Aidan Kotler, Ren Phoenix, Stephen Schwichow, Jason Stein, Morningstar Vancil, Meredith Wood.


Committee Members Absent: Commissioner Mark Dunlop (excused), Nancy Lawlor.


Staff Present: Marcus Arana, Larry Brinkin, Domenic Viterbo.


Guests Present:Aleem Raja


  • Call to Order and Roll Call:Commissioner Chung called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m. Mr. Brinkin called the roll. He announced that Sally Buchmann has resigned from the Committee due to other commitments.


  • Approval of Minutes of November 15, 2005:

Mr. Cameron said that the third sentence on Page 2 that contains, “…what his parents had known” should be corrected to state “…what he wished his parents had known.”


Mr. Schwichow moved to approve the minutes as corrected. The motion passed unanimously.


  • Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda:


There were no public comments.


  • Panel Presentation: Healthcare – Barriers to Transgender Access:


Commissioner Chung said that this item has been postponed until the March meeting. Mr. Brinkin said that the reason for the postponement is miscommunication between the panel organizers and staff.


  • Member Presentation: Smoking/Tobacco Issues:


Ted Guggenheim works for the California Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Tobacco Education Partnership (“The Partnership”) which has been in existence for a year and a half. The Partnership came into existence under the California Department of Public Health Services Tobacco Control Section which paid for a large survey on LGBT smokers last year to gauge statewide tobacco use and in-depth smoking behavior information. The study showed that LGBT people smoke at a much higher rate than most smokers in general. This statewide survey is the first in the nation to assess tobacco-related behaviors, attitudes and knowledge within the LGBT communities. Previous studies suggest that LGBT populations have a high risk of cigarette smoking; however, data has been rare.


From the 2002 California Tobacco Survey, a general survey conducted in the state, it has been learned that smoking prevalence in the overall LGBT population is almost double that of the general population: 30.4% are LGBT smokers compared to 15.4% of general smokers. The greatest difference between the general and the LGBT populations is that women who do not self-identify as LGBT but have same-sex behavior have a significantly higher smoking prevalence, a triple rate, than women who identify as heterosexual. Among all LGBT age groups in California, young adults (18-24 year olds) have the highest smoking prevalence at 43.7%, or 18% of the general population.


Regarding cigarette advertising promotions, the tobacco industry had effectively reached the California LGBT population: 9 out of 10 LGBT adults recall seeing cigarette ads in magazines; about ¾, or 73% of the LGBT population, recall seeing or hearing an anti-tobacco message in the last 30 days; although smoking is much more prevalent among the California LGBT population, only 31.6% of LGBT men and 20.1% of LGBT women perceive that smoking is a bigger problem in the LGBT community than in the general population.   Mr. Guggenheim concluded by stating that tobacco kills more people than AIDS, alcohol, auto accidents, murder, and illegal drugs combined.


Ms. Julie Frank will present at next month’s meeting.


  • Letter to Warsaw ’s Mayor encouraging/supporting Poland ’s Pride activities (action item):


Mr. Stephen Schwichow asked that the word “POLICE” be in lower case. Mr. Aidan  Dunn will check to see if the addressee is still the Mayor of Warsaw. Commissioner Chung suggested that the Committee help, as individual members, to offer any assistance they can because Mr. Brinkin will be busy acting as Director of the HRC. He said that the letters will be sent in the packets that are mailed to the Commission after the 26th.


Commissioner Chung moved to have the draft letter approved with the variable of whether the Mayor of Warsaw will still be in office or not and will substitute the appropriate salutation. The vote passed unanimously.


  • Report of the Racism/Communication Work Group:


Mr. Raja refreshed what had been discussed at their last two meetings – bottom line is to make the Committee an explicitly anti-racist group. The workgroup recommends having a portion of retreat devoted to this focus. The group is reluctant to ask people to donate time to train.  Mr. Brinkin addressed the question of funding - no extra money in the Department budget but the Committee may be able to find resources through the Friends of the HRC. Names of possible trainers will go to Yong Lee. 


  • Recruitment of New Members (Discussion Item):


Mr. Brinkin said that the deadline to receive letters of intent from prospective new members is Thursday, January 19, 2006. Mr. Schwichow said that the Committee had done its job of getting the word out, but something in writing from the HRC would make it easier to get more people to respond. Mr. Brinkin said that there has been a lack of diversity among Committee Members mostly within the last two or three years.


  • Commissioners’ Report:


Commissioner Chung reported that, at the November Commission meeting,  the Commission approved a letter to the Department of Human Resources encouraging the elimination of the box ‘convicted of a felony’ found on their employment applications. This action was taken on behalf of formerly convicted felons who have been passed over for employment due to checking this box. The group All of Us or None attended the meeting and brought suggestions on policy language from different cities and counties. According to the DHR Director, they will eliminate the box; however, incarceration information will be asked for certain professions, such as police officers. Next will be the same thing in the housing arena. Commissioner Chung also reported that the Falun Gong application to march in the Chinese New Year Parade has been denied. Falun Gong filed a complaint based upon discrimination because of religion; however, they can march but cannot distribute literature. HRC is trying to arrange a mediation session between Falun Gong and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.


Commissioner Chung attended the CAHRO conference on January 9, 2006 in Sacramento. Mr. Brinkin facilitated a workshop on same-sex marriage. Mr. Marcus Arana attended a workshop on inter-group tensions between Latino & African-American communities. Commissioner Chung attended a school violence workshop. Commissioner Chung received correspondence from Oakland advocating the Oakland City Council to set up an HRC.


  • Staff Report:


Mr. Brinkin reported he is Acting Director this month. Mr. Brinkin met with the 49ers last week to discuss adoption of a diversity plan. 49ERS will send a draft by January 25, 2006 to Mr. Brinkin and they will present the Diversity Plan to the commissioners on February 9, 2006.


Disadvantaged Business Enterprise legislation: Plan being floated by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for new Hetch Hetchy renovation/retrofit (4 billion dollars of construction). PUC wants to do own compliance work on these contracts. At the Board of Supervisors’ Rules Committee, the Coaltion for Economic Equity  asked for the program to remain at the HRC.


SFPD Video: HRC and the Department on the Status of Women (DOSW) will look into the cultural diversity milieu and the police department’s training program. A joint proposal from the two Commissions was sent to the mayor’s office; however, a blue ribbon task force will be formed to address the situation and the HRC and the DOSW will work with that task force.


  • Old/New Business:


Mr. Schwichow asked if Commissioner Norman had spoken to Commission Chair Heinecke regarding her continued participation with the Committee. Mr. Brinkin said that he spoke with Commissioner Norman to discuss her continued participation, and that a decision had not yet been reached.


Mr. Kirchoff asked that the City investigate why pedestrians and bicyclists are hurt/killed by cars, stating that many LGBT people ride bikes. Metropolitan Transit Authority has a bicycle and pedestrian task force.


  • Announcements:


Mr. Cameron announced that Ben Lunine, former HRC intern, says hello and wishes everyone a good new year.


Ms. Vancil announced that she will be attending a cancer conference. Also, her artwork is being shown in an art gallery in San Diego.


Commissioner Chung announced that the Transgender Law Center is launching a short-term study on the economic development of the transgender community. The study is sponsored by the S.F. Bay Guardian newspaper. Anyone interested in participating in the study should contact her. She also announced that a 40th anniversary event to commemorate the riots at Compton ’s Cafeteria is in the works and will take place in conjunction with other Pride events in June. 


Mr. Brinkin announced that he appeared on the Chris Welch Show on KPFA-FM on January 7 to share his views on the movie, “Brokeback Mountain".


  •   Adjournment:


The meeting was adjourned at 7:38 p.m.