City and County of San FranciscoHuman Rights Commission

LGBT Committee Member Profiles

2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the October 17, 2006 Meeting



Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Jane Aceituno, Whitney Bagby, Dora Balcazar, Blue Buddha, David Cameron, Christopher Gomora, Ted Guggenheim, Roberto Ordeñana, Anthony Philip, Ren Phoenix, Aleem Raja, Martin Rawling-Fein, Jason Riggs, Morningstar Vancil.


Committee Members Absent:Commissioner Mark Dunlop (excused), Billy Curtis (excused), Calvin Gipson (excused), Stephen Schwichow (excused).


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


Guests Present:.


1.      Call to Order and Roll Call:


Commissioner Chung called the meeting to order at 5:34 p.m. Mr. Brinkin called the roll.


2.      Public Comment For Items Not On The Agenda:


No public comments were made.


3.      Approval of September 19, 2006 Minutes (action item):


Commissioner Chung deferred this item to next month.


4.      Presentation by Mani Bruce Mitchell – An Update on Intersex Issues inNew Zealand:


Mr. Cameron introduced Mani Bruce Mitchell, an intersex person from Wellington, New Zealand who is a counselor, psychotherapist, educator and trainer. She last addressed the Committee at its October 19, 2004 meeting to speak on a panel addressing intersex issues. She had also provided a written submission to the Intersex Public Hearing Report. She reported that she brought a copy of the DVD of the Intersex Public Hearing back to New Zealand for the New Zealand Human Rights Commissioners to view. Copies were made for people who work in the area of sexual health in Australia . She also has been working with the New Zealand police force’s diversity training to help strengthen its relations with the LGBT communities, and other communities. The program includes police officers from all over New Zealand volunteering to go to Wellington for training. The New Zealand Human Rights Commission held a series of meetings where it was decided that the issues of transgender and intersex people were to be addressed separately. Some meetings were held in public and others held in more private settings to keep the identities of participants confidential. The New Zealand Human Rights Commission is still working on how to handle intersex issues. The significant thing that has happened is that New Zealand ’s national government has allocated money to research intersex issues. Part of Ms. Mitchell’s coming to the U.S. this year is to attend the Gay Lesbian Medical Association conference held in the City. One of the issues brought up at the conference is the possibility of renaming “Intersex” to “DSD”, or “Disorders of Sexual Development.” Her work has led her into becoming involved on two documentaries; the first one was a documentary funded by the New Zealand government that won Best Documentary on television the year it was made. The second was a documentary made last year about her work with a photographer in New Zealand which had its American premiere two weeks ago at the LGBT Film Festival in Houston . She wanted to reinforce two main issues: 1) The importance of intersex adults obtaining appropriate and safe care, and 2) how to actually create change. Having since appeared in the short film “Hermaphrodites Speak”, she feels that it’s in the arts where there has been the most progress in addressing the lives of intersex people. She feels that the HRC has been in the forefront of anything any organization has done regarding intersex issues and she encourages staff to continue its work and hopes to collaborate more in the future.


She entertained questions from the Committee.  


5.      Outreach (Standing Sub-Committee) Training:


Commissioner Chung distributed three documents: 1) a handout with examples for Committee members to use as a guideline when writing their personal bios for the HRC’s website; 2) a demographic questionnaire to assist the Outreach Committee in doing target outreach showing how diverse the Committee is; 3) a homework assignment: before next month’s meeting, each Committee member is to have the names of five individuals who they’d like to see apply for membership on the Committee. A fourth handout highlights some talking points to make when inviting people to apply. At next month’s meeting, Committee members will use role playing exercises to help them practice talking to people as a warm-up encouraging them to apply. Mr. Riggs said that the idea of the talking points is to summarize several key messages about the Committee and that there’s a framework to using them: do not pick more than 3-4 talking points because 1) you may not remember them all, and 2) if you’re not engaged in a dialog on applying, they’re not going to pay attention to more than 3-4 talking points. He said to think about a “problem/vision” solution framework when choosing a talking point framework: 1) provide data, 2) talk about the fundamental vision or value, and 3) the outcome. Ms. Goldstein pointed out the overview on one of the handouts and examples of some of the activities the Committee was involved in. These examples are designed to provide a framework to use when recruiting potential Committee applicants. She asked that Committee members send their bios to her prior to next month’s meeting. Mr. Raja announced that their next meeting will be on Wednesday, October 25, at 5:30 p.m. at the HRC offices. Ms. Goldstein said that in addition to the homework, Outreach Committee members will make follow-up calls in December to gauge everyone’s progress and offer support when talking to their five potential applicants. Mr. Brinkin stressed that Committee members use the language of “applying to the committee” because there’s a chance that they ‘might’ be selected. They can also pitch for the other three HRC committees if they’re not interested in LGBTAC membership. A requirement for LGBTAC applicants is that they must be residents of the City; however, this isn’t a requirement when applying for one of the other three Committees for membership.


6.      Work Group Reports:


Anti-Racism Workgroup: Mr. Ordeñana reported that the first of four rap sessions is scheduled for Thursday, October 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the API Wellness Center. Mr. Brinkin distributed flyers advertising the rap sessions. Mr. Ordeñana said that a number of community members have offered to help with the co-facilitation of the rap sessions along with Committee members. He said that because of the short notice in doing any outreach to the community before Thursday’s session, he asked Committee members to get the word out as soon as possible. Mr. Brinkin asked Committee members make copies of the flyer and leave them at various organizations for their clients to pick up. Mr. Buddha said Mr. Gipson will be making more changes to the flyer, but to go ahead and distribute what they have. Mr. Ordeñana said that Glide Memorial Church is providing refreshments for the rap sessions and asked Committee members contact him or other workgroup members if they know any organizations who’d like to co-sponsor the rap sessions and help spread the word about them. Mr. Brinkin reminded members that everyone is invited to attend the rap sessions, but the primary focus is to listen to the voices of people of color in the LGBT community.


Immigration and Asylum: Commissioner Chung announced that due to limited staff and resources, the work group has been suspended until further notice. Mr. Brinkin thanked the Committee members who were on the work group and invited them to look into participating on one of the other work groups.


Native American Discrimination: Mr. Arana thanked the Committee members who helped out at the very well-attended Public Hearing held on Thursday, October 12, in the Legislative Chamber of the Board of Supervisors. He reported that the feedback they’ve received has been extremely positive. He said that because of 90-minutes worth of public comment, the public hearing went for 4-1/2 hours ending at 9:00 p.m. He reported that Erin McGonigle, an intern from New College, is working with him in compiling all the information gathered from the public hearing into a draft report. Ms. McGonigle also will be doing legal research in answering numerous questions raised from the testimonies. The deadline to submit any written submissions to be considered for inclusion in the report is Friday, November 10 and that he hopes to get more input from people who identify as Two Spirit. Once they have all the written materials and have performed research, staff will produce a draft report, vet it to the community for input, then to the task force and the Committee so that everyone has a chance to review it. He said that it would take about three months for a rough draft of the report to be ready for Committee review. Mr. Brinkin said that staff would check with SFGTV when the hearing will be rebroadcast then alert the Committee of those dates and times. Mr. Arana said that SFGTV will rebroadcast the public hearing over the next 12 months and that DVDs are available for purchase for $10.00 their website. He will send website information so that Committee members interested in purchasing a DVD can do so.


Mr. Brinkin praised Mr. Arana for all his the hard work in making the public hearing happen.


7.      7x7 – Dora Balcazar:


Ms. Balcazar talked about her experiences doing outreach work to LGBT Latinos for New Leaf Outreach to Elders. Though no longer with New Leaf, she continues to work with the clients she had through New Leaf on her own. She helped start a program at the LGBT Center called Café con Leche (now called Rainbow Lunch) to provide a space for LGBT seniors. She also helped get the Senior Space at the Center together until the space was taken away to be used for other programs. She feels that seniors, in general, are frequently discriminated against because of their age and that many LGBT seniors remain closeted out of fear of being discriminated against. She expressed concerns about the deplorable housing conditions many seniors endure, mostly in single-room occupancy hotels, and that their well-being is being compromised because of these conditions. She asked the Committee to try recruiting more LGBT seniors and help in her efforts to recruit more of them. She feels that LGBT seniors helped pave the way for the freedoms we enjoy and now they need to be cared for.


She entertained questions from the Committee members.


8.      Commissioners Report:


Commissioner Chung reported that she was elected to be the Commission Vice-Chair. She pledged to create a dialog between the Committee and the other three committees of the HRC.


9.      Staff Report:


Mr. Brinkin reported that the Board of Supervisors voted to add back a position in the Housing and Public Accommodations Division that was cut by the Mayor’s Office. Staff now has to wait for 30 days for the law to go into effect before recruiting for the position; however, the requisition still requires the Mayor’s signature. He reported that the City Attorney’s Office is working on the appeal to the State Supreme Court of the State Court of Appeals’ decision which held that it’s not unconstitutional to limit marriage to a man and a woman. Mr. Brinkin and Ms. Goldstein were asked to assist the City Attorney’s Office to show historic data on discrimination against the LGBT community so that the Supreme Court will recognize it as a suspect class.


10.  Old/New Business:


Mr. Riggs asked that the Committee discuss the current wave of anti-gay violence in the Castro and what  the Committee can do to help. Mr. Buddha suggested that if the Committee is to talk about ending violence, to make it an all-inclusive message to end all violence. Mr. Brinkin suggested inviting members of CUAV to talk about this subject and to address the racist response by community members in light of the attacks. Mr. Ordeñana suggested that the Committee invite representative(s) from San Francisco SAFE (Safety Awareness For Everyone). Mr. Riggs suggested contacting Jeff or Joe at Joe’s Barbershop who helped bring community members together to address this topic as well as Tony Koester of the STOP AIDS Project. Mr. Gomora added that the current bashings have a strong sexual component that is being downplayed and that there are no services available in the City to male survivors of rape except for peer counseling. Commissioner Chung suggested that this topic be an action item for next month’s meeting agenda.


11.  Announcements:


Mr. Rawlings-Fein announced that FTM International is celebrating its 20th anniversary and San Francisco Transgender Empowerment, Advocacy, and Mentorship (“SFTEAM”) is sponsoring the October 26 celebration. Mr. Cameron announced that he, Mani Bruce Mitchell, and Peter Trinkl hosted the 10th anniversary of the film “Hermaphrodites Speak” at his home. Commissioner Chung announced that the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center will have a farewell brunch for their outgoing Director, John Manzon-Santos titled “Dear John…” to honor his 10 years of service to the organization. The event will take place on Saturday, November 18, at the Hotel Nikko, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tickets are available through APIWC’s website,


12.  Adjournment:


The meeting was adjourned at 7:20 p.m.