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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the May 17, 2005 Meeting

Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Commissioner Pat Norman, Whitney Bagby, Sally Buchmann, David Cameron, Cindy Dubuque, Julie Frank, Becky Freund, Ted Guggenheim, Danny Kirchoff, Aidan Kotler, Nancy Lawlor, Ellise Nicholson, Ren Phoenix, Aleem Raja, Rebecca Rolfe, Jorge Romero-Lozano, Stephen Schwichow, Jason Stein, Morningstar Vancil, Meredith Wood.

Committee Members Absent: Dora Balcazar, Ben Chan.

Staff Present: Marcus Arana, Larry Brinkin, Cynthia Goldstein, Hadas Rivera-Weiss, Tamra Winchester, David Treanor.

Guests Present: Jimmer Cassiol, Laura Clark.

  1. Call to Order and Roll Call:

    Commissioner Chung called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m. Mr. Brinkin called the roll.

  2. Approval of Minutes of April 19, 2005:

    The minutes were approved unanimously as amended to correct minor errors.

  3. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda:

    No public comments were made.

  4. Introduction of Mayor’s LGBT Community Liaison:

    Commissioner Chung introduced Jimmer Cassiol, Mayor Newsom’s LGBT Community Liaison, who’s Office Manager at the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services. He works closely with Supervisor Dufty in District 8 and with community groups on addressing LGBT issues.

    He entertained questions from Committee members.

    Mr. Cassiol added that Mayor Newsom and Supervisor Dufty have created the Crystal Meth Task Force of which he is a member and the Mayor’s representative. The next meeting of the Task Force will be on Thursday, May 26 at City Hall in Room 201. Commissioner Chung encouraged Committee members to consider participating.

  5. Hearing Center Training: Working with Hearing-Impared Colleagues:

    Mr. Brinkin introduced Laura Clark from the Hearing Society of the Bay Area. Ms. Clark distributed resource information on communication resources to the Committee members. She described and demonstrated several listening devices which Committee members were able to experience.

    Ms. Clark said that she works with the Mayor’s Office on Disability (MOD) which works hard at making listening devices available for meetings for all City departments. She said that people who are hard of hearing make up 90% of all people with hearing loss, deafened people make up 7%, and the deaf make up 3%. When events in the City are planned, usually sign language interpreters are provided. However most people with hearing loss do not know or understand sign language. She hopes that more listening devices will be provided and used more often rather than using interpreters. When working with, or talking to seniors over the phone, speak clearly and distinctly, not slower, and let them know it’s all right to repeat. If they didn’t understand, rephrase what had been said rather than repeating the same words. Also ask them if they understood what had been said or if it was clear enough. She provided a demonstration of mild and moderate hearing loss to help Committee members understand what it’s like to try and understand speech.

    She said that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, public events must provide some sort of accommodation for those with hearing loss. People need to ask for them otherwise event organizers don’t know what to provide and how many to provide. Deafened people do not benefit from these devices; they may use TTYs or Voice Carryover Telephones and they may learn sign language, but learning sign language is not for everyone, especially seniors. Practicing speech reading and using real time captioning are viable options, but real time captioning is very expensive. She had been consulted on devices and feels the ones tested by MOD are good, but, again, will be expensive to obtain. The MOD will have a list of captioners soon. Ms. Clark said that it’s important to remember that for someone with hearing loss, it is a loss.

    Last year 80,000 people in the U.S. had cochlear implants and that number is expected to go up to 200,000 in the next few years. These are different than hearing aids in that they bypass the ear altogether. The implant goes into the cochlea and triggers the auditory nerve and an electrical signal passes through them; people with these implants have to re-learn how to hear. The implants are paid for by insurance because it’s a surgical procedure. Service providers need to find out what sort of implant the person may have and if they can benefit from a receiver. If they cannot, find out what else can be provided for them. She added that she or Ken Stein at MOD can be contacted to address any inquiries.

  6. Discussion of Pride Day Activities:

    Mr. Arana and Mr. Brinkin strongly encouraged those who’ve signed up to help at the booth to arrive on time, or earlier, for their shift(s). Mr. Arana added that it’s a great way to interact with the public and to explain who we are, what we do, and the services offered. Contact staff if there are questions. Plenty of materials will be provided to hand out at the booth. There will be a list of projects the Committee has worked and will be working on to give people up-to-date information and it’s a great way to do outreach and recruitment.

    Please be on time for your shift.

    Mr. Brinkin said that in addition to being on time, and handing out materials, he encouraged the Committee to hand out brochures on racism and how to file a complaint. Another thing we often do is to collect signatures on petitions supporting state legislation that the City has taken a position on, usually LGBT issues or other issues of the Commission. He said to contact him to let him know of any petitions that could be made available at the booth.

    Please be on time for your shift.

    Mr. Brinkin said that it’s important to talk to folks while at the booth. One person will work inside the booth answering questions and another outside as a ‘barker’ to draw people to sign petitions and to get information.

    Ms. Phoenix is willing to help coordinate drinks to have at the booth, but is asking for contributions to help pay for them.

    Lastly, please be on time for your shift.

  7. Discussion of Committee Work Plan:

    Mr. Arana said that there are two workgroups that people have signed up for: 1) LGBTAC recruitment and outreach (Commissioner Chung, Ms. Dubuque, Mr. Kirchoff, Ms. Lawlor, Mr. Romero-Lozano, Mr. Schwichow and staffed by Hadas Rivera-Weiss), and 2) Internal LGBTAC Communication and Racism (Mr. Bagby, Ms. Balcazar, Mr. Kirchoff, Ms. Nicholson, Ms. Phoenix, Mr. Raja, Ms. Vancil and staffed by Yong Lee). An email from the staff people will be sent out to coordinate meetings. Mr. Viterbo will send a roster to all Committee members with updated information. Commissioner Chung encouraged the community members present to look at the topics presented by the panels to see if they would be interested in assisting in their preparation.

  8. Tips on Organizing Panels:

    Mr. Brinkin distributed a handout outlining tips on organizing panel presentations. He described in detail the tips found throughout the handout and entertained questions. The next upcoming panel presentation will be on BD/SM issues at the August 16 meeting.

  9. Commissioner Report:

Commissioner Norman reported that there was further discussion concerning the continuation of the HRC’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program and the possibility of it being relocated from the HRC to contracting City departments. She expressed her concern that there would be a reduction of staff in the LGBTH division as well as a reduction of resources, and that minority and women-owned businesses would face increased discrimination.

Mr. Brinkin said that an HRC hearing on the topic will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 9, in Room 416, at City Hall.

10. Staff Report:

Mr. Brinkin reported that he is a member of the Senior Community Partnership (SCP), which is looking at an LGBT senior meals program which New Leaf Services may be running in collaboration with the LGBT Community Center and Project Open Hand. SCP is working on getting funding for this project from the Department on Aging. They’re also developing a training program to train senior service providers on LGBT sensitivity because LGBT seniors often do not feel welcomed by these providers as described in the report from the Aging the LGBT Community Public Hearing.

Mr. Brinkin reported that a public hearing to alert the public on the REAL ID Act which just passed Congress will be held at the next Commission meeting 4:30 p.m., Thursday, May 26 in Room 416 at City Hall. He and Mr. Arana are working on getting information on how the REAL ID Act would specifically affect the LGBT community.

Mr. Arana reported that the Intersex report was unanimously approved by the Commission at the on April 28th meeting. He added that the report was well received by many in the intersex community. The report is available on the HRC’s website.

  1. Old/New Business:

    No new old/new business was reported.

  2. Announcements:

    Ms. Vancil reported that she attended sensitivity training on working with elders at an elders conference.

  3. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.