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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the January 20, 2004 Meeting


Committee Members Present: Commissioner Theresa Sparks, Jason Alley, Sally Buchmann, Melchor Bustamante, Chris Caldeira, Jay Dwyer, Julie Frank, Ted Guggenheim, Danny Kirchoff, Bill Kirkpatrick, Nancy Lawlor, Aleem Raja, Jorge Romero-Lozano, Stephen Schwichow, Morningstar Vancil, Lauren Williams.

Committee Members Absent: Lisa Scheff (excused)

Staff Present: Larry Brinkin, Cynthia Goldstein, Ellise Nicholson, Domenic Viterbo, Tamra Winchester.

Guests Present: David Cameron, Scott Campbell, Martha Knutzen, Aidan Kotler, Mark Mansbridge, Ren Phoenix, Johnnie Pratt, Eli se Mbessakwini.

  1. Call to Order and Roll Call:

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

  2. Approval of Minutes of November 18, 2003:

    Mr. Schwichow moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Romero-Lozano seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

  3. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda:


  4. Intersex Task Force Report:

    Action Item: Approval of Resolution Concerning Treatments of Infants and Children with Intersex Conditions

    Action Item: Approval of Request to Commissioners to Hold a Joint Public Hearing with the Health Commission re: Intersex Issues

    Commissioner Sparks said that before the Committee can recommend the resolution to the Commission, opinions from proponents of infant surgeries also need to be heard in order to provide a balanced viewpoint. She added that unless all sides of the issue are heard, she cannot recommend the resolution to the full Commission. She recommended that the Committee proceed with the public hearing in May then develop a stronger resolution. David Cameron offered to present videos to the Commission that contain interviews with intersex people and people in the medical community who favor infant surgeries. Eli se Mbessakwini asked if opinions of the extreme opposition are necessary to get a balanced view on the subject. Eli agreed on having a public hearing, but would like to see a resolution passed beforehand. Aidan Kotler asked if the responsibility of organizing a meeting with opposition should be the task force’s and if so, how to got about doing it. Commissioner Sparks said that it would be staff’s responsibility to organize speakers if the public hearing were to move forward. Mr. Brinkin apologized for not having invited speakers who are in favor of infant surgeries to the meeting. Mr. Cameron announced that the Society of Pediatric Endocrinology is having its annual meeting in San Francisco at the end of April and that intersex issues will be discussed and those opinions may be brought to the public hearing. Commissioner Sparks suggested that if Committee members or staff attend the meeting and that if a taped transcript of the meeting be obtained if possible. Mr. Brinkin said the upcoming Commission meeting agenda includes a resolution asking the Health Commission to jointly sponsor the public hearing with HRC. Mr. Brinkin suggested that May 27 would be a good day to have the public hearing. He said that if the Commissioners pass the resolution, plans to put on the public hearing may proceed. Commissioner Sparks asked that the task force meet to develop an outline of what they would like to see at the public hearing.

    Commissioner Sparks then took the time to thank former Commissioner Knutzen for serving with distinction on the Committee for the past eight years. Mr. Brinkin presented her with a gift clock from the Committee and the division with the inscription, "Martha Knutzen, thank you for eight years of courageous and inspiring and visionary leadership, 1996 – 2004". Mr. Brinkin and others praised Ms. Knutzen for her excellent service to the Commission. Ms. Knutzen thanked everyone for the gift and kind words and said her experience as a Commissioner was one of the highlights of her life. Ms. Knutzen has accepted a position as law office manager with the City’s District Attorney.

  5. Activism Task Force Report:

    Mr. Alley said that the task force decided to go on hiatus due to perceived lack of interest in the project. He said that the next step would be to reintroduce the idea of the project at the next Committee retreat. Ms. Nicholson added that instead of forcing the issue now to wait until people have the time and energy to put into it. She proposed that the task force meet a month before the retreat to come up with a proposal to be discussed then. Ms. Buchmann said that the union would like to get more involved with this task force. She also announced that SEIU will have its international convention before Gay Pride Day and Pride At Work would be providing gender identity training. Commissioner Sparks suggested to have this item included on the retreat agenda.

  6. Marriage & Family Issues Task Force Report:

    Mr. Guggenheim said that Ms. Scheff and former Commissioner Knutzen have lined up speakers for the panel presentation set for February 12 at the LGBT Community Center. Mr. Brinkin said that the panel presentation will focus heavily on interpreting and understanding domestic partner rights coming from the state.

  7. Homeless Queer Youth Task Force Report:

    Action Item: Approval of Position Paper

    Commissioner Sparks reported that she, along with Mr. Brinkin, Mr. Campbell, Ms. Lawlor, and Ms. Nicholson, attended a meeting before the supper at Most Holy Redeemer last Wednesday. She said there were about 15-20 youths who commented on the position paper and that a new draft includes their comments. Mr. Brinkin said that most of the comments didn’t ask for changes in the paper, but a stronger statement on providing emergency beds for youth needs to be included. He added that though the kids provided plenty of comments, they strongly supported the paper. Commissioner Sparks noted that speakers said that about 100 emergency beds are needed that would be dedicated to the youths throughout the city offering them a safe place to stay. Aidan Kotler commented that sufficient outreach to homeless youth needs to be provided to give information, that a mentorship program be offered to provide basic life skills, and that the issue of LGBTQQ youth forced into sex work should be strongly addressed. Commissioner Sparks added that outreach to LGBTQQ youth who have newly arrived in the City should be provided.

    Mr. Schwichow moved to approve the paper as amended. Mr. Romero-Lozano seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

  8. New Member Recruitment:

    Mr. Brinkin reported that 14 applications were received and suggested the recruitment committee select 6-7 to recommend to the Committee. He added that there are 17 current members interested in continuing to serve another term and that Mr. Campbell and Mr. Pratt, former Committee members, need to submit a letter to renew their commitment to the Committee in order to serve another term. Mr. Brinkin recommended that the interview date be moved from Tuesday, February 3 to Tuesday, February 10. He recommended that the recruitment committee interview all 14 applicants thereby skipping a meeting to discuss who to interview. The recruitment committee approved of the recommendation. The recruitment committee is comprised of Commissioner Sparks, Mr. Brinkin, Mr. Bustamante, Ms. Lawlor, Mr. Kirchoff, Ms. Nicholson, Ms. Vancil, and Ms. Williams. Committee members who have left or will not be returning after the end of their terms in February include former Commissioner Knutzen, Virginia Benavidez, Kirsten Boyd, Chris Carnes, Bill Kirkpatrick, and Yoseñio Lewis.

  9. Commissioners’ Report:

Commissioner Sparks reported that staff from all divisions reported on their accomplishments of the past eight years to the full Commission. Mr. Brinkin said that members of the LGBT and HIV division presented issues that were worked on in partnership with the Commissioners as well as the Committee. Staff reported on the Queer Youth Public Hearing, the Economic Empowerment Public Hearing, the Senior Issues Public Hearing, intersex issues, and all the many transgender issues. The presentation provided a platform to present the great work done by the Committee.

10. Staff Report:

Mr. Brinkin reported that New York City is working on an Equal Benefits Ordinance and that Cynthia Goldstein was asked by the New York City council member sponsoring the ordinance to testify. He added that though Mayor Bloomberg said he would veto the law, there would be a veto-proof majority in favor of the law. He further added that since Ms. Goldstein did such a great job in New York City, she was invited to speak in Atlanta to do the same thing in February.

Mr. Brinkin reported that the staff’s training committee, consisting of himself, Marcus Arana, Ms. Goldstein, and Ms. Nicholson, is working on creating a stronger LGBT training program. The program is offered to other City departments, to businesses and members in the community, and as part of a complaint settlement.

Mr. Brinkin reported that he and Hadas Rivera-Weiss met with representatives from Cirque du Soleil concerning a complaint case. He said that further research on risk assessment was agreed upon and would be conducted using videotapes of accidents provided by Cirque du Soleil. The tapes would be shared with experts on risk assessment.

  1. Old/New Business:


  2. Announcements:

    Mr. Dwyer announced that Marriage and Equality California (MECA) will sponsor a rally on Saturday, February 14, in Sacramento to look at the concept of marriage and equality in the state and throughout the country. Guerilla Queer Bar and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are sponsoring buses to transport rally goers to Sacramento.

  3. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 7:22 p.m. in honor of former Commissioner Martha Knutzen.