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 March 20, 2007 Meeting



Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Jane Aceituno, Rene Astudillo, Dora Balcazar, Blue Buddha, Billy Curtis, Ryan Fuimaono, Calvin Gipson, Ted Guggenheim, Rahman Haq, Robert Hill, Allison Laureano, Christina Martinez, Roberto Ordeñana, Anthony Philip, Ren Phoenix, Martin Rawlings-Fein, Jason Riggs, Greg Shaw, Miko Thomas, Lindasusan Ulrich, Morningstar Vancil.


Committee Members Absent:


Commissioner Mark Dunlop (excused), Commissioner Yoel Kahn, Christopher Gomora (excused).


Staff Present: Larry Brinkin, Hadas Rivera-Weiss, Domenic Viterbo.


Guests Present: Matthew Bajko, Rick Gerharter, Michael Petrelis, Donald Proby, Alex Randolph.


1.      Call to Order and Roll Call:


Commissioner Chung called the meeting to order at 5:35 p.m. and welcomed new members. Mr. Brinkin called the roll. Committee members introduced themselves. Commissioner Chung explained the Mentor/Mentee Program.


2.      Approval of February 20, 2007 Minutes (action item):


Mr. Gipson said that the title of the proposal found in Agenda Item 9, “Anti-Racism Task Force Report”, should read “We Agree: A Commitment to Diversity, Culture and Quality Customer Care.”


Mr. Rawlings-Fein said that in Agenda Item 6, “7X7 Presentation: Martin Rawlings-Fein,” the wording should be “He does public service announcement (PSA) slides” rather than saying that he does all their PSA slides.


Mr. Buddha moved to approve the February 20, 2007 minutes as amended. Mr. Rawlings-Fein seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


3.      Public Comment For Items Not On The Agenda:


Michael Petrelis announced that ACT UP will be celebrating its 20th anniversary inNew York City on Thursday March 29 and that Gay Shame, or ACT UP-Bay Area, is having a “die-in” event at 18th Street and Castro Street at noon that day.


4.      Introduction of Alex Randolph, Mayor’s LGBT Liaison:


Commissioner Chung introduced Alex Randolph, the Mayor’s new LGBT Community Liaison, who said that he’s available to hear the concerns of the community. He also would report any word from the Mayor back to the Committee. Mr. Randolph entertained questions from the Committee. Mr. Brinkin said that he would email Mr. Randolph’s contact information to the Committee.


5.      Presentation by Michael Petrelis regarding DPH Viagra campaign – discussion and possible action item:


Michael Petrelis said that he’s been concerned about Dr. Jeffrey Klausner with the S.F. Department of Pubic Health’s STD Control Unit for a number of years. In 1999 a public health ad regarding syphilis described people with the disease as “walking, ticking time bombs,” as dangerous things. He feels that this adds stigma to people with the disease and those who are at risk for contracting it, especially sex workers. He’s afraid that this would create barriers for people with syphilis in receiving care. He also referred to an article printed in The Washington Monthly in 2000 in which Dr. Klausner was quoted as saying that people with HIV and AIDS need to be quarantined, that club goers need to be tested for party drugs, and that sex establishments should be closed. He points out that Dr. Klausner had supported a lawsuit against Pfizer, the manufacturer of Viagra. Also in February 2007, the Bay Area Reporter printed an editorial in which they said that many gay activists have major issues with Dr. Klausner’s repeated attempts to stigmatize gay men for leading irresponsible sex lives. Mr. Petrelis feels that this stigmatization drives people away from health care. He would like to see the Commission weigh in on these proposals and ads and point out that it is not good public health to convey negative messages and images for sex related diseases. He expressed his disappointment that others in the STD Control Unit, particularly LGBT people, did not attend tonight’s meeting to talk about the thinking behind the ads.


Commissioner Chung said that Dr. Klausner was invited to attend tonight’s meeting to respond, that he was unable to attend because he’s currently out of town, but he sent an email with attachments explaining his position. She added that there are things we can/cannot do within our purview: we cannot tell another person or office how perform their job, but it is our responsibility to constructively articulate our concerns.


Mr. Petrelis entertained questions from the Committee.


Mr. Brinkin suggested that the Committee either take a more in-depth look at this subject or request that the Commissioners write a letter of concern to the Health Commission about the possible effects these ad campaigns have on one of their constituent communities. Ms. Ulrich asked that the Committee focus on the issue of stigmatization rather than the scientific facts of high-risk behavior and correlations of it.


6.      Native American Public Hearing Report – discussion and possible action item:


Marcus Arana introduced himself and briefly gave background on the public hearing. He said that the report was electronically sent to the Committee members and members of the public several weeks ago for feedback and that the responses he received were overwhelmingly positive. He asked that if anyone recognizes anything in the report that needs editing to let him know what they are so that they can be changed. After the final edits are made, the report will be given to the full Commission to vote on at the April 5 meeting. Members of the public have expressed a great deal of gratitude to the Commission and the Committee for taking on this issue.


Ms. Phoenix moved to recommend the adoption of the public hearing report to the Commission for approval with the suggested changes. Mr. Gipson seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


7.      Appointment of Retreat Planning Committee:


Commissioner Chung announced that the Committee’s annual planning retreat will be on Saturday, April 14. She explained that a Retreat Planning Committee is needed to develop the retreat agenda. Mr. Brinkin said that Committee members need to arrive by 8:30 a.m. for morning refreshments then work would start at 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Commissioner Chung suggested possible retreat locations including the LGBT Center, Asian/Pacific Islander Wellness Center, and the Eureka Valley Recreation Center, but to date, a location to have the retreat hasn’t yet been confirmed. Committee members  volunteering to participate on the Retreat Planning Committee are: Ms. Laureano, Ms. Phoenix, Mr. Rawlings-Fein, and Mr. Shaw.


8.      Outreach Work Group Report:


Commissioner Chung described what the work group has accomplished regarding internal outreach, and reported what they’re doing on external outreach: to identify how the HRC presents itself to the community (e.g. having meetings in different parts of the City), and educating the public about the Committee’s relationship to the Commission. She reported that they plan to focus on developing strategies to adopt and recommend to the Committee that they hope could be used as a model for the Commission since this was also a topic of discussion. She described the Committee’s mentor/mentee program in which 9 current members pair up with one of the 9 new members for a three-month commitment. She reported that they will be focusing on media marketing goals and developing specific deliverables. Their next meeting will be on April 4 at 5:30 p.m.


9.      Anti-Racism Task Force Report


Mr. Gipson reported that the Golden Gate Business Association declined to provide leadership for the community forum, but instead would support the task force’s efforts. He said that he attended the Pride Committee’s community rap session where the community forum was introduced; the People of Color Caucus and the Pride Committee wholeheartedly said that they would like to partner with us. He reported that the task force would like to meet with a variety of community organizations to get them to sign onto the “We Agree” concept. He reported that the Task Force also discussed Castro Community On Patrol (“CCOP”) presentations being made throughout the City that are insensitive to a number of communities. He said that he met with one of CCOP’s board members, Scott Weiner, to tell him that mistakes are being made that are offending many within the LGBT community. At this time many in the African-American community aren’t supporting CCOP saying that it’s a vigilante group against them. He said that he and Mr. Weiner agreed that African-American community leaders will meet with COPP to help them understand these issues. He reported that he met with a group of police officials and concerned citizens in the Tenderloin District regarding a proposal to form a group modeled after CCOP. He also reported that CCOP failed to respond to a recent incident involving an African-American-owned business in the Castro which had experienced a hate crime. Lastly, he reported that the Task Force discussed looking for ways to strengthen the City’s Public Accommodation Discrimination Law such that if a City Commission conducts an investigation and reaches a finding, then another City Department must accept its findings. He said that a summer intern will work on this issue as well as the issue of the Board of Supervisors giving the HRC the power to order remedies in public accommodations cases if discrimination is found. Their next meeting is April 9 from 5:30-7:00 at the HRC offices.


10.  Commissioner Report:


Commissioner Chung reported that the Commission identified a number of communities in the City where they will be holding meetings this year including an LGBT-focused meeting that will be held on September 27. This would give the Committee the opportunity to mobilize and develop an agenda for the Commission as well as to show how we do outreach. She reported that the Commissioners are interested in developing outreach strategies to educate the public about the HRC such as finding advertising agencies to do pro bono work in producing outreach materials. She reported that the Commissioners sent a letter to the editors of AsianWeek regarding an op-ed piece written by Kenneth Eng entitled “Why I Hate Blacks” voicing their concerns and to help them regain the community’s trust; however, they couldn’t agree on follow-up actions. A copy of the letter will be forwarded to the Committee members. Their next meeting is Thursday, March 22, at City Hall, Room 416, at 4:30 p.m.


11.  Staff Report:


Mr. Brinkin announced that Hadas Rivera-Weiss has received a promotion as a Contract Compliance Officer in the Small and Micro Local Business Enterprise (“LBE”) Division and will be leaving the LGBTH Division, but has agreed to continue co-staffing the Committee until her replacement is hired. A copy of the job announcement for her position will be forwarded to the Committee as soon as it’s announced. In addition to Ms. Rivera-Weiss, the LBE Division has hired two new Contract Compliance Officers, one being Ellise Nicholson who used to be in the LGBTH Division. Also there is a Coordinator position open in the Administrative Division which is about to close.


12.  Old/New Business:


No old/new business was discussed.


13.  Announcements:


Mr. Fuimaono announced that the first National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day will be observed tomorrow, Wednesday, March 21, and described the activities surrounding this event. Mr. Haq announced that Trikone, the LGBT South Asian organization, is having an event titled “Kulture Kulcha.” This event celebrates LGBT South Asian culture and identity. He will send out an email further describing the event. Ms. Laureano announced that Transgender San Francisco is having an open house and benefit concert on Saturday, April 21, to celebrate the opening of their new office at the Center. Go to their website,, for more information. Mr. Ordeñana announced that the third Transgender Job Fair will be held tomorrow at the Center. Ms. Phoenix announced that the International Ms. Leather contest will be held at the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway on April 5-8. Mr. Rawlings-Fein announced that FTM San Francisco offers a support group every third Saturday of the month from 2:00 -5:00 p.m. at the Eureka Valley Recreation Center . Go to FTM San Francisco’s website,, for more information. Mr. Buddha announced that there will be a benefit at Café Flore for the AIDS Housing Alliance.


14.  Adjournment:


The meeting was adjourned at 7:36 p.m.