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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee
Minutes of the August 20, 2002 Meeting

Committee Members Present: Commissioner Theresa Sparks, Jason Alley, Virginia Benavidez, Kirsten Boyd, Sally Buchmann, Melchor Bustamante, Chris Caldeira, Chris Carnes, James DeVinny, Jay Dwyer, Julie Frank, Ted Guggenheim, Jordy Jones, Danny Kirchoff, Nancy Lawlor, Yoseñio Lewis, Kristine Oreskovich, Johnnie Pratt, Jorge Romero-Lozano, Lisa Scheff, Stephen Schwichow, Morningstar Vancil.

Committee Members Absent: Commissioner Martha Knutzen (excused), Scott Campbell, Gary Virginia.

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

Guests Present: David Strachan, Roger Langford, Viva Delgado, Hida Viloria, Peter Tanner, Audrea McHenry, Sondra Solovay, Rae, Jules.

1. Call to Order and Roll Call:

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

2. Approval of Minutes of July 16, 2002:

Stephan Schwichow moved to approve the minutes as written. Sally Buchmann seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

3. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda: None.

4. Approval of letter to Mayor Brown Encouraging Adoption of Mondragon, Spain as Sister City:

Roger Langford, a member of the Advisory Council on the Aging, advocated for the adoption of Mondragon, Spain as a sister city to San Francisco. Mr. Langford distributed a map of Spain and literature about the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation. He explained that San Francisco has 14 sister cities, none of them in Spain. He gave a history of the town of Mondragon, stating that the town has over 230 worker-owned businesses and absolutely no homelessness. He explained that San Francisco's worker-owned cooperatives, such as Good Vibrations and Rainbow Grocery, were similar models as those in Mondragon. He stated further that in Mondragon, once a worker has a job it is his or hers for life. If a business is having economic trouble, workers are moved to another business. Nine out of eleven San Francisco Supervisors have signed on to this. Mr. Langford asked the Committee to recommend to the Commission that it send a letter to the Mayor urging him to establish a sister-city relationship between San Francisco and Mondragon. Jorge Romero-Lozano made a motion to approve the letter. Jordy Jones seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

5. Panel on Intersex Issues:

Marcus Arana introduced the panel with a short educational video about ambiguous genitalia in newborns. The video explained that surgery does not fix the situation but rather conveys to the child the message that they are not ok. Another short film was presented detailing the experience of two survivors of infant genital surgeries. Both survivors discussed the trauma caused by the cosmetic surgeries, and urged the medical community to stop them. After the videos, panelists David Strachan and Hida Viloria discussed their experiences as intersex persons and answered questions. Mr. Strachan stated that he came to speak to this Committee six years ago with Cheryl Chase. At that time, intersex issues were classified into the Human Rights Commission's gender identity material. Mr. Strachan said that while there are some overlapping issues, intersex is itself an umbrella group separate from the transgender umbrella. He stated that conflating the two often means that a central intersex issue, that of infant surgeries, gets ignored. He explained that the main intersex advocacy group, called the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA), was formed in 1993. Ms. Viloria gave her definition of intersex, which is a person born with a body different from one that is standardly called male or female. She noted that what is called male or female has changed over time. She explained that intersex issues are different from transgender issues largely in relation to non-consensual surgery on children. She noted that there is more overlap in adulthood in terms of discrimination suffered. But non-consensual surgery on children is forgotten if the focus is only on the overlap. For many intersex people, the main point of discrimination comes at birth. In essence, Ms. Viloria said, intersex people are born queer. And the majority of intersex people grow up to be queer. So intersex issues are very much queer issues. Ms. Viloria further explained that the primary issue intersex people are pushing for is full parental disclosure by doctors. Mr. Strachan stated that for him, part of the problem is that in our society, we only have room for boys and girls. He considers himself a blend of both. Ms. Viloria said that for her too, it's about fluidity of gender. She does not identify as either a man or a woman. She stated that in part this differs from transgender people's experience in that she is not transitioning, not trans. At the same time, some of the issues are similar in that sometimes because of what you look like, people won't accept you as one gender or another. She cited difficulties around bathroom use as one example. Ms. Viloria said that the ISNA website has good information: Mr. Brinkin asked if these surgeries are going on in San Francisco. Neither Mr. Strachan nor Ms. Viloria was certain, but stated that Cheryl Chase would know. Yoseñio Lewis stated that when Ms. Chase spoke six years ago, she said that five a day were happening at UCSF. Mr. Brinkin and Commissioner Sparks said that if these surgeries are occurring in San Francisco, the Human Rights Commission could advocate against them. Ms. Viloria stated that these surgeries have been stopped at Columbia, and some doctors around the country are reconsidering them. Some doctors even go so far as to say that reparations should be made to the victims of the surgeries. Ms. Viloria added that calling attention to the problem is a great step. Parents, nurses, and health care practitioners need to be educated about this as an identity. Also, if society changes, doctors won't feel pressure to create boys or girls. Commissioner Sparks and Mr. Brinkin suggested staff work with the panelists to report on what the Committee can do to bring this to the Commission. Literature from ISNA was made available.

6. Approval of letter to Center for Disease Control encouraging support for STOP AIDS Project's HIV prevention educational materials:

Commissioner Sparks had to leave, so Mr. Brinkin was appointed to chair the remainder of the meeting. Mr. Brinkin explained that Committee member Jason Alley brought the issue of the government investigation into the STOP AIDS Project to our attention and staff drafted a letter to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Mr. Alley stated that the CDC came to San Francisco to audit the STOP AIDS Project. The tenor of the investigation reflects the current push toward abstinence-based prevention education. Mr. Alley expressed concerns about the implications for folks doing culturally relevant and sexually honest education. He handed out on article from HIV Plus magazine detailing this issue. Members reviewed the draft letter. Lisa Scheff made a motion to pass the letter with minor revisions. Jason Alley seconded. The motion passed unanimously. Mr. Brinkin agreed to contact the STOP AIDS Project to attempt to obtain some statistics on the program's success to bolster the letter.
7. Response to Matier and Ross Article in SF Chronicle on 7/15/02:

Mr. Brinkin stated that the letter was sent to the Chronicle, but the Chronicle never responded. He asked whether there is anything else the Committee wants to recommend. Stephen Schwichow suggested that we send an open letter to the Bay Area Reporter and other papers regarding the lack of response by the Chronicle. Yoseñio Lewis suggested that we use our connections at the Chronicle to push to set up a meeting with the publisher. Mr. Brinkin agreed to pursue that option.

8. Report from Senior Issues Public Hearing Task Force:

Nancy Lawlor reported that the Senior Issues Task Force met on the first Tuesday of this month, and that Bill Kirkpatrick from New Leaf attended the meeting and agreed to join the Task Force. Ms. Lawlor reported that Mr. Kirpatrick noted that big issues for seniors are transportation and prescription drugs. He added that one important difference for LGBT seniors is that they are often more hidden and have difficulty in acknowledging that they are LGBT because many services discriminate against them if they do. Ms. Lawlor reported that the Task Force also discussed the structure of the panel, issues to be addressed and the date (Thursday, Oct. 10th at 4:30). Mr. Brinkin noted that the time might be changed to an earlier one because of the difficulty seniors may have in attending that late in the day. The next meeting of the Task Force will be held on Sept. 3rd at the HRC at 5:30. Stephen Schwichow noted that at the end of this month, there will be an LGBT Elders conference in Oakland at the First Unitarian Church. The conference date is Thursday, August 29, 2002. Mr. Brinkin stated that staff would create a flyer about the hearing to pass out at this conference. Mr. Brinkin also noted that he met with the Department of Aging and Adult Services, and that they will be co-sponsoring the hearing. Mr. Brinkin added that we have an intern starting on September 3, 2002 who he hopes will get involved as well.

9. Report from Gender Identity Guidelines Revision Task Force:

Jordy Jones proposed that we table this report for the next meeting due to time constraints.

10. Commissioners' Report:

No report given.

11. Staff Report:

Mr. Brinkin reported that he attended a meeting at the LGBT Community Center with the Center's Executive Director, Center staff, and Deloit Consulting. Deloit has offered pro bono services to help establish an economic development plan at The Center. They will begin by doing a needs assessment. Mr. Brinkin reported that the meeting was productive, and commended Deloit for offering its services pro bono. Mr. Brinkin further reported that staff member Hadas Rivera-Weiss was a panelist last week on Hate Violence and Discrimination. He explained that police groups and human rights activists from here and Russia requested to hear about the Human Rights Commission's response to anti-Arab discrimination after 9/11. Mr. Brinkin stated that he attended a meeting with folks from the newly formed Transgender Law Clinic (TLC). He noted that this Clinic will be run by Dylan Vade and Chris Daley, who received a grant from the Echoing Green Foundation to start a transgender legal project. Mr. Brinkin noted that Jodie Marksamer will be starting an internship here this fall, and will be working on complaint handling as well as the gender identity guidelines revisions. Mr. Brinkin reminded members that the September meeting has been changed to the fourth Tuesday, which is September 24. Information about HRC night at the Legion of Honor on September 17, 2002 will be sent to members soon.

12. Old/New Business:


13. Announcements:

Johnnie Pratt stated that the LGBT Community Center is having a transgender community reception, which eventually will become a forum. The reception is next Tuesday, August 27 at 6p.m., and is for people who identify as transgender and their allies. Mr. Brinkin asked members to be sure not to hand out any campaign literature at meetings. Kirsten Boyd stated that AB1080 is getting beaten up in the Senate Appropriations Committee, and urged member to make calls if they have time.

14. Adjournment:

Yoseñio Lewis requested that we adjourn in honor of all intersex children mutilated at birth, as well as the following people who recently died: Ukea Davis, Stephanie Thomas, Deasha Andrews, and Josh Smith. Ukea and Stephanie, both transgender women, were brutally executed in Washington state last week. Deasha was also killed. Josh Smith, the son of an FTM, committed suicide recently. The meeting was adjourned in their honor at 7:40p.m..