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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee
Minutes of the October 21, 2008 Meeting

Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Jane Aceituno, Rene Astudillo, Saurabh Bajaj, Dora Balcazar, Alex Baty, Justin Jones, Allison Laureano, Yvette Pannell, Martin Rawlings-Fein, Greg Shaw, Brad Vanderbilt.

Committee Members Absent: Samer Danfoura (excused), Bill Doggett (excused), Winston Dong, Jr. (excused), Ted Guggenheim (excused), Paul Klees (excused), Mark Murphy (excused), Poonam, Lindasusan Ulrich (excused).

Staff Present: Nadia Babella, Larry Brinkin, Domenic Viterbo.

Guests Present: Connie Champagne, Sadie Rawlings-Fein.

1. Call to Order and Roll Call:

Commissioner Chung called the meeting to order at 5:37 p.m. Mr. Brinkin called the roll.

2. Approval of August 19, 2008 and September 16, 2008 minutes (Action Item):

Mr. Rawlings-Fein moved to approve the minutes as written. Ms. Aceituno seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

3. Public Comment for Items Not on the Agenda:

No public comments were made.

4. Presentation by CUAV on their Programs and Services: Connie Champagne, speaker:

Connie Champagne has been working at Community United Against Violence (CUAV) for 20 of their 30 years of existence. CUAV is a San Francisco-based, non-profit organization which provides support services to LGBTQQ survivors of domestic violence and hate crimes. CUAV provides a 24-hour crisis line to report incidents and short-term counseling for survivors. Other services also are provided such as emergency housing for women-identified survivors; however, services for male-identified survivors aren't quite as readily available. Domestic violence outreach and education trainings are provided to schools and community organizations throughout the state. They also have a speakers bureau, a program that she runs, where volunteers speak at schools or community organizations to talk about their lives in the LGBT community, what it means to be queer, to help build allies in the straight community, and to be role models for anyone who's questioning their own gender identity or sexual orientation. There are two main areas of CUAV in which volunteers can become involved: (1) the speakers bureau: (their next volunteer training will be held on Monday, October 27 and 29 and November 3 and 5 from 6:00-9:00 p.m.) training is offered to anyone who identifies as LGBT. Quite recently, CUAV has seen a big demand for speakers to make presentations at schools. (2) 24-Hour crisis line: trainings cover a myriad of topics such as how to work with survivors of hate violence, how to assess a caller's needs, how to assess if calls are real, different kinds of emergency situations, etc., and the best way to serve an individual. The next 24-hour crisis line orientation will be held on Tuesday, October 30, from 5:00-8:00 p.m., followed by a required 40-hour training to certify volunteers. Training dates cover three weekends: November 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, and 16 from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Descriptions of these two programs can be found on their most recent newsletter. There is also a program aimed at queer youth called the Love and Justice Project, a creative program which helps queer youth define what healthy relationships are through art.

Statistics of hate violence, nationwide, in 2007 can be found on their website,

Ms. Champagne entertained questions from Committee members.

5. Follow-up to Last Month's Report on Anti-LGBT Harassment in Public Schools (Discussion Item):

Mr. Brinkin said that the Issues Committee is sponsoring a public hearing on the graduation rates in San Francisco schools focusing on African-American and Latino students. The public hearing will be held on Thursday, November 13, in the Board of Supervisors' Chambers at City Hall from 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Mr. Jones suggested that PSAs be created featuring high-elected City officials that would be directed at parents encouraging them to talk to kids about not using anti-LGBT language. Mr. Brinkin added stating that there are videos found on YouTube directed at youth which feature celebrities encouraging them to stop using anti-LGBT language. He also expressed concern that resources available for queer students are directed more towards older students which means that only a fraction of students are taken care of.

Commissioner Chung asked the Youth Work Group to address these concerns and to come up with some possible recommendations to have presented at next month's meeting.

Ms. Babella said that the Youth Work Group came up with a list of nine recommendations, except that they need evaluating. Commissioner Chung suggested writing a letter to the School Board asking if these issues are being addressed, but will await the work group's recommendations before proceeding.

Mr. Brinkin said that staff had worked with schools in the past to develop protocols to address the needs of transgender students. Also as part of the HRC's upcoming strategic planning process, school issues (e.g. hate crimes, anti-LGBT bias, intergroup tensions, diversity training, etc.) are being considered for staff to handle. Commissioner Chung suggested that the Committee foster an ongoing relationship with the School Board by sharing our thoughts with them.

6. Approval on the Letter to the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") and Commission Resolution Regarding the FDA-imposed Ban on Blood Donations from Men Who Have Sex with Men (Action Item):

Commissioner Chung said that the letter was emailed to the members and

Mr. Brinkin said that the date on the letter is December 11 because the next Commission meeting where the Commissioners will have had a chance to review the letter is on this date.

Commissioner Chung said the Commission will take a position on this issue and recommend that the Board of Supervisors also take a position as well which means that a resolution first needs to be passed; however, it shouldn't stop the Committee from sending a letter to the FDA as well. Mr. Brinkin added that the resolution also states that blood drives will be supported.

Mr. Brinkin said that because the resolution or letter is not legislation, it is within the HRC's purview to write to agencies with an opinion about a human rights related topic.

Mr. Vanderbilt moved to adopt both the resolution and letter. Mr. Rawlings-Fein seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

7. Work Group Reports:

Anti-Racism: Mr. Brinkin reported that he's still waiting to hear from Steve Adams, President of the Merchants of Upper Market/Castro (MUMC), on whether he had presented the "We Agree!" diversity in business plan to MUMC members and their reaction to it. He feels that MUMC's participation is crucial in helping the plan fto move forward. He said that he will continue pursuing Mr. Adams for a response.

Youth: Mr. Baty reported that the work group came up with several draft recommendations: (1) to have a fact sheet based on the Youth Report for easy referencing; (2) to send a joint letter with the Youth Commission to the School Board urging them to take action on mandatory trainings under Administrative Code Chapter 12N Ordinance. Mr. Brinkin added that such trainings have to be performed by an approved City contractor or City department that provides services to youth. Mr. Baty said that talks will get up to the point of suggesting that teachers undergo a mandatory funded curriculum addressing LGBT harassment every five years, but they understand that it's difficult to ask teachers to have extra trainings; (3) to work with the GSAs at schools in having materials for parents to look over with their children as well as producing PSAs; (4) to have separate meetings with the Youth Commission, Gay/Straight Alliance members, and youth providers to talk about issues affecting LGBTQQ youth.

Commissioner Chung said that the above recommendations are fine and suggested looking into the possibility of having a curriculum on LGBT issues for teachers in order for them to earn their credentials.  Mr. Brinkin informed the Committee of A.B. 237, a state law requiring all public school districts to provide a safe place for LGBT students and if teachers aren't responding to anti-LGBT language, they're violating the law. He feels that this information ought to be communicated to the School District and the teachers union since Mr. Gogin's report shows 60% of students have reported that teachers do not respond to anti-LGBT slurs.

Outreach: Commissioner Chung reported that they will discuss the community events calendar. Members are to forward information of their event(s) to staff to be included on the calendar by the deadline date of the Thursday before the next Committee meeting. They also have discussed fine-tuning the talking points to use when recruiting new Committee members. They hope to have a finalized version ready to circulate at next month's meeting. Mr. Brinkin asked Committee members to think about people they might know who would make good members. Their next meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 3, at 5:30 p.m.

Bisexual Invisibility: Mr. Rawlings-Fein reported that the workgroup met on Thursday, October 9, and that things are still moving ahead in having a small public hearing. They're still deciding on when to have a follow-up meeting. The Committee will be notified when a meeting is set.

Lesbian Community/Urban Planning: Ms. Aceituno reported that the workgroup discussed what it means to have a lesbian neighborhood, looked at the history of lesbian neighborhoods in San Francisco, discussed how a panel presentation would look, who to invite to take part on the panel, and the possibility of having the presentation made at the Women's Building in order to attract more community members. They're looking at having the presentation made during the Committee's January 20 meeting date. Their next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 12, at 5:30 p.m.

8. Commissioner Report:

Commissioner Chung reported they're in the process of hiring a consultant to prepare and write the HRC's strategic plan to look at the roles of the Commission and how it can be improved. The consultant would work with staff, but would be responsible for writing and implementing the plan. Mr. Brinkin completed his review of the two consulting firms being considered for the position. The hope is to hire one of the two firms in two to three weeks.

Commissioner Chung announced that the Commission Chair and Vice-Chair elections will be taking place at their next meeting on Thursday, October 30, in Room 408, City Hall, at 4:30 p.m. The Vice-Chair position will be filled by Commissioner Michael Sweet who ran uncontested; however, the Commission Chair position is contested by Commissioner Chung and Commissioner Nazly Mohajer.

She said that she attended an outdoor educational exhibition at Marina Green called A Refugee Camp in the Heart of the City, presented by Doctors Without Borders.

9. Staff Report:

Mr. Brinkin reported that Cynthia Goldstein is leaving the HRC and has accepted a position of Executive Director of the Board of Appeals. She has worked in the LGBTH division with Mr. Brinkin for 18 years and has been in charge of the City's Equal Benefits program. Because of her departure, Mr. Brinkin reminded the Committee that it will be very difficult for the remaining staff to support the Committee's ambitious agenda for the remainder of the year.

He reported that some of staff's training programs may need to be cut, but Executive Director Iglesias is working hard in looking for other sources of money for the HRC. Also because of this fact, Mr. Brinkin, again, reminded the Committee that it will be difficult to keep up with their activities.

He reported that he had attended the 2008 joint International Association of Official Human Rights Agencies-National Association of Human Rights Workers conference in Detroit, MI where he was the keynote speaker at the event dinner. He talked about the work of the HRC and the Committee as well as the California's LGBT marriage law and the work being done to combat Proposition 8 which would ban same-gender marriage in the state.

He also attended a conference on LGBT aging issues co-sponsored by Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) from October 12-14 in Brooklyn, NY. He and members of the Senior Community Partnership held a workshop that focused on the work of the Partnership.

10. Old/New Business:

No Old/New Business was discussed.

11. Announcements:

Mr. Rawlings-Fein announced that a television interview he had with members of Kol Tzedek, a collaboration of various Jewish organizations, will be aired on Channel 29 next week.

Mr. Jones announced that volunteers are needed to help with the No on 8 campaign's phone bank to call voters encouraging them to vote no on Proposition 8. Volunteers will be trained to work a 3 hour shift. The Northern California No on 8 headquarters is located at 2278 Market Street, 2nd floor, and is open every day, 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., through November 4. He also announced that he will be volunteering at an event happening on World AIDS Day, December 1, and to contact him for details.

Commissioner Chung announced that Mr. Baty won the San Francisco Desperate Divas Pageant held on September 26 held at the SomArts Cultural Center. He's also featured in the 2009 Desperate Divas calendar as Miss September. Proceeds raised from the sale of the calendar benefit the AIDS Housing Alliance. They're available for purchase at Under One Roof for $20.00.

Commissioner Chung announced that San Francisco State University will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the student strike by holding a number of events focusing on civil rights and social justice. She will be participating on a panel to talk about the LGBT movement. The student strike, the longest student strike in history, lasted for five months and was to protest racial discrimination, the Vietnam War, and the draft.

Mr. Vanderbilt announced that Club Bibi SF's queer masquerade will be held on Saturday, October 25, at Cossu, 1516 Broadway (at Polk Street). Proceeds from the event go to AIDS community projects sponsored by Club Bibi.

Mr. Baty announcted that the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA) is having its second annual Halloween party, "Scared Stiff II", on Saturday, October 25, at the Endup, 401-6th Street, from 6:00-10:00 p.m. Proceeds from the event will benefit GAPA and API Equality.

12. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 7:28 p.m.