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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee
Minutes of the May 18, 2004 Meeting


Committee Members Present: Commissioner Pat Norman, Dora Balcazar, Sally Buchmann, Chris Caldeira, David Cameron, Ben Chan, Julie Frank, Rebecca Freund, Ted Guggenheim, Danny Kirchoff, Aidan Kotler, Nancy Lawlor, Patrick Mulcahey, Ellise Nicholson, Ren Phoenix, Johnnie Pratt, Aleem Raja, Stephen Schwichow, Brooklynne Thomas, Morningstar Vancil.

Committee Members Absent: Melchor Bustamante, Jay Dwyer (excused), Jorge Romero-Lozano (excused), Lauren Williams.

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

Guests Present: Supervisor Bevan Dufty, Larry MacNeal, Lindsey McLean, Kirk Reynolds, Sam Singer, Commissioner Theresa Sparks.

1.  Call to Order and Roll Call:

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

2.  Approval of minutes of April 20, 2004:

Stephen Schwichow moved to approve the minutes of April 20, 2004 as written. Morningstar Vancil seconded. The motion was approved unanimously.

3.  Public Comments for Items Not On the Agenda:

Supervisor Bevan Dufty commented on the actions taken by Supervisor Tom Ammiano who was instrumental in getting Commissioner Theresa Sparks onto the Police Commission.

4.  Saying Good-Bye to Commissioner Theresa Sparks:

Mr. Brinkin welcomed Supervisor Bevan Dufty to the meeting. Two of Commissioner Sparks’ many accomplishments during her three years with the Commission include the development of the report on environmental racism and the development of the transgender protocols with the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). Mr. Brinkin presented a business card case to her from the Committee, division staff, and the director.

Commissioner Sparks said that within 40 minutes of her first eight hours as a commissioner for the Police Commission, she became known throughout the SFPD as the "tranny commissioner." She added that the SFPD had dropped transgender sensitivity training due to budgetary issues, but they were later reinstated.

5.  Discussion of Alleged Employment Discrimination by S.F. 49ers:

Lindsey McLean, former head trainer of the 49ers, recently retired at the age of 65 after 25 years.

Originally started by homophobic comments by Garrison Hearst in 2002 that were reported by the press, the Commission wrote a letter of concern to the 49ers, but didn’t receive any response. Then an article about Mr. McLean’s retirement and the difficulties being out in the National Football League (NFL) appeared in the Chronicle. Staff was instructed to write a letter of concern to the 49ers by the Chair of the Commission and asked that the matter be taken to the Committee to determine course of action.

Mr. McLean said that within a few days of his retirement, he was interviewed for a story on his coming, but initially felt that he wasn’t ready to make his story public. Though he was uncomfortable being interviewed, he decided to be interviewed for ESPN later hoping that he could help others in the NFL realize the diversity in professional sports as well as to inspire other gay people in professional sports to be themselves.

He said that feels fortunate to have worked for the 49ers because of the respect and support they gave him and his partner. Unlike his employers, the athletes he dealt with in the NFL come from various backgrounds, many of whom come from rural, southern colleges and have had "poor religious training" and lack of exposure to diversity in their communities. He wanted to do his job without making anyone in the organization feel uncomfortable around him, but because of the physical aspect of his job, he felt comfortable to remain closeted. He said that wasn’t harassed very much; if he felt harassed, he woudn’t take them as personal attacks, just reactions made by athletes who may have sustained career-ending injuries.

Mr. Singer said that they take this issue seriously and that they will add "height" and "weight" to their policies in July in order to become compliant with the City’s 12-B Ordinance. He added that the 49ers is the only team in the NFL to offer domestic partner benefits. He said that they had written a letter to the players’ union asking them to offer domestic partner benefits to all NFL players and their families and this issue will be addressed at the bargaining table this summer. Lastly, he said that they are adding two separate, mandatory diversity and sensitivity trainings in July.

Supervisor Dufty commented that he was first to respond to Mr. Singer regarding Garrison Hearst’s comments and felt that a positive impact can be made on the players through diversity training.

Mr. Brinkin asked if staff could provide input to their diversity training by looking at their training curriculum or to be involved in making sure that the areas of sexual orientation and gender identity are properly addressed. Mr. Singer said that he would provide a copy of the curriculum to Mr. Brinkin.

Mr. Brinkin asked if there was a motion authorizing staff to write a letter for the Commission Chair’s signature confirming everything that was discussed at this evening’s meeting, confirming all that was shared and mentioning their diversity training curriculum. Johnny Pratt presented the motion. Morningstar Vancil seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

6.  2004 Pride Day Planning:

Mr. Brinkin announced that there will be a booth which needs staffing at this year’s LGBT Pride Parade. At the last Commission meeting, Mr. Brinkin reported that there wouldn’t be HRC representation at the parade because at last month’s Committee meeting, not enough members could commit to staffing the booth. The Commission requested that the Committee revisit the possibility of staffing a booth because they were adamant on having a presence there. Mr. Brinkin passed around a booth sign up sheet for Committee members to commit to a one-hour shift. The Friends of the Human Rights Commission had paid $340 for the booth.

7.  Intersex Task Force Report – Planning for May 27th Public Hearing:

Mr. Arana said that the task force has been working out the details in putting on the public hearing. One of the things the task force did was to conduct a hospital survey by calling the different hospitals in San Francisco to find out where surgeries are performed on infants with intersex anatomies. They determined that Stanford, Children’s Hospital in Oakland, and UCSF were the only three hospitals in the Bay Area that perform such surgeries. Representatives from UCSF will be at the public hearing to speak as well.

Individuals born with intersex anatomies will also be at the public hearing to share personal experiences as well as doctors who treat them. Educators and academics will speak on the sort of information doctors are taught in the process of learning about people with intersex anatomies. Mr. Arana said that it was difficult to get some participation from individuals who were born intersex to share their stories, however a lot of written testimonies were received.

Mr. Arana described the format of the public hearing. He added that intersex issues may be a human rights consideration because the Commission heard from people with intersex anatomies that children are being surgically assigned gender before the age of six months - these surgeries do not address any kind of medical emergency. There are also concerns of homo- and trans-phobia and reinforcing the idea that bodies are only either male or female. It is unknown what treatment options that the parents are given, or of any available resources, and if any alternative option of not having surgery and allowing the child to grow to the age of consent where they can make their own choices. Also the concept that a system for intersex individuals to be ashamed of their bodies will be discussed. Subsequent to the hearing, a report will be written based on the information received.

Mr. Arana asked that Committee members to assist in the hearing. Because the hearing will involve various tasks, a task list will be emailed to the Committee for members to volunteer.

8.  Sub-committee and task force planning:

A list of task forces and panel committees were in listed in last month’s minutes. The Committee members who make up each task force and panel committee are also indicated. Mr. Brinkin will send emails and make phone calls to task force members and panel coordinators to set up meetings.

9. Commissioner’s Report:

Commissioner Norman reported that the Young Community Developers made a presentation to discuss employment opportunities and how the HRC may help. The Equal Opportunity Division gave presentation on the Surety Bond program.

10. Staff Report:

Mr. Brinkin reported that because of the City’s $352 million dollar deficit, the Commission’s budget situation is uncertain. The position once held by Ms. Nicholson has been eliminated and it is unclear if there will be any layoffs. The Mayor’s Office of the Budget requested a 5% definite cut in HRC’s budget along with a 15% contingency, but more cuts may be requested. All City departments are affected by the 20% cut.

Mr. Brinkin and one other HRC staff will be going to Berlin in June to attend the second part of a human rights conference that was first held in San Francisco. Mr. Brinkin will lead a discussion on issues affecting San Francisco’s LGBT community, same-sex marriage in particular, and how the right wing is dealing with this and other issues. He will give a report on the conference at the June meeting.

The Commission on Aging received a $750,000 grant to look at senior issues particularly affecting the African-American, Asian Pacific Islander, Latino-American, and LGBT communities. The recommendations from the Commission’s report helped fashion the work they’re doing. Mr. Brinkin joined an organization called The Community Partnerships which was formed to look at how the grant money can meet those needs.

11. Old/New Business:

Ms. Buchmann reported that her union is in negotiations for the employees in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the City is asking 12,000 employees to continue paying into their own retirement fund, that the City used to pay for, for the next two years. A rally was held last week calling for downtown to pay back money to the city. This item will be placed on agenda to discuss at next meeting.

12. Announcements:

Ms. Buchmann reported that the SEIU will have its international convention on June 21 in San Francisco. There will be a bridge walk for better healthcare will be held on June 19 at 7 a.m. The SEIU Lavender Caucus will be co-hosting a reception with the Latino caucus on June 21 and invited the Committee to attend. Also Pride At Work is having a voter registration project and is interested in hiring LGBT youth for the summer.

Ms. Frank announced that the City’s contingency budget is available online. She’ll send out the link to any interested Committee members.

Ms. Vancil announced her wedding reception to be held on September 25 at the Castro Country Club from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Ms. Phoenix announced that a celebration will be held to honor the life of Daddy Alan Selby on May 22. There will be a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund on May 28 at the Citadel.

Mr. Brinkin announced that he and Cynthia Goldstein will be honored as recipients of the KQED local heroes awards. Other honorees include activists Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, Willie Walker of the GLBT Historical Society, and Stephen Kellog of the Gay Men’s Buddhist Sangha. A reception will be held on June 16 at the KQED Public Broadcasting Center from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. The Committee will be sent an invitation to RSVP by June 11.

13. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 7:46 p.m.