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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee
Minutes of the July 16, 2002 Meeting

Committee Members Present: Commissioner Martha Knutzen, Commissioner Theresa Sparks, Jason Alley, Virginia Benavidez, Kirsten Boyd, Sally Buchmann, Melchor Bustamante, Chris Carnes, Scott Campbell, 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, Gary Virginia.

Committee Members Absent: Chris Caldeira (excused), Erin Farrell (excused).

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

Guests Present: Bevan Dufty, Richard Mead.

1. Call to Order and Roll Call:

Commissioner Sparks called the meeting to order at 5:38. Mr. Brinkin called the roll.

2. Approval of Minutes of June 18, 2002:

Ms. Benavidez moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Guggenheim seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

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

4. Introduction of Summer Interns:

Larry Brinkin stated that he is excited about the exceptional interns working in the LGBTH division this summer. Interns Alex Freeman, Claire Eustace, and Dino Duazo introduced themselves. Mr. Freeman stated that he just completed his first year at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. He is currently working on complaint investigations as well as conducting legal research on the state versus federal split concerning HIV protections. Claire Eustace said that she just finished her first year at UC Davis School of Law, and that she is working for the National Lawyers' Guild on developing and implementing protocols for the Sheriff's department concerning the treatment of transgender prisoners. Dino Duazo stated that he will be starting his third year at New College School of Law in the fall, and will be working at the HRC part time this summer. Commissioner Knutzen invited the interns to be as involved with the Committee as they would like. She thanked them for their work and dedication.

5. Report from Senior Issues Public Hearing Task Force:

Nancy Lawlor reported on the first meeting of the Senior Issues Public Hearing Task Force. Ms. Lawlor stated that the task force meets on the first Tuesday of every month at the HRC at 5:30 p.m. She summarized the July meeting, stating that Mr. Brinkin gave a rundown of the procedural and organizational processes involved in holding a public hearing. Mr. Brinkin also distributed documents from the last public hearing on economic empowerment in the LGBT communities. The task force then determined that their first step is to educate themselves on the issue. They brainstormed names of people in the community who are knowledgeable on the topic, and Mr. Brinkin agreed to contact these people to invite them to join the task force or to at least attend the next task force meeting. The task force also discussed which topics they want to address at the hearing. This initial list included housing, job discrimination, identity, education, immigration rights, health care, AIDS/HIV, transgender health, people of color health, family, lesbians and breast cancer, social security, singles, young vs. old, kids/adoption, and violence, including both home care and domestic abuse. Commissioner Knutzen stated that at the last Commission meeting, the Commissioners' approved the hearing and the plan to invite the Committee on Aging to co-sponsor it.

6. Report from Gender Identity Guidelines Revision Task Force:

Yoseñio Lewis reported that the task force meets the second Tuesday of each month, and that the goal is to ensure that the guidelines are user friendly for employers and businesses. Mr. Lewis stated that doing so would make the guidelines more amenable to implementation. Thus, the task force is reviewing the language to make it easier to understand, and also to eliminate the focus on surgical status, which medicalizes and pathologizes transgender people. They are also working on creating an appendix with a history of gender identity protections in San Francisco and a glossary of terms, revising the language on intersex issues, and creating a separate and expanded intersex section. Mr. Lewis added that the task force hopes to have someone from the business community either on the task force or available to review drafts. Danny Kirchoff stated that he is on the task force, but that he could not make it to the last meeting. He wanted to know if the agenda is already set or whether it is still open for discussion. Mr. Lewis stated that it is always open. Mr. Brinkin explained that after the task force makes its revisions, the Committee would review them at a regular public meeting and send them on to the full Commission for its approval. Mr. Brinkin added that these revisions are important because the Commission gets numerous requests for these guidelines, which are used throughout the country, and even internationally, to set policies and create laws.
7. Pride Day Debriefing:

Commissioner Knutzen asked members to share their experience working at the HRC booth on Pride Day. Members expressed excitement about the signature gathering for the petitions, and thanked staff member Cynthia Goldstein for supplying the delicious cookies. Members also commended staffers Tamra Winchester and Domenic Viterbo for the excellent signs and decorations on the booth. Commissioner Sparks stated that she met Georgina Beyers, who became the first transgender elected official in the world when elected to the Parliament of New Zealand. At Commissioner Sparks' invitation, Ms. Beyers agreed to speak to the Committee when she next returns to the States.

8. Planning August Panel on Intersex Issues:

Mr. Brinkin stated that staff member Marcus Arana has been in touch with the Intersex Society, which has agreed to attend the August meeting to speak about issues important to them and to offer suggestions for the gender identity guidelines. Mr. Brinkin noted that one of the biggest intersex issues concerns infant surgeries, and he is hoping that the Commission can have an influence on that issue. Mr. Brinkin noted that members helping plan the panel should contact Mr. Arana. Johnnie Pratt stated that he is in contact with a couple of people who are interested in being on the panel, and stated that he will be in touch with Mr. Arana.

9. Economic Empowerment Status Report:

Commissioner Knutzen stated that she does not have an update this month, but that this issue should continue to be agendized for the next meeting.

10. Commissioners' Report:

Commissioner Sparks reported that at the last meeting, during public comment, a gentleman representing "European Americans for Individual Freedom" spoke about how white people are being discriminated against in San Francisco. Commissioner Sparks said that the Director reported on the budget for this fiscal year. Commissioner Sparks stated that Cynthia Goldstein of the LGBTH division was promoted. Mr. Brinkin reported that Ms. Goldstein has been with the Commission for twelve years, and is nationally recognized as the expert on equal benefits. Mr. Brinkin added that Ms. Goldstein practically invented our equal benefits program and wrote our rules of procedure. She and Mr. Brinkin will be co-managing the LGBTH division. Ms. Goldstein will handle equal benefits and Mr. Brinkin will manage the complaint program and the advisory committee. Commissioner Sparks stated that a representative from the Mayor's Office on Economic Development spoke to the Commission regarding violence in communities of color. This presentation largely concerned youth employment, which is needed to combat violence in the Mission and Bay View Hunter's Point. Regarding the committee reports, Commissioner Sparks stated that last month most committees dealt with the Racial Privacy Initiative, which has been approved for the March 2004 ballot.

11. SF Chronicle Column by Matier and Ross on 7/15/02:

Commissioner Sparks explained that she wished to place an emergency item on the agenda. She explained that a column in the San Francisco Chronicle contained ignorance and discrimination concerning transgender rights. In order to issue a timely response, she requested that the committee consider adding this item to the agenda. Jordy Jones moved to agendize the item. Kristine Oreskovich seconded. The motion passed unanimously. Commissioner Sparks handed out copies of the article in question, which appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday, July 15, 2002. Commissioner Sparks said it was the third or fourth time columnists Matier and Ross have trivialized the City's transgender health care benefits law and/or taken this benefit out of context. Commissioner Sparks stated that she was offended by the article, and wanted to open it up for discussion. Commissioner Knutzen stated that the only purpose of the reference in the article to transgender health benefits was to feed into transphobia. After some discussion, Jorge Romero-Lozano asked Commission Sparks if she was suggesting that the committee draft a letter. She stated yes, either to the columnists themselves or to the publisher of the Chronicle. Commissioner Sparks suggested that for expedience, the letter come from the Director. Bevan Dufty, a member of the public, stated that more than writing a letter, he suggests talking with the ombudsperson or the publisher in person. Stephen Schwichow agreed that in addition to writing a letter, we take Mr. Dufty's suggestion and invite the Chronicle publisher to our next meeting or to meet with Mr. Brinkin and the Commission Chairs. After further discussion, Commissioner Sparks summarized the discussion and asked that the committee take one or all of the following steps: 1) form a resolution to recommend to the Director that we write a letter to the Chronicle; or 2) form a task force to help draft a letter for the Director's approval; and/or 3) agendize a meeting with the publisher for the next meeting. Mr. Brinkin agreed to draft the letter, which would then be sent to a working group for review and approval. The working group will include Yoseñio Lewis, Kirsten Boyd, Lisa Scheff, Melchor Bustamante, Johnnie Pratt, Nancy Lawlor, and Jordy Jones. Jordy Jones made a motion that Mr. Brinkin draft the letter and, pursuant to working group edits, it be sent to the Director who will submit the letter to the Chronicle publishers as an op-ed piece, and will request to meet with the publisher. Yoseñio Lewis amended the motion to add that the op-ed piece be sent to other papers as well. Melchor Bustamante seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

12. Staff Report:

Mr. Brinkin reported that the managers recently met with the Director and made staff assignments for working groups to implement the recommendations stemming from the hearing on African-American issues. He reported that he and Cynthia Goldstein were assigned the issue of City boards and leadership. Commissioners' Sparks and Knutzen also will be working on these issues, and Commissioner Sparks will be working on the issue of environmental racism as well. Mr. Brinkin reported that staff member Hadas Rivera-Weiss recently conducted a training, along with the UCSF AIDS Health Project and the AIDS Legal Referral Panel, for AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) on HIV in the workplace issues. Mr. Brinkin further reported that he was recently on a panel with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center to inform the Positive Resource Center staff about the services offered by the organizations represented on the panel so staff can make appropriate referrals. Ellise Nicholson reported that the LGBT Center Legal Collaborative housing panel was a great success. The panel of attorneys and advocates were exceptional and the turnout was standing room only. Mr. Brinkin reported that the newly developed complaint tracking database would be implemented starting July 1, 2002. Mr. Brinkin will be conducting a demonstration for the Commissioners as soon as all the bugs are resolved. Ellise Nicholson reported that she attended a meeting with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on LGBT issues. Mr. Brinkin reported that he is working with Supervisor Leno and City Attorney Cathy Barnes to pass legislation clarifying that business on business discrimination is illegal in San Francisco. Lastly, Mr. Brinkin reported that the September LGBTAC meeting will be held on the fourth Tuesday of the month rather than the third.

13. Old/New Business:


14. Announcements:

Yoseñio Lewis said that Luna Sea, a women's performance collective, is looking for people interested in participating in a show on MTFs in the fall. Johnnie Pratt asked if anyone knows a lawyer who would be interested in helping a transgender person with a custody battle. Larry Brinkin suggested calling the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Mr. Brinkin stated that there will be an Egyptian art installation at the Legion of Honor, and that September 17 is HRC night. Jay Dwyer stated that he works for a foundation that funds small non-profits, and that the next grant cycle is coming up soon. He asked people to let him know if their organization is interested in applying.

15. Adjournment:

Virginia Benavidez asked that we adjourn in honor of Teresita La Campesina, a transgender Latina woman who recently died. Ms. Benavidez stated that Teresita sang beautiful Mexican songs, and suffered a great deal of discrimination during the course of her life. The meeting was adjourned in her honor at 7:35 p.m.