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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the August 17, 2004 Meeting

Committee Members Present: Commissioner Pat Norman, Dora Balcazar, Sally Buchmann, David Cameron, Ben Chan, Julie Frank, Becky Freund, Danny Kirchoff, Aidan Kotler, Nancy Lawlor, Patrick Mulcahey, Ellise Nicholson, Ren Phoenix, Stephen Schwichow, Brooklynne Thomas, Morningstar Vancil, Lauren Williams.

Committee Members Absent: Jay Dwyer, Ted Guggenheim (excused), Johnny Pratt, Aleem Raja, Jorge Romero-Lozano (excused).

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

Guests Present: Jan Couvillon, Chris Daley, Tom Schwartz


  1. Call to Order and Roll Call:

    Commissioner Norman called the meeting to order at 5:41 p.m. Mr. Brinkin called the roll. Mr. Brinkin announced that because Melchor Bustamante had missed three Committee meetings in the current term, his membership has been cancelled, but he is welcome to continue to attend and participate in future meetings.

  2. Approval of Minutes of July 20, 2004:

    Mr. Schwichow moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Kotler seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

  3. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda:

    Tom Schwartz expressed his concerns about the Bush Administration’s using the Defense of Marriage Act to prevent non-U.S. transgender citizens from marrying American citizens. Chris Daley of the Transgender Law Center spoke on what his organization, along with other national organizations, is doing around this issue. Mr. Daley suggested that focusing on litigation in process, rather than a political struggle, would be most advantageous at this time. Mr. Schwartz disagreed.

  4. Intersex Public Hearing – Update on Report:

    Mr. Arana reported that the Intersex Task Force members along with staff have been compiling information for the upcoming report and that the summaries of the transcription from the hearing are nearly completed. Letters were sent to the American Medical Association, the California Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Neurological Association; most of the letters returned from these organizations say that they do not have any official policy. Mr. Arana read a letter received from the American Urological Association (AUA) in which it says that there is an increased number of physicians who feel that holding off from reconstructive genital surgery is appropriate until the child is old enough to participate in the decision-making process. A team approach in treating these patients and informing them and/or their families in an objective fashion are the advantages and disadvantages of early reconstructive surgery vs. delaying reconstructive surgery. After three months, UCSF has not provided the information that has been requested. Mr. Arana hopes to have all the information ready by next month’s Committee meeting to be presented to the full Commission in October. Mr. Mulcahey suggested sending the completed report to the AUA and other medical agencies on the cusp of being able to have policies.

  5. Approval of Commission letter to Rutherford Publishing objecting to the inclusion of a column by Focus on the Family in the newsletter Total Wellness, which is distributed to some City employees and their families:

    Pending the Committee’s approval, Mr. Arana reported that two draft letters will be presented for the Commission’s approval expressing outrage that Total Wellness, a newsletter that is distributed to City employees, includes a column written by Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, an anti-gay organization. One letter would go to the Department of Health Services (DHS) and the other to Rutherford Publishing, publisher of Total Wellness. Mr. Arana reported that DHS has discontinued their subscription to the newsletter which they did prior to this discovery, but a letter will still be sent so that it goes on record. The letter to Rutherford Publishing will be indicating the inappropriateness of the column. Mr. Brinkin said that United Healthcare’s Newsletter rather than Total Wellness will now be sent to City Plan member. Ms. Buchmann said that Total Wellness is still distributed to employees of the Occupational Health Division of DPH, at San Francisco General Hospital. Mr. Brinkin said that the letters will be presented for the Commission’s approval at their September 9th meeting then copies will be given to the Committee. Mr. Schwichow moved to approve the letters; Ms. Frank seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

  6. Issues Planning:

    September Panel: Crystal Meth

    LGBT Immigrant Issues

    Racism in the LGBT Communities

    Mr. Brinkin reminded the Committee members that next month’s panel presentation will be on the issue of crystal meth use in the LGBT community. Mr. Mulcahey said the panel organizers will meet after this evening’s meeting and that there are speakers he would like to invite. Mr. Brinkin asked that panel organizers contact staff so that confirming letters can be sent to the speakers. Panel organizers are Mr. Dwyer, Ms. Frank, Mr. Mulcahey, and Mr. Kotler.

    Mr. Brinkin reminded the Committee that LGBT immigrant issues was identified as an issue they wanted to address, but the approach still hasn’t been decided. He also reminded the Committee that because staff is limited in its resources, he advised against having a task force right away. He instead suggested a panel presentation on this topic then to figure out the salient issues that the Committee and Commission could be helpful with afterwards. At the next retreat, something more expansive could be discussed on how to fully deal with this issue. A panel presentation is suggested for February 2005 focusing on immigrants of color. Discussion ensued. It was agreed that this panel would be presented in February. Panel organizers are Ms. Balcazar, Ms. Buchmann, Mr. Chan, Mr. Kotler, Ms. Phoenix, Mr. Romero-Lozano, and Ms. Vancil.

    Mr. Brinkin said that there wasn’t a lot of time to discuss ideas to address the racism issue at the last meeting because of the presentation made regarding the Badlands issue. Mr. Brinkin suggested not focusing on the Bandlands issue because it is being addressed by staff. He suggested that the Committee address one or two aspects of this issue by sponsoring a community forum. Mr. Brinkin began the discussion by offering that the Committee revisit the recommendations in a report produced by the Commission in 1983 regarding racism in gay businesses, specifically bars. Discussion ensued on helping guide the task force. The task force will make recommendations as to whether to have a community forum, whether to focus on the Castro or some other aspect, and whether to plan an activity other than a community forum. Mr. Brinkin will schedule a meeting with the task force. The task force members are Ms. Balcazar (point person), Mr. Chan, Mr. Kirchoff, Ms. Lawlor, Ms. Nicholson, Ms. Phoenix, Ms. Thomas, and Ms. Vancil.

  7. Commissioner’s Report:

    Commissioner Norman reported that Chapter 12D.A, the HRC’s M/W/LBE ordinance, has been invalidated by a California Superior Court judge on the grounds that it violates Proposition 209. She read aloud portions of the court decision to the Committee. She reported that Supervisor Ammiano helped draft temporary emergency legislation, Chapter 14A, which states that a disadvantaged business enterprise program (DBE) and new rules and regulations will be implemented in place of the M/W/LBE program. All current contracts will remain certified and the emergency ordinance will be in place for 60 days. Mr. Brinkin added that there has been discussion about having this, and other programs, taken away from the HRC and given to other City departments.

  8. Staff Report:

    Mr. Brinkin reported that the two summer interns have finished their internship. He added that Melissa Barthelemey, a new fall intern, will be working at the HRC part-time for the fall semester, starting next week. Melissa is currently attending Golden Gate Law School and will be helping with discrimination complaints.

    Mr. Brinkin reported that Supervisors Ammiano and Dufty are drafting new legislation to deal with the 4,000 same-sex marriages that were done in February and March. The legislation would create domestic partnerships out of the dissolved marriages for those who are interested. Interested couples would need to register as domestic partners and the change would be retroactive from the date of their marriage. Mr. Brinkin reported that the City has sued the State saying that the state marriage law is unconstitutional. He added that he and Cynthia Goldstein, on behalf of the HRC, are drafting a declaration saying how the City has consistently fought against discrimination.

    Mr. Brinkin reported that the Senior Community Partnership received a grant through the Department of Aging and Adult Services to look at how senior services are being handled and how the clients are being served in four communities: the African-American, Asian-Pacific Islander, Latino, and LGBT communities.

    Mr. Brinkin reported that 20 people have filed complaints or have offered statements in the Badlands case. He along with Yong Lee, will set up a mediation for the two parties in a few weeks.

    Mr. Arana will lead four LGBT sensitivity training sessions for the Tax Collector’s office.

  9. Old/New Business:

No Old/New Business was discussed.

10. Announcements:

Ms. Vancil attended the Michigan Women’s Festival and helped provide voter outreach. Ms. Thomas announced that the Youth Gender Project will have a Queer and Trans Date Auction, a fundraiser that will be held on Thursday, August 26, at the El Rio Bar. Fliers for the event were handed out to Committee members. Ms. Buchmann announced that the Service Employees International Union 790 is having a lavender caucus meeting at the union hall, on the 11th floor, in Fox Plaza tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. Pride at Work will be meeting afterwards. All are welcome to attend.

  1. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 7:42 p.m.