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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the August 15, 2006 Meeting



Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Commissioner Mark Dunlop, Jane Aceituno, Whitney Bagby, Dora Balcazar, Blue Buddha, David Cameron, Billy Curtis, Aidan Dunn, Christopher Gomora, Ted Guggenheim, Erica Newport, Ren Phoenix, Aleem Raja, Martin Rawlings-Fein, Jason Riggs, Stephen Schwichow, Morningstar Vancil.


Committee Members Absent:Calvin Gipson (excused), Roberto Ordeñana, Anthony Philip, Jason Stein.


Staff Present: Marcus Arana, Larry Brinkin, Hadas Rivera-Weiss, Domenic Viterbo.


Guests Present:Randy Burns.


1.      Call to order and roll call:


Commissioner Dunlop called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Mr. Brinkin called roll.


2.      Public comment for items not on the agenda:


No public comments were made.


3.      Approval of July, 2006 minutes (action item):


Mr. Cameron moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Curtis seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


4.      7X7: Aidan Dunn:


Mr. Dunn reported on the International Lesbian Gay Association, (“ILGA”) a world-wide grassroots network of LGBT organizations and activists. Headquartered inBrussels, Belgium, ILGA has regional offices around the world and on every continent; however, they’re not strong enough to have a Board of Directors on the continents of Africa and North America. Organizations in the U.S. that are part of ILGA include The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Amnesty International U.S.A., S.F. Pride, and San Diego Bisexual Network, among many others. ILGA had observer status in the U.N. to monitor human rights, but due to some homophobic activity they no longer have that privilege. A quarterly newsletter that ILGA puts out, “Campaigning”, addresses LGBT issues around the world. ILGA annually has regional conferences and every two years they hold a world conference which is a great place to network with other activists and organizations. Mr. Dunn said that attended the World Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, this past Spring, where leaders on various issues were invited to present on topics such as transgender issues, religion, men’s health, women’s health, and labor issues. The main conference included workshops and plenaries on very diverse issues such as GLBT filmmakers in China, FTMs in Kirgizstan, and homosexuality in Africa. Representatives from 80 countries attended including a huge delegation from Africa. Apparently North America had smallest number of delegates that attended, but the North American representative is working on changing that. There are two North American reps on the ILGA board, Becky Cross from San Antonio, TX, and Yvonne La Pointe from Quebec, Canada; however, with the recent passing of Ms. Cross, Ms. La Pointe, is working hard in trying to increase the membership on this continent. One thing he took away from the conference, that he feels that North American organizations could learn, is that ILGA has a great understanding on how oppression works and how oppression impacts people’s ability to do their work. For example: they pay attention and understand the needs of delegates coming from other countries with different economic challenges. ILGA helps pay for travel, housing, transportation, and provide translators, etc., so that anyone who is able to attend can attend. The next world conference will be held in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada in 2008 and he highly recommends that more organizations attend especially since our region is hosting. The following world conference will be held in Moscow in 2010.


Mr. Dunn entertained questions from Committee members.


5.      Work Group Reports:


Commissioner Dunlop reminded the Committee that in order for all the work groups to have successful outcomes, Committee members must attend the meetings of the work groups they signed up for.


Anti-Racism: Ms. Newport reported that a lot hadn’t been a lot of discussion because there weren’t many work group members in attendance, but they did go over the Racism brochure and made some recommendations on changes to it. They discussed the forum that they’re planning on having in March 2007. One of the decisions made was to possibly have two rap group sessions – two in October and two more in November - to help shape the forum, but this will be decided at the next meeting. They identified 4-5 key neighborhoods within the City to look at the community-based organizations in those neighborhoods to help with outreach for the rap groups and the forum. She asked that Committee members provide names of diverse organizations or groups of people to contact in order to make the forum one that is all-inclusive, not just certain groups of people.


Immigration and Asylum: Mr. Curtis reported that the task force discussed reviewing the handout on LGBT Immigration and Asylum that was distributed at this year’s Pride Celebration. Some revisions are needed for the Spanish translation and asked Committee members fluent in Spanish to help in this regard and how to increase attendance at subcommittee meetings. He reported that Mr. Schwichow has agreed to draft a document canvassing LGBT and LGBT-friendly religious organizations in the City on their understanding of what sanctuary and asylum are, but Mr. Brinkin suggested finding out about the current situation with the City of Refuge Ordinance first. Mr. Brinkin said he would check with the City Attorney on this matter. He reminded the task force that their duty is to identify the organizations to canvass, including religious organizations, and to produce a form letter or document to send them and that staff would handle the administrative duties. Ms. Rivera-Weiss will find out more on the City of Refuge Ordinance as it applies to LGBT people as well as providing the names of the City employees who are monitoring it. Mr. Guggenheim has agreed to speak to various organizations and individuals who might be collecting stories about people affected by the HIV ban or experiencing the inability to have their bi-national relationship recognized.


Native American Discrimination: Recommending Commission approval of draft agenda for October 12 public hearing (action item): Mr. Arana reported that two separate focus groups had convened of Native American community members and leaders to get their ideas about what they think is needed to be looked at. Over the course of the two meetings, there were themes kept reoccurring and it became clear that they were experiencing a lot of the same things in the community. So a bunch of things were brainstormed and two weeks ago when the task force got together and organized their ideas into a handout. For organizational purposes, the handout is organized into four different areas: Health and Well-Being, Education, Cultural Issues, and Government. The public hearing will be presented in this order. He introduced Randy Burns who is working very closely with the task force in finding the right people by putting out fliers in the community to get people’s interest. The focus group meetings have had great attendance. Though there are lots of topics to cover, there will not be one speaker for each issue; speakers will cover all areas presented. He said that an agenda will be presented to the Commissioner’s September 14 meeting for approval. He added that SFGTV will televise and record the public hearing and played on public access and there will be DVDs available for purchase. He said that staff is working to help secure $1,000 to help finance the public hearing. Also a court reporter has volunteered her services to provide a transcript of the public hearing. He said that two-spirit issues will be integrated in all the areas being presented that night as opposed to having it stand out on its own in order to present a bigger picture. Though it’s been a challenge to cover all the areas presented in such a limited amount of time, but he feels confident that it’ll happen. Written submissions from individuals who either cannot make the hearing or who don’t wish to speak will be received and be considered as part of the report of the public hearing. A PSA will be sent out to the Task Force this week. In order to produce a public hearing of this size and scope, the task force has requested the help from all Committee members. Though the LGBT Advisory Committee has taken the lead in producing the public hearing, he hopes that the Issues Committee will help out by pitching in. Mr. Brinkin suggested providing a task list at next month’s meeting so that people can have an idea what kind of tasks are needed that Committee members can volunteer for. Also a handout covering Native American cultural sensibilities will be provided at next month’s meeting as well.


Mr. Curtis moved to approve the amended agenda stipulating two-spirit issues. Ms. Phoenix seconded. The motion passed unanimously. 


Outreach (Standing Sub-Committee): Mr. Raja reported that the point of having an Outreach Committee is to figure out how do we recruit and retain Committee members. The Committee spent time visioning outreach and what that looks like and specifically how to do outreach. He said that their action plan has three broad concepts: 1) to have off-site LGBTAC meetings twice annually and to strategize where and how; 2) think about recruitment for the short term as well as broadly for the whole year; 3) to get to a point where the Committee members can educate others of the work the HRC does. This is in order to help  identify people they’d like to see on the Committee. In order to prepare for this conversation, talking points will be developed. Ms. Newport asked that the Committee keep in mind creating a supportive environment to new members in order to retain them. Commissioner Chung asked that by the time recommendations are made that each Committee member has had an opportunity to talk to her and Commissioner Dunlop as to how they feel being on the Committee as well as using them for resources and support. Mr. Brinkin asked that Committee members invite prospective members to apply when talking about the Committee.  Their next meeting is Monday, August 28, at 5:30 p.m.


6.      Approval of letter commending Board of Supervisors

for Transgender Economic Development Initiative (action item):


Mr. Brinkin framed the issue. If approved, the letter would be presented to the Commission at their August 24, 2006 meeting asking them sent the letter commending the Board of Supervisors for the $300,000 set aside for a transgender employment program, the first of its kind in the nation. He said that it’s appropriate for the Commission to do this is that it links back to our Transgender Discrimination Report of 1994 in which many of the recommendations said that the City needs to provide training opportunities to transgender people.  


Mr. Curtis moved to approve the letter as written. Mr. Rawlings-Fein seconded. The motion passed unanimously. Commissioner Chung abstained due to a conflict of interest.


7.      Report on hate crimes symposium:                                                                            


Mr. Brinkin reported that District Attorney Kamala Harris’ office sponsored this two-day symposium on against the LGBT community, specifically looking at the so-called “panic defense” that many defendants use who have committed violence against LGBT people. Prosecutors were invited to discuss this and learn about what this defense is about, the nature of it, where does it come from, and how can we limit its use, if not get rid of it entirely. Among the guests speakers invited is the former police chief of Laramie, WY who oversaw the Matthew Shepard case. There was a heated panel discussing the Gwen Arajo case at which two of the defense attorneys were present to defend the usage of the “panic defense” as well as the prosecutor of that case. Mr. Brinkin said that he helped organize a youth panel to acquaint the audience of LGBT youth issues and how discrimination and hate violence affects young people. Mr. Dunn and Ms. Newport were two of the panel speakers. There was a panel on transgender issues that Commissioner Chung spoke on.


8.      Commissioners Report:


Commissioner Dunlop reported that the Commission approved a brochure on the Real ID Act to hand out to groups that have been negatively affected by the Real ID Act. Also the Commissioners held a closed session to discuss the lawsuit filed against the HRC by Les Natali. Commissioner Chung announced that Linda Richardson, formerly with the Civil Service Commission, has just been appointed as a new Commissioner to the HRC. She has been appointed to fill the vacancy left by outgoing Commission Chair, Malcolm Heineke.


9.      Staff Report:


Mr. Brinkin reported staff is trying to arrange a report on the Intersex Task Force at UCSF and to have members from that task give an update at the September meeting. He reported that Jane Edmonstone will begin her internship with the HRC beginning on September 5, 2006. She is studying law at Northeastern University School of Law. Mr. Brinkin reported that a letter was drafted for the Director of the HRC to send to the Director of Catholic Charities asking what their actual policy is on adoptions with the LGBT component. Staff is currently awaiting their written reply. Ms. Rivera-Weiss and Yong Lee of staff did an HIV In the Workplace training at Positive Resource Center on August 10. Mr. Brinkin had reported that even with a budget surplus, the HRC was ordered to cut two positions by the Mayor’s Office; however, one of those positions was saved through work order money. The position still to be cut is a position once held by Carmen Herrera formerly with the Employment, Housing, and Public Accommodations Division. The Board of Supervisors was asked to have her position added as an add-back. Supervisors Ma and Sandoval have sponsored legislation to add that money back to the HRC’s budget. 


10.  Old/New Business:                                                                                                                    


Ms. Rivera-Weiss said that she will be contacting the Sex Offender/Expungement of Records panel organizers in the upcoming weeks to help organize the panel(s). Commissioner Chung described the “7x7” presentations and asked for a volunteer for next month’s meeting. Ms. Balcazar volunteered to give a “7x7” presentation for the October meeting.


11.  Announcements:


Mr. Cameron recruited Dr. Milton Diamond to come to the LGBTI Cancer Conference in October. He will also speak on October 13 to medical professionals on transsexuals, transgender, and intersex people and cancer. Mr. Cameron, Dr. Diamond, and Mani Bruce Mitchell will be doing an Intersex and Cancer workshop at the Center on October. Mr. Rawlings-Fein announced that he is doing an oral history project on the transgender community that would be turned into a documentary film. Any Committee members interested in participating should contact him. He announced that Trikone and Female-to-Male International (FTMI) are celebrating anniversaries and that the San Francisco Transgender Empowerment Advocacy and Mentorship (SFTEAM) is throwing FTMI a 20th Anniversary party on October 26 at 6:00 p.m. in the Rainbow Room at The Center. Mr. Bagby announced that his email will be changing and will get the information out in a few days. Commissioner Chung announced that the Transgender Law Center is having its second annual fundraiser on September 5 at Crash Nightclub at 34 Mason Street from 6:30-8:00 p.m. To purchase tickets, go to Mr. Brinkin announced that the Real ID Act brochure is being printed and will be distributed when they’re ready. He also reminded the Committee of the members who’ve left the Committee: Celina Chico, Aidan Dunn, Jason Stein, Matthew Wood, and Diana Ming Yin.


12.  Adjournment:


The meeting was adjourned at 7:19 p.m.