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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the July 18, 2006 Meeting



Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Whitney Bagby, David Cameron, Billy Curtis, Aidan Dunn, Calvin Gipson, Christopher Gomora, Ted Guggenheim, Erica Newport, Roberto Ordeñana, Ren Phoenix, Aleem Raja, Martin Rawlings-Fein, Jason Riggs, Stephen Schwichow, Jason Stein, Morningstar Vancil, and Matthew Wood.


Committee Members Absent:Commissioner Mark Dunlop, Jane Aceituno, Dora Balcazar, Blue Buddha, Celina Chico, Anthony Philip.


Staff Present: Marcus Arana, Larry Brinkin, Wooje Choi (intern), Erin Reichenbach (intern), Carmen Smith, Domenic Viterbo.


Guests Present:Randy Burns.


1.      Call to Order and Roll Call:


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


2.      Summer Intern Introductions – Wooje Choi and Erin Reichenbach:


Erin Reichenbach, a student at Boalt School of Law inBerkeley, is on a special project with Mr. Arana in which they’re working jointly with the Heath Services System on the five-year report on the City’s transgender health benefits. Wooje Choi, a student at the Boston University School of Law, is working with Cynthia Goldstein on researching equal benefits laws in other jurisdictions. Mr. Brinkin introduced Carmen Smith, who’s in the Certification Division and a staffer on the Issues Committee.


3.      Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda:


No public comments were made.


4.      Approval of April 18 and May 16, 2006 Minutes (action item):


Mr. Schwichow moved to approve the April18, 2006 minutes as written. Mr. Dunn seconded. The motion passed unanimously. Mr. Rawlings-Fein moved to approve May 16, 2006 minutes. Mr. Cameron seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


5.      Debriefing of the May 16, 2006 Communication and Diversity Training:


Mr. Brinkin recapped the training session and gave the Committee members an opportunity to talk about how they felt about it. The Committee members who attended said they were very impressed with Veronica Neal, the facilitator, and were generally very pleased at how it was conducted and how the subject was dealt; however, they felt that a longer, more in-depth, eight-hour training, given either once or every other year or as a day retreat, would be more beneficial. Mr. Brinkin reminded the Committee that due to budget constraints, the three-hour training was offered over a much longer one. From this discussion, Commissioner Chung indicated that she, along with Commissioner Dunlop, would like to have a “1-on-1” meeting with each Committee member, individually, to talk about this and other subjects. Committee members are to contact her by phone or email to set up a meeting.


6.      Debriefing On Pride Day Activities:


Committee members who worked the booth felt it was a positive experience. Suggestions include: 1) a more professional looking masthead over the booth, 2) a list of Committee past accomplishments, 3) to make require new Committee members to work at least 30 minutes at Pride, 4) to have a discussion on running next year’s booth and to take ownership of it, and 5) to possibly have a marching contingent in next year’s parade. Because of prior commitments connected with Pride, the Committee members who didn’t work the booth expressed wanting to be kept part of the process for next year.


7.      Work Group Reports: Native American Discrimination, Immigration and Asylum, Racism in the LGBT Communities, and Outreach (Standing Sub-Committee):


Native American Discrimination Work Group: Mr. Rawlings-Fein reported that they held a focus group and the issues that were discussed included education, homelessness, invisibility, health, legal, and the government’s responses to these issues. The work group will hold another focus group on Wednesday, July 26, from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. in the HRC offices. Individuals who identify as Native American or who have Native American ancestry are welcome to attend. The date of the Native American Public Hearing is set for Thursday, October 12, in Room 416 in City Hall from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. That day is also Indigenous Peoples Day.


Immigration and Asylum Work Group: Mr. Curtis reported that they did not have anything to report because they hadn’t met due to not having a July meeting, but they did prepare a handout on this issue that was distributed at the booth at Pride. Their next meeting is scheduled in August. Mr. Dunn also reported that they’re trying to get several experts to attend their meetings to help educate the work group on this issue and to have some recommendations for next steps.


Anti-Racism Work Group: Mr. Gipson said that their calling themselves the Anti-Racism Work Group and that their meetings will be held on the second Monday of each month. The work group came up with 16 recommendations to address racism within the LGBT community. After combining some of the recommendations, they’ve done the following: they will be sponsoring a community forum tentatively scheduled for March 2007; leading up to the forum, they will be sponsoring community focus groups, or rap sessions, and invite different groups in the community to get input on how they’ve experienced racism and ideas on addressing them. These groups will ultimately form the community forum in March 2007 where they will state concrete ideas and report back on solutions and highlight success stories of groups that are inclusive and diverse. From the forum, they hope to help educate other government offices on racism in the LGBT community and to produce a video that can be loaned out to various community groups. He said that they specifically chose March 2007 because that is also Women’s History Month and they wanted to emphasize women attending the forum and to take a leadership role.


Mr. Gipson reported that the work group and staff are working to figure out a way for other City departments and commissions to accept the investigative findings of the HRC because it was discovered they cannot accept them. They’re working on a resolution to ensure that when the City has made a decision on an investigation, the decision must be recognized by all departments citywide. Mr. Brinkin added that one of the things they’re researching, along with the City Attorney’s Office, is extending the definition of “contractor” to include permit holders. Lastly, Mr. Gipson reported that they’re reviewing the HRC’s Racism brochure for reverence and accuracy.


Outreach (Standing Sub-Committee): Mr. Brinkin reported that Cynthia Goldstein has agreed staff the Outreach Committee and is arranging their first meeting. Commissioner Chung said that they will give an updated report at next month’s meeting.


Mr. Gipson recommended that the Committee send out a press release to inform the community of the work groups and the issues they’re addressing and to have future Committee meetings in the community.


Mr. Brinkin said that a Committee member from each work group, either the same person each time or on a rotating basis, will give a brief report of their activities at each monthly Committee meeting.


8.      Approval of letter commending Board for TG Economic Development Initiative (action item):


Commissioner Chung reported that because there was little time to draft the letter, this item will agendized for next month’s meeting.


9.      Commissioners Report:


Commissioner Chung reported that the District Attorney’s Office is hosting a symposium entitled “Hate Crimes: Combating Gay and Transgender ‘Panic’ Strategies” on July 20 and 21 at the LGBT Community Center for the community to discuss preventing of hate crimes against LGBT people. Dave O’Malley, former Police Chief from Laramie, WY, the chief investigator of the Matthew Shepherd murder, is one of the guest speakers. Commissioner Chung reported that the Board of Supervisors (BOS) passed the first Universal Healthcare Access Ordinance to help create a more accessible healthcare system for all of San Francisco, especially for the working poor. She reported that within the City’s budget, there is an item to support transgender economic development in helping prevent discrimination against transgender people and to help them find employment due to a high percentage of underemployment in the community. Lastly, the BOS approved a one million dollar budget item supporting LGBT youth. She reported that they attended a press conference on July 12 to discuss the future of 55 Laguna Street being the site of Openhouse, an LGBT senior housing project. The location used to be a UC extension. She encouraged the Committee members to go to Good Vibrations on Polk Street to see a photo exhibit entitled “Transfigurations” by photographer, Jenna Marcus. Commissioner Chung is featured in her second series of photographs entitled “The Making of a Woman.” Commissioner Chung reported that the Commission is looking forward to September when they’re going to have the final adaptations of all the rules for the new Disadvantaged Business Enterprise ordinance as well as the October 12 Native American Discrimination hearing. Commissioner Chung reported that she was invited by the Chinese media to talk about same-sex marriage with the Chinese chapter of the Traditional Values Coalition.


10.  Staff Report:


Mr. Brinkin reported that the HRC was asked to eliminate two staff positions for this year despite a budget surplus; however, one position was restored through work order funding and the other is a vacant position in the Housing and Public Accommodations Division. Though the BOS approved the HRC’s budget without reinstating this position, Budget Committee Chair, Chris Daley, said that there may be some supplementals added to the budget which may save this position from being eliminated. Committee members may be asked to contact the member of the BOS in their district, as individuals, for their support. Supervisors Ammiano, Daley, Dufty, Ma, and Mirkirimi have offered their support. Mr. Brinkin reported that it’s been difficult for Ms. Reichenbach to get information on transgender healthcare benefits from HMOs and the Health Services System. Callers to the Health Services System are referred to the individual health plan then are referred back to the Health Services System. Staff will be meeting with the Director of the Health Services System and all the HMOs that this process isn’t working. In addition the Five-Year Report will be produced showing statistical information on how well the benefit has been utilized. Mr. Brinkin reported that staff is looking at what an employee is regarding the Equal Benefits Ordinance in order to expand it to include law partners. Mr. Brinkin reported that the District Attorney’s Office had asked him, Connie Champagne from CUAV, and Ben Lunine, an attorney, to organize a youth panel to discuss queer youth issues for the Panic Defense symposium. Ms. Newport and Mr. Dunn are participating on this panel as well as Tamara Costa from the Love and Justice Project of CUAV, and Derrick Miller-Handley of Ally Action. Mr. Brinkin reported that the HRC was served a lawsuit from Les Natali, owner of Badlands, who said that the HRC had no authority in producing a finding and that it has damaged his reputation and his business.  He added that the Commission disagrees and that the City Attorney will defend the HRC. Mr. Gipson encouraged Committee members to write letters to the editor the B.A.R. to stand up against Mr. Natali. Mr. Brinkin said that Committee members may write as individuals, but cannot send an official Committee letter. Mr. Brinkin reported that staff has been working with the S.F. 49ers on a diversity plan that has to do with training, hiring goals for diversifying their workplace, etc., and have bee working with many community groups in coming up with a community plan. He added that there’s now a community advisory committee to advise them on their diversity and community activities as well as an internal diversity committee. The HRC will be monitoring their diversity plan for three years and a report from the two committees will be made to the Commission in August. Mr. Brinkin reported that the HRC and the Commission on the Status of Women came up with several proposals that were going to be presented to the Mayor’s Office regarding the SFPD’s recruitment video, but the Mayor’s Office felt that the Police Commission should look into the problem instead, but may ask the HRC for assistance.


11.  Old/New Business:


Mr. Brinkin said that a follow-up on the status of the Intersex Task Force at UCSF will be on the August meeting’s agenda. Mr. Cameron expressed concern of the Intersex Society of North America’s current usage of “Disorders of Sexual Development” rather than “intersex” and asked that the organization not be included as a resource on the report. Mr. Brinkin said that this will be discussed at the August meeting.


12.  Announcements:


Mr. Wood announced tonight would be his last meeting due his Fall school schedule, but hopes to be reinstated in February 2007, but will talk to Ms. Aceituno and Mr. Buddha regarding his participation on the Sex Offenders/Expengent of Records panel. Mr. Dunn announced that tonight’s his last meeting, too, due his fall school schedule, but would like to be reinstated in February as well. Mr. Gipson announced that the House of Representatives voted down the Constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, but voted for stem cell research. Commissioner Chung announced a plaque honoring the Compton’s Cafeteria riot has been installed at Turk and Taylor Streets. Also a check will be presented to the producers of the documentary, “Screaming Queens: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria”, to help with the completion of the film.


13.  Adjournment:


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