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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the August 21, 2007 Meeting



Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Commissioner Mark Dunlop, Rene Astudillo, Dora Balcazar, Blue Buddha, Ryan Fuimaono, Ted Guggenheim, Anthony Philip, Ren Phoenix, Martin Rawlings-Fein, Greg Shaw, Lindasusan Ulrich, Morningstar Vancil.


Committee Members Absent:Jane Aceituno, Billy Curtis (excused), Christopher Gomora, Rahman Haq, Robert Hill (excused), Allison Laureano (excused), Christina Martinez (excused), Roberto Ordeñana (excused), Miko Thomas (excused).


Staff Present: Larry Brinkin, Yong Lee, Domenic Viterbo.


Guests Present: Lucia Arguello, Bill Boggett, Jason Chen, Carol Cullum, Jim Graham, Sarah Horowitz, Anna Kreiger, Alex Randolph (Mayor’s Office), Sadie Rawlings-Fein, John Shaw, Larry Shockey, Kim Singh.


1.      Call to Order and Roll Call:


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


2.      Approval of July 17, 2007 Minutes (Action Item):


Mr. Rawlings-Fein moved to approve the July 17, 2007 minutes as written. Ms. Ulrich seconded.  The motion passed unanimously.


3.      Public Comment for Items Not on the Agenda:


No public comments were made.


4.      Sex Stigmatization Work Group Panel Presentation: S/M Legal Issues:


Mr. Lee introduced guest speakers Larry Shockey and Carole Cullum.


Mr. Shockey has been practicing law for 25 years and has been involved in the BDSM community for five years and the leather community for the last few years. He’s also served as the President of the Steering Committee of the Leathermen’s Discussion Group which is an organization that has been addressing the educational needs of the BDSM community since 1996. He said that anything that the BDSM community does can be categorized as a civil or a criminal case (i.e. battery/assault or unlawful imprisonment) if the activity wasn’t consensual; the only difference is the punishment. In a civil case, the award would be monetary damages for/against; if a criminal case, punishment would generally be a fine or deprivation of civil liberties, imprisonment, or both. Technically if anyone is engaged in BDSM play, they’re probably breaking the law; however, the one key element that mitigates against that is consent. Safe, Sane, and Consensual are three key words when engaging in BDSM play. To get consent before engaging in BDSM play, talk to your partner, get to know them, set safe limits, know what they’re into/not into, and have a clear idea on what’s going to be done. Safe play is based on planning. He also suggested on having a Consent Form drawn up, or some sort of contract, but a contract is only as good as the parties intending to honor it. If something goes wrong and the police are called, the best thing to do is to not offer any explanation until you first get a lawyer. He said that it would be a misdemeanor; if outside the police’s presence, they cannot make an arrest unless the victim signs a citizen’s arrest card. In the future, there may be more legal issues arising from BDSM play if a domestic partner is involved, particularly if he/she becomes upset with his/her partner. Also since the BDSM community is small, a member’s reputation or character may be vital if prosecuted. Also simply being a member of the BDSM community is stigmatizing since BDSM play can be seen by some as spousal abuse or domestic violence even though it’s consensual. He suggested that Committee members join the Leathermen’s Discussion Group mailing list by going onto their website:, to find out more about BDSM, the programs that they offer, and to continue the dialog on this subject.


Carole Cullum, a family law specialist in San Francisco , has worked with the LGBT community since she was in law school and has been in practice for 25 years. She cited several examples where people who’ve engaged in BDSM play had filed suits against their partners. If both partners are in a relationship and if they have a child/children, it’s really important to keep whatever is done in their personal lives separate from their lives with the children since it could be used against a parent in a custody case. She said that it’s a good idea to have in writing that both partners agree that they will be in a consensual BDSM relationship. Even if a contract or an agreement is in writing, it may not be seen as total evidence in court, but can be seen as part of the reputable presumption that the other party is portraying. She suggested that trainings on BDSM be given to the courts and that being part of the BDSM community itself doesn’t have any impact on children and should not be used as a determining factor in custody cases.


5.      Announcement of Diversity Training with Veronica Neal at the September 18, 2007 Meeting:


Mr. Brinkin announced that Veronica Neal is on next month’s agenda to lead a diversity training. At the May 16, 2006 meeting, she led a 3-hour training, but next month’s training will be for approximately one hour.


6.      Report by Anna Krieger, HRC Intern, regarding HRC’s authority in public accommodations cases:


Anna Krieger, an intern in the LGBTH Division this summer, worked on a research project exploring the possibilities of expanding the Commission’s enforcement powers in public accommodations cases. After framing the issue, she said that the research focused on mapping out procedures and related components for San Francisco as well as enforcement. To help answer the latter, she said that she had spoken to people in other jurisdictions where the HRCs in those areas can enforce their discrimination laws: New York City, NY; Chicago, IL; Minneapolis, MN; St. Paul, MN; and Cook County (Chicago), IL. After researching the comparisons and contrasts of their ordinances, she’s come up with several recommendations: 1) that the HRC consider adopting a more narrow definition of “public accommodations” for hearing procedures since it would be more of an administrative burden if a broader definition is used; 2) since other jurisdictions handle hearing procedures differently, she recommends that the HRC have flexibility as to who would be sitting on the hearing panel as well as having an attorney present during hearings to answer any complicated legal questions; 3) after describing different kinds of penalties, she recommends a lower amount of monetary remedies or civil penalties for deterrent effect and for recovering attorney fees; 4) that the parties have the right to request that the HRC reconsider a decision and to ensure that it’s appropriate; 5) that the HRC’s findings on a case are the official findings and that other City agencies must abide by them. Though she’s still working on the final draft of her report, Mr. Brinkin said that it needs to be vetted through the City Attorney’s Office before it can be presented to the Commission. After the City Attorney has looked at the report, it could be presented to the Committee to make a recommendation to the Commissioners who would then recommend it to the Board of Supervisors.


7.      Outreach Work Group Report:


Mr. Guggenheim reported that after discussion of where the HRC can have a presence, such as a booth, the Work Group agreed to focus on the Chinese New Year’s Fair in Chinatown early next year, and then consider other possible events next year such as Carnival, Juneteenth, etc. They hope that staff, Commissioners, and members from the other HRC Advisory Committees would help staff a booth. They discussed working on developing PSAs to air on public access and SFGOV-TV. They discussed the HRC brochures that are in development and where they might place each of them on an ongoing basis. They recognized the need to have these and other HRC materials translated in other languages. Different brochures attract different audiences; brochures addressing their needs will be placed in various locations in the City where they can be easily obtained. They discussed the possibility of having Commission and Committee meetings in the LGBT community and where such meetings can take place. Possible locations include the LGBT Community Center, the Women’s Building, and the Eureka Valley Park and Recreation Center.


8.      Anti-Racism Work Group Report: Approval of the “We Agree!” document which would allow businesses and organizations to express a commitment to diversity (Action Item):


Mr. Buddha reported that the Work Group decided to not have the big pre-meeting before the forum; instead it’ll be a smaller meeting where members of the community will be invited to discuss ideas on how to go forward. Invitations will be sent this week so that guests can attend the Work Group’s regularly scheduled meeting on September 10. The forum has been put off until early next year.


Mr. Rawlings-Fein moved to approve concept of the “We Agree!” document in order to move forward with the public forum. Mr. Buddha seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


9.      Commissioner Report;


Commissioner Chung reported that their last meeting was held in Chinatown on Thursday, July 26 and that it was well attended. She hopes that there will be as much community involvement when they have their meeting at the LGBT Community Center. She encouraged Committee members to attend Outreach Work Group meetings, every first Wednesday of the month, to discuss other venues to promote Commission and Committee visibility. The Commission will be voting on adopting the Native American Discrimination Public Hearing Report at their next meeting on Thursday, August 23. Also at Thursday’s meeting, she will introduce the LGBT Housing Assessment Resolution.


10.  Staff Report:


Mr. Brinkin announced that Yong Lee will be co-staffing the Committee meetings. Nadia Babella was hired as a new staff member in the LGBTH Division and will be starting on Monday, September 10. The three interns in the LGBTH Division, Alan Boudreau, Anna Kreiger, and Rachel Silverman, have completed their summer internships and Lauren Lofton will begin her fall internship on September 13. Mr. Lee will be leading an HIV in the Workplace training on Thursday, September 13, at Positive Resource Center. Mr. Arana will be leading an LGBT sensitivity training for recruits at the Sherrif’s Department Academy on Tuesday, September 11.


11.  Old/New Business:


No Old/New Business was discussed.


12.  Announcements:


Mr. Buddha announced that he is working with CUAV on an anti-violence training scheduled for Tuesday, September 11, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.


Commissioner Chung announced that the Transgender Law Center (“TLC”) will be celebrating its 5-year anniversary at an event at The End-Up on September 11 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Tickets to this event are available on TLC’s website,


13.  Adjournment:


The meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.