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Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the May 20, 2008 Meeting



Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Commissioner Mark Dunlop, Rene Astudillo, Saurabh Bajaj, Dora Balcazar, Alex Baty, Samer Danfoura, Bill Doggett, Winston Dong, Jr., Ted Guggenheim, Justin Jones, Poonam, Paul Klees, Allison Laureano, Mark Murphy, Martin Rawlings-Fein, Greg Shaw, Lindasusan Ulrich.


Committee Members Absent: Commissioner Julius Turman (excused), Jane Aceituno, Bill Doggett (excused), Yvette Pannell (excused), Alic Shook (excused), Kim Shuck (excused), Brad Vanderbilt.


Staff Present: Nadia Babella, Larry Brinkin, Domenic Viterbo.


Guests Present: Audra Ber, Steve Mayers, Jennifer.


1.      Call to Order and Roll Call:


Commissioner Chung called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Mr. Brinkin called the roll. Mr. Brinkin reported that Ren Phoenix had resigned from the Committee.


2.      Public Comment For Items Not On The Agenda:


Steve Mayers said that he would like to help educate the members on deaf issues by offering a 2 to 3 hour training on deaf sensibility. Commissioner Chung said that he would be invited to make a presentation at a future meeting.


3.      Remainder ofMentor / Mentee Introductions:


Mentor/mentee pairs who weren’t able to attend the annual retreat in April were asked to introduce each other in order to help the other members become familiar with them. Mr. Baty and his mentor Mr. Astudillo introduced each other as did Mr. Dong and his mentor Commissioner Chung.


Because there are members who are absent at tonight’s meeting who also were absent at the retreat, they will have an opportunity to introduce their mentor/mentee at the July 15 meeting.


4.      Approval of April 15, 2008 Minutes (action item):


This item has been tabled to the July 15 meeting because the emailed draft minutes for the members’ review were not updated.


5.      Debriefing on the Annual Retreat and Adoption of the 2008-2009 Work Plan (Action Item):


Commissioner Chung expressed disappointed that less than half of the Committee was at the retreat despite the advance notice. She feels that since there are only 10 meetings within the term, there are few opportunities during the year in which members have to bond as a group, get to know each other individually, and to spend the day addressing issues to help better our communities. She hopes that the members can truly commit to being present at next year’s retreat.


Mr. Brinkin said that the work plan that was emailed to the members is tentative, that it wasn’t fully adopted since there were quite a few members absent from the retreat. He added that the work plan was drafted from the notes that were scribed on large sheets of paper to list the issues brought forth by each member. He hopes that all the issues listed on the work plan can be addressed since it is rather ambitious. The work groups aren’t micro-managed so there’s a lot of freedom to look at different resources and information and assess what is appropriate to follow-up or make further recommendations of other topics that may be beneficial under each topic. As each issue is reviewed, he asked members to think about which work group(s) they’d like to work on.


LGBT Youth Issues: Three issues were identified: 1) Identity formation and politics, 2) same-sex sexual abuse against children, and 3) verbal and physical violence against students in public schools. These issues may likely be addressed with a panel or a series of panels. Mr. Brinkin referenced a report entitled Investigation into the Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Youth that was produced by staff in 1997 that the work group can review to determine which findings and recommendations are still viable, which could help determine how to best address each issue brought forth. Committee volunteers include: Mr. Baty, Mr. Jones, Ms. Laureano, and Mr. Murphy. Ms. Babella will staff.


LGBT Familial Relationships: To present a town forum to look at and celebrate family structures other than marriage or domestic partnerships. In addition to the two types of relationships, families can be made up of kinship, friends, polyamory, etc., who often don’t get the same kinds of attention, rights and privileges, or support as those in marriage or domestic partnership. The work group would discuss its focus, the information presented, which presenters to invite, and public outreach. Committee volunteers include: Mr. Danfoura, Mr. Jones, Poonam, and Mr. Shaw.


Racism Within the LGBT Communities: To continue the Anti-Racism Work Group that last year began working on a diversity plan for businesses who serve the LGBT communities. They worked on the “We Agree” document that contains several precepts about businesses being open and welcoming to the diversity of our community and to engage businesses and community-based organizations to agree to these precepts as a way to increase the level of comfort in the Castro and elsewhere. Most of the members comprising the work group had left the Committee and the idea of reconstituting this work group and continuing the work already done or changing it was discussed at retreat. Inviting Supervisor Bevan Dufty and Alex Randolph, the Mayor’s Liaison to the LGBT Community, to become involved with the work group was also discussed. Committee volunteers include: Mr. Bajaj, Mr. Baty, Mr. Danfoura, Mr. Klees, Ms. Laureano, and Mr. Murphy. Mr. Brinkin will staff.


Marriage Equality: To plan a town hall educational meeting and perhaps co-sponsor the event with another organization currently working on this issue or to support their efforts if they’ve begun work in educating the community. Commissioner Chung asked that the work group give monthly updates to the rest of the Committee. Mr. Brinkin said that this work group would only meet once or twice especially if another organization is currently working on this issue. He added that members from various religious organizations, either in support or against same-sex marriage, can be invited to speak before the Committee. Committee volunteers include: Commissioner Dunlop, Mr. Astudillo, Mr. Danfoura, Mr. Dong, Jr., and Mr. Guggenheim. Commissioner Chung and Mr. Klees said this is their secondary choice topic. Ms. Babella will staff.


Bisexual Invisibility: Commissioners and staff will meet with Mr. Rawlings-Fein, Ms. Ulrich, and Mr. Shaw to draft a work plan which may involve a year-long plan to educate the community, form a group to draft a report with findings and recommendations to present to the Commissioners, or for the Commissioners to hold a public hearing. Mr. Brinkin will contact them as soon as possible.


Urban Planning: A panel discussion to look at San Francisco urban planning to address the lack of a visible women’s community when there used to be more visibility. Committee volunteers include: Mr. Bajaj, Mr. Danfoura, Mr. Dong, Jr., and Mr. Jones. Mr. Shaw indicated this would be his secondary topic.


Blood Banks: This was not discussed at retreat, but was added to the work plan after discussing the idea with the Commissioners because a summer intern who will be preparing a report on this issue. This has to do with the exclusion of men who have had sex with men from donating blood and how this is a form of discrimination. Mr. Murphy asked that bone marrow donating be looked into as well. Committee members include Mr. Murphy and Mr. Rawlings-Fein, but both expressed this topic as their secondary topic.


Testing of HIV+ People For CD4 / Viral Loads Without A Doctor’s Approval: A letter of concern to the DPH would be drafted asking them to send a representative to attend a Committee meeting to discuss this topic. Mr. Klees explained that when people get tested for HIV, they don’t get their viral load/cd4 counts because the CDC shows that there is a correlation to knowing their viral load counts and engaging in risky behavior; this would be a link between prevention and care. Committee volunteers include: Mr. Danfoura and Mr. Klees. Commissioner Dunlop and Ms. Laureano indicated this as their secondary topic.


The Outreach Work Group will continue to exist as a standing committee and does not have to be voted on along with the rest of the work plan since outreach is an activity that needs to be done throughout the year on a continuous basis.


Mr. Brinkin said that the work plan highlights goals for the year; however, if not every issue is addressed this year, they can be revisited in next year’s term.


Ms. Laureano moved to adopt the 2008-2009 Work Plan. Mr. Klees seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


Mr. Brinkin asked that members who haven’t yet decided which work group(s) to participate in can email their decision to him by Friday, May 23.


6.      Approval of Letter of Concern to the Health Commission regarding HIV/AIDS/STD advertisements being stigmatizing (Action Item):


Mr. Brinkin said that the revised letter sent to the Committee members contains comments submitted by Committee members. After much discussion, Commissioner Chung felt that the Committee is not ready to adopt the letter and asked that this item be tabled until next meeting. She asked that members who are interested in working on the letter get together to form an ad hoc group to finalize the letter. Commissioner Dunlop, Mr. Brinkin, Mr. Jones, and Mr. Klees will work on a draft and give a report in July.


7.      Discussion of S.F. Pride Day Activities (Discussion Item):


Ms. Babella said that this year’s Pride Parade will be held on Sunday, June 29 and that staff submitted the paperwork to have a contingent march in the parade. In order to have a successful contingent, she asked that members provide outreach by inviting family, friends, partners, coworkers, etc., to march with the contingent. An Evite will be sent out to everyone so that they can RSVP if they’re available to march. She asked if anyone has access to, or knows someone who owns a convertible and if so, to find out if they’d like to march in the parade with us. Staff may rent one; however, there’s no guarantee that a convertible would be available on the day of the parade. Mr. Jones volunteered to contact Zipcar to find out if they’d be willing to donate the use of a convertible for the day since it would be free advertising for them. Commissioner Turman was elected as one of the grand marshals this year and may want to have the HRC contingent march with him. Mr. Brinkin said that staff worked on signs that were carried at last year’s parade that mention the various services provided by staff. Pocket-sized wallet cards will be passed out to the crowd along the parade route with information about the HRC and the work it does. Commissioner Chung said that marching is a great way of getting the word out about the HRC because of the contact marchers would have with the public. Ms. Babella said that contingent safety monitors are needed if we’re to march in the parade; one safety monitor per every 25 marchers as well as four wheel monitors to walk next to each wheel of the vehicle. She asked for volunteers to take a safety monitor training as soon as the dates and times become available. Staff and members of the other three standing committees will be asked to participate as well. Members were reminded to check their email messages for training and parade details since there won’t be a Committee meeting before Pride.


8.      Outreach Work Group Report:


Mr. Murphy reported that he, Mr. Klees, and Mr. Jones attended the meeting and that Commissioner Chung and Ms. Babella gave them background on the activities performed past year. They discussed building an outreach plan for the year. Their next meeting will be on Wednesday, June 4 at 5:30 p.m.


9.      Anti-Racism Work Group Report:


Mr. Brinkin announced that the next meeting of the group would be in June, and that he would inform members when a date is confirmed.


10.  Commissioners Report:


Commissioner Chung reported that at their last meeting, they adopted a set of bylaws which includes a 5-year term limit for Committee members. Once a member has reached his/her term limit, they’re off the Committee for a year; this is so that members can be rejuvenated when they return to serve one to give other community members a chance to serve. The Commission is looking at ways to support same-sex marriage efforts before the November election. There will be the unveiling of a bust of Harvey Milk on Thursday, May 22, at 6 p.m., in City Hall.


11.  Staff Report:


Mr. Brinkin reported that Therese Stewart will be at the Commission meeting on Thursday, May 23, 4:30 p.m., in Room 416 at City Hall to discuss the same-sex marriage decision. Ten to 12 LGBT sensitivity trainings will be given to all parking control officers at DPT. Staff member natoyiniinastumiik spoke at the Castro Senior Center on a panel of LGBT elders. Shameka Williams was hired by the Director as the new Receptionist. Budget issues continue to be difficult; there are, so far, no layoffs, but several open positions will remain unfilled. However, permission was given to fill a vacant Representative position in the Housing Unit and interviews are being conducted this week. There is a proposal by the City for all employees to take some furlough days off, or unpaid days, in order to help balance the budget.


12.  Old/New Business:


No Old/New Business was discussed.


13.  Announcements:


Mr. Astudillo announced that CUAV has just released its annual report on anti-LGBT violence that can be found on their website, Commissioner Chung said that they are working on getting representatives from CUAV to make a presentation at the August 19 Committee meeting. Commissioner Chung announced that she is a member of Mayor Newsom’s methamphetamine task force and is concerned because the group lacks African-American, transgender, and Asian/Pacific Islander representation. She encouraged interested Committee members to sit on the task force as a Committee representative. Mr. Klees announced that a neurologist friend of his is conducting a study on people with HIV and needs Asian male participants.


14.  Adjournment:


The meeting was adjourned at 7:29 p.m.