City and County of San FranciscoHuman Rights Commission

LGBT Committee Member Profiles

2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advisory Committee

Minutes of the September 21, 2004 Meeting

Committee Members Present: Commissioner Cecilia Chung, Commissioner Pat Norman, Dora Balcazar, Sally Buchmann, David Cameron, Ben Chan, Julie Frank, Becky Freund, Ted Guggenheim, Danny Kirchoff, Aidan Kotler, Nancy Lawlor, Patrick Mulcahey, Ellise Nicholson, Ren Phoenix, Aleem Raja, Jorge Romero-Lozano, Stephen Schwichow, Brooklynne Thomas, Lauren Williams.

Committee Members Absent: Johnny Pratt (Excused), Morningstar Vancil (Excused)

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

Guests Present: Rob Amperand, Ray Dolan, Steve Harlow, Eli seMbessikwini, Steven Tierney.

  1. Call to Order and Roll Call:

    Commissioner Norman called the meeting to order at 5:40 p.m. Mr. Brinkin called the roll.

  2. Approval of Minutes of August 17, 2004:

    Aidan Kotler moved to approve the minutes as written. David Cameron seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

  3. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda:

    Eli seMbessikwini, a member of the Intersex Task Force, asked permission to film the October panel, Beyond the Sex and Gender Paradigm. There was no objection to this request.

  4. Panel: Crystal Meth (CM) in the LGBT Communities:

    Patrick Mulcahey began with opening statements before introducing the panelists. (The panel was comprised of Steve Tierney, Director of HIV Prevention at DPH; Attorney Rob Amparand, a Board member from Positive Resources; Steve Harlow from New Leaf; and Ray Dolan, a recovering CM addict. Patrick perceived CM as a particular problem with homeless youth, that it is not being addressed as a crisis by providers, and that there is ambivalence in the LGBT communities. He read a statement from a CM user who discussed the troubles that CM use had caused in his life.

    Steve Tierney discussed the difficulty in getting stories from addicts – out of 30 clients, only two stories were shared with him. According to a statement from "John" CM was only part of bigger economic problems – having sex and getting high are free. John uses CM for work and sex. He does not want to be seen as a "tweaker."

    Rob Amparand stated that men who offered CM to friends are being prosecuted as dealers, and that he does not see this as the solution. He saw the rise of CM use among gay men corresponding with the decline of employment when self-esteem declined as well. Mr. Amparand described situations where men buy in bulk for friends and face charges for distribution. Police use fear to muster arrests, and many clients are incarcerated because their addictions caused them to miss important court dates. He recommended focusing on treatment instead of enforcement, and creating gay-focused residential treatment programs that do not demonize the addiction.

    Steve Harlow is Director of Substance Abuse Services at New Leaf. He stated that the stories from addicts are similar. He identified loneliness, isolation, internalized homophobia, lack of social skills, early childhood trauma, high HIV+ prevalence, and other factors as major contributors to CM addiction among gay men. Mr. Harlow was uncertain of exact numbers in SF but pointed out that in NYC, 40% of gay men sampled admitted to having used CM at least once. He estimated that New Leaf receives more than 1,800 calls annually regarding CM addiction. He quoted 239 intakes last year, and stated that 21% drop out of treatment within 30 days. He stressed a need for gay-specific residential treatment programs.

    Steve Tierney stated that CM was not a new drug but the problem was new to the community. Though an 18-month treatment program is proven most successful in addressing CM addiction, there are no such programs in California for youth, and none exists in SF for adults. He estimated that 12-13% of gay men in SF are CM addicts, or nearly 6,000 people in SF, though no research has been done in LB&T communities. Mr. Tierney stated his belief that the debate needs to change in the gay community that it is acceptable to use CM. He stated that there was a higher relapse rate than other drugs, and that use is more dangerous with youthful addicts.

    Mr. Tierney stated that CM addiction among gay men has been prioritized by the Department of Public Health and that they have created an incentive program to get off CM addiction.

  5. Intersex Public hearing – Update on Report:

    Marcus Arana reported that the Task Force was editing the draft report, and was busy with working on the Findings and Recommendations. He estimated that the report will be presented to the LGBTAC on Tuesday, November 16, 2004.

  6. Planning for October panel: Beyond the Binary:

    David Cameron reported that he has invited three panelists and reminded the members that the meeting in October will be filmed by Eli seMbessikwini. They hope to use the tape as an educational tool.

  7. Commissioner’s Report:

    Commissioner Norman reported that the last Commission meeting was very busy, with a great deal of anger and feedback from the public regarding the HRC’s enforcement of its disadvantaged business and employment programs.

  8. Staff Report:

    Larry Brinkin reminded the members that the Racism Task Force will meet on Thursday, September 30, 2004 starting at 5:30 p.m. He also detailed his meeting with a delegation from Germany to follow-up on their conference in Berlin in June 2004. Mr. Brinkin also mentioned that the letter to Rutherford Publishing had not been approved by the Commissioners due to lack of quorum. Sally Buchmann reported that the August version of the Total Wellness newsletter did not have a column from James Dobson.

  9. Old/New Business:

    No Old/New Business was discussed.

  10. Announcements:

    Ren Phoenix announced that she’s been in touch with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and is expecting some training materials from them to help her write a letter on sex-positive awareness. She also announced that the Folsom Street Fair will be held at the end of the month and the various events surrounding the weekend.

    Commissioner Chung announced that a rally will be held at the LGBT Community Center called "Castro For Everyone" on Friday, October 1. A march will proceed from the Center to Harvey Milk Plaza. She then distributed fliers for an event, "An Evening With Friends", being held on Tuesday, September 28, at the LGBT Community Center.

    David Cameron announced that a film based on the life on Mani Bruce Mitchell titled "Mani’s Story: Yellow is for Hermaphrodites" will be shown on October 2, at 2:00 p.m. at the Koret Auditorium in the lower level of the S.F. Public Main Library.

    Patrick Mulcahey announced that the Transcendence Gospel Choir will have a concert on Wednesday, October 6, at Most Holy Redeemer at 7:30 p.m.

    Ted Guggenheim announced his new job with the LGBT Tobacco Education Partnership then distributed fliers for their open house/lunch event being held on Thursday, September 30, at the LGBT Community Center.

    Aidan Kotler announced that Genderblast will be held on Saturday, November 20 and that the deadline to submit workshop proposals for the event is October 20.

  11. Adjournment:

The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 p.m.