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On July 1, hundreds came together in spirit, unity, and love to transform the unacceptable destruction of the mural on the outside wall of Galeria de La Raza in the Mission District of San Francisco. The mural installed by the Los Angeles Maricon Collective is a celebration of LGBTQ people, and accompanies the presentation in the Galeria, The Q-Sides.
Supervisor David Campos and staff brought the community together. He spoke of the pain this act caused him as a gay man who could not come out until he was 26 years old. Campos and every speaker emphasized that unity must be maintained in the Mission, healing with love not revenge, even though the vandalism was a hate crime
Trans man, Lucindo, spoke of the deep emotions, pain, and scars the mural image of the trans Latino man brought up inside. René Yañez, a founder of Galeria de la Raza, spoke its history and that the Galeria has always celebrated our differences and maintained our love for the Mission and one another.
Read More with Photos | More Photos and Video
Same-sex weddings took place across the country after the Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that all 50 states must now permit LGBTQ couples "the fundamental right to marry." The historic decision puts an end to marriage equality bans that remained in 14 states, impacting tens of thousands of couples. The plaintiff in the case, Jim Obergefell, celebrated the victory: "Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court affirms what millions across this country already know to be true in our hearts: Our love is equal..."
After the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on marriage equality, many LGBT organizers are now redirecting their attention to obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in areas of employment, housing and commerce. Nationwide, anti-discrimination laws for gay people are inconsistent and unequal with only 22 states barring discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Locally, activists want to shift the focus to issues that LGBT immigrants face in detention centers across the U.S. Transgender activists indicate that LGBTQ immigrant detainees are uniquely vulnerable to abuse, including sexual assault, while in custody. In prison settings, non-heterosexual prison inmates report sexual assault is higher than heterosexual inmates, with almost 40 percent of transgender inmates in prisons are sexually assaulted.
In San Francisco, kicking off Pride weekend on June 26 was a trans rally and march. As is custom, the rally was held in Dolores Park, then the Trans March worked its way through the streets of the Mission into downtown SF. The San Francisco Trans March is San Francisco’s largest transgender Pride event and one of the largest trans events in the entire world.
LGBTQ Weddings, Pride Celebrations Follow Historic Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality |
Chelsea Manning Contingent in the SF Pride Parade |
Armed Trans People Will Not Get Bashed! |
Trans Pride SF 2015 - audio from the stage and march |
Stonewall Was a RIOT: No Pride in Police Brutality |
Transgender Immigrants Taking A Stand Against Abuse: Trans March 2015 |
Trans March! 2015 |
Open Letter to SF Pride (re: Pink Brick for AirBnB)
The Sisters for Perpetual Indulgence rallied in front of Facebook's headquarters on June 1 to demand that the social media company remove the fake-name reporting option and stop asking users for government IDs. They stood with representatives of the African-American and Native American communities to say that it's not fair that anybody can claim someone is using a fake name and report that person to Facebook for scrutiny.
Victims of domestic violence also called for a change to Facebook's policy requiring that members use only birth names. They said that using their real name exposes them to their abusers.
People should be able to remain anonymous, the protesters said. Many Native Americans have two-word last names that were sometimes handed down in tribal ceremonies. White separatists have been able to disable Native American Facebook accounts by reporting tribal names as "fake" to Facebook. Sam White Swan-Perkins quoted Native legal activist Chase Iron Eyes as having said, "we are just the messengers, our warriors haven’t even shown up, and that’s when Facebook is going to pay attention."
Read More with Photos and Video
According to the Transgender Law Center, five transgender women of color have been violently killed within the first two months of 2015 in the United States. One murder locally has rattled the nerves of the local transgender community. On February 1, Taja Gabrielle de Jesus was stabbed repeatedly by an unknown assailant while walking down a street in the Bayview district in San Francisco. The stabbing death has mobilized the local transgender community to address their concerns with the San Francisco city government.
Approximately 200 people rallied on the steps of city hall for Transgender Tuesday on February 10. A permit was requested for the event but was denied by the SF sheriff’s department purportedly because the Board of Supervisors were meeting that day. The rally was held anyway without a permit.
Murders Motivate Transgender Community |
Taja Gabrielle de Jesus Memorial Fund |
From the blockading of Google buses to the blockading of major freeways. From riots against white supremacy and police in Oakland to anti-tech and gentrification brawls in San Francisco, 2014 was an explosive year. Battles erupted in a variety of places and around various issues. This year in review looks at some of the key struggles and outbreaks of rebellion that shook the bay area to its core.
Claudia Tirado, a third grade teacher and tenant being evicted by Google's head of eDiscovery, Jack Halprin, queered her fight to remain in her home at the Folsom Street Fair on September 21. With other activists from Eviction Free San Francisco, Tirado handed out condoms for "eviction protection" at the annual kink and sex-positive SoMa fair in front of the Powerhouse bar. Halprin is active in the Powerhouse and leather community, and was part of the Powerhouse contingent during the 2014 Pride Parade. Eviction Free SF reported that many fair attendees agreed that housing is a queer issue and that it is unconscionable for Halprin to evict residents so that he can have a private mansion just three blocks from the Google bus stop at 18th and Dolores.
Halprin bought the 7-unit 812 Guerrero in 2012, and then illegally Owner-Move-In evicted one tenant, Susan, only days after her sister passed away. She filed a lawsuit against him, and won. In retaliation, he then proceeded to issue Ellis Act eviction notices to the other tenants in four other units in the building, including the unit where Claudia and her three-year-old son Valentino reside. Eviction Free SF has been demanding that Google pressure Halprin to rescind the eviction, utilizing tactics from bus blockades to demonstrations in Mountain View.
Read More |
Eviction Free San Francisco
In solidarity with Brazilians protesting the FIFA Would Cup, on June 29 a group of 12 queer radicals blockaded the Google FIFA Float at the San Francisco Pride Parade. "We couldn't pass up the opportunity to connect issues of gentrification and evictions in the Bay Area with the violent displacement of Brazilians who live in the Favelas. The Google/FIFA float was a perfect target for direct action to raise awareness about these issues!"
The World Cup has evicted over 150,000 working class and poor people from their communities, with some being killed in the process. El Sindicato dos Metroviários de São Paulo (or Subway Workers Union of Sao Paulo) was violently attacked by police when they went on strike against the World Cup and for better wages and benefits.
A solidarity demonstration is planned for the Subway Workers on Thursday, July 3
at 4pm at the Brazilian Counsulate in San Francisco.
Protest At San Francisco Brazilian Consulate: Stop Repression And Union Busting
On June 28, Kink.com sponsored an official San Francisco Pride event called “Pride at the Armory." It was a prison-themed dance party that invited attendees to “get incarcerated.” A backlash arose when the party was first announced, with declarations made to boycott Pride. Not content with boycotting, Gay Shame and LAGAI – Queer Insurrection called for a march to disrupt and shut down Pride at the Armory.
The protest began when Radical dykes broke off from the annual Dyke March and proceeded to 16th & Mission BART plaza to hold their own dance party. Around 10:30pm, nearly two hundred people marched up Mission Street to Kink's Armory building, chanting “Pro-sex, anti-prison, queers for abolition!” and handing out flyers in protest of the Kink party. SFPD, aided by private security, pushed the protest onto the adjacent sidewalks. Eventually, the streets were retaken and protesters marched back towards the BART plaza.
Upon the return to 16th and Mission, at least seven people were arrested, including a National Lawyers Guild Legal Observer. Several protesters were tackled, beaten, and bloodied. Four of the arrestees were released as of June 29. Others, with felony charges such as "lynching," were released on July 1.
Kink.com orders brutal police attack against trans and queer activists during SF Pride |
Queer & Trans Radicals Take The Streets Against Prison-Themed Party |
Gay Shame SF |
LAGAI – Queer Insurrection
The San Francisco Commonwealth Club hosted an event entitled "LGBT Rights in Israel: 25 Years of Progress and Challenges" on April 25 featuring Arthur Slepian, Executive Director and Founder of A Wider Bridge. Slepian's role is to go around promoting the idea that Israel is a progressive, democratic society because it has LGBT rights for Jewish citizens of Israel.
Queer activists and Palestinian queers call this "pinkwashing" — using Israel's liberal policies on sexuality and gender as a smokescreen to cover up its crimes against Palestinians, migrant workers, especially recently African migrants, and its apartheid system that legally discriminates between citizens on the basis of nationality and religion.
Activists handed out copies of a brochure called "The Truth About Gay Israel" as well as an article by Gheith Hilal of the Palestinian queer group, Al Qaws, laying out Eight Questions Palestinian Queers Are Tired of Hearing.