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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.
On Sunday, June 2, thousands of people lined Pacific Avenue for the 39th annual Santa Cruz Pride parade and festival presented by the Diversity Center
of Santa Cruz. A wide range of organizations participated in the parade, including a contingent raising awareness and support for political prisoner Bradley Manning. Manning is openly gay and has participated in Pride marches and campaigned against the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” restrictions on gay military personnel.
The Bradley Manning Support Network writes, "Nobel Peace Prize nominee PFC Bradley Manning, a 25-year-old Army intelligence analyst, who released the Collateral Murder video that shows the killing of unarmed civilians and two Reuters journalists, by a US Apache helicopter crew in Iraq. Manning also shared documents known as the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, and a series of embarrassing US diplomatic cables. These documents were published by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, and they have illuminated such issues as the true number and cause of civilian casualties in Iraq, along with a number of human rights abuses by U.S.-funded contractors and foreign militaries, and the role that spying and bribes play in international diplomacy. Given the war crimes exposed by these documents, PFC Bradley Manning should be given a medal of honor."
Read More with Photos
Previous Coverage: Santa Cruz Pride 2012: Life Gets Better Together
The newly revived ACT UP/San Francisco celebrated their one year anniversary with a demonstration for affordable housing on April 20. The event was aimed at drawing attention to the impact of increasing evictions and rental price increases in San Francisco on people living with HIV/AIDS. The group, and a coalition of supporting LGBT and housing rights organizations, began at 16th and Mission Street and worked their way up to Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro. The marchers, who took to the streets chanting 'Housing is a right, housing is a right, ACT UP!' and 'Housing equals healthcare and eviction equals death!', made multiple stops along the way.
ACT UP offered a critique of San Francisco's City government, especially District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, a gay man who the group feels has turned a blind eye to evictions in his neighborhood. Featured speakers called on San Francisco's elected officials to move towards a moratorium on evictions where just cause is not proven, while looking towards curtailing market rate housing development in order to even out the market.