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S.A.M.E. Hosts Victory Celebration for Marriage Equality Protesters (tags)

The San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) held a victory celebration September 21 at the Bamboo Lounge in Hillcrest after San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith dropped all charges against the Equality Nine, protesters who were arrested at the San Diego County Clerk's office August 19, 2010 for showing up to request marriage licenses or support others doing so, including same-sex couples who had appointments. The event featured five of the Equality Nine and also Queer-rights pioneers Leo Laurence and Pat Brown, who led militant Queer-liberation demonstrations in San Francisco months before the Stonewall riots.

“EQUALITY NINE VICTORY CELEBRATION” AT BAMBOO LOUNGE IN HILLCREST SEPTEMBER 21 (tags)

San Diego's Queer community is celebrating the end of the Equality Nine case Friday, September 21, 7 to 9 p.m. at the Bamboo Lounge, 1475 University Avenue in Hillcrest. After having criminal charges hanging over their heads for more than two years, the six remaining members of the Equality Nine are finally free thanks to the city dismissing the case in late August.

It Didn't All Start at Stonewall! audio links (tags)

An audio version of the January 16 event at Pleasures and Treasures, sponsored by Activist San Diego, at which Leo Laurence and Pat Brown talked about their experiences doing militant Queer activism in San Francisco months before the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City, commonly but wrongly believed to be the beginning of the Queer rights movement in the U.S., is now available at the following links.

Queer Liberation Started in San Francisco, Not Stonewall (tags)

The legend says America's — and the world's — Queer liberation movement began with the riot at the Stonewall Inn bar in New York City in June 1969. But three months before, militant Queer activists in San Francisco had launched the Committee for Homosexual Freedom (CHF) and mounted the first-ever picket against a private employer for discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Leo Laurence and Pat Brown, two veterans of that movement, brought their story to Activist San Diego June 16.

Rally Kicks Off San Diego Pride Events (tags)

San Diego's Queer (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Pride events kicked off Friday, July 15 at a rally on the pride festival site in Balboa Park. The featured speakers were New Age author and credentialed minister Marianne Williamson, who talked about marriage equality as a straight supporter who has performed same-sex weddings, and Daniel Hernandez, the young, openly Gay aide to Congressmember Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) who saved her life when she was shot at an outdoor rally in January. But the most powerful speaker was former San Diego Democratic Club president Larry Baza, who powerfully expressed the history of the Queer rights movement and the challenges it faces in the future.

Yet Another Gay/Queer ?History? Book Perpetuates Old Myths (tags)

Yet another so-called ?Gay history? book, Michael Bronski?s ?A Queer History of the United States,? recycles the tired New York-centric myth that the Queer Liberation movement sprung full-blown from the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City. Leo E. Laurence, who was present at the REAL creation of Queer liberation in San Francisco in March 1969, three months BEFORE Stonewall, comments on Bronski?s book and offers Lambda Literary Award finalist Gale Whittington?s ?Beyond Normal? as an accurate source for the real birth of Gay Lib.

Over 200 Turn Out for Matthew Shepard Memorial in San Diego (tags)

Over 200 San Diegans marched in Hillcrest October 12, 2010 to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard, target of an especially brutal Queer-bashing attack in Wyoming, and to honor the lives lost to Queer-bashing, bullying and teen suicide. The event featured two marches, a preliminary rally outside Obelisk Bookstore (site of a memorial plaque to John Robert Wear, 17-year-old killed in a Queer-related assault in 1991) and a program at San Diego’s LGBT Center that featured speakers including Terry Summers, a personal acquaintance of Matthew Shepard.

“Equality Nine” Marriage Rights Demonstrators to be Arraigned Sept. 30 (tags)

The “Equality Nine” — Michael Anderson, Brian Baumgardner, Sean Bohac, Felicity Bradley, Kelsey Hoffman, Mike Kennedy, Zakiya Khabir, Chuck Stemke, and Cecile Veillard — are activists with the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (SAME) who were arrested at a sit-in outside the San Diego County Clerk's office August 19. They're scheduled for arraignment at the San Diego County Courthouse, 220 West Broadway downtown, Thursday, September 30, and they want supporters to come to the plaza outside the courthouse at noon that day to show support.

Pride Goeth Before a Fall (tags)

The current controversy over San Diego LGBT Pride is not only jeopardizing the future of the Pride events and potentially pitting board members against community volunteers in a potentially ruinous conflict, it's also opening doors for a real reconsideration of how Pride should be run and what its purpose should be. The author argues for an end to the self-perpetuating board of directors that currently runs Pride, a membership organization made up of volunteers and contributors, and a rethinking of the Pride events to emphasize community outreach and a celebration of Pride's liberationist origins as well as moneymaking and entertainment.

Gay Liberation DIDN’T Begin at Stonewall!!! (tags)

The commercial interests who have taken over the Queer rights movement have a vested interest in promoting the myth that it all started with the riots at the Stonewall Inn bar in New York City in June 1969. But a group of activists who were present at the REAL foundation of Gay Liberation in San Francisco in early 1969 are coming together in an organization called "Project History" to set the record straight. Leo Laurence, Gale Whittington and Pat Brown are active in a project that will, among other things, reclaim the Queer movement's radical history and its alignments with the Black Panther Party and other militant Left groups of the time.

Queer Democrats Endorse Busby for Congress — Barely (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club narrowly endorsed Francine Busby in her fourth attempt to unseat an incumbent Republican Congressmember in San Diego North County's 50th Congressional District. Her supporters promoted her as the most electable candidate because she's built up a large following of volunteers and contributors in the district; her opponents said she'd fudged the question of same-sex marriage equality on the club's questionnaire while her primary opponent, Tracy Emblem, had answered it forthrightly.

One and One-Half Class Citizen (tags)

The California Supreme Court decision on May 26 upholding the validity of Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage voters approved in last November’s election, but also ruling that the estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages in California between June 15 and November 4, 2008 were still legal, left the same-sex couples who got married in time (including this author) in an anomalous position. We can’t really call ourselves second-class citizens because our marriages are still in force, but we can’t call ourselves first-class citizens either because other couples with love and mutual commitment equal to our own can no longer follow suit. In a sense, the voters and the courts have granted us “special rights” we neither wanted nor expected.

Over 70 Activists Stage Marriage Equality Sit-in at S.D. County Clerk’s Office (tags)

Over 70 marriage equality activists occupied the office of the San Diego County Clerk Wednesday, May 27 as a protest against the California Supreme Court’s ruling that Proposition 8, which restricts marriage in California to one man and one woman, is constitutional. Michael Anderson and Brian Baumgardner led the action by demanding a marriage license, and other Queer couples followed suit. The event ended peacefully, with no arrests, when the crowd dispersed an hour after the official closing time of the building.

"Father of Gay Leather" Makes Rare Public Appearance (tags)

Larry Townsend, author of "The Leatherman's Handbook" and many other pioneering works about Gay Leather sexuality, made a rare public appearance March 13 in San Diego to honor outgoing Mr. San Diego Leather, Lee Butler. He talked about the ways the Leather community has evolved in his nearly five decades in it, and particularly the responsibility of older Leathermen to steer young people away from drugs and STD's.

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