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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.
Labor Representatives Under Attack, Seek Queer Democrats’ Help (tags)
Three San Diego union leaders — Central Labor Council CEO/secretary-treasurer Lorena Gonzalez, Municipal Employees’ Association general manager Michael Zucchet, and SEIU Local 221 head Eric Banks — spoke to the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club April 28 on the state of the local labor movement. They focused on the attacks on public workers by the Republican party and the radical Right, which is aimed not only at driving public-sector wages and benefits below those offered by the private sector but also denying the one source of substantial campaign funding available to Democrats and thereby winning elections by eliminating effective competition. They also talked about the Right-wing bias of San Diego’s media and their success in demonizing public workers’ pensions as the source of San Diego’s financial ills.
San Diego’s Queer Democrats Discuss Election Aftermath (tags)
The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club heard from three local experts — San Diego County Democratic Party chair Jess Durfee, San Diego CityBeat editor David Rolland and political consultant Jennifer Tierney — on the aftermath of the June 8 primary election at their regular meeting June 24. The discussion centered mainly on how Democratic candidates like state gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown and local City Council candidate Howard Wayne can overcome the vast advantage of Republican money — and, in Brown's case, the multi-billion dollar personal fortune of his opponent, Meg Whitman. The club also took a position against SB 1070, the controversial anti-immigrant law recently passed by the Arizona state legislature.
Over 50 Attend Whitburn Fundraiser in Hillcrest March 28 (tags)
Stephen Whitburn, openly Gay candidate for the Fourth Supervisorial District in San Diego County, held a fundraiser for his campaign Sunday, March 28 at the Bamboo Lounge in Hillcrest. Despite vicious attacks from supposedly “progressive” media outlets in both the straight and Queer communities, the event was a success, drawing more than 50 people who roared their support for Whitburn's opposition to the proposed Merriam Mountains development — a plan to blast off the tops of mountains to build houses on them — and the practice of Supervisors to accept gifts from individuals, organizations and corporations who directly benefit from the Board's decisions.
Town-Hall Meeting Bitterly Critical of Pride Board (tags)
San Diego's annual Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Pride celebrations have been jeopardized by a community controversy over a $5,000 payment authorized by the board to its chair, Dr. Philip Princetta. The board fired Pride's executive director, Ron deHarte, on January 5, one day after he wrote a letter calling the payment "self-dealing" and questioning its legality. Two other Pride staff members resigned in support, and on Sunday, January 10 members of San Diego's Queer and Queer-allied communities had a chance to weigh in on the controversy. With none of the current board members there to hear the community speakers or express their own version of the events, the meeting turned into a series of condemnations of the board members and a vote to ask that deHarte be reinstated — but many people there were frustrated that the structure of the board doesn't give the community any recourse that doesn't also hurt the Pride events themselves.
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.
Michelle Jackson: Sign-Language Interpreter, First Female San Diego Leatherboys President (tags)
Michelle Jackson knew she was going to be interested in languages from the age of five,when her father took her across the border from San Diego to Tijuana and she heard Spanish for the first time. In college she studied American Sign Language (ASL) and ultimately made her living as an interpreter for the deaf community. It was a job she took to interpret at a San Diego Leatherfest that led her to the Leather/kink/BDSM community — and she's become an energetic activist in it, serving as Ms. San Diego Leather 2005 and recently being elected the first female president of the San Diego Leatherboys.
Death of an AIDS Dissident (tags)
A meditation on the recent death of H.E.A.L. [Health, Education, AIDS Liaison]-San Diego board member Jerry Colinard and the insistence that, as David Crowe of Rethinking AIDS and the Alberta Reappraising AIDS Society put it in a recent interview for Zenger's Newsmagazine, “If you’re an HIV-positive dissident, you’re not allowed to die of anything else other than AIDS.” Originally published as an editorial in the August 2009 issue of Zenger's Newsmagazine.
SAME Meeting Challenges Queer Establishment, Democratic Party (tags)
The San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (SAME) hosted a meeting at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center June 23 that was billed as a response to Proposition 8 and a discussion of the future of marriage equality in California — but it also turned into a radical response to the Queer establishment in general and the Courage Campaign in particular. Lesbian activist Robin Tyler, who was one of the lead plaintiffs in the suit that briefly won marriage rights for same-sex couples in California, criticized the strategies and tactics of the Courage Campaign and denounced the Democratic party as having screwed over Queer people for 35 to 40 years, She called for the Queer community to cut ties with the Democrats once and for all.
Doctors' Group Gives Awards to AIDS "Dissidents" (tags)
San Diego alternative AIDS activist Michael Geiger reported on his visit to Washington, D.C. in May to watch researcher Peter Duesberg and journalist Celia Farber win Semmelweis Awards for their courage in challenging the conventional wisdom about AIDS. The awards arenamed for 19th century doctor Ignaz Semmelweis, who was driven out of medicine and put in an asylum for demanding that doctors wash their hands between patients.
“Those People’ (tags)
The controversy surrounding Barack Obama and his long-time minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and the speed with which New York governor Elliot Spitzer was forced out of office after he was revealed to be using prostitutes, just shows how screwed-up Americans are about race and sex. Even within the Queer community, bigotry exists, as shown when a board member of a San Diego nonprofit questioned whether her agency should accept donations from the Leather community and referred to Leatherpeople as "those people."
"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.
SDSU Queer Leaders Castro, Tjarks Speak (tags)
An interview with the leaders of the San Diego State University Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Student Union (LGBTSU), president Isaac Castro and secretary and acting vice-president Nikki Tjarks, discussing recent hate incidents and the university administration's lack of support for the Queer community on campus.
Queer Administrator at SDSU Attacked (tags)
When a student newspaper at San Diego State University published a letter attacking an openly Gay administrator, fraternity/sorority coordinator Doug Case, the Queer communities on campus and throughout San Diego responded and confronted the paper's staff members at a November 14 town-hall meeting on campus. They've scheduled a "Rally Against Hate" at SDSU December 3 to protest this and other hate incidents against Queer SDSU students.