Online Extra: Political Notes: Drag queen Juanita More raises her political voice
by Matthew S. Bajko
Juanita More, one of San Francisco's more famous drag queens and a beloved nightlife promoter, is stepping up her involvement in local politics ahead of the November election.
While largely known for the parties she hosts and the special dinner gatherings she throws, as well as cooks for, More for years has also been involved in the political arena. From endorsing candidates to posting her own voting guides, More hasn't shied away from engaging with voters.
And this election season has been no different. In January More participated in the Bay Area Reporter's Political Notebook's annual column of political predictions, coming out of the closet as a "political junkie" and acknowledging that "predicting fashion trends is not my only forte."
(She correctly predicted that Hillary Clinton would secure the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, despite her "love" for Clinton's more progressive opponent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. But she failed to see Donald Trump securing the Republican nomination instead believing Florida Senator Marco Rubio had the lock on it.)
Ahead of the June primary, More made it known she was backing Supervisor Jane Kim over gay Supervisor Scott Wiener in their bid for the city's Senate District 11 seat. She has only become more vocal about her endorsement of Kim in the months since Kim surprised the local political establishment by placing first in the primary.
In late August More penned a column for the Huffington Post explaining her support for Kim, noting how she is "in love with her for wearing heels just as high as mine and even more in love with her view on SF politics."
More recently she came out against local Proposition Q, aimed at removing homeless tent encampments from city streets. The measure is "uncaring and mean-spirited, and it does nothing to address our housing crisis," wrote More in a September 9 blog entry on the Huffington Post.
Yet More's expressing her political views isn't always appreciated, as she noted in a Facebook post earlier this month.
"OMG!! Someone asked me today to 'dial back my political voice!' WTF! What part of Juanita More has ever been dialed back!" she wrote.
Her flair for politics will be on evidence at several candidate events More will be hosting in the coming weeks.
"It's definitely not that someone told me to dial it down. I've been posting a voting guide the past couple of elections. And I think you know I'm not shy about voicing my opinion on just about anything," More told the B.A.R. "I'm just as fed up with big money in San Francisco and am just letting people know how I feel about that."
The first event, on Wednesday, September 28, will be a happy hour get-together with various candidates on the November ballot that More has christened "Dial It Up! Celebrating the Future of SF Politics."
"This is not the time to dial it down if we want to keep San Francisco the city that we can call home. Let's Dial it UP and let these candidates know we have their backs!" wrote More on the Facebook page for the event.
Among those expected to attend include Kim; lesbian District 11 supervisor candidate Kimberly Alvarenga; gay BART board candidate Bevan Dufty; gay school board candidate Mark Sanchez ; and out City College board candidates Tom Temprano, Shanell Williams , and Rafael Mandelman , an incumbent who currently chairs the board.
(A longer list of those politicos expected to attend can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/1790657127886150/)
Free to attend, the candidate get-together will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Starlight Room atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, located at 450 Powell Street near San Francisco's Union Square. The venue is where More now hosts a weekly post-work happy hour on Wednesdays.
"I still think that nobody listens to me. So when the people I endorsed all said they would be there – I was still surprised. But that's just me," More told the B.A.R.
Then on Saturday, October 1, More and fellow drag queen GlamaMore will be performing "a full-fantasy drag makeover" of Kim at their event PowerBlouse, followed by Kim doing a lip-sync performance.
The benefit – which costs $5 at the door – for Q Foundation (formerly AIDS Housing Alliance/SF), will take place from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Powerhouse, 1347 Folsom Street, in San Francisco's South of Market district.
More, of course, isn't the only local drag queen flexing her star power this political season. A number of drag luminaries have banded together to co-host a fundraiser for Wiener later this month. Among them are Carnie Asada, Pat N Leather , B.A.R. society columnist Donna Sachet , Au Jus, BeBe Sweetbriar, and Khmera Rouge, who is also featured in an LGBT-focused video Wiener's campaign released.
Dubbed the "Scott Wiener for State Senate LGBTQ Community Celebration," the event will run from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, September 28 at Castro gay bar Beaux, located at 2344 Market Street. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online at https://scottwiener.nationbuilder.com/beaux.
SF candidate forums set
The League of Women Voters San Francisco has announced details for several candidate forums it will be co-hosting later this month and in October.
In partnership with Golden Gate University, the league will bring together candidates for the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education for a forum at 6:30 p.m. Monday, September 26 at Golden Gate University's campus at 536 Mission Street.
Wednesday, September 28 it will co-host a forum with UCSF between the Board of Supervisors District 5 candidates at 6:30 p.m. inside Cole Hall in UCSF's Medical Sciences Building, located at 513 Parnassus Avenue.
The league and UCSF will also co-host a forum with candidates for the Board of Supervisors District 7 seat at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 6. It will also take place in Cole Hall.
The University of San Francisco has teamed with the league to sponsor the forum with candidates for the Board of Supervisors District 1 seat. It will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 13 inside Xavier Auditorium on USF's campus at 2130 Fulton Street.
The league has invited all candidates for each race to participate. The events are free and open to the public. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, and audience members will be able to submit written questions.
Each forum will also be live-streamed online and the videos will later be posted at https://www.youtube.com/user/leagueofwomenvotersf.
For more information, and links to the live streams for each forum, visit http://www.lwvsf.org.
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Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.