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Online Extra: Political Notes: CA LGBT Dems elect trans, bi co-chairs

by Matthew S. Bajko

Evan Minton is the northern California co-chair of the<br>state Democratic Party's LGBT Caucus.
Evan Minton is the northern California co-chair of the
state Democratic Party's LGBT Caucus.  

The election of an out gay man as chair of the California Democratic Party during the recent state convention wasn't the only newsworthy vote to occur. The seating of a transgender and a bisexual co-chair of the state party's LGBT Caucus reportedly marks the first time in the country that a political party's LGBT Caucus has a transgender person and a bisexual person in charge.

Evan Minton, a transgender man who grew up in the Bay Area and now lives in Sacramento, was elected to his first full-term as northern California co-chair of the California Democratic Party's LGBT Caucus. He has made headlines since the fall for publicly documenting his transition and more recently for suing Dignity Health after the San Francisco-based health care nonprofit canceled his hysterectomy.

Denise Penn, a well-known bisexual activist and journalist in Long Beach, was elected as the caucus' southern California co-chair. She had been serving as a vice-chair of the caucus.

Two out East Bay leaders were also elected to executive positions with the LGBT Caucus. Brendalynn Goodall , a lesbian and the longtime president of the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club, was re-elected as the caucus treasurer.

Tiffany Woods, a transgender activist who made headlines for working with the Oakland Police Department to properly identify several gender-nonconforming victims of the Ghost Ship fire, was elected as caucus secretary. She succeeds Debra Broner, a lesbian who is now the caucus' northern California vice chair and the state party's Region 1W director in Marin and Sonoma counties.

Serving as the southern California vice chair is Craig Roberts, a gay man who is a past chair of San Diego Democrats for Equality. Roberts is also the state party's Region 20 director.

Moving forward the LGBT Caucus plans to add "Q," which stands for queer, to its name and revise its bylaws so the rules governing the gender requirements for its board composition adhere to modern notions of gender. It is also pushing the state party to name more LGBT Democrats as members of its standing committees.

As for the election of longtime Los Angeles party activist Eric Bauman as the state chairman, it continues to be contested by his opponent, Richmond resident Kimberley Ellis , who lost by 62 votes. On Friday, Ellis said that Bauman had rejected her request for an independent audit of the election.

She had already formally challenged the election results and has claimed a review of the ballots by her supporters has found "alarming discrepancies and an amassing of ineligible voters," according to a statement her camp released June 2.

As the Lost Angeles Times reported, the party's six-member compliance review commission will examine the evidence and take oral or written testimony before issuing a ruling in mid- to late June.


Group targeting Rep. Issa hosts SF fundraiser

A new super PAC aiming to unseat California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa will be raising money in San Francisco this week.

Called Fight for a Better America, the national political organization is set up as a 501(c)4 and was co-founded by New York-based consultant John Newsome, a gay man who used to live in San Francisco and was a key organizer in the boycott of Castro gay bar Badlands for its alleged racist door policies. Also among the PAC's leaders is Daniel Frattin, a partner at San Francisco real estate law firm Reuben, Junius & Rose, LLP, and his husband, Hunter Gatewood, a health care consultant who owns the firm Signal Key Consulting.

Issa's San Diego-based House seat is one of seven GOP-held districts in California that Democrats are targeting to flip in the 2018 midterm elections. All of the Republican lawmakers voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, placing them in the crosshairs of the national Democratic Party.

Having narrowly won re-election last year, Issa is seen as particularly vulnerable. According to local media reports, two Democrats are expected to challenge him for his seat, environmental lawyer Mike Levin and Marine-turned-lawyer Doug Applegate , who fell short of defeating Issa in November by just 1,621 votes.

As the super PAC notes on its website, "The District is going through rapid political realignment and is highly winnable. Despite cruising to a 20-point victory in 2014, Issa only won CA-49 by less than 1 point in 2016. Moreover, (Democratic presidential candidate Hillary ) Clinton won CA-49 â€" by 7.5 points!"

The local fundraiser for the super PAC will take place at 10 p.m. Thursday, June 8, at Castro gay bar the Edge, 4149 18th Street. Drag queen Sue Casa of the Monster Show is serving as host.

For more information about the group, visit its website at


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Got a tip on LGBT politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or e-mail



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