Political Notebook: San Francisco declares itself a transgender sanctuary city

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday June 12, 2024
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San Francisco is now a sanctuary city for transgender people. Photo: Courtesy OTI
San Francisco is now a sanctuary city for transgender people. Photo: Courtesy OTI

San Francisco supervisors have officially designated the city as a sanctuary for transgender and other gender-nonconforming individuals. A growing number of municipalities and states have taken a similar stance in reaction to the ongoing legislative assault against trans rights.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted 11-0 at its June 11 meeting to adopt a resolution authored by gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman declaring "San Francisco a sanctuary city and a place of safety for TGNCI2S people and providers of gender affirming care." The acronym also includes people who are intersex or two-spirit.

Gay District 4 Supervisor Joel Engardio had early on joined Mandelman in being a sponsor of the resolution. District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston, who represents the Tenderloin where the city's Transgender Cultural District is located, and District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton also signed on as early co-sponsors. By the board's vote Tuesday all 11 supervisors had done so.

Mandelman thanked his colleagues for their support at the meeting, as well as the community members who had helped craft the resolution.

As the Political Notebook first reported last week, Suzanne Ford, a transgender woman who is executive director of the city's LGBT Pride committee, had approached Mandelman with the idea for the resolution after seeing Sacramento declare itself a transgender sanctuary city in March and learning West Hollywood had done so last year. Mandelman's office also worked with the city's Office of Transgender Initiatives and members of its advisory committee on the language of the resolution.

It notes the hundreds of anti-trans laws that have been enacted in Republican-controlled states in recent years, and how both San Francisco and California lawmakers have moved to protect the rights of trans youth and adults.

"A 2022 Pew Research Center survey found that 1.6% of U.S. adults identify as transgender or nonbinary," notes the resolution, adding that, "As a result of anti-transgender legislation, many individuals and families are relocating to states that are more accepting and offer inclusive services."

Honey Mahogany, who is trans and became director of the mayoral trans office in May, noted at the board meeting during public comment that the trans community is "seeing unprecedented and targeted attacks" against it not only in the U.S. but in numerous countries around the world.

"San Francisco time and again has stood up for the trans community," said Mahogany, who asked the supervisors not only to adopt the resolution but also to keep it "in mind as we continue to go through a difficult budget season."

The resolution comes amid LGBTQ advocates' concerns about what services and programs may be impacted in the city's budget for the next two fiscal years as the supervisors and mayor work to address a deficit of $789 million. A balanced budget needs to be signed by Mayor London Breed by August 1.

Cherry Javier, a transfemme advocate who is the trans office's manager of community engagement, noted to the supervisors how the need is growing for the services trans individuals can access in San Francisco due to an increase in people moving to the city to find a more supportive environment. Local nonprofits have reported seeing an uptick in Russian-speaking trans individuals accessing their services, said Javier, while housing needs have been growing particularly among those who are Spanish speakers.

"We have seen that there has been a very large increase from people coming from other states and other countries to San Francisco," said Javier.

Sandra Hall, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in gender-affirming mental health and is a social work supervisor with social medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, had emailed the supervisors in support of the resolution.

"SF has been a long-standing leader in gender inclusion. This resolution provides needed protection for the community and those who serve them," wrote Hall.

Kansas City, Missouri and New York City are among the other cities that are designated sanctuaries for transgender individuals.

SF fundraiser for out Nevada senator

Bay Area leaders are hosting a Pride Month fundraiser for Nevada state Senator Dallas Harris, a lesbian mom who is the Democratic chief majority whip in her legislative chamber. She didn't draw an intraparty challenge so avoided a primary race on her state's June 11 ballot and advanced automatically to the November 5 contest.

As of Wednesday morning, attorney and married mom Lori Rogich was leading in her Republican primary race to take on Harris in the fall for her state Senate District 11 seat that includes parts of Las Vegas. It was redrawn to include more GOP voters and is a top pick-up target this year for Silver State Republicans.

The Sister District Project San Francisco chapter has teamed with a number of groups, including the Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club and the Bay Coalition, to co-host the fundraiser for Harris from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at NEON, a co-working and events space located in the Marina district at 1974 Union Street.

Sliding scale donations are being asked of attendees. RSVPs can be made online here.

Web Extra: For more queer political news, be sure to check http://www.ebar.com Monday mornings for Political Notes, the notebook's online companion. This week's column reported on American voters' stances on LGBTQ issues.

Keep abreast of the latest LGBTQ political news by following the Political Notebook on Threads @ https://www.threads.net/@matthewbajko

Got a tip on LGBTQ politics? Call Matthew S. Bajko at (415) 829-8836 or e-mail [email protected]

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