Letters to the Editor

  • Tuesday April 25, 2006
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Nolan right choice for Muni board

Tom Nolan's appointment to the Municipal Transportation Agency is another smart move by Mayor Gavin Newsom, who continues to tap the best and brightest San Franciscans for commission seats ["Nolan named to Muni board," News Briefs, April 20].

As a two-term elected member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, Tom became known as the "transportation supervisor" in the 1980s and 1990s by tirelessly championing mass transit policies and projects on the Peninsula, with beneficial impact throughout the Bay Area region.

San Franciscans who ride Muni are fortunate to have someone with Tom's extensive transportation policy experience on the MTA. There is no doubt that Tom will continue to successfully lead Project Open Hand (one of our community's best run and most stable nonprofit organizations) and, at the same time, serve the city as a productive member of the MTA. Anyone who would question Tom's ability to excel at both clearly does not know him.

Congratulations to Tom Nolan, one of the LGBT community's most valuable assets.

Bill Ambrunn

San Francisco

Yee apology 'shallow'

For two years I served as the chair of the city's task force that led the fight for San Francisco's landmark transgender health benefits package. I am writing in response to Assemblyman Leland Yee's apology for his vote against basic health care coverage for transgender people ["Yee: TG vote caused pain," April 20].

While Mr. Yee's apology seems on its face reasonable, political office holders who use power to deny LGBT people basic human rights do not deserve our support. Yee says that "had I known the pain I caused the transgender community on that particular vote, I would never have voted the way I did." This statement reveals the shallowness of his apology. Mr. Yee, a child psychologist, refused to even meet with our task force prior to the hearing on this ordinance. He knew what our community felt but refused to face us.

We must remember what this legislation was about. Transgender people who undergo treatment for serious health conditions such as cancer were being refused treatment coverage explicitly because they were transsexual. Insurance companies were writing this discrimination right into their health plans. This landmark ordinance banned that discrimination in the city health plan, but Yee voted with the insurance companies to discriminate against us.

Those who accept Yee's apology should consider the impacts to our community caused when elected leaders turn their backs on HIV/AIDS citing "financial considerations." Candidates who think dollars are worth more than people's health should not get keys to higher office.

Sarah Marshall

Oakland, California

My name is Marc – therefore not interested

There is a lot of news going on in San Francisco and the United States that is of current importance to the LGBT community – immigration, gay marriage, and gay adoption. The 100th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake and fire that destroyed much of San Francisco was last week. What does the B.A.R. have for a major story? "Gay man seeks BF – only Erics need apply" [April 13] . This story took up half of the front page and then almost half of another page. Why? How many people who are not named Eric (or some variant spelling) are truly interested in this story? While it does provide some light-hearted news, I hardly think that it qualifies as front page news nor does it deserve to be the largest article in the entire paper.

Keep the news that is important to the entire LGBT community on the front page section and have articles such as these where they should be – the entertainment section.

Marc Gottschall

San Francisco

Disappointed in story's placement

I'm happy to support our LGBT institutions like the B.A.R . But can someone explain how "Gay man seeks BF – only Erics need apply" is newsworthy? There are countless personal Web sites out there. There are thousands of single gay men looking for boyfriends. This site isn't beneficial to the community – potentially just one guy, maybe two. I thought the story was a tardy April Fools' joke. I was disappointed that stories much more interesting and newsworthy were pushed back to page 10, 12, or further behind an entertainment story.

I hope the B.A.R. stays a NEWSpaper for another 35 years and more.

Brian Turner

San Francisco

Novel idea on immigration

During the current debate on immigration rights, we should ask the question: If we agree that U.S. immigration laws are based in homophobia, transphobia, and HIV-phobia, why do LGBT organizations and businesses agree to abide by them? Here is a daring suggestion. Until U.S. immigration laws are repaired, LGBT nonprofit organizations (and perhaps business organizations) should stop discriminating on the basis of immigration status.

Immigration is an LGBT issue.

Current U.S. immigration laws deliberately discriminate against LGBT and HIV-positive individuals. These laws discriminate against LGBT binational couples, leaving many such couples to live apart or in the shadows.

Many undocumented LGBT individuals are in the U.S. not for economic gain, but to escape even more repressive treatment in their native countries. Many others are here to live united with their partners.

Why continue to abide by laws that lead us to discriminate against our own community and partners? Why do we willingly discriminate against LGBT immigrants all the while recognizing that U.S. immigration laws are biased against our community? Let's encourage LGBT nonprofits to take a position against discrimination. This LGBT-initiated movement should encourage other progressive organizations and businesses to follow.

I can hear the arguments already against this proposal. "We can't do that, it's against the law." The LGBT community and businesses have rarely shied from disobedience when it comes to immoral laws of importance to our community, be they regarding same-sex marriage, medicinal marijuana, or the illegalization of our own sexual expression.

Immigrant communities are our natural allies. We should never forget that it was the support from the United Farm Workers that helped pushed California's same-sex marriage bill to passage through the state Assembly and Senate prior to its veto at the hands of the antigay/anti-immigrant governor.

The LGBT community has an opportunity in the current debate over immigration to fertilize these natural alliances. The anticipated backlash from this act of civil disobedience would bring LGBT immigration issues to the forefront of the current immigration debate (where they have unfortunately been ignored). Immigrant communities are an important voice in America and their political power will only continue to grow. Our community's courage to act today will be remembered in the future.

Mark Lilac

San Francisco

Out of the closet and into the streets

Recently, a flood of immigrants has come out of hiding to reclaim their dignity. Look closely at those individuals and you will see members of the LGBTQ community who came to this country in hopes of improving their lives. Many of us can relate to having to leave our hometowns and families in an effort to live openly and unafraid of being abused or exploited because of our sexuality. The LGBTQ community is all too familiar with individuals who will exploit an issue and fan the flames of fear and bigotry for political advantage. Immigration policy is a complex issue that needs to be addressed, but we should not allow ourselves to be divided or misled to scapegoat a group of individuals who are simply trying to improve their lives.

The Republican Congress is quick to criminalize and marginalize both the LGBTQ and immigrant communities for the sake of re-election. In San Francisco, we are fortunate to have elected officials like Assemblyman Mark Leno and Mayor Gavin Newsom who take a stand against hate mongering tactics. In the coming weeks, you will continue to see many marching for justice and a fair immigration policy. Don't be surprised if you see the rainbow flag being carried in those marches.

Reymundo Anthony, John Lira,

Ronald Noriega, and Arturo Herrera

San Francisco

Other faiths respect queers

Robert Warren Cromey, whom I admire, attributes heterosexism to "all denominations except Unitarians and the United Church of Christ" [Mailstrom, April 13].


As much as I love Unitarian-Universalists, they and UCC aren't quite alone in respecting the human rights of us queers. So do many Quaker, Jewish, neo-pagan, Buddhist, humanist, Old Catholic, Metropolitan Community Churches, and other groups.

Careful writers should avoid absolute terms, such as "all."

Tortuga Bi Liberty

San Francisco

Rugby fundraiser a success

The Big Gay Frat House would like to extend our thanks to the community for helping make our Balls-Out Ball rugby fundraiser on April 15 such an amazing success.

We especially want to thank Varla Jean Merman for flying out to perform. Our place is far more humble than the Sydney Opera House, but she sure classed up the joint. Special thanks, too, to our awesome emcees, Greg the Gay Sportscaster of Energy 92.7 and Empress Donna Sachet, as well to our beloved Ethel Merman for her wonderful performance and Richard Winchester for the stage production (and keeping us out of the rain). We also want to thank the sponsors, donors, and everyone else who helped, especially the "full monty" rugby boys who put on such an eye-opening show.

Together we helped raise a net profit of almost $12,000 to send the San Francisco Fog rugby team to New York for the Bingham Cup, the international tournament created in honor of Fog founder Mark Bingham, one of the September 11 heroes of United Airlines Flight 93. Guys, best of luck defending your trophy!

Tim Gullicksen, David Clark, and Kevin Goebel

San Francisco