Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

San Francisco LGBT leadership backs city response to videogate controversy

San Francisco LGBT leaders discuss community response to police videogate Tuesday, with LGBT Center executive director Thom Lynch shown at center. Lynch is joined at left by Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club co-chair Scott Wiener. Wiener also serves as elected member of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Pat Murphy

December 16, 2005

Leaders of the San Francisco LGBT community this week threw their support to Police Chief Heather Fong and Mayor Gavin Newsom in the police videogate controversy.

They did so following a Tuesday update on city response from Newsom held in the International Room of City Hall. All 24 suspended police officers were returned to work status as of yesterday.

On suggestion of labor organizer Robert Haaland, the group decided to take a more visible stance in support of city response.

Robert Haaland, right, reflects on early lack of coordinated LGBT response to videogate and chides the news media and officials for avoiding the word 'transgender' as an offended group. Haaland thanked Newsom for using the word in his update. An SEIU Local 790 organizer, Haaland is an elected member of the San Francisco Democratic County Committee, past president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, and a transgender man. Milk Club president Greg Shaw is seen at left.

Mayor Gavin Newsom turns his attention to dialogue among LGBT leadership.

The group formed itself into the SF Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Alliance with full text of initial statement at bottom.

Jennifer Rakowski, right, agrees with suggestion for more focused LGBT stance. Rakowski is executive director of Community United Against Violence (CUAV). Laura Spanjian, co-chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, at left.

Laura Spanjian

Cecilia Chung, a transgender woman, relates humiliation transgender persons have endured as a result of police culture. Chung is a member of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. Seen at left is Michael Goldstein, past president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club.

Brian Cheu, past director of Chinese for Affirmative Action.

Larry Brinkin, staff member of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. Brinkin is an early pioneer in advancement of LGBT civil rights and authored the phrase "domestic partners."


We are writing on behalf of the SF Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Alliance, a group comprised of organizations and individuals representing LGBT communities in San Francisco. We have come together in protest of the video produced by a member of the City's Police Department that mocked people of color, women, and transgender individuals. This video comes from a City Department whose mission is to serve each resident of San Francisco regardless of race, gender, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation or economic status for their protection and safety. This video demonstrates disrespect towards all of these communities and represents a breach of trust of these police officers to protect and serve our communities.

This Alliance supports the Mayor's and the Chief's strong public condemnation of the video and their decision to suspend all those involved with the production of this offensive video. While accountability of individual officers is important, we also need reforms within the Department that will address the underlying lack of respect by some officers in the Department towards people of color, women, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The LGBT community has been deeply involved in the struggles to diversify the Police and other City Departments and we were disturbed by the critiques of Chief Fong, the first woman and only the second Chinese American to lead the Department. We consider the attacks to be intended to divert attention from the issues at hand. We continue to support her leadership and look forward to working with her and SFPD on reforming the department. We look forward to working with the Police Commission and others to establish trust between the police and the communities they are sworn to serve.

Committee members include (list in formation):

Thom Lynch, Executive Director, LGBT Community Center
Robert Haaland, Democratic County Central Committee Member
Laura Spanjian, Co-Chair, Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club
Greg Shaw, President, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
Debra Walker, Commissioner, Department of Building Inspection
Scott Wiener, Co-Chair of Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club
Michael Goldstein, Democratic County Central Committee Member
Chris Daley, Transgender Law Center
Jennifer Rakowski, Community United Against Violence
Cecilia Chung, Transgender Law Center
John Newsome, And Castro For All
Shannon Mintor, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Saskia Traill, Vice-President, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club

Statement first published in leftinsf.com. Republished with permission.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa