San Francisco LGBT leadership backs city response to videogate
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.
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
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.
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
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."
STATEMENT OF THE SF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND
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
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.