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The Queers
The Pride
That nation still watching

Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Pat Murphy

June 25, 2006

The nation heightened its customary watch on San Francisco today for new things wholesome and good.

In what may be the first national spotlight on any sub-body of any municipal legislature, Time magazine published notice of tomorrow's City hearing expected to fund America's first universal health care access program.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, author of the San Francisco Health Access Plan
and proud to be San Franciscan.

A queer authored the funding legislation - San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano -- which sped stakeholder universal support for the San Francisco Health Access Plan forged by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano featured at Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club Pride Breakfast. Ammiano crafted the Worker Health Care Security Act funding mechanism.

A queer announced - SEIU Health Care Workers Local 250 president and a Grand Marshall of Pride 2006 Celebrations Sal Rosselli -- universal health care access will be offered to all Californians by no later than the 2008 state ballot.

Sal Rosselli

A queer predicted - California Assemblyman Mark Leno - that same sex marriage could become legal in California next year.

Assemblyman Mark Leno, right, with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Angelides.

And a half a million queers sauntered the streets with an air of pride.

They came for the 36th Annual Pride Parade and Celebration.

It began in 1970 as a tiny "gay-in" remembrance of the June 27, 1969, Stonewall Inn riot in which queers resisted police harassment of gay bar patrons.

Today the San Francisco Pride Parade is the largest event in Northern California and statewide is second only to the Rose Bowl for crowds drawn.

It pegged itself, however, to a moment cast in history by the East Coast press which overlooked the San Francisco transgender riot and one queer's act of defiance which brought a worldwide influx of queers to San Francisco.

"It was great event this week in the Tenderloin this week when we installed the plaque in front of what was Compton's Cafeteria commemorating the riots of folks who were discriminated against and brutalized by members of the San Francisco Police Department," District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly recalled at the traditional Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club Pride Breakfast.

Supervisor Chris Daly recalls struggle of transgenders.

"It was great to have (transgender) Police Commissioner Theresa Sparks, who I maintain should be the president of the San Francisco Police Commission, in attendance with the entire brass of the Police Department - showing how far we've come."

The Toklas Club was the first LGBT Democratic Club founded in the country, begun in 1972.

Kanako Otsuji, the first Japanese elected official to acknowledge LGBT status,
attends Toklas Pride Breakfast.

Its annual Pride Breakfasts grew to statewide importance for candidate attendance.

The top state Democrat headlined the Sir Francis Drake Hotel event.

"I want to say thank you so much for giving me the privilege, the opportunity, and responsibility to be the Democratic nominee for governor of the State of California," stated Phil Angelides.

Phil Angelides

"I know how many people who want equal rights and deserve equal rights are counting on us.

"How many school kids are counting on us. How many hard working families are counting on us."

The top Democrat in San Francisco scorned the top Republican in the White House.

"It's been kind of a bitter-sweet year... we just commemorated... the remarkable constancy of so many when we reflected on the 25 years of HIV and AIDS," said Mayor Gavin Newsom.

"The president the same day of that commemoration decided to go in front of Congress and announced his intention to amend the Constitution to write in discrimination.

"That's remarkable, isn't it.

"The day of the 25th anniversary of the commemoration of HIV and AIDS - that's the day he chooses to go before the Congress to talk about writing discrimination into the Constitution.

"At the same time, you've got leadership like Mark Leno in Sacramento doing something that no one three years ago... could have ever imagined would be done.

"That was through his incredible efforts not giving up but fighting forward to get a majority of his colleagues in the legislature to do something that no legislature in the history of America has done for equality. And here he is this morning saying he's going to do even better the next time.

"There is so much that is good, that is right in this City. There is so much that is good, so much that is right in this state that ultimately as Dr. King said, 'That long arch of history always bends toward justice.'

"They just can't stop it. It's just a matter of time and I feel like we're tipping in the right direction.

"I feel like all of your work, all of your hard work has paid off. Things are going start turning in the right direction so thank you for everything you do.

"Thank you for making me proud to live in this great City. Have a great birthday."

Supervisor Tom Ammiano suggested closer examination of Newsom collaboration for expanded health care access.

"We are moving very, very positively toward universal health care here in San Francisco," began Ammiano.

"As soon as it's signed into law I'm going to go up to Mayor Newsom and say, 'Turn your head and cough.' No, I'm only kidding.

"We always need to come together in crisis and even occasionally lately when it's not a crisis.

"That reminds us of who we were, how we got here, and that there are still some people out there in different groups - some of them queer, some of them not - who need our help.

"I don't think I would have said 25, 30 years ago that we would have been the ones to extend a helping hand.

"So wish us the best of luck on that universal health care legislation.

"If we had it in the 70s a lot of people we know who had HIV or AIDS would have gotten better treatment or still would be with us."

Rosselli, a past Toklas president and a Pride March grand marshal, said Health Care Workers Local 250 would carry the measure to California voters.

"Our nation's health care system today is broken, it's crumbling," reported Rosselli.

"We're very excited to be working with Mayor Newsom and Tom Ammiano over the last several months to have San Francisco be the first City in the United States to accomplish universal access.

"That's going to happen over the next few weeks I believe and our number one priority in SEIU is to by November, 2008, put a ballot measure on the ballot that accomplishes universal access for quality health care for everyone in the state and I know that you'll join me in making that happen."

Jennifer Beals, also a parade grand marshal, noted her portrayal as a lesbian on The L Word television serious caused her to take attacks on queers personally.

"I was really oblivious before I started playing that character," Beals reflected.

"I get very defensive and argumentative when I hear slurs against the gay community.

"I take it very personally and I think before I would have been irritated by them but now I take them personally and now I do.

"Love cuts across all kinds of boundaries... to say that one person's love is more valuable than another person's love is absurd."




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