<< Open Forum
6 • BAY AREA REPORTER • January 5-11, 2017
Volume 47, Number 1 January 5-11, 2017 www.ebar.com PUBLISHER Michael M. Yamashita Thomas E. Horn, Publisher Emeritus (2013) Publisher (2003 – 2013) Bob Ross, Founder (1971 – 2003) NEWS EDITOR Cynthia Laird ARTS EDITOR Roberto Friedman BARTAB EDITOR & EVENTS LISTINGS EDITOR Jim Provenzano ASSISTANT EDITORS Matthew S. Bajko • Seth Hemmelgarn CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ray Aguilera • Tavo Amador • Race Bannon Erin Blackwell • Roger Brigham Brian Bromberger • Victoria A. Brownworth Brent Calderwood • Philip Campbell Heather Cassell • Belo Cipriani Richard Dodds • Michael Flanagan Jim Gladstone • David Guarino Liz Highleyman • Brandon Judell • John F. Karr Lisa Keen • Matthew Kennedy • Joshua Klipp David Lamble • Max Leger Michael McDonagh • David-Elijah Nahmod Paul Parish • Sean Piverger • Lois Pearlman Tim Pfaff • Jim Piechota • Bob Roehr Donna Sachet • Adam Sandel • Khaled Sayed Jason Serinus • Gregg Shapiro Gwendolyn Smith • Sari Staver • Jim Stewart Sean Timberlake • Andre Torrez • Ronn Vigh Ed Walsh • Cornelius Washington Sura Wood ART DIRECTION Jay Cribas PRODUCTION/DESIGN Max Leger PHOTOGRAPHERS Jane Philomen Cleland • FBFE Rick Gerharter • Gareth Gooch Lydia Gonzales • Jose Guzman-Colon Rudy K. Lawidjaja • Georg Lester • Dan Lloyd Jo-Lynn Otto • Rich Stadtmiller Steven Underhil • Dallis Willard • Bill Wilson ILLUSTRATORS & CARTOONISTS Paul Berge • Christine Smith ADVERTISING/ADMINISTRATION Colleen Small VICE PRESIDENT OF ADVERTISING Scott Wazlowski – 415.829.8937 NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE Rivendell Media – 212.242.6863
LEGAL COUNSEL Paul H. Melbostad, Esq.
Just don’t buy Milo’s book
ay professional troll Milo Yiannopoulos, a racist, misogynist, and loud transphobe, signed a book deal recently and one would think the world had ended. Immediately, gay groups and progressive activists began badgering publishing house Simon and Schuster, urging it to call off the deal – which had an advance of $250,000, according to the Hollywood Reporter – and posting online petitions asking that Amazon not sell it. Actually Threshold Editions, the designated right-wing imprint of Simon and Schuster, is publishing Yiannopoulos’ book. And yes, he is a hateful man who revels in pushing button, and making outrageous comments because he knows it will generate a reaction. Yiannopoulos, a writer at Breitbart News, will be at UC Berkeley February 1 spewing his insults even as media outlets report campus security will be increased during his “Dangerous Faggots” talk, which is sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans. But after the decades of censorship that the LGBT community has experienced – making the sending of sexual materials through the mail illegal, being ignored or reviled by the mainstream media – our community should be mature enough not to feed into what’s turned out to be loads of publicity for Yiannopoulos before his memoir, titled “Dangerous,” is even published. Already banned from Twitter for his racist tweets about “Saturday Night Live” star Leslie Jones, his aim is to manipulate a collective rise out of progressives – and give cover to fellow alt-righters to cheer him on. A darling of the altright, there’s no doubt that he has expressed repugnant views. The alt-right, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “is a set of farright ideologies, groups and
44 Gough Street, Suite 204 San Francisco, CA 94103 415.861.5019 • www.ebar.com A division of BAR Media, Inc. © 2017 President: Michael M. Yamashita Chairman: Thomas E. Horn VP and CFO: Patrick G. Brown Secretary: Todd A. Vogt
News Editor • email@example.com Arts Editor • firstname.lastname@example.org Out & About listings • email@example.com Advertising • firstname.lastname@example.org Letters • email@example.com Published weekly. Bay Area Reporter reserves the right to edit or reject any advertisement which the publisher believes is in poor taste or which advertises illegal items which might result in legal action against Bay Area Reporter. Ads will not be rejected solely on the basis of politics, philosophy, religion, race, age, or sexual orientation. Advertising rates available upon request. Our list of subscribers and advertisers is conﬁdential and is not sold. The sexual orientation of advertisers, photographers, and writers published herein is neither inferred nor implied. We are not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or artwork.
these last couple of weeks before the beginning of the Trump administration, this is an issue worth pondering. Republicans will control all three branches of the federal government, and we have already seen business leaders and politicians jump when President-elect Donald Trump tweets. Just this week, after House Republicans eviscerated the Office of Congressional Ethics, Trump tweeted his disapproval and viola, the GOPers reversed themselves in less than 24 hours. Boycotts should be used cautiously and as a last resort in specific circumstances. The state of North Carolina, for example, found itself in the crosshairs last year over the passage of its anti-trans bathroom law. Various sports organizations – from the NBA to the NCAA – moved games or tournaments out, costing the state millions of dollars in lost revenue. The law remains on the books after a recent special session to repeal it failed. But that’s different from targeting a person because of their speech. In this case, the state is actively discriminating against a group of people, and it’s up to opponents of the law to engage in peaceful protest while demanding that responsible companies take action. It’s been very successful in calling attention to the issue. Twitter’s banning of Yiannopoulos is again different and does not constitute censoring free speech. He was found to be in violation of the social media company’s terms of service and booted off. There is no constitutional right to be on social media. But speech is different. Yiannopoulos is a provocateur, much like the late Fred Phelps and his clan, showing up at funerals carrying their “God Hates Fags” placards. It’s often those with disgusting worldviews that shout the loudest, but that doesn’t mean we have to listen – and we shouldn’t. There’s an easy remedy – don’t promote or buy Yiannopoulos’ book.t
Don’t be a part of the problem by Tommi Avicolli Mecca Editor’s note: The Bay Area Reporter asked community leaders to weigh in on what they think the new District 8 supervisor should focus on in 2017.
BAY AREA REPORTER
individuals whose core belief is that ‘white identity’ is under attack by multicultural forces using ‘political correctness’ and ‘social justice’ to undermine white people and ‘their’ civilization. Characterized by heavy use of social media and online memes, alt-righters eschew ‘establishment’ conservatism, skew young, and embrace white ethno-nationalism as a fundamental value.” Threshold Editions may have identified Yiannopoulos as a “possible future” of conservative thought, according to a Vox article; and Yiannopoulos himself has suggested his book is the “moment” he goes mainstream. That is scary. If his book is successful it will prompt publishers to ink similar deals, conferring legitimacy on a brand of hate that is repulsive. What progressive advocates should be concerned about is the value of freedom of speech. If protesters are successful in shutting down Yiannopoulos’ book deal, that would be troublesome. What happens when someone doesn’t like a book by a liberal LGBT person, or rails against a left-leaning publishing imprint over a deal with a progressive queer person? In
he building of affordable housing, stopping evictions, and addressing poverty and homelessness within the LGBT community as well as maintaining San Francisco as a sanctuary city and pushing for reforms within the police department should be key priorities for the mayor’s appointment to replace gay former District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener. The LGBT community, like all communities in this city, has been hard hit by the current affordable housing crisis. Countless members of our community in the Castro and elsewhere in the city have been displaced by no fault evictions motivated by the desire to make huge profits. Our new District 8 supervisor must work hard to stop these evictions by fighting to strengthen tenant protections (on the local and state levels) as well as making it less lucrative to speculate on and flip buildings, which usually ends in tenants being evicted. Will the new District 8 supervisor go down in history as someone who aided the demise of the gayborhood or worked hard to protect it? The new supervisor should be concerned that the Castro has seen no 100 percent affordable housing except for the Openhouse units for LGBT (and other) seniors which are currently being built at the very edge of the gayborhood and which were fought for by community activists. In the six years that Wiener was supervisor, a ton of market-rate condos were built along Upper Market, with a handful of BMRs (below market rate units) that are not affordable for the homeless or those who are low-income, such as many people with AIDS, seniors, minimum wage workers and youth. The new District 8 supervisor should prioritize the building of 100 percent
“criminal” record that can thwart affordable housing in the district, efforts to obtain housing, and cost especially in the Castro; oppose any the city more money than simply more luxury condos, which most of giving the homeless a place to live, us in the neighborhood cannot afas Salt Lake City and New York City ford; and support the work of the have discovered. I hope that the new Community Land Trust in acquirsupervisor understands that housing ing buildings and keeping them afis the only solution to homelessness, fordable forever. not taking away tents or pushing LGBT poverty and homelessness Khaled Sayed people from one area to another. also need to be addressed by the The new supervisor must also denew supervisor. Two Williams Insti- Tommi Avicolli fend our sanctuary city policy to protute studies show that poverty is as Mecca tect our immigrant brothers and sishigh within our community as it is ters, and join with Black Lives Matter within other communities, refuting and others in working for reforms in a police the misperception that we have lots of disposdepartment that continues to murder black and able income. Homelessness disproportionbrown people. Our new District 8 supervisor ately affects our community. Up to 40 percent must understand that LGBT issues encompass of homeless youth in this city identify as LGBT. more than gay marriage and electing out Twenty-nine percent of the homeless also queer and trans people. They include self identify as queer or transgender. issues that affect all segments of our Shelters are not an option for diverse community. homeless queer and trans folks. Finally, the new supervisor must According to a report from the be accountable, first and foremost, Coalition on Homelessness, to the needs of the people of the trans people experience harassdistrict and the city and not to ment in the city’s shelters at a the mayor and his desire to have higher rate than any other segsix votes on the board. District ment of the population. It’s why 8 has a proud legacy established I and other housing activists over 40 years ago by Harvey Milk helped set up the LGBT friendly and his successor Harry Britt, a legacy of lookJazzie’s Place in 2015 with the support of gay ing out for the most vulnerable among us; a outgoing Supervisor David Campos and his legacy of challenging the powers that be, even, staff. It has only 24 beds. We also helped reat times, the Democratic machine itself; a open Marty’s Place as a co-op for homeless legacy of putting what’s right over what’s poand low-income people with AIDS. It currentlitically expedient. ly houses six people. Clearly, not enough. The The next two years will show whether this new District 8 supervisor must work to idennew supervisor will be part of that legacy tify more housing opportunities for homeless or merely one more moderate vote on the LGBT folks. board.t The new District 8 supervisor should oppose the criminalization of homelessness. It’s not a crime to be homeless. It’s a crime that San Tommi Avicolli Mecca has been a queer Francisco continues to criminalize the poorest activist for 45 years and a tenants rights/ affordable housing advocate for almost two among us. So-called quality of life citations, decades. He has lived in the Castro for 25 whether for sit/lie, panhandling or pitching a years. tent on a sidewalk, tie up the courts, create a