DECEMB ER 2018 | THE F I GH T S F 1
@calendow 2 T H E F I GH T S F | www.thefightmag.com
Please join us for an informative panel discussion: The San Francisco LGBT Center Saturday, May 11th, 2019 | 10:30am-1:00pm Those with Testes Saturday, August 17th, 2019 | 10:30am-1:00pm Those with Ovaries
The LGBTQ Perinatal Wellness Center - Oakland Saturday, February 16th, 2019 | 10:30am-1:00pm Those with Ovaries Saturday, November 9th, 2019 | 10:30am-1:00pm Those with Testes
To RSVP, please visit the RSC website, or the Eventbrite page:
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LGBT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS CHANGING NORMS JENNIFER SCHUSTER, FOLSOM STREET EVENTS SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS STRESS MANAGEMENT PUPS IN THE MIST THE FOG CITY PACK BUILDING FAMILY IN THE TIME OF HIV LGBTQ+ ASPIRING PARENTS THE FATHERS PROJECT: 2 LEO HERRERA’S DOCUSERIES DANCING WITH BRITNEY ALEX VAN DER HOEK’S MUSICAL JOURNEY
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THE EDITOR THE TALK THE CITY THE NATION THE ART THE CALENDAR
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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Brenden Shucart MANAGING EDITOR Mark Ariel ART DIRECTOR Nadeen Torio MARKETING CONSULTANTS Tom Pardoe Sean Galuszka Jacci Ybarra Grey Crouch SOCIAL MEDIA Mark Ariel Sinan Shihabi WEBMASTER Nadeen Torio ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Sinan Shihabi EVENTS MANAGER Joseph Arellano
>> IN THIS ISSUE <<
When James Bunn and Thomas Netter first dreamed of World AIDS Day in 1987, they chose December 1st because it was a blank space in a news cycle which was at the time seasonal and predictable. They hoped by planting that day of reflection and remembrance in the programming void between election/turkey pardoning season and stories about Christmas consumerism—WAD might take root in both the popular consciousness and the nightly news. But I’ve always found something fitting about locating World AIDS Day in the middle of all of our most family-focused holidays. For me personally, family is a mix of those who stuck around after my diagnosis
and the friends I made in HIV’s wake. And for the generations who came before me, family is so often shaped around the blank spaces left after AIDS exacted its terrible toll. But new technologies mean new relationships with the virus—and the opportunity for new types of families to flourish. This issue of THE FIGHT features a look at the origin and operations of the FOG CITY PACK, as well as the work of organizations such as HIVE and the SPROUTFAMILY, and some advice from sex and relationship therapist, Colin Stack-Troost on navigating family stress over the holidays.
CONTRIBUTORS Grey Crouch Leo Herrera Kian Kamataki Orly Lyonne Victor Melamed Jackie Prager Sinan Shihabi GET THE FIGHT SF AT HOME Sent Via First Class Mail 12 Issues: $36 6 Issues: $24 Mail check or money order to: Third Step, LLC 611 S. Catalina St. Suite 307 Los Angeles, CA 90005 PUBLISHER Third Step, LLC DISTRIBUTION Pride In Media The Fight SF is published monthly by Third Step, LLC. 611 South Catalina Street, Suite 307 Los Angeles, CA 90005 Telephone (323) 297-4001 Fax (213) 281-9648 Email info@TheFightMag.com
This is what we’re fighting for. THE FIGHT MAGAZINE LEGAL CAVEATS
BRENDEN SHUCART Editor-In-Chief
By listing in The Fight SF, advertisers acknowledge that they do business in the spirit of cooperation, fairness and service, maintaining a high level of integrity and responsibility. Providers of products or services are fully and solely responsible for providing same as advertised. The Fight SF assumes no liability for improper or negligent business practices by advertisers. Advertisers and their agencies assume responsibility and liability for the content of their advertisements in The Fight SF. Publisher assumes no liability for safe-keeping or return of unsolicited art, manuscripts or other materials. The Fight SF reserves the right to edit all material for clarity, length and content. All contents © 2018 Third Step LLC. All rights reserved. Content may be reproduced with permission. The Fight SF assumes no liability for any claims or representations contained anywhere in this magazine and reserves the right to cancel or refuse advertising at publisher’s discretion. TheFightMag.com For Display Advertising, please call (323) 297-4001
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BROTHERS AND SISTERS
WE THE PEOPLE
“I feel a huge responsibility to protect my brothers and sisters in the LGBTQIA+ community, to protect women, to protect black folks, to protect immigrants...” JANELLE MONÁE
—Janelle Monáe in a speech at Glamour’s 2018 Women of the Year event.
FINE WITH IT
“I’m sure there’s going to be some people out there who have a negative reaction to this … and I’m ﬁne with it.”
—Retired NFL linebacker Jeff Rohrer revealing he is gay to the New York Times. Rohrer married Joshua Ross, celebrity aesthetician and founder of SkinLab, last month.
—Cynthia Nixon while accepting Out magazine’s Hero of the Year award, last month.
“We were outside, standing on a patch of lawn off to one side, out of sight of the public but with a beautiful, close-up view of the White House, lit up in pride... my feeling was we are moving forward. Change is happening.”
“We the people are learning that we can no longer leave our democracy in the hands of white male cisgender career politicians and their corporate donors and expect them to work for all of us.”
“We can work with people who are different than us. … We can embrace difference while seeking common ground.”
—Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat who will be the first out bisexual U.S. senator and the first woman elected to the chamber from Arizona, in her victory speech, last month.
THERE WAS TALK
—Former First Lady Michelle Obama sharing with Ellen how she experienced the day the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015.
“It sends a pretty powerful message of how far and how fast families like mine, that have one or more LGBT parents, have come in America.” —Zach Wahls, who as a teenager campaigned for his lesbian mothers’ right to marry, after being elected to the Iowa State Senate, last month.
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“There was talk about Jamal having a white boyfriend and I said, ’Fuck no!’”
—Actor Jussie Smollett upon learning his Empire character’s love interest was going to be white, on The Clay Cane Show. “Not for any reason except we have a responsibility and we have a such a beautiful opportunity to show two black men in a relationship together, in a healthy relationship,” he said.
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THECITY >> BY JACKIE PRAGER <<
PROGRESSIVES SWEEP THE FIELD
The November 2016 election saw huge gains for San Francisco’s progressive faction. Janice Li, a Queer woman of color and officer of the Bicycle Coalition won a seat on the BART Board; progressives Alison Collins, Faauuga Moliga, and Gabriela Lopez (another queer woman of color) were each elected to the Board of Education; and progressives Brigitte Davila, Thea Selby, and John Rizzo easily won reelection to the City’s College Board. Meanwhile, solid progressives won every contested seat on the Board of Supervisors—Labor activist Gordon Mar won in traditionally moderate D4, tenant rights attorney Matt Haney trounced his opponents in D6, Rafael Mandelman easily won reelection in D8— with the exception of D2, where moderate-aligned (but progressive-endorsed) Catherine Stefani beat out a field of fellow moderate Democrats (and even an actual Republican!), and in D10 community advocate Shamann Walton (who has many friends in both factions, and is expected to be something of a swing vote), won against both moderate and progressive opponents. These progressive victories came despite the tens of millions of dollars spent against them by San Francisco’s Tech Barons and Real Estate industry, and the opposition of Mayor London Breed—who now faces a Board brimming with Supervisors she opposed.
THE BATTLE FOR PROP C San Franciscans also passed Prop C, Our City, Our Home, a measure that would tax large businesses with over $50 million in gross annual receipts and direct expected $300 million in annual revenue towards permanent housing, psychiatric care, and other wrap-around services for people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. The measure passed with 61% of the City in favor. However, the Yes on C campaign anticipates a potential legal battle; some opponents have argued that the measure actually requires a two-thirds vote in order to pass. While the City hasn’t yet been sued over Prop C, Mayor Breed (despite her very vocal opposition to the measure) has introduced an
ordinance that will allow City Attorney Dennis Herrera to directly ask a judge to validate Prop. C’s legality.
GAY COP SUES FOR DISCRIMINATION A former California Highway Patrol officer who patrolled Contra Costa County says his coworkers made his life miserable on the job because he’s gay, and he’s now suing the CHP for discrimination, reports The Advocate. Jay Brome, who was a CHP officer from 1996 until 2015, when he took leave due to medical stress, told The Sacramento Bee the homophobic harassment began when he was in the police academy and continued throughout his career. “There was bullying or
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name-calling – ‘fag,’ ‘gay,’’’ Brome said. “I had an instructor that told me … to take my skirt off and start acting like a man.” At one point at the academy, according to his lawsuit, a fellow cadet aimed a training gun at his head and said, “I know you’re gay, tell me you’re gay or I’ll pull the trigger.” The CHP declined comment to the Bee regarding Brome’s lawsuit.
FLORIDA MAN: HEAL AND GROW In an honest and vulnerable Facebook post on November 8, Florida Man, one of San Francisco’s most talented and promising drag queens, described their struggle with mental and emotional health
in the wake of a performance that went viral: “Going overnight from a local queen in San Francisco to traveling the world with security sheltering me from screaming fans at the club in Europe caused me to put an insane amount of pressure on myself. My addiction reared its head and I found myself using meth again CONSTANTLY to escape, after nearly 5 years free from it. I’m embarrassed that this is how I’m leaving the city I love so much, with my tail between my legs and some burnt bridges that may not be mendable. But I’ve gotta own up to my actions, and need to take time to myself to heal and grow.” Everyone at THE FIGHT is grateful to Florida Man for their honesty, bravery and contribution to the drag community. Get well soon. ■
THENATION >> NEWS BRIEFS <<
FIRST GAY CA DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEADER STEPS DOWN Eric Bauman, the leader of the California Democratic Party, the first gay person to lead the state’s party, has resigned following allegations of sexual misconduct—the latest politician forced to step down in the #MeToo era, reports Vox. Allegations that he had made sexually explicit comments and inappropriately touched or physically intimidated party staffers ERIC and political activists were BAUMAN first reported the Los Angeles Times last month. After being confronted with the complaints, Bauman said he would seek treatment for alcohol abuse and health issues, but did not respond directly to the allegations.
family, told The Daily Beast that her treatment in ICE custody went far beyond neglectful. The Transgender Law Center announced last month that a wrongful death lawsuit against the State of New Mexico has been filed.
TRUMP TO SUPREME COURT: ENFORCE TRANS MILITARY BAN!
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court last month to take up three cases challenging the administration’s repeated efforts to bar transgender people from serving in the military, reports BuzzFeed News. The effort to reverse Obama-era policies allowing for open transgender military service began when President Donald Trump tweeted out news of the ban in July 2017 and has been met with heavy skepticism from courts around the country. Last month’s filings are the administration’s attempt to get the issue before the justices during the current Supreme Court term, which would mean a decision would be expected by June 2019—if the justices agree to take one or more of the cases. TED HICKMAN
ROXSANA HERNÁNDEZ RODRIGUEZ
HOMOPHOBIC VICE MAYOR VOTED OUT OF OFFICE
TRANS WOMAN WAS BEATEN IN ICE CUSTODY BEFORE DEATH A transgender woman who died in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody after being held in a privately operated detention center was likely physically abused there, according an autopsy report released last month, and died after several days of severe, untreated dehydration, reports The Daily Beast. Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez, a 33-year-old transgender woman from Honduras, died on May 25, nine days after being transferred to a dedicated unit for transgender women at the Cibola County Correctional Center in New Mexico, which is operated under contract by CoreCivic, the second-largest private prison company in the United States. Andrew Free, an attorney representing her
CONSERVATIVES BOYCOTT MACY’S OVER SAME-SEX KISS Linda Harvey, the anti-LGBTQ activist who leads the group Mission America, called for a boycott of Macy’s after it allowed a same-sex kiss in the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Caitlin Kinnunen and Isabelle McCalla, lead actors in Broadway’s The Prom musical, made Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade history last month by sharing its first same-sex kiss, broadcast to millions of viewers across the U.S.
A Northern California vice mayor who was heavily criticized earlier this year after writing a newspaper column that many people viewed as homophobic lost his city council seat by a landslide last month, reports The Sacramento Bee. Ted Hickman was defeated for Dixon City Council District 2 by the city’s planning commissioner, Jim Ernest, who picked up 72 percent of the vote with all ballots counted. Hickman faced widespread backlash starting in late June after publication of a controversial column he penned for Dixon’s Independent Voice newspaper. In the June 29 column, Hickman called for July to be known as “Straight Pride American Month,” referred to gay men as “faries,” (sic) and said gay people have an “inferior complex.” ■ DECEMB ER 2018 | THE F I GH T S F 11
>> LGBT CONGRESS <<
SEAN PATRICK MALONEY
There will be at least ten LGBT members of Congress next year. BY VICTOR MELAMED
After CHRIS PAPPAS
DoubleDigits SHARICE DAVIDS
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Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who is openly bisexual, was officially declared the next Democratic senator of Arizona last month, the amount of LGBT members of Congress next year will reach double digits, reported CBS News. The ten LGBT members are Democrats. There will now be two LGBT senators: Sinema and Sen. Tammy Baldwin, of Wisconsin. The other eight LGBT House members are: Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island is running for Democratic leadership; From California, Rep. Mark Takano could be the next chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee; Rep. Mark Pocan, of Wisconsin, is currently the chair of the Progressive Caucus; Incumbent Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, is the first openly gay member of Congress elected by New York. He ran for New York attorney general earlier this year and lost in the Democratic primary; Minnesota’s Angie Craig will be the first lesbian mother; Kansas’ Rep.-elect Sharice Davids is also the first Native American congresswoman. Katie Hill, of California joins the freshman class of House members in 2019, as does New Hampshire’s Chris Pappas; Democratic Rep. Jared Polis will be trading his Colorado U.S. House seat for the governor’s mansion in Colorado in January.
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>> JENNIFER SCHUSTER <<
Congratulations Jennifer on your new position! First question—when and why did you start getting involved in LGBTQ issues? Although I grew up in Northern California, my hometown struggled with supporting LGBTQ+ rights. In fifth grade, parents objected to a school play featuring LGBTQ-identified characters and an anti-bullying message. In my high school literature classes, we read Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, Willa Cather, and Walt Whitman—but never discussed the themes of gender and sexuality that appeared in their work. I couldn’t understand why. When I was a high school freshmen, a senior I looked up to in student government class made the front page of the local newspaper when he became the first student to invite his boyfriend to prom. I was so moved by his bravery that I clipped out the article and saved it. I was also in high school when Gavin Newsom, then the Mayor of San Francisco, legalized marriage equality. Inspired by his leadership, I signed up for the AIDS Walk where he was a keynote speaker. I continued my involvement in college, where I minored in Women’s and Gender Studies and served as Co-Chair of our LGBTQ+ student group.
An interview with Jennifer Schuster, the new President of Folsom Street Event’s board of directors. BY MARK ARIEL
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How did you end up with the Folsom team? I used to work at the AIDS Legal Referral Panel (ALRP), where I served as Volunteer Coordinator. It was my job to recruit volunteers—both attorney volunteers who could take on pro bono legal cases, as well as event volunteers who could help us raise money in exchange for their time. I recruited volunteers for many different events, including Folsom fairs and parties. I always looked forward to Up Your Alley and Folsom Street Fair because the fairgoers were friendly and generous, and our volunteers were treated so well. During one of the Folsom Check Ceremonies where ALRP received their check, the Folsom Board Member in charge of the Volunteers Department pulled me aside. He explained, “Jennifer, I don’t know if you realize this, but you recruited more volunteers than any other nonprofit this year.” I was shocked—I had no idea. He continued, “In fact, you recruited more volunteers than anyone else in the history of Folsom. You earned the biggest check for your nonprofit that we’ve ever given out.” When I confessed that I was about to leave ALRP for another job, he invited me join the Board and serve in the Volunteers Department. How has your view of fetish and kink evolved since joining Folsom? I’ve always been a supporter of sex-positivity, pleasure, communication, and consent. Back in college, I even helped bring a Japanese rope-tying instructor to campus. It was the most well-attended event our LGBTQ+ student group organized that year—standing room only! … I think it is more important than ever that Folsom is able to provide and protect safe, inclusive spaces where leather and fetish enthusiasts can meet, learn, express themselves, and build community. My belief in the im-
> > PRESIDENT OF FOLSOM STREET EVENTS BOARD OF DIRECTORS < <
portance of consent has also deepened. This past year, Folsom launched a campaign to increase education and change norms around getting and giving consent. Attendees should ask before touching or photographing others, seek out a clearly affirmative response, and respect “no” as an answer. Our fair and party-goers should feel safe and respected at our events—that’s non-negotiable. How do you see the future of Folsom? As a new President, I’m focusing on listening, gathering input, and working collaboratively to shape Folsom’s future. Not everyone is aware of Folsom’s origins—the very first Folsom Street Fair, known as “Megahood,” was founded in 1984 by a diverse coalition in SOMA in response to urban renewal and redevelopment. The leather and fetish community continues to be diverse, and I want to stay true to the spirit of “Megahood” by focusing on inclusion and building relationships. It’s important to be intentional about making all members of the community feel welcome and safe at our events. Our commitment to creating and protecting inclusive spaces and events for LGBTQ+ and leather/fetish
folks makes Folsom truly “a San Francisco original,” and I want to sustain Folsom Street Fair, Up Your Alley, and our parties for many years to come.
Did you know that Folsom Street Events is actually a non-profit? That all of our fairs and parties are run by a dedicated threeperson staff, hard-working Board, and nearly 1,000 volunteers? That we donate over $300,000 to local charities each year? In 2019, I want to get the word out about our fundraising and giving. When attendees donate at the fair gates, purchase a beverage, or buy a party ticket, those proceeds go to our non-profit beneficiaries and beverage partners. This past year, we partnered with non-profits such as Positive Resource Center, Berkeley Free Clinic, LGBT Asylum Project, GAPA Foundation, and St. James Infirmary. There are many ways to support Folsom Street Events, including volunteering, attending our Beer Busts, or shopping in our online store (have you seen our new t-shirt design?). If you missed donating at the fairs, you can go to our website and donate at any level—from the $10 “curious” level, to the $50 “pup” level, all the way to the $250 “daddy” level.
What changes—if any—should we expect in 2019?
Learn more about Folsom Street Events at: www.folsomstreetevents.org.
“I THINK IT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER THAT FOLSOM IS ABLE TO PROVIDE AND PROTECT SAFE, INCLUSIVE SPACES WHERE LEATHER AND FETISH ENTHUSIASTS CAN MEET, LEARN, EXPRESS THEMSELVES, AND BUILD COMMUNITY.”
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>> SELF-CARE <<
There’s no magic wand to vanquish holiday stress, but it’s never a bad idea to spend some time thinking about how to prioritize our self-care. BY COLIN STACK-TROOST
a therapist around the holidays, much of the focus of my sessions turns to helping clients process the complicated set of emotions that are tied to this time of year. As the days grow shorter and holiday obligations fill our calendars, we often find stressors that are normally manageable become more difficult to deal with. Throw in some unexpected family dynamics, and we can be left feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and lonely. There’s no magic wand to vanquish holiday stress, but it’s never a bad idea to spend some time thinking about how to prioritize our self-care. As such, I’ve compiled some reminders on how to make it through the holidays in one piece. Whether it’s preparing how to deal with difficult relatives or mourning those we’ve lost, I invite all of us all to be proactive with our mental health this season.
Plan your self-care in advance
Prioritize your wellbeing by making plans to take care of yourself ahead of time, and identify your self-soothing strategies. Whether you are traveling or staying local, see if you can think about a private place for you to be alone to engage in some mindful breathing, listen to music, or read a few chapters of a book. Maybe it’s your old room, the basement, or even a seldom-used bathroom. No one will question you if you excuse yourself for having eaten too much! Trips to the grocery store or walking family pets are also great excuses to briefly remove yourself from an uncomfortable www.thefightmag.com 1 6 T H E F IGH T S F | www.thefi ghtmag.com
PRIORITIZE YOUR WELLBEING BY MAKING PLANS TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AHEAD OF TIME, AND IDENTIFY YOUR SELF-SOOTHING STRATEGIES. situation. Give yourself the time you need to cool off and re-center, until you’re ready to rejoin the festivities.
Identify your allies
Prepare yourself for what might feel funky—that uncle who always says the wrong thing at the wrong time, for example—and identify allies in your family. Who will be around that you can talk to honestly, or vent to if need be? If this isn’t an option, is there someone you can coordinate with ahead of time to call when things feel overwhelming? Don’t be afraid to ask for support from family or friends during this time of year.
Embrace your exit strategy
Remember, you’re an adult now, and that means that you have choices. You are not required to participate in anything that
makes you feel uncomfortable, and you have the power to leave whenever you want. Give yourself permission to do this if you must. At the end of the day, you are in charge of your experience and there’s no need to justify leaving if you are being disrespected or find yourself in a physically or emotionally abusive situation.
It is common for the holidays to bring up feelings of nostalgia and loss as we are reminded of those who have passed on that we used to spend holidays with. We can honor those loved ones by remembering their favorite holiday traditions and rituals. Sharing a beloved family recipe, for example, is a great way to celebrate and pay tribute to those who are no longer with us.
Avoid being the “ﬁxer”
It’s okay to want to fix your family, and it’s important to take a moment to validate the part of you that feels that way. When families get together for the holidays, it can bring us right back to unhealthy relationship dynamics that are unsolved relics of our past. It’s important to take stock of these, notice your feelings, but also recognize that healing decades of familiar discord is not going to happen over one holiday meal. Colin Stack-Troost is sex and relationship therapist with a private practice in SOMA, and has been working with San Francisco’s queer community as a mental health advocate for the last 5 years. He can be reached at email@example.com.
> > L G B T Q C U LT U R E < <
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>> T H E F O G C I T Y P A C K <<
S P U P T S I M E H T IN The Fog City Pack, probably best known for throwing Alpha, Beta, and Omega—three recurring parties in San Francisco—on pup play/culture, alter-personas and chosen family. BY BRENDEN SHUCART
he holidays are all about family. But, as any Queer who has been out of the closet for any length of time can tell you, there’s “family” and then there’s “Family.” One is the group of people handed to you by fate: your given family. The other is the family that comes together through a combination of choice and necessity—our chosen family. Usually a network of friends, lovers, exes, and mentors: at its best, chosen family is our shelter from the storm. They are those we turn to for a greater understanding of who we are as individuals, as lovers, and as members of the Queer community. For many of us, chosen family may be the only source of unconditional love and acceptance for our authentic selves, rather than for who we are expected to be. One of the most visible examples of chosen family here in the Bay Area is the Fog City Pack, a self-identified “chosen kink family” that formed when a network of polyamorous relationships in San Francisco’s expanding Pup Scene fused into a single family unit with two Alpha pups (Turbo and Midnight), two Beta pups (Fawks and Shadow), and several other pups of varying roles/statuses (Guard Pup Bullet, Pup Jumper, Pup Amp, Pup Astro, and Omega Pup Arco.)
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PUPS AT PLAY 101 In pup play/culture, “pups” seek to embody the traits of actual puppies: loyal, playful, carefree, respectful of authority. Like those in the drag community, pups typically construct pup identities and take on names and breeds that symbolize their alter-personas. “For example,” says Turbo, “I identify as a beagle. A beagle is a good hunter with an excellent sense of smell, and they are family/pack dogs. Also like me they have a deep bark and growl and are ‘medium’ sized.” Similar to a drag house, the Pack involves a mentoring structure in which the two Alphas provide guidance and support in several domains (sex, relationships, kink practices, health and wellbeing, career, etc.). The Betas are like “Vice-Alphas.” They are generally only submissive to the Alphas and are leaders ready to take on responsibilities for the family. The Omega is the most submissive and is focused exclusively on service to the Pack. Some pups emphasize the non-sexual play aspect of the pup subculture, which involves “moshes” in which pups get on their hands and knees and enter a puppy “headspace” wherein participants really take on their pup persona. This can be great for stress relief—just getting outside of one’s head and acting like a playful puppy.
The pups of Fog City Pack are less focused on non-sexual puppy play and are more about constructing their pup identities and personas as a way to embody parts of themselves they want to put out into the world. In other words, according to Turbo: “Being a pup isn’t about a specific activity like pup play but rather about the opportunity to be intentional about our identities and our roles in the community. We live our pup identities and personas 24/7. We all have pup gear and pup hoods and wear them at various points to really get into our pup identities. And most of us engage in sexual pup play.” According to its members there are only pups in the Pack—no Handlers. The difference being that a Handler is not a pup and never acts like one. While an Alpha is a Dominant pup, typically only submissive to Handlers, Daddies, and other Doms.
TRANSITIONAL PERIODS The Fog City Pack came together in early 2015. This was a “particular moment” in the history of the pup culture: This was a “particular moment” in the history of San Franciso’s Pup community: a time in which this subculture was growing rapidly and lots of young, kinky guys were flocking to the relatively new kink scene. “My sense of why this was happening,” opines Turbo, “is that
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affiliating with the pup scene gives young men a clear sub-community within the larger leather/fetish scene. In contrast to identifying as something like a ‘boy,’ which doesn’t necessarily link you to a larger community. And it’s also a ‘softer’ way of engaging in Dom/ Sub relationships and dynamics, compared with ‘Master/Slave’ or other D/S roles.” “We all came together during transitional periods of our lives that really helped bond us,” according to Pup Jumper. “I’ve never felt love or kinship like I have felt with the eight other pups in the pack. I know that each of them has my back unconditionally if I ever needed anything, and vice versa.” This was also the moment when PrEP reached a tipping point in the popular consciousness of the Bay Area’s Queer community—and all the pups were active in the new sexual culture facilitated by PrEP. “Sexual freedom, openness and positivity are central to the values of the Pack,” says Turbo. “The Alphas provided direct mentoring to pups wanting to get on PrEP, and several pups got on PrEP in the early stages of the Pack’s formation.”
SAFE SPACES The Pack refers to Turbo’s home as “The Kennel” and talk about it as a safe space from which to explore. It’s a kind of sanctuary for the pups, with family dinners once a month where each pup takes turns cooking. “There is not the expectation that we’re all hanging out or doing things together all the time,” says Turbo. “Rather, there’s the expectation that we’ll all be there for each other in times of need.” “We’ve all been in the situation of where, oh boy if only mother knew!,” laughs Astro. “Here, we can be our authentic selves, which allows for trust, connection, and communication to flow more fluidly. A lot of issues come from lack of communication and if you can be your authentic self from the get go, that goes a long way.” They organize regular movie and game nights which also include friends and extended family. And they also have an annual family retreat where they mix vacation with planning sessions that talk about both the family business and more personal issues: the development of their pup identities, career and professional growth, mental health, and current relationships and sexual practices. The two Alphas definitely think of themselves as “Daddies,” and the pups all think of themselves as “brothers.” 2 0 T H E F IGH T S F | www.thefightmag.com
Like any family, the Fog City Pack has faced its share of challenges, such as the departure of one of the Pack’s original nine pups, who chose to leave the family because he was no longer feeling connected. Turbo “saw this as something positive,” in the sense that families do experience things like divorce. “The whole point of a chosen family is that you’re part of it in an intentional way, not out of obligation. We were able to recover quickly as a family unit and processed the loss in a constructive way. And of course the separation was amicable.”
“WE ALL CAME TOGETHER DURING TRANSITIONAL PERIODS OF OUR LIVES THAT REALLY HELPED BOND US… I’VE NEVER FELT LOVE OR KINSHIP LIKE I HAVE FELT WITH THE EIGHT OTHER PUPS IN THE PACK. I KNOW THAT EACH OF THEM HAS MY BACK UNCONDITIONALLY IF I EVER NEEDED ANYTHING, AND VICE VERSA.” They also had to deal with one of the Alphas relocating to Toronto, so sadly the family is not all currently living in San Francisco. But the pup in question, Midnight, remains as deeply involved in the family as ever, even leading production design for our parties from afar, and participates in every family dinner via video. “This is my family,” says Midnight. “I am not close to my bio family. But the Pack has given me the support group i need to help get through the tough times and people I love to share the good times with.”
THE FAMILY BUSINESS The Fog City Pack is probably best known for their “family business,” running Alpha, Beta, and Omega—three recurring parties in San Francisco. Each pup in the Pack also serves a specific role in
the business, with Turbo as Producer, Midnight and Shadow acting as Production Designers, Jumper as Creative Director, Bullet in charge of Marketing with Arco (who also acts as Copywriter), Amp in charge of Technical/Web Operations, and Fawks and Astro as Resident DJ (with the former doubling as Entertainment Director and the latter handing Sound Design.) “The idea for our parties goes back to birthday parties I started throwing at my house many years ago,” says Turbo. “Once the Pack had formed, we threw a birthday party at my house that was so successful, we decided that for my 40th birthday we would rent a larger space to celebrate and try to make it something larger for the community, not just to celebrate my birthday. I had been to several parties at Club Six and thought the basement space would be perfect for what we were trying to achieve.” The first Alpha was held in 2016 with a goal to create an experience for the community that seemed to be lacking: an open, judgement-free, uplifting space for the larger queer and fetish communities to come together in a safe, welcoming, fun space to express themselves and have a good time— and to showcase queer electronic music artists and DJs—it was a huge success. Initially the Pack relied on DJs from local San Francisco event collectives such as Pound Puppy and Polyglamorous, but soon they adopted a mission of supporting queer artists from throughout the country and creating stronger connections by bringing in DJs from collectives based other cities,like Deep South in Atlanta and Honcho in Pittsburgh. “We invest our profits in our organization and giving back to our community,” says Pup Bullet. “We want to make sure that our community is supported and our parties can thrive. We have recently given 30% of our Omega door proceeds to The American Red Cross to support the victims of the California Wildfires and over the past three years, have donated portions of our proceeds to the fight against AIDS.” And for the future? “I would like to see our events grow into an even larger platform for queer artists to express themselves through music and art, says Fawks. “This time in our lives we are struggling with what is going on in the world and having a place to present something you care about or even just creating the same for other to come and enjoy themselves without judgement is of the utmost importance.”
www. ibc - ps . com
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Building Family In The Time Of HIV
Until quite recently, HIV-positive and LGBTQ+ aspiring parents could not plan a family without facing quite steep discriminatory legal and social obstacles. BY PAUL J. CALDERĂ&#x201C;N
those of us who dream of one day starting a family, rarely do we take into consideration the legalities (in particular the road blocks and red tape) associated with the woefully tedious process of doing so. Instead, we tend to fantasize about the broader details; those milestones leading up to the moment when we imagine weâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;d begin the process of family planning. The reality, however, is much more tiresome and convoluted than the fantasy. Until quite recently, HIV-positive and LGBTQ+ aspiring parents could not plan a family without facing quite steep discriminatory legal and social obstacles. Prior to 2012 and the passing of AB 2356, providers of
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fertility services were largely inaccessible to single individuals, same-sex, and transgender couples. Access to the necessary family planning services were in stark contradiction to those available to opposite sex couples. Take, for example, Maya Scott-Chung who, along with her spouse, Chino, faced a deluge of disappointment and discrimination when they sought out fertility services when trying to expand their family after successfully starting one with a close family friend as their donor.
SHIFTING THE LEGAL LANDSCAPE When the Scott-Chungs tried to conceive with the help of specialists later in
life, they were told they would have to use frozen sperm from an unknown donor and wait for months while that sperm was quarantined; a tedious, expensive, and time consuming practice steeped in HIV/AIDS panic and queer subjugation. Although, AB 2356 Bill would eventually open up access to intrauterine insemination (IUI) and antiretroviral therapy (ART) with fresh sperm from known donors, the Scott-Chungs were ultimately denied access to the same reproductive rights as their opposite-sex couple counterparts because they sought to expand their family before the bill had come to pass. Not to be steamrolled by the status quo, the
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Scott-Chungs took to the streets, and by channelling their frustration and disappointment lemons into good old fashioned grassroots organization, they made legislative lemonade by rallying the people of California around Assemblyperson Nancy Skinner’s Equal Access to Fertility Medical Care Bill, AB2356. Much of the reproductive inequality that individuals and families like the ScottChungs faced has been related to legal matters inhibiting the process of fertilization and conception circumstances that didn’t involve an opposite sex partnership. For instance, the requirement that the donor had to be a “sexually intimate partner.” (Translation: for “traditional” couples only.) As Maya Scott-Chung put it, “The media doesn’t talk that much about HIV or AIDS but the FDA guidelines the bill is addressing [were] absolutely about federal public health approaches to STD— and specifically HIV—prevention that, in my opinion, discriminated against LGBTQ folks and single parents by choice.” Prior to 2012, the fact that California legally recognized that people have the right to use known sperm donors to conceive a child had little bearing on HIV-positive and LGBTQ+ families. This didn’t change the fact that prior to the passing of AB2346, sperm still had to be frozen and quarantined for 6 months. And, even after all the wait, these individuals and couples were denied access to fertility healthcare, due in part to stigmatization, but also because most providers of such care feared the legal repercussions of treating patients whose lives didn’t follow the normative narrative. What was ultimately being treated as a public health issue was really just a thinly veiled moral debate, when it should have been viewed all along as a reproductive equality issue. The legal issues with family planning facing HIV-positive individuals when trying to start a family prior to 2012 were thus intrinsically connected to enormous financial burdens for the aspiring parent(s). Before AB 2356, the only way for queer people living with HIV legally gain access to fertility services was to spend an exorbitant amount of money freezing sperm, testing said sperm, and quarantining it for further testing. Thankfully, AB 2356 and equal access to fertility healthcare shifted the landscape legally, which created the space to show a commonality of experience across myriad circumstance in the process of starting or growing one’s family.
GUIDING HIV-POSITIVE ASPIRING PARENTS Not to be overlooked in the wake of AB 2356 are the continued efforts among the activists, families, doctors, lawyers, legislators, allies, and everyday people who not only were the catalysts for this massive change in access to medical care for the HIV-positive and LGBTQ+ communities, but the architects, visionaries, and defenders of this hard fought win. Many of whom started out as regular folks seeking to form families who demanded their right to reproductive freedom. Out of their frustration came not only a bill that forever changed the landscape of access to fertility healthcare, but a continued dedication to securing those rights with organizations and support groups to provide top-notch resources and care to all who followed in their footsteps. From their resistance and legislative progress, came organizations like HIVE and SPROUT. Which guide HIV-positive aspiring parents through the process of starting and expanding a family.
HIVE: A GUIDING LIGHT Founded in 1989 at San Francisco General Hospital (now Zuckerberg General) as the Bay Area Perinatal AIDS Center, the HIVE Clinic is a multidisciplinary preconception, prenatal, and sexual healthcare to people living with HIV. From PreP to prenatal care, through fertilization, conception, postpartum counseling, and primary care, HIVE acts as a guiding light to HIV-positive individuals and couples on their journey into parenthood. HIVE Program Coordinator, Karishma Oza and her team provide everything from mental health treatment, immediate access to housing as relief from street homelessness, welfare services (food and infant care necessities), access to parenting support and child care through school enrollment and even assistance with asylum and immigration matters to their patients. As a result of HIVE’s dedication to helping HIV-positive people safely and effectively form families, there have been no cases of babies born with HIV since 2004. In addition, HIVE partners with dozens of organizations throughout the Bay Area. They have pioneered the PreP For All movement and have created programs to educate youth about PreP and reached beyond SF into national and global outreach. In an interview with THE FIGHT - HIVE’s Karishma Oza says that she is “inspired
by my colleagues who are working to change that going forward... we inspire each other to provide folks with access to [the] highest-quality, evidence-based, and compassionate sexual and reproductive healthcare and health information.”
SPROUT: WHERE ALL FAMILIES ARE PROTECTED Started in 2016, Sprout is to the LGBTQ+ community what HIVE is to the HIV-positive community, In other words, “family planning for gender and sexually diverse persons,” as founders Maya Scott-Chung and Dr. Kathy Hsiao put it. SPROUT provides a network of support and information on everything from prenatal and postpartum resources, as well as counseling/coaching/training for new families and people seeking to start families. The non-profit start up helps guide LGBTQ+ aspiring parents through the process of planning and growing their families. SPROUT is dedicated to creating “a world where all families are protected, respected, reflected and connected.” Thanks to the passing of AB2356 and the strides made to include LGBTQ+ and people living with HIV into the family planning and fertility services equation we are closer than ever to equality. That said, it cannot be lost upon us that we are not entirely out of the woods just yet. Stigmatization of HIV/AIDs and the systemic marginalization of queer people will continue to create roadblocks for individuals and couples seeking to start families, but with the unwavering dedication of activists, service providers, and pissed off queer people we can begin the process of healing. Continuing the fight is tough, especially in the wake of triumphant achievements like AB2356. We tend to want to put down our arms and bask in our victories, instead of keeping up momentum in the trenches of the fight for social justice and equality. Luckily for us, we have organizations like HIVE and SPROUT and their dedication to educating the rest of society on HIVpositive and LGBTQ+ families and lives. It will be the key to spreading and expanding a progressive, efficient, healthy, and inclusive narrative for all of us. If you or someone you care about is LGBTQ+ or living with HIV is interested in about planning or expanding a family, check out hiveonline.org and sproutfamily.org/ to learn more. DECEMB ER 2018 | THE F I GH T S F 23
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THE FATHERS PROJECT: 2 Leo Herreraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s docuseries imagines sex without consequence.
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filmmaker Leo Herrera has released Episode 2 in his a sci-fi docuseries Fathers Project to bring awareness and a ray of optimism to World AIDS Day on December 1. This latest installment also shines a light on the importance of making Truvada/PrEP available to everyone. PrEP reduces the transmission of HIV by 99 percent, but its manufacturer has made it prohibitively expensive. The movement to #BreakThePatent by AIDS activists echoes the early fights of Act Up and was a big inspiration for this episode and timing its release for World AIDS Day.
Link to film: https://vimeo.com/302146447
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H T I W G N I C N A D Y E N T I R B >> FOLSOM STREET FAIR <<
owing up r g , y e n r u jo l on his musica changed everything. k e o H r e D n Alex Va ritney Spears B w o h d n a in the South Y M AT T LY N N B EL | PH O TO B Y M A RK A RI
o be perfectly honest (if that’s even remotely possible), I must admit I had a few deeply shameful stereotypical misconceptions about writer, dancer, singer and actor Alex Van Der Hoek. Aside from the interesting last name (a Dutch toponymic surname meaning “from the corner”—thank you Wikipedia) I thought to myself, oh Jesus, another starry eyed kid from out of town looking to make it big in Hollywood, a dime a dozen. Probably not all that talented, but cocky, arrogant and self-absorbed—good luck with that! And then we met. And despite my haughty know-it-all attitude—I found him quite the opposite of what I was expecting. Humble, gracious and sincere—Van Der Hoek is thoughtful, introspective and quite talented. His most recent music video—Dead Without Dancing—inspired by a quote from Britney Spear’s 2008 documentary For the Record—is entertaining, with a catchy beat and professionally done. 28 years old, originally from Alpharetta, Georgia, Van Der Hoek moved to Los Angeles ten years ago “the same age that I came out of the closet.” “I’ve had to unlearn a lot of the conservative values of the South that prevent you from being your authentic self,” he reveals. “Down there it’s about being polite and not being too loud or standing out too much or being different. You walk around and most everybody looks the same. As a kid, everyone knew I was different and I was targeted a lot despite my efforts to conform. But I also wouldn’t be here today without all of the allies, teachers, family, and friends who stuck up for me and defended me
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from the all of the insults and bullying I received back then. The people who cared about me always told me that I was meant to live in California so I always had it as my dream to live here. There was always this idea of ‘you’ll be safer there’ when I was growing up.” Van Der Hoek’s passion for music stems from his parents reluctance to allow him to take dance lessons when he was a teen. “My parents were already semi cognizant of how much I was being bullied at school so they didn’t want me taking dance classes and getting picked on even more. So before school every morning, I would wake up extra early and dance along to the music videos of Beyoncé, Shakira, Madonna, and Britney. They became my unofficial dance teachers and my best friends … if that doesn’t make me sound like too much of a loser. But I mean I kind of was!” That was then. Nowadays—with four songs and two music videos under his belt—Van Der Hoek says that the underlying message in all of his work is “to make people feel less alone, to reclaim God for everyone, and to put on one hell of a show while doing so. I feel like the psychological impact of being told as a queer child that God is not for you is something that doesn’t get talked about enough. When a community reveres an all-loving God and then we’re told by that same God ‘you can’t sit with us,’ it causes severe cognitive dissonance for a child. When that God is suddenly taken away, what does that do to the child in how they view themselves and their sexuality?” “I’m lucky in that I’ve always felt unconditional love and support from my parents which in turn helped me believe
in the unconditional love from God,” confides Van Der Hoek. “This privilege is something I at times feel incredibly guilty about, but in seeing how many of my friends are STILL rejected by their families has made me see that it is my responsibility to share this love and to return the idea that you are perfect just the way you are especially if you’re LGBT and you like sex. So if your God and your parents don’t love you for who you are, fuck them (or as we say in the South, bless their hearts) because my God loves you and you can come hang with me.” Van Der Hoek’s most recent video Dead Without Dancing premiered last month at THE FIGHT’s November Issue launch party at The Abbey in West Hollywood. It is “about living out that childhood fantasy of dancing with Britney which got me through so many days of middle school hell.” “I’m finding that most of my songs deal with personal legends and wrestling with your own purpose of what you’re designed to do,” reveals Van Der Hoek. Even Georgia Summer Dream, which is largely about the rise and demise of a former relationship of mine is about how we weren’t destined for each other, but we learned what we needed to in order to continue on our own personal journeys. The central messages for my cover of Nature Boy, Ocelot, and even Dead Without Dancing are about coming to grips with ‘this is who I am’ and ‘this is what I want’ and learning not to be afraid of that.” Check out Alex Van Der Hoek’s music vids on Youtube. IG: @alexvanderhoek, www.facebook.com/AlexvanderHoek
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ne of the original Club Kids in their native countryâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Brazilâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; Alisson Gothz started doing drag more than two decades ago. Coming from the punk rock/goth subcultures, Alisson started experimenting with make-up and gender-bender by the age of 15. Surrealism and artists such as Divine, Leigh Bowery and David Bowie inspire their looks. After moving to San Francisco six years ago, Alisson also became Sister Tilda NexTime, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, following a calling to serve the Community, to provide support and joy to those in need, and to do it in a very creative way. Alisson Gothz/Sister Tilda continues her work with subcultures (say hello to them next time you see a drag nun in a punk rock concert) and at the same time explores to idea of drag as an empowering spiritual tool for self-discovery and self-love. n Website: www.alissongothz.com. Instagram: @alissongothz
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THECALENDAR >> THINGS TO DO << EVERY TUESDAY
1 UP TUESDAYS 2PM
Midnight Sun, 4067 18th Street , San Francisco, CA. Get Your Life 2pm-2am $2 Beers / Gaming Stations / Board Games / No Cover.
all-ages, not cost (free), alcohol and drug free event. Vegan cookies & toppings will be available.
JACKIE BEAT IN MENSTRUAL KRAMPUS: THE BEST HOLIDAY SHOW, PERIOD! AT OASIS, DEC. 20
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 23
SANTA’S CUMMING: A MASSAGE & PLAY HOLIDAY PARTY 5PM
Terra’s Temple, 3051 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA 94703. Join an intimate group of men celebrating the holidays. This event is for guys who are curious about m4m group massage. Open to gay, straight, bi, curious men of all ages and races. Open to all over touching and much much more. “We explore undressing each other like gifts…”
UNDERWEAR WEDNESDAYS 12PM
Eros, 2051 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114. Every Wednesday. After checking in, come show off your undies to the staff, and we’ll give you a coupon for $3 off on a future entry.
GRACE TOWERS PRESENTS: DICKATNITE: DRAG SHOW 10PM Moby Dick Bar, 4049 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94114. This drag show happens every Wednesday at the intimate Moby Dick bar in the Castro. Weekly themes range from All That Jazz to Yaaaaaaaaasssssssssssss Gaga, ensuring a thrilling experience no matter which show you attend.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 29
MIXER FOR KINKY OR CURIOUS WOMEN 6:30PM
The Armory Club, 1799 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. Join Dr. Frankie Bashan, creator of Little Gay Book, for her first-ever Kinky Mixer and start your new year off with some new ladies in your life! Meet up to 20 women, in one night, all your type.
BLUR—TRANSGENDER & GENDER-VARIANT SUPPORT GROUP 6:30PM- 7:30PM
LIZ (LIVE) & CRAPFACE PRESENTED BY FAKE AND GAY 9PM
Dimensions Clinic, 3850 17th St. San Francisco, CA. http://www.dimensionsclinic.org Free Food Provided! Come and chat with other trans & gav people, facilitated by trans counselors. For 18-25 year old youth.
LESBIANS OF COLOR DISCUSSION GROUP 7PM-8:30PM
Pacific Center, Berkeley, 2712 Telegraph Ave. Berkeley CA. Every Thursday from 7-9 PM. The group is racially diverse and talks about any and everything. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 16
SEXY GOOD TIME WRESTLE SHOW: THE WATER BUFFALO SLEEPS WITH ONE EYE OPEN 2PM
Oasis—Nightclub & Cabaret , 298 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103. 21+, $20 cover, Hosted by the most dave of wonders, Wonder Dave. Its been a blast so far, but we’re gonna do something wild, bizarre, crazy and unnatural at this event. We’re don’t know what yet. But you’ll have 30 wrestlers under the influence ready to make some choices that’ll lead to good resolutions two weeks later. This will also be our last monthly event at SF Oasis once we start running shows EVERY FRIDAY at the Oakland Metro Operahouse! While we still plan on making four or so appearances at Oasis in 2019, it’s gonna be a little bit of a good bye party too. It’s the perfect storm.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20
HOE IS LIFE 9PM
The Stud, 399 9th St, San Francisco, CA. Come out! Take a break from work, and play with your girls - after all, you do have your HOE life ahead of you! This is a safe space for all those closeted hoes to be nasty and pervy, so Let’s celebrate each other’s body and beauty. HOE ARE YOU? It’s been a while...we’re glad to be back with the lattest instalment of your favorite unapologetically slutty parteee. You never THOT it would CUM to this but ya THOT wrong!
JACKIE BEAT IN MENSTRUAL KRAMPUS: THE BEST HOLIDAY SHOW, PERIOD! 7PM
Oasis—Nightclub & Cabaret, 298 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103. Half-goat, half-demon, ALL WOMAN! Legendary drag performer JACKIE BEAT serves up a heapin helpin of Christmas evil this holiday season. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21
ALASKA: CHRISTMAS IN SPACE 7PM Oasis—Nightclub & Cabaret, 3600
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16th St, San Francisco, CA 94114. This year Alaska and Jeremy are going to be spending the holidays... in space. Join international siren of stage and screen, Alaska, and her psychic sidekick Handsome Jeremy, as they take a musical journey through space and time. What perils await them beyond the galaxy we call home? Will they meet certain danger, or will they find a civilization even more beautiful and wondrous than our own? SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22
CHRISTMAS COOKIE DECORATING PARTY 5:30PM
Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, 3207 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA 94610. We will be decorating holiday cookies and invite you to come join in the sweetness and warmth. We will provide baked cookies, icing & toppings. Attendees may bring a topping (sprinkles, small candies, chocolate chips, etc.) or frosting to add to what we have if they want, but the most important thing to bring is yourself! Hot Chocolate and Eggnog will be served along with, of course, cookies! This is an
Starline Social Club, 2236 Martin Luther King Junior Way, Oakland, CA 94612. FAKE and GAY is the hyper-pop and bubblegum bass party no one asked for brought with resident DJ Adam Kraft featuring visage Beverly Chills. MONDAY, DECEMBER 31
BEARRACUDA NYE SAN FRANCISCO 9PM-4AM
Folsom Street Foundry, 1425 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA Music by DJ Pure Noise (LA) and DJ Paul Goodyear (Sydney). $25 GA tickets available till 12/28, $50 tickets (includs private bar, viewing area, appetizers, VIP seating and VIP drink specials).
HEY! WHY ISN’T MY EVENT LISTED? Probably because you didn’t tell us about it… Email your event to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Creating Families for 38 years
With pride, CSP celebrates our first gay parents birth, 31 years ago! Make a Dream Come True - Be a Surrogate Mom
15821 Ventura Blvd. Suite 625 Encino, CA 91436 818-788-8288
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