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Friday, October 31, 2014

"Venture Socialist" Keith Beneath Is Running for Supervisor and Wants to Nuke Silicon Valley

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 3:33 PM


You may have seen the flyers around the Castro advertising the write-in candidacy of one Keith Beneath. He is running on an explicit program of class war, including detonating a small nuclear device in Silicon Valley.

Beneath, who describes himself as “Queer — queer sexuality, queer politics, disposition, gender. Incapable of functioning in a normal capitalist society," is a late-stage entry in the campaign for District 8 Supervisor, in which Scott Wiener is projected to coast to re-election over a fragmented opposition. A musician and performance artist, Beneath was personally troubled by his grandfather being gentrified out of SF at the age of 91. SO he put together a semi-anonymous, social media-based protest platform with the help of some friends.

We sat down at Philz Coffee in the Castro to discuss the tenets of his atypical candidacy, the irony of using tech in order to undermine it, and just what he might do if the people gave him that bomb. How real is Keith Beneath about combating the tech industry?

Well, he's still using a flip phone.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Castro Can Celebrate History Walk Now That All Plaques Are Spelled Correctly

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Now that those embarrassing typos have been fixed on two of the plaques on Castro Street's Rainbow Honor Walk, the folks at the Honor Walk can finally cut the ribbon on that project. 

Each of the 20 plaques now etched into the sidewalk of the Castro shopping district recalls an important figure in LGBT history. Only after the plaques were installed back in September did anyone notice the glaring errors. Two plaques had to be uninstalled and corrected. 

David Perry, founder of The Rainbow Honor Walk, tells SF Weekly that the corrections were made at no cost to the city.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

America Grows Up: Juicy Gay Sex Scandal Fails to Draw the Nation's Ire

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 3:31 PM

Fairly or not, gay Republicans are going to draw extra heavy scrutiny and have a tough row to hoe. So it’s probably a bad idea for an LGBT conservative to allow his or her campaign to devolve into a nasty sex scandal.

Openly gay Republican Carl De Maio is running for Congress in a swing district in San Diego against Scott Peters, who is in his first term and among the most vulnerable House Democrats in the state. That’s news in and of itself, but De Maio's ambitions seem to be disintegrating.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

If the Catholic Church Kicks Homophobia Aside, S.F.'s Archbishop Will Be an Obstacle

Posted By on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Just 18 months into his papacy, it’s apparent that Pope Francis is cut from a different purple-dyed cloth than his predecessors. He’s hinted several times about a shift in Church-thinking when it comes to LGBT Catholics (most famously, his “Who am I to judge?” remark).

Now, it seems as imminent as same-sex marriage in Florida.

Specifically, a committee picked by the pope said that priests should “recognize that there are positive aspects of civil unions and cohabitation” and that “gay people have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community.”

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Facebook Apologizes to Drag Queens for "Real Name" Policy (Update)

Posted By on Wed, Oct 1, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Update, 12:13 p.m.: Facebook has, indeed, made its apology official. According to a press statement from Supervisor David Campos, it is working to remove language that requires users to divulge their legal names.

The City Hall protest is still on for tomorrow at noon, though it will be more of a celebratory rally, Harvey Milk Club President Tom Temprano assures us.

Original Story:

Facebook has evidently caved under pressure from the LGBT community, and may issue an apology later today for its controversial "real name" policy, sources tell Valleywag

Yet the company has stopped short of offering to rescind the rule, which bans users from creating a profile under any name that isn't tied to a credit card. In August, Facebook began systematically deleting any page flagged with a fake name, stage handle, or avatar. Not surprisingly, drag queens, whose names tend to be particularly flashy and campy, got caught in the crosshairs of this Dragnet-style operation corporate reorganization.

The LGBT community struck back with a series of protests — mostly carried out on social networks — and held a meeting with Facebook's PR corps at the company's Menlo Park headquarters. In September, drag queens and their allies began a mass exodus to the new anti-corporate social network Ello, whose co-founder, Paul Budnitz, told SF Weekly he's now getting about 45,000 new users an hour, six weeks after launching the site in Beta.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Letting Gay Men Donate Blood Would Increase Blood Supply by as Much as 4 Percent

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 2:00 PM

This photo is as outdated as the law itself - FLICKR/ELGIN COUNTY ARCHIVES
A new report released today suggests that if men who have sex with men were allowed to donate blood, the annual blood supply in the U.S. would increase by 615,300 extra pints of blood every year.

The FDA currently enforces a ban on donations from gay and bisexual men, which it instituted in 1977. 

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Facebook Will Delete All Drag Queen Profiles in 2 Weeks

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 7:06 AM

Things seemed to be looking up for the embattled drag queens of San Francisco after a small army of them met with Facebook executives on Wednesday afternoon.

Sure, the meeting had been postponed, a protest planned at the company's Menlo Park headquarters had been foregone, and Facebook didn't agree to change its "real name" policy — a security measure that resulted in the mass eradication of drag queen profiles, since most of the performers don't use their legal surnames.

But the meeting itself seemed like a victory, and a sign of how much traction a few queens could get by spreading their message (and a catchy hashtag) over social media. Supervisor David Campos, who helped push the queens' #MyNameIs campaign, predicted more discussion down the line.

Perhaps we began celebrating prematurely. Yesterday, several media outlets published a statement from Facebook spokesman Andrew Souvall, who said the company was offering drag queens and other avatar-users a 2-week grace period, during which they could switch over to their real names, or convert their Facebook profile into a fan page. In the meantime, the social network agreed to reactivate hundreds of drag profiles that had been deleted.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Truvada For All: S.F.'s Gay Supervisors Lead the Fight in Different Ways

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 2:51 PM

It’s been a busy week for Supervisor David Campos. While yesterday’s meeting with Facebook executives to rethink their creepily totalitarian “real name” policy was unsuccessful, he led a rally at City Hall at 9 a.m. this morning calling for San Francisco to develop a plan for citywide access to Truvada, the drug intended for HIV-positive individuals to stay that way.

Currently, some 1,000 San Franciscans are taking Truvada, which the FDA approved in 2012 for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PReP), a huge sea change in the fight against HIV. In such a gay city, that number is far too low to put much of a dent in transmission rates, which remain stubbornly high — especially among gay men of color. (Of the 300 new cases in 2013, about 86 percent were among men who have sex with men.) Taken daily, Truvada can cost up to $12,000 a year, likely putting it out of reach for anyone with a bronze health plan. A similar program in Washington State could be a model for education and affordability.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Local Drag Queens Meet with Facebook over "Real Name" Policy Today (Update)

Posted By on Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 12:34 PM

  • Jose A. Guzman Colon / CVNewspaper /
Update, 4:35 p.m.: According to Supervisor David Campos, who has strongly pushed the #MyNameIs campaign, Facebook didn't agree to any policy changes today. He suggests there might be another meeting down the line.

A small army of San Francisco drag queens — including Sister Roma, Heklina, BeBe SweetBriar, and Lil Miss Hot Mess — are at Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters as we type hashing out the company's "real name" policy, which has turned into a Dragnet-style eradication of drag performer accounts.

Sadly, the meeting is closed to the public, though Lil Miss Hot Mess assures there will be some great photo opportunities. "Or at least we're picking our outfits with this in mind!" she chirps in an upbeat press release.

In the weeks since Facebook instituted its new prohibition against nicknames and stage handles, drag queens say they've been systematically disappeared from the social network, along with millions of others who, for one reason or another, want to conceal their "legal" surnames. In response, they've staged a mass Twitter protest with the hashtag #MyNameIs, arguing that everyone should have a right to create his or her online identity.

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