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San Francisco LGBTQ+ Police & Mayor pull out of Pride over uniform ban

“For some members of our community, the presence of the police in the parade is difficult given their history with the police department”

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SFPD Pride Shoulder Patches (Photo courtesy of Officer Mike Petuya, treasurer, SFPD Pride Alliance)

SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco LGBTQ+ police officers joined by deputies from the sheriff’s department expressed disappointment that the Pride committee ruled that the city’s LGBTQ+ law enforcement contingents are banned from participating in the Pride parade wearing their uniforms.

“I would really like San Francisco Pride to embrace the values of San Francisco, the values of radical inclusion,” Officer Kathryn Winters, of the SFPD Officers Pride Alliance told ABC7 Bay Area. “We want to be able to show the members of our community that there are people just like you who put on these uniforms every day and are out there to support, help, and protect you,” she added.

Suzanne Ford, executive director of San Francisco Pride responding to the controversy told ABC7 Bay Area, “We want them to march in the parade,” she said adding, “They can march in matching t-shirts that say SF police, or SF County Sheriff’s Department, that’s fine, but no full uniform.”

The division was further exacerbated by the first the San Francisco Fire Department and then the city’s Mayor London Breed announcing separately that as a result of San Francisco Pride’s announcement they would be pulling out as well.

“I love the Pride Parade, and what it means for our LGBTQ community and for our city. It’s one of my favorite events of the year. However, if the Pride Board does not reverse its decision, I will join our city public safety departments that are not participating in the Pride Parade,” the Mayor said in a statement.

I’ve made this very hard decision in order to support those members of the LGBTQ community who serve in uniform, in our Police Department and Sheriff’s Department, who have been told they cannot march in uniform, and in support of the members of the Fire Department who are refusing to march out of solidarity with their public safety partners,” Breed added.

San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Jonathan Baxter said that the city’s LGBTQ+ firefighters will stand in solidarity with uniformed law enforcement officers. They will not be marching in this year’s parade either unless police are allowed to wear their uniforms.

“We need to allow the public to see that our uniformed law enforcement officers are good, they do reflect our community,” Baxter said.

An incident at the last in-person Pride in 2019 when protestors blocked a portion of the parade route and according to San Francisco Pride’s Ford the board reacted by creating the new policy excluding law enforcement agencies’ personnel in uniform.

“For some members of our community, the presence of the police in the parade is difficult for them given their history with the police department so we want to honor and make sure we protect and make people feel safe,” said Ford.

Winters, from the SFPD Officers Pride Alliance pointed out; “Over the years it has been the LGBTQ officers who have really driven reform, improvements, and diversity measures within the department that have made policing better.” 

San Francisco Pride now joins New York City whose Pride announced last May that it would no longer allow corrections and law enforcement exhibitors to participate in NYC Pride events until 2025. The decision is in accordance with NYC Pride’s commitment to create safe spaces for marginalized LGBTQ groups including BIPOC and transgender individuals at their Pride festivities.

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San Francisco

Shooting on Muni Train in San Francisco’s LGBTQ+ Castro neighborhood

One victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The other victim was transported to a hospital The suspect fled from the train remains at large

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San Francisco police Officer Kathryn Winters speaks with media about shooting on the Muni Train (Screenshot/YouTube ABC7 News)

SAN FRANCISCO – A shooting on a Muni Train between the Forest Hill and Castro stations killed one person and seriously injured another Wednesday morning at around 10:00AM NBC Bay Area reported.

The gun violence, which occurred as Pride Week festivities are cranking up in the city rattled the LGBTQ+ community, however s spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department indicated that investigators do not believe that that the gunman was targeting the community.

“I also want to assure the community that this incident does not appear to have any connection to Pride events or does not appear to target the LGBTQ community,” San Francisco police Officer Kathryn Winters said. “We really want to make sure that our community members and visitors who are in town for Pride week understand that.”

According to Winters one victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The other victim was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The suspect fled from the train at the Castro station and remains at large. Winters told NBC Bay Area the shooting appeared to be an isolated incident.

Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) released the following statement regarding the shooting:

“The shooting that occurred on the Muni subway near Castro Station — a subway ride I’ve taken thousands of times over the past 25 years — is a horrific tragedy. It’s another reminder that as long as our country is awash in guns, shootings can happen anywhere, anytime. My heart goes out to the victims, and I know SFPD is working hard to apprehend the shooter. We must recommit as a nation to end the easy availability of guns. California has the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, and we’re continuing to strengthen them. But we need strong action from Congress to truly improve the safety of our community.”

It wasn’t immediately known if the suspect and victims knew each other. SFPD are investigating any potential connections and are also looking into what led up to the shooting.

Anyone who witnessed the shooting is asked to contact San Francisco police.

Muni subway service between the West Portal and Castro stations has been stopped, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said.

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San Francisco

Out State Sen. Scott Wiener receives death threat, police investigate

This is another example of growing attacks on LGBTQ people around the country & are a direct result of hateful, anti-LGBTQ political rhetoric

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State Senator Scott Wiener (D-SF) (Los Angeles Blade file photo)

SAN FRANCISCO – Police executed a search of California State Senator Scott Wiener’s San Francisco home Sunday and his legislative offices in Sacramento with bomb dogs after a senior staffer received a credible death threat targeting the openly gay Democratic lawmaker.

The threat against Wiener came during LGBTQ+ Pride month and on a weekend of threats of violence against the LGBTQ+ community. The threat was sent in an email to one of the senator’s principal aides who in turn notified Wiener at which point the authorities were engaged.

WARNING: The following image’s language is graphic:

Screenshot of threat (redacted)

Both the San Francisco Police Department and California Highway Patrol are investigating the threat, the SFPD’s public information officer Officer Kathryn Winters told the Blade.

“This is an ongoing investigation which is being handled by the California Highway Patrol and the San Francisco Police Department Special Investigations Division, and we work with agencies such as the CHP in response to incidents such as this,” Winters said.

 “I’ve been getting death threats for years as a result of our work to advance the civil rights of LGBTQ people and people living with HIV. I’m not going to stop doing that work no matter what threats people make. This is just another example of the growing attacks we’re seeing on LGBTQ people around the country — including this past weekend in Idaho and San Lorenzo. These attacks are a direct result of the hateful, anti-LGBTQ political rhetoric coming from right-wing politicians and activists. Words have consequences,”  Wiener said in a statement.

The Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group whose membership espouse hate-filled anti-gay/anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric disrupted a Drag Queen Story Hour event at the San Lorenzo Library located on Paseo Grande in Alameda County, California Saturday afternoon.

Lt. Ray Kelly, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer said a that group of men described as members of the Proud Boys organization, entered the during library its “Drag Queen Story Time” event and made “homophobic and transphobic remarks against a member of the LGTBQ+ community who was hosting the event.”

Witnesses reported that the men began to shout homophobic and transphobic slurs at the event organizer, drag queen Panda Dulce. The men were described as extremely aggressive with a threatening violent demeanor causing people to fear for their safety. Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the library and were able to de-escalate the situation.

Kelly indicated that there was an active hate crime investigation as a result of the actions of the five Proud Boys. According to Kelly, in addition to drag queen organiser Panda Dulce there were parents and minor children also present.

Senator Wiener tweeted Sunday:

In the second incident mentioned by Wiener in his Sunday tweet, at the end of last week heavily armed Coeur d’Alene police officers and Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies in riot gear arrested armed anti-LGBTQ+ protestors, and a few self-labeled ‘street preachers’ who were attempting to disrupt the “Pride in the Park” in Coeur d’Alene City Park which returned after a two-year hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Associated Press reported that Coeur d’Alene police officers and Kootenai County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 31 people who had face coverings, white-supremacist insignia, shields and an “operations plan” to riot near an LGBTQ Pride event on Saturday afternoon. Lee White, the police chief of the Coeur d’Alene police department said those arrested were affiliated with Patriot Front, a white-supremacist group whose founder was among those arrested.

Patriot Front was once known as Vanguard America (VA), one of the main organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017.

Authorities received a tip about a “little army” loading into a U-Haul truck at a hotel Saturday afternoon, said Lee. Local and state law enforcement pulled over the truck about 10 minutes later, White said at a news conference.

Many of those arrested were wearing logos representing Patriot Front, which rebranded after one of its members plowed his car into a crowd of people protesting the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens.

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San Francisco

Newsom announces former San Francisco First Lady Gina Moscone died

“Gina learned about the assassination on the car radio- To this day his mother keeps her grief mostly to herself, rarely talking about it”

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Former SF Mayor George Moscone & wife Gina (Undated family photo. Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific)

SAN FRANCISCO – On the morning of Nov. 27, 1978 the typically frenetic pace of the Moscone household was even more pronounced as Christopher, his brother Jonathan and sisters Jenifer and Rebecca were getting ready for school while father George was running late to get to his office.

Overseeing the bustle was George’s devoted wife Gina quietly fixing breakfast and prodding the mayhem associated with teenagers and family members along.

Little did anyone in the Moscone home realize that in just a few short hours life was going to take an abrupt and terrible turn as George, who happened to be the Mayor of the City of San Francisco, would be assassinated in his office by former San Francisco Supervisor Dan White.

George Moscone with Supervisor Harvey Milk died in a hail of bullets, dying separately in their offices on the second floor of City Hall. Milk, an openly gay man and Moscone an ally of the LGBTQ+ community had forged political bonds that proved to be beneficial to the City’s LGBTQ population.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s web portal SFGate published Nov. 23, 1998, twenty years after the murders, Christopher Moscone spoke about the effect of the events had on his mother and family.

For Christopher, his brother and his sisters, it was the end of one life, and the beginning of another.

Like his siblings, Christopher divides his life into two parts. The first part is until he was 16. When his dad — a St. Ignatius all-city basketball star in his day — played basketball with him, made him drink a raw egg, milk and coffee before games, flattened his hair in the morning with the water-and- comb technique, left him notes on the breakfast table with pointers about his game.

“He had a passionate love for us. He was always kissing us on the cheek, wanting us to kiss him, always embracing us — even when we had friends over and it could be embarrassing. . . . It seems like a lifetime ago.”

Then there is the second part of his life — after the killing. His mother, Gina, and the mayor’s mother, Lena, learned about the assassination on the car radio as they returned from a funeral. To this day, he said, his mother keeps her grief mostly to herself, rarely talking about it.

Gina Moscone’s passage was announced by California Governor Gavin Newsom, a former Mayor of the City of San Francisco. No details were released but in a statement the Governor paid tribute to Mrs. Moscone:

“Jennifer and I are saddened to hear of the passing of Gina Moscone. San Francisco will long remember her as a charming, gracious First Lady and a Trustee on the War Memorial Board, a person who gave so much to the City she grew up in and loved so much. Those who knew her will also remember her as a loving mother who doted on her children, all while remaining a fixture in civic life in San Francisco even after the passing of her beloved husband, George. Our hearts are with the Moscone family today as they grieve their mother.”

The Bay Area Reporter’s Editor,  Cynthia Laird wrote:

Gina Moscone died of cancer at age 91.

Ms. Moscone served for many years on the War Memorial Board, which oversees the management of the War Memorial Opera House, the War Memorial Veterans Building, Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall, and other nearby landmarks. Thomas E. Horn, a gay man and former publisher of the Bay Area Reporter who serves on the board, said he would miss his good friend.

“Gina was a dear friend for more than 40 years,” Horn wrote in an email. “We would go to the opera or ballet and then go to the gay bars on Polk Street. She was full of life. Always happy. Ever vivacious. I will miss her dearly, both as a War Memorial colleague and a best friend.”

Gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) paid tribute to Ms. Moscone on Twitter.

“Gina Moscone was a great San Franciscan & fantastic human being,” Wiener wrote. “Her passing is a major loss for our community. Rest In Peace, Mrs. Moscone.”

The Moscones had four children. One of their sons, Jonathan, is a gay man whom Newsom recently appointed director of the California Arts Council, as the B.A.R. previously reported.

War Memorial Trustees Gina Moscone, center, and Thomas E. Horn, right, congratulated incoming War Memorial managing director John Caldon, left, after he was unanimously appointed to the position on May 9, 2019.
Photo by Cynthia Laird
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