Connect with us

Northern California

Suburban San Jose bookstore’s Drag Queen Story disrupted

“It tells us that we have a lot more work to do, I think even in a progressive state such as California, there is still underlined bigotry”

Published

on

Photo Credit: Silicon Valley Pride

CAMPBELL, Ca. – A drag queen story hour event at the Books Inc. store in suburban San Jose was disrupted this past week organizers said. In a statement to NBC Bay Area, Campbell police confirmed that they responded to the Wednesday incident but added the protest was in a public space and no laws were broken.

A spokesperson for Books Inc. told NBC Bay Area that in the days leading up to the event, that the store staff had received several phone calls against the drag queen story hour event. The store added said they made sure to contact police before and during the event.

The Books Inc. store in suburban Campbell, California (Photo Credit: Books Inc.)

The event, which was disrupted by a group of protestors using transphobic and homophobic hate speech was hosted by Tori Tia, a drag queen story time reader. Tia told NBC Bay Area that one particular anti-LGBTQ+ protestor “[He] was saying like some really transphobic stuff. Like he was calling me a ‘transvestite’ and I shouldn’t be let around the children, and the parents should be ashamed of themselves.” 

“I’m really proud of not only our Gay and Queer community, but our allies and the parents that brought their children and made sure their children knew nothing but the love and the light that we were there, to be there for them,” said Tori Tia.

Both Tori Tia and Silicon Valley Pride were made aware of possible protesters, so they called on their LGBTQ+ community members to come out and make sure it didn’t escalate as it has in recent incidents.

“It tells us that we have a lot more work to do, I think even in a progressive state such as California, there is still underlined bigotry, there’s underlined hate, there’s underlined stereotyping and ignorance,” Silicon Valley Pride CEO Nicole Altamirano told NBC Bay Area.

Even though the protesters continued their disruptions outside, Tori Tia said she kept reading, something she said she couldn’t have done without all of the support she received.

Photo Credit: Silicon Valley Pride
Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Northern California

Deadly accident kills partner, man says CHP mishandled situation

“Jamie was on his way to get Thai food for takeout- He said, ‘I’ll see you in 30 minutes’ and that was it — never heard from him again”

Published

on

Jamie Summers, left, is shown with his partner, John Donohie, in a photo taken before Summer's death in late September. (Photo: Courtesy John Donohie)

By John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor | EMERYVILLE, Calif. – A gay Emeryville man is raising concerns about the California Highway Patrol’s response to a crash just before the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge that killed his partner of eight years.

“I am shocked by some of the things they did,” John Donohie, 61, told the Bay Area Reporter in a phone interview earlier this month.

Donohie’s partner, Jamie Summers, 69, a chiropractor and body worker, was killed in a vehicle crash September 28 just past the metering lights on the Bay Bridge.

“Jamie was on his way to get Thai food for takeout,” Donohie said. “He said, ‘I’ll see you in 30 minutes’ and that was it — never heard from him again.”

According to the CHP, officers were dispatched at 8:01 p.m. that night. The single-car crash involved a 2011 Kia Soul that was found overturned on the left hand shoulder approaching the bridge.

“Mr. Summers was found in the vehicle and emergency crews worked to extricate him in order to render care,” CHP Officer Mark Andrews stated to the B.A.R. “Unfortunately, Mr. Summers succumbed to his injuries. The crash is still under investigation.”

Donohie said that his partner had not intended to go to San Francisco.

“He missed our exit coming from downtown Oakland to Emeryville,” Donohie said. “If you miss it, it automatically feeds you onto the bridge — that’s why he was on the bridge.”

Donohie said he found out about Summers’ death when he got a call from the CHP.

“All he could tell me was (I assume because we were not legally-fucking-married) that they tried to resuscitate the driver and couldn’t,” Donohie stated to the B.A.R.

The CHP told Donohie that the couple’s dog, Bijou, a standard poodle puppy, had also died.

“They [CHP] said they ‘had her [Bijou] off to the side, but she got away,’ as if that was OK and acceptable. I was told by a CHP officer that ‘she started walking back toward the city streets (Oakland),'” Donohie stated in an email to the B.A.R. “When I started asking more questions about my dog and why they couldn’t keep her safe, he hung up on me.”

Donohie had a friend take him to the bridge.

“I found our pup dead in the road, just before the toll booths,” he stated. “The accident happened a few hundred feet after the metering lights. She was hit by a car and killed. I picked up her body and brought her home. It has been incredibly traumatic for me to lose both of my loves, my whole family, as a gay man, at the same time.”

Donohie stated that CHP called him about two weeks later.

“A little late if you ask me,” he said. “I asked him how many responders were at the scene. He told me that between CHP, police, fire department, and EMTs, there were probably around 15 professional responders. He himself was also on the scene. I told him that I thought it was unconscionable and incredibly irresponsible that among 15 first responders, none of them could keep my dog safe. I said to him that I know that the CHP, fire department, police, and EMTs don’t hire stupid people but that this is indescribably unacceptable.”

Donohie stated that CHP told him Bijou was not a priority because the responders are “concerned with [human] life.”

“He also told me that my partner was dead when they arrived, 18 fucking minutes after impact,” he stated, referring to the time he said was given by the CHP officer who called him. “If he was dead and they are concerned with life, and my dog was alive, then why isn’t my dog alive and with me right now?”

Summers’ memorial service was held November 18 in Emeryville.

“I feel like things are getting harder,” Donohie said earlier this month. “We just had Jamie’s memorial service a week-and-a half-ago. It was big and beautiful and went beyond my expectations, but I was busy planning for it and now that it’s behind me, life is lonely and quiet and I feel like this is when it gets hard.”

Donohie, a massage therapist, said he and Summers had been together for eight years. A friend introduced them. He said his rent obligation doubled since Summers had paid half.

“I don’t know how long I’ll be able to stay here but I’ll do my best,” he said.

When asked what he’d like from CHP, Donohie said, “if nothing else, a little acknowledgement.”

“Maybe that’s asking too much from CHP, but an apology would be nice,” he said. “I think they know they mishandled the situation. I don’t know why it took them 18 minutes to get to the site of the accident. Eighteen minutes is an awful long time if you’re trapped in a car and you’re hurt and you’re dying. Eighteen minutes is a long time for a dog to be terrified and trembling. I’m just amazed that out of all those first responders, nobody could keep her safe.”

CHP response

Andrews of the CHP stated to the B.A.R. that the first unit arrived on scene seven minutes after 8:01 p.m., the time officers were dispatched.

“Upon arrival officers observed a dog inside of the Kia,” Andrews stated. “Animal control services were requested but unavailable due to the time of day. As officers accessed the Kia and attempted to corral the startled dog, the dog quickly ran past the officers and away from the scene and against traffic. A CHP unit was dispatched to locate the dog but was unable to find it.”

CHP Officer Andrew Barclay stated, “From the moment the call was received to the moment the first unit was assigned was a total of one minute and five seconds (1:05). From the moment the first unit was assigned to the moment they arrived on scene was five minutes and fifty-seven seconds (5:57). From the moment the phone was picked up to the moment the first unit arrived on scene, which includes all call taking, dispatching, and response time, was a total of seven minutes and forty-four seconds (7:44). With that said, I’m not sure where a response time of 18 minutes came from.”

Donohie said that came from the CHP officer who called him.

Barclay stated that he does not know the total time from the collision until first responders arrived.

“I wouldn’t be able to say the time from impact to arrival as we don’t know about a crash until someone calls 911 to report it,” he stated. “I was able to provide the times that our agency has, which covers from the moment we first received the call to the moment we arrived on scene.

He also stated that the coroner’s office, in this case the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau, is the agency that notifies people of deaths.

“In almost every scenario where someone is killed in a crash, the coroner’s office handles notifications,” Barclay stated. “Before doing so, they must verify who is the legal next of kin, which seems to fit with Mr. Donohie’s story. I’m not saying with absolute certainty that we didn’t advise him, but I want to make sure we are commenting on part of this that we were involved in.”

A spokesperson for the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau told the B.A.R. on December 21 that yes, Summers’ next of kin was informed by the agency of his death. The spokesperson would not say who that next of kin is.

Andrews stated, “The CHP strives to provide the highest level of safety and service and to demonstrate professionalism to every member of our community. If Mr. Donohie would like to speak with us directly regarding the concerns raised in his statement, please let him know we would be happy to arrange a time to meet with him.”

Donohie responded to the B.A.R. when provided these statements.

“It’s bizarre that they are questioning that the CHP notified me of Jamie’s death,” he stated, reiterating that the agency had contacted him. “How else would I know?

“When Jamie didn’t come home that evening, I waited over an hour before calling the Emeryville police,” Donohie stated. “I asked if there was anything reported with the name Jamie Summers. I was told that there was, that CHP had information regarding Mr. Summers. I was given a log number and was told to call CHP. When I called, I was told that an officer would call me back. When he called back he said that there was an accident, that ‘they tried to resuscitate the driver, but couldn’t.'”

Donohie reiterated his thoughts, saying that “It is unconscionable that out of that many professionals, no one could keep our pup alive.”

“I understand that accidents happen,” he stated. “I’m crushed that my partner is dead, but there is no reason for my pup to also be gone. The two of them were all I had, they were my family.”

**************************************************************************************

The preceding article was previously published by the Bay Area Reporter and is republished with permission.

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, consider becoming a BAR member.

Continue Reading

Northern California

Gaining a new foothold in Redding, the only gay bar’s renaissance

“It’s just not good for everybody to not have a place to be that’s explicitly open to them being who they want to be”

Published

on

The Vault bills itself as Redding California's Gayest Bar & Nightclub. (Photo Credit: The Vault/Facebook)

REDDING, Calif. – For nearly 27 years in this Northern California city the only refuge for Shasta County’s queer community was the 501 bar and club in downtown Redding. Then last year during Pride Month the owners alerted their customers and the community the bar was closing permanently.

The club was given a rousing farewell which on its Facebook page it was dubbed the “Last Dance.” Featuring music, a candlelight vigil, the community gathered to say their final goodbye to a place that always accepted them for who they are.

This week Redding’s ABC News affiliate KRCR 7 interviewed Brad Thompson, the new owner of the bar now called ‘The Vault’ that sits on the corner of Center and Division Street, telling KRCR it [the 501] felt like home when he moved to the city in 2015.

(Photo Credit: The Vault/Facebook)

“This was really the only bar that I found to be home and where I felt comfortable in being who I wanted to be,” Thompson says. “Hanging out with other people who had the same values of just being authentic and being in the moment and being here.”

Thompson explained the sense of loss when the 501 shut down in 2022.

“The community got really fractured,” he says. “And it’s just not good for everybody to not have a place to be that’s explicitly open to them being who they want to be.”

According to ABC 7, Thompson was eager to acquire the property and get it re-established as a safe space place for LGBTQ+ people to be themselves.

“I’m just trying to improve on it or, at least, create my vision of what I want to see here,” he shares. “Which is more relationships formed, more people connecting and creating good vibes, and that expanding out into the community.“

Although the bar has been reopened since October, it has gained a loyal following and continues to make its mark in Redding and Shasta County.

You can find more information about The Vault’s hours and events on their site.

Continue Reading

Northern California

NorCal school board approves anti-trans ‘Outing’ policy

The Rocklin Unified School District School Board members voted 4-1 & passed the policy after an hours long contentious meeting Wednesday

Published

on

Photo Credit: Rocklin Unified School District, Rocklin, California

ROCKLIN, Calif. — A third California school district board has now voted to implement a mandatory gender identity disclosure policy which requires school administrators and faculty to notify parents if “their child wants to be identified as a gender other than their biological sex.”

The Rocklin Unified School District School Board passed the policy after an hours long contentious meeting Wednesday. Board members voted 4-1 to approve the policy just before 12:40 a.m. Thursday. Board trustees Julie Hupp, Tiffany Saathoff, Rachelle Price and Dereck Counter voted in favor of the policy amendment. Michelle Sutherland was the lone member to vote against it, Sacramento NBC affiliate KCRA 3 reported.

Similar to other forced outing policies recently enacted by certain school districts, the policy requires schools to inform parents, with minimal exceptions, whenever a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth certificate or official records, even without the student’s permission. The policy also requires notification if a student requests to use facilities or participates in programs that don’t align with their sex on official records.

The vote comes after Attorney General Rob Bonta sent a letter to the Board cautioning them of the dangers of adopting its forced outing policy, emphasizing the potential infringements on students’ civil rights and educational opportunities.

“Despite our ongoing commitment to stand against any actions that target and discriminate against California’s transgender and gender-nonconforming youth, Rocklin Unified has chosen to endanger their civil rights by adopting a policy that forcibly outs them without consideration of their safety and well-being,” said Attorney General Bonta. “I have said it before and I will say it again: We will not tolerate any policy that perpetuates discrimination, harassment, or exclusion within our educational institutions.”

The San Bernardino Superior Court ruled earlier on Wednesday to issue a temporary restraining order against Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education’s (CVUSD) mandatory gender identity disclosure policy, immediately halting its enforcement. Just last week, Attorney General Bonta announced a lawsuit challenging the enforcement of CVUSD’s forced outing policy.

Recently, Attorney General Bonta issued a statement following Anderson Union High School District, and Temecula Valley and Murrieta Valley Unified School District Boards’ decisions to implement copy-cat mandatory gender identity disclosure policy targeting transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

Rainbow Youth Project USA (RYP) and Our Schools USA (OSUSA) have expanded resources and support services to students and staff impacted by Parental Notification policies in California school districts. 

“We are proud to expand our services and resources to meet the growing needs of LGBTQ+ students and staff affected by Parental Notification policies in numerous California school districts,” said Kristen Johnston, Case Manager & Crisis Team Leader of Rainbow Youth Project USA. “Our commitment to offering free, accessible, and confidential services ensures individuals seeking support can access a wide range of resources, including educational materials, support groups, and LGBTQ+-friendly mental health counseling services.”

Rocklin Unified to vote on divisive transgender identity policy:

Continue Reading

Northern California

More anti-LGBTQ bomb threats directed at Davis public library

The outrage by the far-right ballooned after anti-LGBTQ+ Chaya Raichik who runs the Libs of TikTok X/Twitter account tweeted

Published

on

The Mary L Stephens Davis Branch of the Yolo County Library during an Asian Festival celebrating Lunar New Year. (Photo Credit: The Mary L Stephens Davis Branch)

DAVIS, Calif. – The Mary L. Stephens Davis Yolo County Library located in this bedroom community 15 miles west of Sacramento, has now experienced a series of bomb threats after an online anti-LGBTQ+ social media influencer attacked it for following its LGBTQ+ inclusive policies.

On Monday, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office issued at statement saying: “The Mary L. Stephens Davis Branch Library has been targeted by bomb threats. These messages share a common thread of hateful content and revolve around a heated meeting there. The Yolo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating these incidents, with the FBI, to identify suspects.”

The Sacramento Bee reported: A Sacramento-area library was evacuated Monday morning and a nearby elementary school and high school sheltered in place after law enforcement was notified of a bomb threat containing anti-LGBTQ hate speech, authorities said. It was the third threat against the library in the past week, police and deputies said.

Much like the first reported bomb threat made to the library on Aug. 21, Monday’s threat came in an email containing hate speech, police said. The second threat was made late Friday.

These threats came after the local chapter of the national ‘Moms for Liberty’ group, listed as a hate and extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Fresno-based California Family Council, which espouses anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, had paid to reserve a room at the library to hold a ‘Forum On Fair And Safe Sport For Girls’ on Sunday, August 20.

During that event the speaker, Sophia Lorey, a former college soccer player at Vanguard University,  repeatedly misgendered and denigrated transgender people and after several warnings persisted referring to transgender female youth athletes as “biological males” leading to the group’s removal by a library official.

Lorey, who has podcast devoted to transphobic misinformation, works as a Outreach Director for the California Family Council. The purpose of her presentation and the forum according to the event’s sponsors was to inform and make parents aware of the California Interscholastic Federation’s participation policies for transgender athletes in high school girls’ sports.

As Lorey continued her presentation she was warned by the Regional Manager for Yolo County’s library system, D. Scott Love, that misgendering trans athletes would not be permitted to continue. In addition supporters of Moms for Liberty and the California Family Council, there were also pro-LGBTQ+ supporters who had loudly interrupted Lorey, making statements such as ‘trans women are women.’

The interruptions coupled with Lorey’s insistence on labeling transwomen “biologically men” caused Love to take further action and he disbanded the event asking the participants and audience to leave.

Lorey then posted a 12 minute video to X/Twitter of what transpired:

Anti-trans activist and former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines shared the video of the altercation via Twitter and applauded Lorey.

This is ridiculous, but not shocking….a female athlete silenced for calling a spade a spade. They won’t even engage in a civil conversation. Props to this gal for sticking her ground,” she wrote.

The outrage by the far-right ballooned after anti-LGBTQ+ social media pundit Chaya Raichik who runs the Libs of Tik Tok X/Twitter account with over 2.4M followers tweeted:

“UNREAL. California library kicked out a group holding an event after they “misgendered” people by referring to males in female sports as males. The librarian suggests it’s against state law to misgender.”

Raichik’s followers have been known to take actions against institutions that she highlights, often time uttering threats ranging from bomb-threats to death threats to less violent ones.

Last week on Monday, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office was notified by a local news station regarding an email from an unknown source that made a threat to the Mary L. Stephens Yolo County Library in Davis. The email made a threat to detonate a bomb and include some form of hate speech.

The Davis Police Department quickly responded to the scene and evacuated approximately 10 county employees. Two adjacent buildings were also evacuated in an abundance of caution.

The Yolo County Regional Bomb Squad and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department K-9’s responded to the scene. A search of the building resulted in negative findings.

In response to all of the ongoing threats the California Family Council released a statement that said: “California Family Council unequivocally condemns the violent threats directed at the Mary L. Stephens Davis Library and its staff. These disturbing acts jeopardize community safety and disrupt our civic discourse. When faced with speech we disagree with, the answer is always more speech—not violence. Any news reports suggesting that our organization bears any responsibility for these threats are not only inaccurate but also maliciously misleading.”

Continue Reading

Northern California

Bomb threats after anti-LGBTQ+ group ejected from library

There is currently minimal information, and the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office Detectives will be conducting a thorough investigation

Published

on

Photo Credit: Yolo County Sheriff’s Office

DAVIS, Calif. – The Mary L. Stephens Yolo County Library located in this bedroom community 15 miles west of Sacramento, found itself to be the latest public facility experiencing dangerous threats after an online anti-LGBTQ+ social media influencer attacked it for following LGBTQ+ inclusive policies.

A chapter of the national ‘Moms for Liberty’ group, listed as a hate and extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Fresno-based California Family Council, which espouses anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric, had paid to reserve a room at the library to hold a ‘Forum On Fair And Safe Sport For Girls.’

A source familiar who attended the Sunday event said during the course of a presentation by Sophia Lorey, a former college soccer player at Vanguard University, Lorey had repeatedly misgendered trans female athletes and then in commencing her remarks, stated “current 10-year-old girls cannot live out the same dream as long as men are allowed to compete in women’s sports.”

Lorey, who has podcast devoted to transphobic misinformation, works as a Outreach Director for the California Family Council. The purpose of her presentation and the forum according to the event’s sponsors was to inform and make parents aware of the California Interscholastic Federation’s participation policies for transgender athletes in high school girls’ sports.

In a phone interview with a local reporter, Yolo County Mothers for Liberty Chairwoman Beth Bourne said: “The policies CIF has in place affect 320,000 girls in California, and yet very few parents and even athletes themselves understand where the policies originated and how they are expected to be enforced at the schools. We want to bring transparency to high school sports and these policies, and how they impose risks and reduce girls’ opportunities to excel in sports.”

As Lorey continued her presentation she was warned by the Regional Manager for Yolo County’s library system, D. Scott Love, that misgendering trans athletes would not be permitted to continue. In addition supporters of Moms for Liberty and the California Family Council, there were also pro-LGBTQ+ supporters who had loudly interrupted Lorey, making statements such as ‘trans women are women.’

The interruptions coupled with Lorey’s insistence on labeling transwomen “biologically men” caused Love to take further action and he disbanded the event asking the participants and audience to leave.

Lorey then posted a 12 minute video to X/Twitter of what transpired:

Are you going to misgender people throughout the entire thing?” an audience member called before Lorey had completed the introduction of her presentation, the X/Twitter video shows.

The interjection led to a chorus of shouting from audience members both for and against Lorey, ABC affiliate KRCR 7 reported.

Audience members cited California code recognizing transgender women as women to try and prove Lorey was in the wrong. When the camera panned to the audience, one member is seen with the word “proud” written on their arm and holding both LGBT and transgender pride flags.

Anti-trans activist and former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines shared the video of the altercation via Twitter and applauded Lorey.

This is ridiculous, but not shocking….a female athlete silenced for calling a spade a spade. They won’t even engage in a civil conversation. Props to this gal for sticking her ground,” she wrote.

The outrage by the far-right ballooned after anti-LGBTQ+ social media pundit Chaya Raichik who runs the Libs of Tik Tok X/Twitter account with over 2.4M followers tweeted:

“UNREAL. California library kicked out a group holding an event after they “misgendered” people by referring to males in female sports as males. The librarian suggests it’s against state law to misgender.”

Raichik’s followers have been known to take actions against institutions that she highlights, often time uttering threats ranging from bomb-threats to death threats to less violent ones.

On Monday, the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office was notified by a local news station regarding an email from an unknown source that made a threat to the Mary L. Stephens Yolo County Library in Davis. The email made a threat to detonate a bomb and include some form of hate speech.

The Davis Police Department quickly responded to the scene and evacuated approximately 10 county employees. Two adjacent buildings were also evacuated in an abundance of caution.

The Yolo County Regional Bomb Squad and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department K-9’s responded to the scene. A search of the building resulted in negative findings.

There is currently minimal information, and the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office Detectives will be conducting a thorough investigation.

Continue Reading

Northern California

Conversion of vacant office buildings to affordable housing

The three Sacramento office buildings could transform into upwards of 400 new homes with a range of affordability

Published

on

Governor Gavin Newsom being briefed on budgetary matters earlier this summer. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday an update in the state’s efforts to build more housing with the selection of McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc. as lead developer to convert three state office buildings along Capitol Mall in Sacramento into affordable housing.

In 2019, to help address California’s Housing crisis, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-06-19 to prioritize conversion of excess state properties into affordable housing. The three Sacramento buildings could transform into upwards of 400 new homes with a range of affordability.

This will not only add much-needed housing to the area, but shows how cities can reimagine what downtown neighborhoods and communities can be for their residents.

“We need to build more housing, faster. Everyone in California deserves to have a home and in just a few years we’ve made significant investments and progress to address the state’s housing crisis. Projects like these are reimagining what our cities look like – creating more housing near transit, work, and shops – all while increasing affordability and fighting climate change,” the governor said.

Continue Reading

Northern California

Capitola Police investigating Pride Flag theft as potential hate crime

Capitola Police said repeated thefts of the flags appear “isolated and targeted toward the demonstration of this particular flag”

Published

on

Photo Credit: Capitola Police Department

CAPITOLA, Calif. – Police investigators in this seaside village just outside of Santa Cruz are looking into the thefts of LGBTQ+ Pride flags as potential hate crimes. Cierra Ryczek, who is the owner of Lumen Gallery a high-end interior home décor boutique and art gallery, told Capitola Police that two LGBTQ+ Pride flags resembling the national standard had been stolen.

According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel, a local paper, Ryczek said that flags were hanging outside Lumen Gallery’s entrance and were snatched on separate occasions in broad daylight.

She told the Sentinel that one of her employees observed a group of “teenage-ish” boys near the shop Saturday who put on masks and grabbed the flag.

“They went running with it. Nobody stopped them,” Ryczek said. “Someone said, ‘Hey, that’s not cool.’ But they were able to run and take it. And then, the next day, Sunday morning, my employee got to work and said that our other flag was missing, because we have two up on the building.”

Capitola Police Capt. Sarah Ryan told the Sentinel repeated thefts of the flags appear “isolated and targeted toward the demonstration of this particular flag.” Other flags hung around the village, she said, have remained untouched. Ryan described the thefts as frustrating and said that the department has increased its surveillance around the gallery’s Capitola Avenue location in response.

“It’s an ongoing investigation. We’re trying to figure out who our suspect is,” Ryan said Monday morning. “We just don’t have a whole lot to sink our teeth into, right now. It’s just zero tolerance.”

Continue Reading

Northern California

Bay Area bio-fertility start-up draws ire of anti-LGBTQ+ group

“[This] really opens the door, if you can create eggs, to be able to help people have children that otherwise don’t have options right now”

Published

on

Bio-fertility tech research scientist. (Photo courtesy of Conception)

OAKLAND, Calif. – A group of research scientists are working on a technology that would eliminate barriers for couples suffering from infertility, and potentially allow male-male couples to have biological children.

The latter part of the company’s dedicated research drew the ire of the National Organization for Marriage’s head, Brian Brown, who has been a leading opponent of equality rights for LGBTQ+ people and leads the fight to end same-sex marriages irrespective of the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which granted same-sex couples the ability to get married.

The Bay Area bio-fertility tech start-up Conception, is working in the field of fertility development utilizing human stem cells to turn into human eggs and eventually embryos. Speaking with NPR’s senior science reporter Rob Stein, Matt Krisiloff, a co-founder of the biotech research firm said that Conception is trying to accelerate, and eventually commercialize, a field of biomedical research known as in vitro gametogenesis (IVG). “Basically, we’re trying to turn a type of stem cell called an induced pluripotent stem cell into a human egg,” Krisiloff says. “[This] really opens the door, if you can create eggs, to be able to help people have children that otherwise don’t have options right now.”

He then noted: “My personal biggest interest in it is it could allow same-sex couples to be able to have biological children together as well. Yeah, I’m gay, and it’s something that got me so personally interested in this in the first place.”

In an emailed fundraising missive, NOM head Brown writes:

This will stun you, and hopefully serve as a wake-up call for engagement. Scientists from the LGBT community have started a biotech firm with the express purpose of seeking to manufacture human eggs and sperm in a lab so that same-sex couples can produce children containing the DNA of both partners.

The biotech startup, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is called Conception. The technology they are developing – “in vitro gametogenesis” (IVG) – is designed to harvest human stem cells, manipulate them using a variety of laboratory techniques into what is called an “induced pluripotent stem cell,” and then further manipulate and incubate them in what the company calls “mini ovaries.”

If the experimental technology pans out, the human egg created in a lab with the DNA of a gay man could be fertilized by the sperm of his partner, and then the resulting embryo would be carried by a surrogate through to the birth of a baby that is genetically related to both men.

So much is wrong with this situation. The creation of lab babies to satisfy the desires of the LGBT community is morally and ethically bankrupt.

It not only challenges the natural order created by God, but it raises extremely serious concerns relating to things such as human cloning, designer babies, eugenics, and even cross-species development.

Please help NOM sound the alarm about this dangerous development and urge people to demand that our elected officials step in to stop or severely regulate this nascent technology.”

In his alarmist fundraiser Brown leaves out the mission and ethics statement the bio-firm states on its website:

“We do not take the development of this technology lightly. Our hope is that it will one day be used to bring healthy kids into the world, so we must hold ourselves to very high safety and ethical standards. Our plan will be to work closely with scientific, regulatory and ethical experts to ensure this technology develops safely and responsibly.”

NPR reported that the rapid development of IVG raises ethical concerns.

“This could take us into a kind of Gattaca world,” says Marcy Darnovsky, who runs the Center for Genetics and Society in Berkeley.

IVG could accelerate the rush toward all kinds of dystopian scenarios, including designer babies, Darnovsky says. “Combining IVG and genome editing and commercialization, you’ve really got kind of a toxic stew to create people who are supposedly biologically superior to others,” she says. “We don’t want to pave the road toward any kind of future that looks anything like that.”

According to NPR, others argue “the potential benefits of technology to create eggs and sperm from stem cells would be substantial for many people.”

“I’m a fan of the IVG idea,” says Hank Greely, a Stanford University bioethicist. “I think it offers the possibility for millions of couples who desperately want to have kids that are genetically half-one, half-the-other who can’t do that now to have those children.”

Greely also worries about commercial pressures pushing IVG so quickly. “I live in Silicon Valley, where the motto is ‘Move fast and break things.’ Of course it worries me,” Greely says. “Happily, the [Food and Drug Administration] does not want you to move fast and break things. And the FDA has a lot of power. I’m confident the FDA will use that power. Because we don’t think babies are like iPhones.”

As new technologies are created, one of the common dominators in terms of the affect on the LGBTQ+ community is a proven track record of opposition from the right-wing anti-LGBTQ+ organizations like NOM.

Continue Reading

Northern California

Arrest for homophobic & racist hate speech captured on TikTok

Published

on

Photo Credit: San Ramon, California Police Department

SAN RAMON – Police in this city 34 miles east of San Francisco announced that a Colorado man has been taken into custody after spewing homophobic and racist slurs at an Asian couple dining at a local restaurant.

San Ramon police arrested Jordan Douglas Krah, 40, from Denver, charging him with two counts of committing a hate crime after he approached an Asian couple on Christmas Eve at the In-N-Out Burger restaurant on San Ramon Valley Boulevard.

According to a SRPD press release, Krah harassed Arine Kim and her friend Elliot Ha as they were filming a TikTok story of themselves trying different dishes. The couple captured Krah saying off-camera: “You’re filming yourself eating? You’re weird homosexuals.”

He then goes on to attack the couple’s Asian ethnicity asking if they are Japanese or Korean. “Are you Japanese or Korean?” When Ha responds that he is Korean the man responds with “You’re Kim Jong Un’s boyfriend?” And moments later says, “Normally I could spin in your face…that’s some Filipino shit.”

@arinekim My friend and i were filming his reaction to my in-n-out order when this happened… #arinekim ♬ original sound – arine kim

He then uses a homophobic slur adding, “see you outside.” According to multiple media reports Ha and Kim waited for the restaurant to close and had workers walk them to their car.

On Facebook and Twitter San Ramon Police Chief Denton Carlson asked for the public’s assistance in seeking information about the suspect and posted a photo of a man in a silver Mustang, with Florida plates.

After announcing Monday that Krah had been booked into the Contra Costa County jail on suspicion of two counts of committing a hate crime, SRPD Lt. Tami Williams said in a press release:

“The San Ramon Police Department strives to ensure everyone in our community feels safe and welcome. We will continue to take swift and diligent legal action against acts of hate to help create an inclusive place for all to live, work and visit.” 

As of Tuesday Krah remains in custody.

Continue Reading

Northern California

Man convicted for death threats against Senator Scott Wiener

The threat was traced back to a work computer the suspect used at his job in Pleasanton & upon arrest an AR-15 and 2 ‘ghost guns’ were seized

Published

on

State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) (Blade file photo)

MARTINEZ, Ca. – A Contra Costa County Superior Court jury last week convicted a 51-year-old San Ramon, Calif. man for threatening the life of Out State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and on state weapons charges.

Erik Triana was convicted guilty of threatening the life of Wiener, two counts of possessing assault weapons (an AR-15 rifle and a privately made 9mm pistol), two counts of manufacturing or assembling unregistered firearms (commonly known as ghost guns), and two counts of having a concealed firearm in a vehicle, according to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office.

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

Senator Wiener released a statement after the conviction:

“I’m deeply grateful to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, California Highway Patrol, and the court system for taking this death threat — and my personal safety — seriously, and for seeking accountability.

“Death threats against public officials undermine democracy. A public official should make decisions based on what benefits the community, not based on whether a decision will get the official killed. Modern politics can be polarized and toxic, but we must never normalize or tolerate death threats.”

Local Contra County journalist Tony Hicks, writing for Bay City News, reported:

Triana was arrested after he sent Wiener the threat through the senator’s “contact me” portal on his website that read: “Vax my kids without my permission and expect a visit from me and my rifle.”

According to the district attorney’s office, the San Ramon father of three signed his message “Amendment, Second” and listed his address as the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Triana was charged in April.

When Wiener testified on Sept. 6 he noted the threat was unlike others his office receives because of the reference to the late San Francisco Mayor George Moscone (who, along with Supervisor Harvey Milk, was shot and killed at San Francisco City Hall in 1978), the specific threat to use a gun, and that Triana lived in the Bay Area.

The threat was traced back to a work computer Triana used at his job in Pleasanton. When investigators executed the search warrant they found an unregistered AR-15 assault weapon with nine loaded magazines and an unserialized privately made 9-mm pistol referred to as ghost guns.

Police also seized another unserialized pistol in a backpack, along with two loaded 9mm magazines and two loaded AR-15 style magazines.

Continue Reading

Popular