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Grant money to help hoarders in San Francisco

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(Photo by Shadwwulf; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

SAN FRANCISCO — A local organization here that assists people with hoarding and cluttering issues will soon receive grant money to help it determine how to best help residents with this issue, many of whom are LGBT according to the Bay Area Reporter, a San Francisco-based LGBT newspaper.

The Mental Health Association of San Francisco offers support groups and other services to people who struggle with the issue. All services are free.

The association is partnering with the University of California at San Francisco, which is set to receive an estimated $2 million in grant funding over three years from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. The Mental Health Association’s part of the funding will be about $200,000 a year, although the details are still being worked out, the Reporter noted.

The funds are meant to study the efficacy of peer-led treatment groups compared with therapist-led groups.

Experts say hoarding may be a problem when the accumulation of possessions has begun to affect someone’s quality of life and is keeping them from using their home for its intended purposes. Someone may be unable to sleep in their bed, not have access to their bathroom, or be prevented from using their stove.


Houston mayor marries longtime partner

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Houston Mayor Annise Parker married longtime partner Kathy Hubbard last week. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

PALM SPRINGS, Calif.—Houston Mayor Annise Parker and her partner of more than two decades, Kathy Hubbard, married on Jan. 16.

A press release the city of Houston released said Parker and Hubbard, who celebrated their 23rd anniversary on their wedding day, exchanged vows at a Palm Springs home.

Rev. Paul Fromberg of San Francisco officiated the wedding that Parker’s mother, Hubbard’s sister and a small group of family and friends attended. Harris County Civil Judicial District Court Judge Steve Kirkland and Mark Parthie were witnesses.

“This is a very happy day for us,” said Parker. “[Hubbard] is the love of my life and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life married to her.”

Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill, who is suing Parker and Houston over the extension of benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees, criticized the wedding.

“This is about a bigger political agenda for her,” said Woodfill as Lone Star Q reported.

Houston voters first elected Parker as mayor in 2009. She won re-election for a third term last November.


Gay juror removed from AIDS drug trial

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(image via Wikimedia Commons)

SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco court ruled last week that a case against an AIDS drug company will get a new trial after it was determined that the company improperly excluded a gay man from the jury, Bloomberg reports.

In 2011, an Oakland jury ordered Abbott Laboratories to pay GlaxoSmithKline $3.5 million for breaching a drug agreement, though Abbott was cleared of charges that it sought to stifle competition over HIV drugs when it quadrupled the price of the drug Norvir in 2003, the article said.

The judge overseeing the trial permitted the exclusion during jury selection when Abbott exercised its right to keep certain individuals off the jury. When questioned, the man said he had a male partner and had lost friends to AIDS, Bloomberg reports.

“Permitting a strike based on sexual orientation could send the false message that gays and lesbians could not be trusted to reason fairly on issues of great import to the community or the nation,” a three-judge appellate panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals wrote last week.


Dumped by her own community on Valentine’s Day

A Valentine's Day dance benefitting PFLAG banned a formerly-lesbian couple because one partner is female-to-male.


Fake Grindr profiles in Calif. run by health workers

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Health workers have been creating fake Grindr profiles to encourage more men who have sex with men to get tested for HIV and other STDs.

SAN FRANCISCO — Health workers in California’s San Mateo County have been creating fake profiles on the online hookup application Grindr to encourage more men who have sex with men to get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, the Bay Area Reporter, a gay San Francisco paper, reports.

Darryl Lampkin, prevention supervisor for the STD/HIV program at the county’s health department, told the Reporter that the efforts have enabled staff to reach far more people than they had been able to in the county, which is just south of San Francisco but includes no physical venues such as gay bars or community centers where outreach can be focused.

Lampkin, who spoke March 13 to members of San Francisco’s HIV Prevention Planning Council, said staffers don’t initiate contact with others on the site and the profiles contain minimal information. Instead, they respond when someone expresses interest in the profile.


Leap ‘Frog’

Frog Music, gay news, Washington Blade

(Courtesy Little, Brown)

Historical fiction is all the rage these days in publishing and acclaimed novelist Emma Donoghue, a lesbian whose been widely lauded within the LGBT literary world, enters the fray with the evocative, mysterious “Frog Music,” a story woven around the real-life unsolved murder of Jenny Bonnet, killed near San Francisco in 1876.

Long after Jenny was dead, Blanche Beunon wondered if it was truly an accident that Jenny ran her over with a penny-farthing (one of those old-timey bikes with the gigantic front wheel). Jenny said she hadn’t meant it, but she’d known fully well who Blanche was; Jenny had seen her dance at the House of Mirrors, which made Blanche oddly embarrassed. So was it really an accident that a wandering woman in men’s clothing became acquainted with a burlesque dancer?

That was just one of the things Blanche pondered as she ran. Though she’d only known Jenny for a few days, they’d become fast friends. Even Arthur, Blanche’s amour since she was just 15, seemed amused by Jenny’s devil-may-care attitude and by the gun she casually carried in the pocket of her trousers. Arthur’s friend, Ernest, wasn’t quite as taken with Jenny, but Blanche wondered if that was because Jenny’s presence seemed to affect their ménage a trios.

Then again, Ernest was an odd duck, ever since their circus days. He’d been Arthur’s protégé, his best friend. Once Blanche became part of the Le Cirque d’Hiver, it was just the three of them and Ernest never seemed to mind. Until P’tit was born.

Until Jenny entered the picture.

Those were the things Blanche considered as she wandered the streets of Chinatown, nearly melting from the heat, avoiding buildings quarantined for smallpox. Were things falling apart before she brought P’tit home? Or was it, as Ernest claimed, all because of Jenny and her strange life?

How much did Blanche really know about Jenny Bonnet? Or Arthur, for that matter? She wondered, as she tried to find ways to get money to live and as she remembered the sight of Jenny’s bloody body lying on a bed.

With its bounce-around, “Pulp Fiction”-like format, “Frog Music” is confusing at first. It begins with a spectacularly bloody murder and proceeds with our heroine looking for the man she’s sure killed her friend.

But did he? Donoghue keeps her readers guessing, but we’re not merely caught up in a murder mystery. Blanche herself is just as much an enigma as the crime she’s trying to solve. I briefly even wondered if the character was imagining her surroundings, so dream-surreal is Donoghue’s writing at times.

The authenticity Donoghue brings to her work, something of a signature, lends richness and verisimilitude to the book. “Frog Music” is a can’t-miss work.


S.F. man receives smoking cessation award

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(Photo by Edinaldo E. Santo; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON — A San Francisco man has received an award from Legacy, a smoking cessation agency created in 1998 as a result of a lawsuit settlement between attorneys and the tobacco industry, for his work to reduce LGBT smoking, the agency reports.

Bob Gordon received the agency’s Community Activist Award. Since 1993 when he joined the Coalition of Lavender-Americans on Smoking and Health (CLASH) in San Francisco, Gordon has been a leader in addressing tobacco-related harms within the community, Legacy officials said.


Commemorative stamp to honor Milk

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Harvey Milk was shot to death inside San Francisco City Hall on Nov. 27, 1978. (Photo by Daniel Nicoletta via Wikimedia Commons)

SAN FRANCISCO—The Harvey Milk Foundation on Oct. 10 announced the U.S. Postal Service will honor the late-San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk with a commemorative stamp next year.

“We’re excited,” Milk’s nephew, Stuart Milk, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We think this will represent my uncle’s message, which is hope and courage and authenticity, very well.”

The Harvey Milk Foundation and other LGBT advocacy groups had lobbied the U.S. Postal Service for years to honor Milk, who became the state’s first openly gay elected official in 1977, with a stamp. Supervisor David Campos in May ended his effort to rename a terminal at San Francisco International Airport after Milk.

Former Supervisor Dan White assassinated Milk and then-Mayor George Moscone inside San Francisco City Hall on Nov. 27, 1978.


Pelosi slated for Baltimore LGBT award

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Hometown gal Nancy Pelosi will be back in Baltimore this weekend to accept an LGBT ally award. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB) hosts its “Inaugural Hometown Hero Awards and Champagne Brunch” honoring Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives (D-Calif.), at the Lord Baltimore Hotel (20 W Baltimore St., Baltimore) Sunday from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House, is a Baltimore native. She will be honored for her commitment to equality for the LGBT community in Maryland. Carlton D. Smith, president of Baltimore Black Pride and HIV/AIDS activist and Catherine Hyde, longtime transgender coordinator for the Howard County Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, will also be honored.

Tickets are $125. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit


Trans health officer offers sensitivity classes

San Francisco, Washington Blade, gay news

San Francisco. (Photo by Jon Zander via wikimedia commons)

SAN FRANCISCO — A transgender woman on the Health Commission in San Francisco who previously advocated for the Department of Public Health there to pay for gender reassignment surgeries for uninsured transgender patients has developed sessions called Transgender 101 to increase trans sensitivity and awareness there, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Cecilia Chung says the classes are needed and important.

“We want to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to cultural competency,” the Chronicle quoted Chung as saying. “This is really walking the walk in terms of cultural competency and inclusion and making sure all of our community feels safe.”

More advanced classes on transgender issues are being developed for specialists, the report said.