Tommi Avicolli Mecca

Jazzie Collins: forever fighting the good fight

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Dedicated trans rights and economic equality activist Jazzie Collins passed away this week. She was honored in June in the State Assembly for LGBT History Month, and was on the board of the annual Trans March, among many other honors and activities. There will be a legacy party and fundraiser for Jazzie's end-of-life expenses at El Rio tomorrow, Sat/13, 3pm-8pm. Below is a remembrance from her good friend Tommi Avicolli Mecca.

Some people die, but they remain with you for the rest of your life. Death just can’t keep them away.

Such a person is Jazzie Collins, African American transgender woman and tireless fighter for social and economic justice for tenants, seniors, people with disabilities, the homeless, those without healthcare, LGBT folks, and so many others. An organizer of the annual Trans March and co-chair of the city’s LGBT Aging Policy Task Force, she recently received an award from the LGBT caucus of the state assembly for her many years of activism.

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A call to arms

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OPINION No one can deny that the San Francisco of the new dot-com boom is a scary place to live. Rents are astronomical: $2,353 is the median rent for a one-bedroom in the Bayview, an area that has never had high rents. Ellis Act evictions are up 68 percent from last year, and buyouts and threats of Ellis (de facto evictions) are skyrocketing. Longterm rent-controlled tenants live in absolute dread that their buildings will be sold to a real-estate speculator who will decide, a month later, to "go out of the business of being a landlord."Read more »

No golden years for LGBT seniors

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According to studies, queer seniors are poorer than their straight counterparts. They’re half as likely to have health insurance, and two-thirds as likely to live alone. Not to mention facing discrimination in medical and social services, retirement homes, and nursing care facilities. So much for the “golden years.”
Here in San Francisco, LGBT seniors face another grave threat: evictions. Many of our elderly live in rent-controlled apartments that are targeted by real-estate speculators and investors out to make big bucks turning them into tenancies-in-common.

With median rents close to $3,000 a month and vacancy rates low, the odds are pretty good that an evicted senior won’t find an affordable place in the city. For a senior with AIDS, an eviction is especially threatening since our city offers the best treatment and services. Studies show that people with AIDS who lose their apartments tend to die sooner, especially if they become homeless. 

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TIC legislation is a rent control issue

We're in the most expensive city in the country, and we can't afford another 2,000 condo conversions

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OPINION If legislation introduced by Supervisors Scott Wiener and Mark Farrell passes the Board of Supervisors next month, up to 2,000 tenancies in common will be allowed to bypass the lottery process and convert to condominiums.Read more »

Much ado about nudity

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There was no public outcry when Pedro Villamore, a 44-year-old homeless gay man, was found dead in a doorway in the 500 block of Castro Street last December, a couple of weeks before Christmas and across the street from the holiday tree that the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro puts up every year to welcome big spenders into the neighborhood. Read more »

LGBT Pride: the good, the bad and the ugly

QUEER ISSUE: Pride is lame -- here's a queer antidote

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OPINION No doubt about it, LGBT Pride is a mixed bag.

Long gone are the days when Gay Freedom Day, later Gay Pride, was a one-day affair, a protest march and celebration to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in New York City in June, 1969.Read more »

SF needs healthy housing

It's time to get beyond Band-Aids

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My greatest frustration as a tenants' rights and affordable-housing advocate in San Francisco is that, despite all the good efforts by a lot of good people, we never address the root cause of our housing crisis. We routinely enact laws and ballot initiatives, organize endless demonstrations and elect progressive politicians, but in the final analysis, these efforts are just a Band Aid on a bad system that leaves a lot of people without a roof over their heads.Read more »

No equality without economic equality

The unified San Francisco queer movement is history

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San Francisco's queer movement isn't what it used to be.

Even the Castro District — once the center of perpetual protests and street organizing, not to mention the Tom Ammiano write-in campaign — bears little resemblance to the neighborhood that used to be considered the gayest in the country. A recent Advocate survey didn't even mention San Francisco in its list of 15 gayest cities.Read more »

For Milk's birthday, sit on a sidewalk!

The perception of the Haight is scaring away tourists and causing businesses to lose money

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Sit/lie, a law that prohibits sitting or lying on a sidewalk near a storefront, has had a long and tumultuous history in San Francisco.

Forty years ago, it was used against hippies in the Haight and gay men in the Castro. Gay activist Harvey Milk came out against it after 14 gay men were arrested one night outside a gay bar. Thanks to the efforts of the ACLU and LGBT organizations, the law was struck down in 1979.Read more »

The price of normal

THE QUEER ISSUE: Who, exactly, does gay marriage benefit?
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news@sfbg.com

With a 2010 state proposition on gay marriage in the works and a national gay rally on the Washington Mall being planned for October 10-11 of that year, it's obvious that more and more of the LGBT community's resources are being funneled into the battle for marriage equality, while other causes go begging.

Already gay marriage has become a black hole that is sucking untold amounts of money, time, and energy out of our community. Read more »