Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Sit/Lie Protest at Harvey Milk’s Store Site: Youth and Transgenders Feel Targeted

Activist Gabriel Haaland

A series of angry speakers mounted a replica of the soap box that Harvey Milk stood on during his campaign stops on Dec. 18 in front of 575 Castro Street, the site of Milk’s Castro Camera store. The themes of their speeches included denouncing of the voter-approved Sit/Lie Law, which is seen by progressives as an attack on youth and the housing-challenged, and also the exclusion by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) of transgenders from their proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) legislation.

Union activist Gabriel Haaland spoke about his excursion to the HRC San Francisco Bay Area Gala Dinner that honored transgender activist Theresa Sparks and said that he and Sparks were the only transgender people at the event. He and others oppose HRC's plans to move into the Milk store site.

Jerry (The Faery) Berbier yelled that HRC assumed that progressives would forget that ENDA was being promoted without transgender inclusion and that activists surprised everyone by drawing over 300 picketers at the following San Francisco HRC Gala Dinner. He also spoke about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that is still missing from the HRC- and MCC Church-sponsored March on Washington.

Activist Tommi Avicolli Mecca shouted that Harvey Milk hated the type of rich people who attend HRC Dinners, though actually Milk hated people from a New Age cult that tried to take over the gay rights movement, as shown in a swimming pool scene in the film "Milk." And they are mentioned by name on a tape recording as people that Milk did not want to replace him if he was murdered.

The protest involved about two dozen people and most were anti-Sit/Lie activists and their supporters. Neither writer Dustin Lance Black or activist and former Milk aide Cleve Jones, who have been mentioned in the media as objecting to HRC moving into the Milk store site, showed up for the protest. The utilization of the 575 Castro space is under negotiation, and reportedly there will be compromises made by the people involved.

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