Bernie’s Greatest Weakness

Kathleen Geier | The Nation | January 22, 2016

In politics, few experiences are more unpleasant than being roasted by your allies. Just ask Bernie Sanders, who has spent the past week getting thoroughly barbecued by the left. First, his single-payer healthcare plan came under attack by prominent liberals like Paul Krugman and Ezra Klein. Then, two new Sanders controversies erupted. On Tuesday, his offhand remarks describing Planned Parenthood and the LGBTQ rights organization the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) as “part of the establishment” created a firestorm, particularly on social-justice Twitter. Less than 24 hours later, his tone-deaf comments on reparations stoked even more outrage. Sanders’s left-wing critics have seized on both statements as evidence of his alleged weakness on civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ issues.

Although some of their attacks on Sanders have been unfair, his critics, regrettably, have a point. For all his political virtues, Sanders has had difficulty connecting his message of economic populism to the other major social justice concerns of the modern left, such race, gender, and sexuality. And unless he overcomes these problems, he will be unable to achieve his goal of expanding beyond his base and sparking a popular mass movement.

Of the controversies Sanders is currently embroiled in, the one involving Planned Parenthood/HRC is by far the less serious one. That’s because critics who claim that Sanders was “dissing” those groups are distorting what he actually said. Bernie wasn’t attacking the mission or good works of those organizations; what he was taking aim at is their political strategy. Asked by Rachel Maddow why organizations like the HRC and Planned Parenthood didn’t support him, Bernie replied that although he has “friends and supporters” in those organizations, “Hillary Clinton has been around there for a very, very long time. Some of these groups are, in fact, part of the establishment.”

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HRC report on anti-LGBT religious exemptions under Title IX ignores most obvious solution

 | America Blog | January 21, 2016

The Obama administration and the courts have recently expanded Title IX’s non-discrimination protections to include sexual orientation, gender identity and gender nonconformity. In response, a slew of religious colleges and universities have filed for religious exemptions under Title IX — exemptions that were originally included to allow religious institutions to discriminate against women — in order to save their federal funding while continuing to discriminate.

Earlier this week, the Human Rights Campaign came out with a report on this recent wave of Title IX exemptions. The report does a fantastic job of diagnosing the problem and pointing out the holes in accountability and oversight, but comes up painfully short in the policy recommendations it offers as a solution.

First, the good:

As the report notes, religious institutions of higher education began applying for Title IX exemptions in earnest following a settlement that the Arcadia Unified School District agreed to with a transgender student who had been prohibited from using restrooms and locker rooms consistent with his gender identity. The settlement did not require the school district to admit fault, but it did require the district to “implement school-and district-wide measures to prevent gender-based discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity.” The district was also required to updated its non-discrimination policies and procedures to include gender identity and nonconformity.

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Bernie Sanders compares Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign to Goldman Sachs following Clinton endorsements

 | America Blog | January 20, 2016

Bernie Sanders isn’t getting all of the endorsements that he and his campaign think he should be getting.

The Service Employees International Union’s signature campaign is Fight for $15, and yet they endorsed Hillary Clinton despite the fact that it is Sanders, not her, who supports a $15 minimum wage.

Most of the 46 members of the Congressional Black Caucus have endorsed Clinton despite the fact that Sanders can make a case that his criminal and economic justice platforms are better for the black community.

Yesterday, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Clinton, and while Sanders hasn’t exactly been a leader on LGBT issues, at least he hasn’t tried to airbrush past support for the Defense of Marriage Act.

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HRC Files Complaint Against Utah Judge Who Ordered Baby Removed From Lesbian Couple

Carlos Santoscoy | On Top Magazine | November 14, 2015

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on Friday filed a complaint against the Utah juvenile court judge who ordered a baby girl removed from her lesbian foster parents and placed with a heterosexual couple.

In ordering the couple to give up the baby, Judge Scott Johansen reportedly said that “kids in homosexual homes don’t do as well as they do in heterosexual homes.”

On Friday, Johansen rescinded his order at the request of the state, which means married couple April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce will keep the baby, but child welfare officials said that that could change after a custody hearing scheduled for Friday, December 4.

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The Fight for LGBT Equality is Not Over

(AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

Opponents of Indiana Senate Bill 101, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, march to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, April 4, 2015 to push for a state law that specifically bars discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Peter Montgomery | The American Prospect | April 16, 2015

Sometimes you hate to be proven right. In an article in The American Prospect’s recent winter issue, I wrote that while marriage equality enjoyed some significant victories in 2014, Republicans would likely use their electoral successes that November to push back hard. Under the guise of “religious liberty,” Republican lawmakers at the state level were poised to legalize and protect discrimination against LGBT people in countless ways.

And how. Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) may have grabbed the most attention, but it’s just scratching the surface. Republican lawmakers had, as of April 6, introduced more than 100 pieces of anti-LGBT legislation in 29 states, according to Human Rights Campaign, including more than 25 RFRA bills. The bills challenge LGBT rights in adoption and foster care, access to health services, and even in organizing student groups on campus. Trying to keep up with all the action at the state level is a bit like playing “whack-a-mole,” says Rebecca Isaacs, executive director of the Equality Federation.

In Texas alone, activists are looking at more than 20 pieces of anti-equality legislation, including measures to strip provisions from the state RFRA that prevent it from being used to support discrimination. In Louisiana, a state lawmaker has introduced a religious freedom bill that would bar the state from denying a job, contract, license, certification, or tax deduction to someone who takes action,  “in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction” about marriage.  According to the Associated Press, Governor and likely presidential contender Bobby Jindal intends “to fight for passage of this legislation.”

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It Is Now Illegal For A Federal Contractor To Fire Someone For Being LGBT

Huffington Post | April 8, 2015

WASHINGTON — For the first time, companies that have contracts with the federal government are now prohibited from firing or discriminating against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, thanks to an executive order that takes effect Wednesday.

President Barack Obama signed the order in June 2014 banning workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of federal contractors and the federal government. The administration took the last six months to provide rules to contractors, and to give companies time to put processes in place. The change affects 24,000 companies employing roughly 28 million workers, or about one-fifth of the nation’s workforce.

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, called the change “historic” in a Wednesday tweet.

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Presbyterian Church to Allow Ministers to Perform Marriages Between Same-Sex Couples




Jorge Amaro

Media and Public Relations Director


Presbyterian Church to Allow Ministers to Perform Marriages Between Same-Sex Couples


Washington, DC, March 18, 2015—The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has amended its constitution to allow its ministers to perform marriages between same-sex couples, while upholding the church’s belief that the “unique commitment between two people” has been “traditionally between a man and a woman.” In response, the National LGBTQ Task Force released the following statement:

“The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), with the passage of Amendment 14F, joins a growing number of faith communities working to create a welcoming space of worship for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people. We applaud the work of More Light Presbyterians and other groups within the church who worked diligently over the years to reach this historic day,” said Rev. Rodney McKenzie, Faith Work Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force.


The Presbyterian Church USA, with about 1.8 million members, is the nation’s largest Presbyterian denomination. In 2011, the church adopted a new policy to allow the ordination of gay and lesbian pastors. Among other religious denominations that recognize marriages between same-sex couples include the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Quakers, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Churches, and the Reform and Conservative movements within Judaism.




San Diego The Center: News and Events

News from The CenterEnter enews logo

March 9, 2015

DAJ 2014                      Notes from Delores

Bullying, discrimination and harassment in schools continues to be a priority concern for LGBTQ youth. A number of resources are available to help school administrators, principals, faculty and staff better understand the issues and to implement meaningful change. (See resource links)

Chief among these necessary tools are: 1) Clear protocols regarding responses to bullying or alleged bullying incidents; 2) Routine, repeated training for all administrative, teaching and support staff regarding bullying & harassment, protocols for response and LGBTQ populations; 3) User-friendly, readily-available reporting mechanisms (preferably in real-time, on line) that include rapid responses from the administrative authority; 4) Curriculum inclusion for LGBTQ material such that LGBTQ issues are no longer invisible in classrooms.

Resource materials are widely available. In addition, local resources and assistance are available from: GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) including the data from their National Schools Climate Survey; Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Time To Thrive Conference Email: Dr. Vincent Pompei, Conference Chair; Parents, Family & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) San Diego County   (888) 398-0006(888) 398-0006 FREE, President: Terrie Vorono; The Transgender Law Center  www.transgenderlawcenter.org,  and the San Diego LGBT Community Center

Center Spotlights

Partner Spotlight

task force logo the mission logo

larue and rebekahCongratulations LaRue Fields!
Please join us in congratulating LaRue Fields, The Center’s fabulous senior services coordinator, who received the Bayard Rustin Civil Rights Award. Nice work, LaRue!

Program Spotlight: Latin@ Services
Latino Services NMRThe Center’s Latin@ Services provides a safe, welcoming and culturally and linguistically appropriate space that allows community members to accept and embrace all of who they are, including their culture, traditions, language, spirituality and sexual and gender identities. For more information, visit us online or contact Ricardo Gallego at or 619.692.2077619.692.2077 x116.

You Should Know

President Barak Obama’s Speech in Selma
Obama in Selma“We’re the fresh-faced GIs who fought to liberate a continent, and we’re the Tuskeegee Airmen, Navajo code-talkers, and Japanese-Americans who fought for this country even as their own liberty had been denied. We’re the firefighters who rushed into those buildings on 9/11, and the volunteers who signed up to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.

We are the gay Americans whose blood ran on the streets of San Francisco and New York, just as blood ran down this bridge.

We are storytellers, writers, poets, and artists who abhor unfairness, and despise hypocrisy, and give voice to the voiceless, and tell truths that need to be told.”

Peeing in Peace
“For many transgender people, finding a safe place to use the bathroom is a daily struggle. Even in cities or towns that are generally considered good places to be transgender (like San Francisco or Los Angeles), many transgender people are harassed, beaten and questioned by authorities in both women’s and men’s rooms. In a 2002 survey conducted by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, nearly 50% of respondents reported having been harassed or assaulted in a public bathroom.”

Ian JohnsonIn the Know with Ian
Don’t snooze because you’ll lose out on the festivities tomorrow night at Snooze an A.M. eatery. It’s Snooze: After Hours at 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm with some of Snooze’s tastiest food and drinks. Several fabulous musicians are coming together to raise funds for The  Center’s Youth Housing complex. Admission is only $23 and tix are available at Snooze. For more information and a listing of entertainers check out Snooze: After hours.
dining out for life san diego logo 2015Save the Date for Thursday, April 30 and join us at Dining Out For Life San Diego. Check out the roster for participating locations thus far. Don’t see your favorite? Email me your suggestions and we’ll try and get them on the list. 
PrEP – Get Educated
bethegeneration adam mo'sNEW findings confirm the unprecedented promise of PrEP – the promise of a real chance to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic through aggressive prevention of new HIV infections. Read the news here. 

Want your own Center #BeTheGeneration shirt? The first 100 people to make a (minimum) $15 donation to benefit The Center’s #HIV/AIDS services will get a t-shirt. Donate today to help us end new cases of HIV/AIDS!

Social MediaFollow Us!
Be sure to follow The Center on social media for more #LGBT news from around the world, special events, news from The Center, and happenings around the community! Find us on Instagram and Twitter at LGBTCenter, on YouTube at LGBTCenterSD and on Facebook at

Center Events

lawTuesday, March 10, 9am, Free Legal Clinic
Join us on the second Tuesday of every month for a free legal clinic. Meet with a lawyer for 30 minutes to discuss your legal concerns. Walk in service.  For more information contact Connor Maddocks at

Prostate Cancer RibbonTuesday, March 10, 6:30pm, Prostate Cancer Group Serving the Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities
The prostate cancer group meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 6:30pm. Please contact Steve Wroblowski at before attending for the first time.

Project TRANSWednesday, March 11, 12 noon, Diamonds in the Rough: Etiquette with Miss Pepper
Project TRANS invites you to join Miss Pepper Price every other Wednesday for a fun and informative class on etiquette designed especially for trans women. The group meets from 12 noon-1:30 pm in Latino Services. For more information, contact Connor Maddocks at or call 619.692.2077619.692.2077 x109.
voices for children logoThursday, March 12, 12 noon, Foster Care in San Diego County: Realities, Myths and Solutions
Join us to learn more about the foster care system in San Diego and how CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteers are making a difference in the lives of foster children. Each year, more than 5,000 children will enter the foster care system in San Diego County. Hear from CASA volunteers as they share their experiences. For more information, contact us at 619.692.2077619.692.2077.

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Find Out More

Program Newsletters
Click on the links below to go directly to your favorite program newsletters. You can also find them on the program websites.
Family Matters
Project TRANS
50 and Better Together
Women’s Resource Center

Employment Opportunities
Know someone who’s perfect for the job?

Bilingual Information and Referral Specialist

Community Scoop

Saturday, March 14, 8am, The Great Hillcrest Spring Cleaning
The Hillcrest Town Council, the Hillcrest Business Association, UCSD Medical Center, Hillcrest Clean Team and Hillcrest History Guild are hosting the Great Hillcrest Spring Cleaning on March 14th from 8am through 12noon! Teams of volunteers will be out cleaning the neighborhood all morning. You and your friends are invited to share Saturday morning with Hillcrest and make Hillcrest shine. There will be t-shirts for new volunteers (until they run out), donuts, coffee, brooms, gloves, bags and supplies (provided with help from Hillcrest Ace Hardware). Happy hour will be held at Hillcrest Brewing Company afterwards. For more information, visit the website.

 Saturday, March 14, 10am, Stop Smoking Group at Live and Let Live
Join Live and Let Live Alano Club for a free smoking cessation group. The group will meet at 10am on four consecutive Saturdays, beginning March 14. For more information, call 619.298.8008619.298.8008.

Wednesday, March 18, Out Night at Cygnet – My Fair Lady! (and a Center Supporter Discount Through April 26)
Cygnet is proud to present an evening for our theatre loving friends. Enjoy a pre-show mixer before the performance on Cygnet’s beautiful Elaine Lipinsky Patio. Then see your favorite Professor Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle classic. Cygnet is offering a special discount for Center Supporters! Use the code CENTER at checkout to get $10 off each ticket for My Fair Lady ($5 on previews) through April 26. Buy your tickets and find out more online at

Senior Affairs Advisory Board Survey
The Senior Affairs Advisory Board serves in an advisory capacity to the Mayor and City Council on policy and issues relating to transportation, security at home, improved intergenerational interaction, meal delivery, housing, improved City-County cooperation and other issues. They are currently conducting a survey on senior needs in San Diego. Follow this link to take the online survey and make your voice heard.

Update Your Info

We want to make sure we get the details right! If you’re moving, changing your email, or if we got your contact info wrong, let us know! You can update everything online here or contact us at 619.692.2077619.692.2077 x107 or if you’d like us to do it for you.

New poll shows hike in US voters supporting gay marriage

James Withers | Gay Star News | February 16, 2015

A study sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign shows a majority of US voters are for gay marriage.

According to the report issued by the largest gay civil rights group in the country ‘60% of likely voters support marriage equality, a new high point.’

‘This poll is another conclusive sign that support for marriage equality and LGBT people overall continues to grow,’ Fred Sainz, the organization’s vice president for communications, said in a statement.

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Human Rights Campaign Under Fire in LGBT Community

HRC Sign overshadowed

(Image: JR / TO; Adapted: Jerald Jackson, Geoff, Tom Haymes)

Toshio Meronek | Truthout | January 11, 2015

Queer groups call foul on the largest LGBT nonprofit, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), for glorifying corporations the groups consider to be downright dirty.

Chevron. Goldman Sachs. Monsanto. None of these are brands that we tend to associate with bringing justice into the world. And yet these three corporations, along with many other Fortune 1000 companies, were awarded a “100 percent” rating in the 2015 “Equality Index” put out by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Even if you’re not familiar with the name, you’ve probably seen the HRC’s stickers – a yellow equal sign against a blue background – on a bumper or in the window of a coffee shop somewhere. The campaign claims to be the biggest gay rights organization in the country and is a self-appointed voice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people everywhere.

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