California: Berkeley council to welcome first lesbian member

BERKELEY, California -- After canceling its meeting last week, the Berkeley City Council is set to greet its new members at 7 pm Tuesday, including the first out lesbian to serve on the elected body.

Among the freshmen lawmakers is Lori Droste, 41, a married mother of two who won the council's District 8 seat. She is the first out lesbian to serve on the council and is now serving alongside gay City Councilmen Darryl Moore, who represents District 2, and Kriss Worthington, who won re-election to his District 7 seat in November.

Ninth Circuit OKs enforcement of condom mandate in porn made in California

SAN FRANCISCO, California -- The pornography business struck out again on Monday in its constitutional challenge to a 2012 California ballot initiative that requires adult film stars to wear condoms.

Pornography producer Vivid Entertainment LLC had appealed a lower court’s refusal to halt enforcement of the initiative. Its main argument was that the measure violated a First Amendment free speech right to have unprotected sex on camera. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit disagreed.

California: Sheriff denies gay discrimination in San Bernardino County jails

RIVERSIDE, California -- The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department is denying it discriminates against gay, bisexual and transgender inmates as alleged in a federal lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California on behalf of 15 plaintiffs.

A sheriff’s statement issued Wednesday, Dec. 10, says the department follows state laws applicable to housing, recreation time and sentencing for gay, bisexual and transgender inmates housed at the West Valley Detention Center. The 3,347-bed jail is in Rancho Cucamonga.

California: Straight Assemblymember asks to join LGBT Caucus

SACRAMENTO, California -- Upholding a campaign promise, Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), who is straight, is seeking to join a legislative group for LGBT lawmakers in the Statehouse.

But it remains unclear if the California Legislative LGBT Caucus will revise its rules, which currently restrict membership to only those members of the state Assembly and Senate who identify as either lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Desert transgender residents face a quiet revolution

PALM SPRINGS, California -- When more than 100 people gathered Nov. 20 in Francis Stevens Park in Palm Springs, they came in recognition of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. It was an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges transgender people face and to honor those who died as a result of transphobic violence. For many, the event also reflected the growing visibility of transgender people.

BART police could get guidelines on how to interact with transgender people

OAKLAND, California -- A BART police advisory board is considering a new policy that would establish a directive for how the department’s 200 officers should interact with transgender people.

The proposed policy, hailed as a great first step by transgender advocates, was to be considered Monday by the Bay Area Rapid Transit’s Citizen Review Board, which makes recommendations to Police Chief Kenton Rainey.

Transgender woman seeking help is gunned down

LOS ANGELES, California -- Police were investigating the death of a 21-year-old transgender woman who was gunned down while pounding on the front door of a Compton home seeking help.

Deshawnda Sanchez, known as "Tata," was shot around 4 am Wednesday on the front porch of a home near Wilton Place and 62nd Street, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

"She was definitely at that door, pounding on that door seeking help," LAPD Detective Christopher Barling said.

The occupant of the home came outside after hearing multiple gunshots but it was too late.

California: LGBT Center in Merced told to take down rainbow flag

MERCED, California -- Workers at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Merced say they had to take down a rainbow flag from a flagpole earlier this week after the owner of the building asked them to do so.

The LGBT center had flown the rainbow flag since it opened on Aug. 31. But staff members say they recently received a letter from the building’s owner, and took down the flag.

Chris Jervis is the president of Gay Central Valley, which operates the Merced LGBT center.

Porn star caught smuggling drugs in his rectum learns his fate

LOS ANGELES, California -- A gay porn star and rent boy from the UK, caught at LAX trying to smuggle out of the country a half-pound of crystal meth in his rectum, learned his sentence this week.

Philip Gizzie, 31, aka Bruno Knight, was nabbed June 16 as as he attempted to board a Virgin Atlantic jet bound for London, England.

Speaker Atkins chosen again to lead California Assembly

SACRAMENTO, California – Originally sworn into office in May of this year, Speaker Toni G. Atkins was today nominated and unanimously chosen to continue to lead by her Assembly colleagues.

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