Catholic students speak out against archbishop’s morality clauses

March 19, 2015

Originally published here:

Sacred Heart freshman Kristin Faith Avenis spoke at a forum about teaching acceptance. Photo: Jane Philomen Cleland

Written by Chris Huqueriza

About 500 people gathered Monday at the University of San Francisco to discuss recent proposals that Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has unveiled that many say would alter education of students and make teachers adhere to Catholic teachings even in their private lives.

Concerned parents, teachers, and students attended the forum.

Drafted by Cordileone, the revised handbook contains a morality clause that would require all staff to follow Catholic doctrine and to “conduct their lives so as to not visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths.”

The new language would affect staff at Marin Catholic, Riordan, Junipero Serra, and Sacred Heart Cathedral high schools, which are overseen by the archdiocese. The clause specifically condemns homosexuality, marriage equality, contraception, ordination of female priests, and assisted reproductive technology such as in-vitro fertilization. Any faculty member could be fired if found in violation.

Cordileone has also upset teachers at the four Catholic high schools with proposed changes to their contract.

At the March 16 forum, students spoke out.

“The church’s teaching means to show love and compassion. We should not judge each other based on their sexuality or ethnicity,” said Sacred Heart freshman Kristin Faith Avenis, who identifies as a lesbian and said that she was teased about being gay in middle school but didn’t believe being gay was a bad thing. “We should reserve the right to judge people for God. And that’s how it’s suppose to be.”

Nine students, including Avenis, spoke about how the controversial proposal contradicts their beliefs.

“It’s important, especially for me. These teachers are my role models,” said Sacred Heart senior Gus O’Sullivan, who is gay. “My role models are forced to live contrary to their beliefs. It’s also damaging to the students who are oppressed or who are still questioning. Anything the archbishop is putting out there is not respected by [the four Catholic schools].”

While several students spoke against Cordileone’s proposals, many LGBT allies, including parents and teachers, also made remarks.

“This is not the church of San Francisco that I know or grew up with,” said Serra High School history and English teacher Paul Hance, 53, who is straight. “It goes completely against Serra High School’s mission statement. We are a brotherhood who advocate for love and acceptance.”

“We are here as parents and students to express our opposition to the proposed contract and handbook changes,” said Peggy O’Grady, a proud mother of a gay student at Sacred Heart, in a news release that she gave to the Bay Area Reporter. “We believe these changes will hurt our children, our teachers, and our school communities. To remove thoughtful reflection, dialogue, and even dissent, to silence and restrict staff, is to make our schools unsafe.”

When asked if the Catholic schools had a large LGBT representation, many students and teachers agreed that it’s “moving in the right direction.” Over a dozen teachers who identify as LGBT stood up during the forum. LGBT role models in the media; conversations of major LGBT issues like Proposition 8, California’s overturned same-sex marriage ban; and out LGBT faculty members have all factored in a movement of acceptance and love, speakers said.

“I think love is an important value in this Catholic community,” said Sacred Heart senior Kalya Stanten, who joked that she’s straight but also questioning. “Changing the language of the handbook doesn’t convey the same love that I found so meaningful. You can’t teach something negative.”

Titled “Hear Our Voices: Teach Acceptance,” the forum included speakers from several entities, including University of Las Vegas Professor of constitutional law Leslie C. Griffin; retired religious studies teacher Jim McGarry; and former Catholic Charities of San Francisco Executive Director Brian Cahill.

“Don’t let Cordileone drive you away from the church,” said Cahill, father to a gay son. “It is not consistent with the church. Cordileone is driving Catholics away.”

Representatives of the archdiocese did not return an email seeking comment.

Concerned parents and students have organized support on social media at and Also showing their pride, many student have worn black T-shirts with the hashtag #teachacceptance.

Called Concerned Parents and Students: Teach Acceptance, the group said its main objective is to oppose the proposed changes and promote the Catholic values of love, acceptance, and justice.

The group has also asked its members and allies to participate in peaceful actions. The main objectives are to pray, walk in solidarity, and sign a petition. The next planned event will be a procession and vigil Monday, March 30 where students, teachers, and parents will meet at 6 p.m. at Mission Dolores Church, 16th and Mission streets and head to St. Mary’s Cathedral.


Hooker’s Daily LGBT roundup, part 10.

June 25, 2013


I cover LGBT stories daily with dot429. I decided to do a daily roundup of stories I write that cover LGBT news, nationally and internationally.


Openly gay Eric Fanning appointed Acting Secretary of US Air Force

25-year-old former Marine crowned as Mister Gay World USA

Church of Scotland’s first openly gay minister enters civil partnership

Designer Narcisco Rodriquez marries partner in NYC

Frameline film review: G.B.F. to close the festival

Equality House hosts first same-sex wedding across from Westboro Baptist Church

Frameline film review: The Campaign

Sara Bareilles releases new song, inspired by friend’s coming out story

Martina Navratilova on lack of openly gay men in sports

Oakland Raiders’ Chris Kluwe: “I’m tired of seeing children used to disguise bigotry”

Comcast SportsNet Bay Area releases PSA to encourage LGBT athletes to come out

Amnesty International report shows anti-LGBT violence in Africa increasing

-Chris H.

My daily roundup of LGBT news

May 30, 2013


I cover LGBT stories daily with dot429. I decided to do a daily roundup of stories I write that cover LGBT news, nationally and internationally.

Most gay-friendly cities in America, according to Nerdwallet

Obama Urges Illinois House “to stand up and be on the right side of history”

Counseling Service Honored for work with LGBT couples

Cannes film festival’s highest award goes to a lesbian love story

Out soccer player Robbie Rogers returns to Los Angeles Galaxies

USMC Captain Phelps marries partner Ben Schock

Cate Blanchett to play lesbian in upcoming film

One on One: Rupaul’s Drag Race’s Honey Mahogany of San Francisco

March 9, 2013

My dot429 Interview with the lovely Honey Mahogany. 🙂

One on One: Rupaul’s Drag Race’s Honey Mahogany of San Francisco


As San Francisco’s first Drag Queen to appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race (RPDR), Honey Mahogany did her best to show she had the “charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent” to represent. Obtaining her drag name from two shades of Revlon foundation that match her skin tone, she showcases a glamorous exterior and is known for being one classy act.

Mahogany has been working the drag circuit for the past 5 years while working as a social worker during her off hours.

In 2011, she was voted Best Drag Queen by SF Weekly’s Readers’ Poll, was on San Francisco Bay Guardian’s “queer to watch” Hot Pink List, was the reigning Miss Blow Up USA, and was the cover girl for Guardian’s 2011 Queer Issue.

Mahogany also sings live during her performances, and has done theatrical productions including “Dirty Little Showtunes,” “Oprah: The Dragsical,” “Halloween: The Ballad of Michelle Meyers,” and “Work MORE!”

Last month, she released her first EP and single called “It’s Honey.”

429Magazine spoke with Mahogany about her history, San Francisco, RuPaul, and what’s next for her.

429Magazine: How did you start your foray into drag culture?

Honey Mahogany: My first time was in a student film. It was very positive but I left it alone for a while and didn’t continue for a while. I lived in San Francisco, but after traveling and coming back because of grad school, I saw different side of queens in the city. I saw that drag queens sang live, had weird concept numbers and made political statements. It was kind of cool. I told myself that I had to do it.

429Mag: Who and what inspires you? 

Mahogany: Good question. I see the potential in everyone, and if you set yourself with that mentality, the possibilities are endless. By creating your own destiny, I see that as the most inspiring. In terms of role models, it would have to be Beyonce. She had a rough start. She lost on Star Search but worked hard and gained recognition as a solo artist. Now, she’s a huge mega tycoon. She’s at the top of the music industry.

429Mag: What are some of the best, and worst, aspects of doing drag?

Mahogany: I’ll start off with the worst part. It would have to be all the shaving. I hate it cause it causes skin irritation.

The best part would have to be the access to so many things. Drag queens have a certain status in gay culture. It has both its negative and positive comments. Before RuPaul’s Drag Race, many people didn’t like it, but it’s gaining popularity again.

Drag queens are called for fundraisers, hosting and have a position of power and leadership in the community. It’s very lovely. We have a platform to stand on and we have a stage to walk on.

429Mag: Does your family support you and your drag career? What are their reactions to you being on the show?

Mahogany: They know about it, but I also grew up in a socially conservative family. They recognize it but they know I am an adult and I do make my own choices. They’re not thrilled, and I have gotten mixed responses. I’ve been on covers and while a few members notice them, some family members completely ignore my time on the show and that’s okay.

429Mag: You are the first drag queen from San Francisco to appear on RuPaul’s Drag Race. How does it feel to be the first?

Mahogany: Geez, a lot of pressure but I didn’t think that going in there. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from San Francisco’s LGBT community as they see me as a very proud and good representation of the city. There’s very little negative feedback.

I conducted myself very well on the show and I’ve been referred to as a class act. I’ve heard that so many times, I swear I’d be rich if I cashed that in. I do hope I’m not the last drag queen from San Francisco. I need a sister and would love it if they took home the crown.

429Mag: In the first episode of RPDR, you referred to San Francisco as a city of liberal hippies. Comment?

Mahogany: I made the comment as a general stereotype of what San Francisco is known for. But not all San Franciscans are hippies. I love San Francisco as it’s a beautiful place with people who are very hardworking, artistic or invested in politics. There’s so much diversity. It’s a magical place.

429Mag: What is your favorite neighborhood in San Francisco?

Mahogany: I grew up in the Sunset but Castro feels like home. I go there to relax and everyone’s always smiling. The energy is beautiful.

429Mag: San Francisco is known for the avant-garde and you commented on the show that the “look doesn’t really matter in San Francisco.” Viewers may have been confused. Comment?

Mahogany: I made the comment on “RuPaul’s Untucked” but it was taken out of context. They cut off my comment, as it wasn’t a full sentence. It was more a reference to pageantry, as a lot of the girls do pageantry, and for some the look is very important for them. In San Francisco, the look is secondary to the performance. Unfortunately, it was seen in a different light when they edited my comments.

429Mag: What was your most and least favorite parts about competing on the show?

Mahogany: Favorite part was definitely the promo shoot. It was a taste of what I want my life to be like. I like huge productions, photoshoots, videoshoots and the creative process. Performing in front of the camera is very magical for me.

Least favorite part is the Hollywood experience with the rushing and the waiting. They rush you and make you sit and wait for 2 to 3 hours. It’s usually in silence and you can’t talk to the other drag queens.

429Mag: You were eliminated before the Snatch game episode, when the queens get to choose someone to impersonate. We’re dying to know, whom would you have chosen?

Mahogany: I was thinking of impersonating RuPaul as a few queens mention the resemblance. However, I would have done Pam Greer. She’s done so many roles and there’s so much material to make it funny. There was the option of doing Beyonce but [drag contestant] Kenya Michaels did her last season and wasn’t successful. I definitely would not have done Diana Ross because other queens have tried and it’s the kiss of death.

429Mag: Any queens from San Francisco you would like to see compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race for next season and beyond?

Mahogany: It’s anyone’s game but I’d like to see drag queens from San Francisco’s South of Market district. They’re very gritty and more underground than the Castro district. Vivienne Forevermore, Suppository Spelling and Mahlae Balenciaga come to mind. There’s no shortage of queens in San Francisco.

429Mag: What’s next for you?

Mahogany: I’m still working as a social worker but I’m still traveling the country and performing every weekend at Castro’s Midnight Sun. I still make time to record and write music because they are my passion and I give all my heart whenever I do it. If I can act and model, that would be great. I would love to do it all.


Seven Films with the San Franciscan Spirit.

September 22, 2008

San Francisco is known through the world as being extremely liberal, a gay Mecca for the “outsider,” and the city covered by the rolling fog. But what about films based in San Francisco? Are there a lot? Everything is based in New York City, and After the success of Paris, I Love You, the sequel will be based in New York. So sad to think of San Francisco as the neglected metropolis. Well, inspired by the upcoming San Francisco-based film, Milk, I feel I should showcase 7 films that give San Francisco an invaluable reputation. And yes, they must be filmed in San Francisco. If I forgot any prestigious film, let me know because my film knowledge of San Francisco films is limited.

Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo deserves to be called the ultimate San Francisco film because of its extensive location footage and how central the city is to the plot. In interviews, director Alfred Hitchcock even stated that he fell in love with the city and based another film in the San Francisco Bay Area (a la The Birds). The plot twists are reflective by the city w much noted observation of the steep hills, expansive views, and tall, arching bridges. The driving scenes with actor James Stewart have him pictured down the city’s steeply inclined streets. Many prominent landmarks are showcased in Vertigo such as the Palace of Fine Arts,  Coit Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mission Dolores, and the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. For years, Vertigo has attracted tourists to San Francisco. Nothing  in the past 50 years beats Vertigo has it shows its love for San Francisco.

Bullitt (1968)

Bullitt is another film that uses extensive location footage of San Francisco. Its most famous scene is the car chase through downtown San Francisco, which has become one of the most influential car chases in the cinema world. In a matter of minutes, the car chase races through Mission district, Potrero Hill, Bernal Dsitrict, Coit Tower, Hyde Street, Filbert Street, Angel Island, Larkin Street, Francisco Street, Laguna Street, Van Ness, the Marina, and Fort Mason. Reflective of the times, Bullit presents San Francisco in its 1960s hey day.

The Wedding Planner (2001)

The Wedding Planner may not be the greatest movie of all time, but at least its an enjoyable ride through San Francisco. The Wedding Planner has prominent scenes in the Civic Center, the Music Concourse, and the Japanese Tea Garden. One of the highlights for me was seeing Jennifer Lopez watching an old Hollywood film at Dolores Park (A practice continued to this day). It presents a picture perfect image of San Francisco without any fog. But what are romantic comedies for without glossy perfection?

The Princess Diaries (2001)

The Princess Dairies is a wonderful film based in San Francisco. Oddly enough, the characters felt like they were from San Francisco living the San Franciscan lifestyle. Anne Hathaway is eccentric, and even lives in a San Francisco firehouse. Julie Andrews makes a funny comment by saying “Goodbye Trolley people.” Some famous neighborhoods presented are Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, and Seal Rocks. Former Mayor Willie Brown makes an appearance in the final act giving an authentic feel for a San Francisco movie.

The Lady From Shanghai (1948)

The Lady From Shanghai is a wonderful film noir climaxing in San Francisco inside the house of mirrors. Although the portrayals of Chinese people is highly offensive (but what film from Orson Welles isn’t racist), the film does have nice San Francisco sets. Prominent locations are Portsmouth Square, Golden Gate Park, the Chinese Opera House, the Hall of Justice, and Sunsing Theater on Grant Avenue. The Lady From Shanghai portrays San Francisco as seedy and mysterious.

The Rock (1996)

The Rock is a very good action-packed movie with famous scenes in Alcatraz Island, City Hall, Fairmont Hotel, Palace of Fine Arts, Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, and Hunter’s Point. Out of all the films on the list, the Rock is a smart action film that soars all over San Francisco.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is a great film that deals with interracial marriages in the 1960s. How odd to present racial conflict in one of the most liberal cities of America. Either way, prominent locations are Angel Island, the San Francisco International Airport, and Mel’s Drive Inn Van Ness. This is a famous film with Sidney Poiter and Katharine Hepburn. Also, noted would be that it was Spencer Tracy’s last film.

Here are some notable mentions that didn’t make the list: The Graduate (1967), 40 Days, 40 Nights (2002), Sister Act 1-2 (1992/1993), and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993).

And I feel bad saying this, but there are a lot of films in San Francisco that I haven’t seen yet: Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Dirty Harry (1971), The Towering Inferno (1972), My Pal Joey (1957), What’s Up, Doc? (1972), and Days of Wine and Roses (1962).