Above is a quick snapshot of the picture in November’s San Francisco Magazine of Theresa Sparks, myself and Margret Cho from the amazing article “The life and times of Theresa Sparks – A former oilman, CEO, police commissioner, and butt of Jay Leno’s jokes, the groundbreaking activist is now San Francisco’s most electrifying political candidate since Harvey Milk.”
Yes, I’m in it; close friends with Margaret and as you’ll read in the story, I’m Theresa’s errant adopted daughter, making family for both of us when we previously had none. It’s a riveting article, and I’m thrilled to be part of San Francisco’s — and the LGBT human rights movement in America’s — rich political history. I’m officially now one of the “lost girls,” referring to my past as a runaway homeless adolescent on the streets of San Francisco. What’s happening here in The City for politics, women, sexuality and human rights is groundbreaking. Don’t miss this fascinating piece by Nathaniel Johnson. Snip:
As I watched Theresa Sparks during Pride weekend this past June, it was clear to me that something had changed. The soon-to-be-ex–Police Commission president seemed more restrained than when I’d followed her during the same events in 2008. Then, she had shouted through the microphone with an activist’s recklessness (“Fuck the Human Rights Campaign!”—a reference to the LGBT group’s futile attempt to win congressional votes for a federal antidiscrimination bill by agreeing to cut transgender people out of it). But this year, Sparks kept it short and sunny. The most controversial thing she did all weekend was introduce departing police chief Heather Fong, and Sparks’ rhetorical bouquet—“Every now and then, an individual comes along who is the right person at the right time in history”—stirred things up only in that it brought the room to a five-minute standing ovation. Never mind that she could have been talking about herself.
Sparks is tall, with a Julia Child–like solidity and tousled, shortish hair that shifts through various shades of red. She dresses conservatively—for Pride, she chose blue jeans and a black cardigan, with designer sunglasses—and moves with deliberate grace, though sometimes she forgets herself and chops at the air with her hands. You would never guess that she used to be male until you hear her voice—the baritone drawl of the blunt-spoken Kansas oilman she once was. Usually, she wouldn’t have cared who was listening, which made her a reporter’s best friend (and a handler’s nightmare). On Pride weekend, however, she expertly buttonholed politicians—supervisors Bevan Dufty and David Campos, state senator Mark Leno—for conversations out of earshot. Sparks, it turned out, had made a momentous decision: to run for San Francisco supervisor in November 2010, perhaps the most high-profile bid for power ever attempted by a transgender person in the United States. And the way these elected officials were treating her—their body language showed respect, even deference.(…read more, sanfranmag.com)
It’s not mentioned but I was also at the tranny bar night described in detail in the section after these two intro grafs; I wrote about the evening for my San Francisco Chronicle column Margaret Cho, a bottle of whiskey and a long night. Oh, the dirty details. And there is more about the day we three spent in the convertible, plus more photos and Obama’s statements to the LGBT democratic brunch in this post.