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San Francisco LGBTQ Groups Blast Redistricting Plan To Put Tenderloin, SoMa In Separate Districts

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- As San Francisco is set to redraw its district lines, a coalition of LGBTQ groups on Wednesday blasted a proposed plan that, according to the coalition, would separate LGBTQ communities.

The city's nine-member Redistricting Task Force is set to approve a new district map that better reflects the latest census results by April 15.

Recently, the task force approved moving forward with a draft map that would move the Tenderloin from District 6 to a newly redrawn District 5, separating the Tenderloin from the South of Market area and joining it with the Western Addition neighborhood.

"These should not be separated and I hope they reconsider any potential changes," said Matt Haney, board supervisor for District 6. "I hope the redistricting commission listens to their voices and keeps them united and connected."

The coalition is made up several groups, including the Transgender District, the Harvey Milk Democratic Club, the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District, the Alice B Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club and the Tenderloin People's Congress.

According to the coalition, the move, although not final, could displace some of the city's most disadvantaged residents, as well as disconnect Compton's Transgender Cultural District -- the world's first and only transgender cultural district -- from nearby SoMa.

The coalition is calling for the Tenderloin and SoMa, both home to LGBTQ communities, be kept within the same district.

"What is most important is to ensure people understand that we are human beings," said Anjali Rimi, president of Parivar Bay Area, an organization for South Asian trans and queer people. "We can be celebrated every single day not just today and we have needs that have never been met."

Parivar Bay Area and other organizations hosted a celebration in the Mission Bay neighborhood during lunch on Thursday with performances from the community.

"It would really send a negative message that queer and trans people are not prioritized," said Jupiter Peraza, director of social justice initiatives at The Transgender District.

"The Tenderloin represents one of the last vestiges of housing affordability, socio-economic and racial diversity, trans and queer cultural heritage, and a dense concentration of legacy businesses that have been long-lasting community centers for all of San Francisco," Transgender District Director of Social Justice and Empowerment Initiatives Jupiter Peraza said in a statement. "Keeping the Tenderloin and SoMa together in District 6 is an urgent and imperative matter -- one that if not defended, could displace vulnerable communities that are already fleeing San Francisco at alarming rates."

Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District Board President Bob Brown said, "Despite mobilizing dozens of community members to speak at the Task Force hearings, the current proposals do not maintain the current cultural district boundaries within the same district. We are united in making this collaborative effort to ensure that communities of interest have their voices heard."

"LGBTQ people are not accurately or adequately counted in the census. The Redistricting Task Force has to do more to listen and engage with queer and trans people to keep our communities intact," Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club president Edward Wright said.

"The LGBTQ community is under attack from all sides and the transgender community in particular," said Bob Brown, president of the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District. "All we're trying to do is make sure that San Francisco remains that safe haven, that everyone continues to have a voice."

© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Shawn Chitnis and Bay City News contributed to this report

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