Bevan Dufty is a San Francisco icon. Heâ€™s a man of many accomplishments who remains humble, hopeful and helpful to almost everyone who seeks his assistance on personal, political and community problems. Bevan is blessed with a perception that sees problems as opportunities needing answers and solutions, so he quickly seizes what most view as headaches and turns them into solvable situations. He gently attacks such problems with the precision of a surgeon.
Hailing from New York, with deep roots in Harlem and the magical world of jazz in one of its golden ages, Bevan is a true child of the civil rights movement and Lyndon Johnsonâ€™s â€śGreat Societyâ€ť that spurned new visions of educational and housing rights for disenfranchised people from every perceived minority.
Bevanâ€™s Mom, Maely, managed jazz performers, including Billie Holiday, who became Bevanâ€™s godmother. When Billie died from her addiction to heroin, Maely went on to work in the field of heroin addiction in Harlem on her own career journey, which led to becoming an important civil rights leader herself. She became a leading figure in the 1963 â€śWalk on Washingtonâ€ť alongside A. Philip Randolph.
Bevanâ€™s Dad, Bill, wrote â€śLady Sings The Bluesâ€ť in Bevanâ€™s boyhood dining room. Always exposed to and appreciative of the role of music and the arts in social change and evolution, Bevan came west and graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in political science. Armed with that degree and his wealth of human experience, he went to work as a Congressional legislative aide for Shirley Chisholm, a great political leader who brought new insights to Bevan on his ongoing march to inspired leadership himself.
He then worked in the same capacity for California Congressman Julian Dixon, but was now anchored to California and its bounty of opportunities to serve oppressed and underserved people here in â€śthe golden state.â€ť Maely had been involved with the Johnson administration, which created a program that provided $110 million to back educational changes recommended by work carried on under the HARYOU Act. These plans included recruiting educational experts to reorganize Harlem schools, providing preschool programs and after-school remedial education, as well as employment programs for dropouts.
His Mom even took him to the 1964 Democratic Convention in Atlantic City, NJ, where he saw Fannie Lou Hamer unseat the all-White Mississippi Democratic delegation. Along the way, San Francisco beckoned. Bevan had an 18-year relationship with a young man named David Peckham who wasnâ€™t keen on raising kids, which was almost a mandate for Bevan. He found himself single on the eve of his 2002 election victory to District 8 Supervisor.
He had worked hard in the city from his first days and earned support from Mayor Willie Brown and almost all our democratic leadership at the local, state and federal level. He brought his ability to gently cut through much of the b.s. of politics and achieve many great things for his constituency and all San Franciscans.
â€śAs a Supervisor, I worked to anchor the Castroâ€™s LGBT identity,â€ť he said. And so he did. There were many successes, including the GLBT Historical Society Museum, Magnet, The Castro LGBTQ Youth Housing Collaborative, the Castro CBD, the naming of Jose Sarria Court (first street named for a gay man), Jane Warner Plaza, and the plaques honoring Mark Bingham Gymnasium and Rikki Streicher Field at Eureka Valley Rec Center, along with the new, larger plaque honoring Harvey Milk in front of what was Milkâ€™s camera store.
Bevan is proud to have been an enlightened and bold builder of services for the transgender community. Most recently, heâ€™s proud to have succeeded in getting the CPUC to allow Assurance Wireless to come into California and provide cell access for Lifeline customers (less than $15,000 income). Itâ€™s a game changer.
Bevanâ€™s commitment to fatherhood became a reality when he co-parented with a close lesbian friend and they brought the gorgeous â€śTomboyâ€ť Sidney home. They continue to raise her with unconditional love and encouragement to become whoever she wants to be.
Bevan is in a new relationship with a â€śridiculously smart, successful, funny and handsome man. There is a bit of an age difference, and Iâ€™m living in the now of a very happy personal time.â€ť In terms of recent work, Bevan was appointed director of HOPE (Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement) by Mayor Lee and is passionately serving the same folks his mom raised him to serve. In his words, â€śMy work with HOPE represents coming full circle to the work my mom did that inspires me every day.â€ť
Bevan, Sid and some bright, dear friends live in the Haight and play mostly in the Castro, where Sid chooses pizza at Firewood, cookies at Hot Cookie and Bevan picks out wine for friends and himself at Swirl. Thereâ€™s so much to admire about this amazing man: his love of people and deep commitment to serving them, his role as a doting dad, his advocacy for many within and outside our LGBT community, and his record of achievement. We are incredibly lucky that talented, compassionate and charismatic Bevan continues to improve and brighten all of our lives.