Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Our guest Day-Around-the-Bay aggregator Chris Daly pointed you to this cover piece about Theresa Sparks in the new issue of SF Weekly last night, but having just read it ourselves during a long F-Market trip last night, we thought we'd encourage you again. It's a compelling profile by Lauren Smiley of the woman who could be our next District 6 Supervisor (should she officially decide to run), and the main photo by Frank Gaglione (at right) makes Sparks look downright Lorraine Bracco-ish, no?
As head of SF's Human Rights Commission, and previously as President of the Police Commission, Sparks has been breaking new ground for transgendered people in San Francisco politics. She spent fifty years of her life living as a man and as a powerful executive in the oil recycling industry, and was married twice before ultimately moving to San Francisco in the 90s to seek the advice of gender therapists. She almost immediately began transitioning, and flew to Bangkok in 2000 for gender reassignment surgery.
Sparks had trouble finding work after she began transitioning, but with her business skills she ultimately rose up the ranks from being a clerk at sex retail chain Good Vibrations to being the company's CEO. She later gained the attention of some of Newsom's rivals on the Board of Supervisors and was appointed to the police commission.
Now, due to some health issues that prevent her from climbing too many hills, she has relocated out of her former Nob Hill home to a condo at Van Ness and Turk, and she is vocally eying Chris Daly's chair as District 6 supervisor (Daly will be termed out as of next year). It could be an interesting race. As Smiley puts it, "However much San Francisco can look past Sparks being transgendered, there's no question that this is a city where identity politics matter."