A San Francisco supervisor said today that she is considering introducing legislation at next week’s board meeting to change the name of a street after its namesake, a Polish politician, made anti-gay remarks earlier this month.
Supervisor Jane Kim said she is seeking to rename Lech Walesa Street, a small alleyway located between Grove and Hayes streets and Van Ness Avenue and Polk Street.
Walesa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 after co-founding the Solidarity independent trade union movement in Poland, made controversial comments in a TV interview on March 1, saying gay people should not be allowed to hold prominent political posts.
Kim, whose district includes Lech Walesa Street, said she is considering renaming the street after Tom Waddell, a gay activist, or reverting back to the alleyway’s previous name of Ivy Street.
The Tom Waddell Health Center, which includes a transgender clinic, is located on Lech Walesa Street.
Waddell worked at the clinic and also created the Gay Olympics, later renamed the Gay Games, Kim said.
He contracted AIDS in the 1980s and passed away years later, she said.
Kim said she wants to conduct outreach to the LGBT community on the potential name change.
“I want to reach out and make sure that’s the appropriate person, or if people want to see it just go back to the original name,” she said.
The name change issue comes as another San Francisco supervisor is seeking to rename another landmark after a gay icon.
Supervisor David Campos is seeking to put a charter amendment on the November ballot to rename San Francisco International Airport after Supervisor Harvey Milk, who was slain along with Mayor George Moscone by former Supervisor Dan White at City Hall in 1978.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News