By eureka

Panel Discussion | Fighting Back: Marching for Our Rights

Panel Discussion | Fighting Back: Marching for Our Rights  
Tuesday, September 26
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: Free | $5.00 Donation Welcome

Buttons from the 1979 and 1987 lesbian and gay marches on Washington, D.C. Collection of the GLBT Historical Society

The latest in the GLBT Historical Society’s monthly “Fighting Back” series exploring contemporary queer-community issues in a historical context,”Marching for Our Rights: 1987 and Beyond” will offer a multigenerational conversation about marches as a tactic for advancing our rights, with a special focus on the 30th anniversary of the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987. A panel of veteran organizers and younger activists will discuss the history of marches as a tactic for promoting LGBTQ equality and how this history can inform today’s intersectional resistance movements.


Tre Allen is an advocate for equal rights. As an Evangelical Christian, he underwent several ex-gay therapies to pray away the gay. Once he moved to San Francisco, he jumped into organizing for marriage equality with the Courage Campaign and co-organized the March4Equality during the 2013 Proposition 8 and DOMA cases. He subsequently has been involved in helping organizes other marches and public celebrations. In 2015 Allen earned an associate of arts degree in LGBT studies at City College of San Francisco and recently graduated received a master’s in public administration from San Francisco State. He now works at the San Francisco Neighborhood Empowerment Network.

Pam David is a long-time progressive LGBTQ activist. With values forged in the civil rights, anti-war and women’s movements, David helped organize the Lesbian Rights Alliance and Lesbians Against Police Violence in the 1970s. In the 1980s, she served as the national outreach coordinator for the 1987 March on Washington and was the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s main advisor on LGBTQ issues. In 1990, Mayor Art Agnos made her the first out lesbian appointed to a San Francisco mayor’s staff. Working for three mayors over 12 years, she helped provide critical resources to support LGBTQ people, people with HIV/AIDS and low-income communities. As executive director of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund since 2002, David has continued her personal and professional commitment to social change.

Gabriel Haaland is a transgender progressive union activist who is dedicated to protecting workers; has led campaigns to protect renters from unjust evictions; fights for social justice and political reforms that empower working people, people of color and neighborhoods. Named a “local hero” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, he was also a community grand marshal for San Francisco Pride. He is a former president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and former co-vice president of Pride at Work. Haaland is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law. For the past 15 years, he has worked as a political coordinator for SEIU Local 1021.

Alex U. Inn, a Bay Area resident for more than 35 years, is an advocate for justice and equality. A community grand marshal for San Francisco Pride in 2017, Alex is one of the few to be named to sainthood by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and is a winner of 32 gold medals at the Gay Games. Alex also has been a critical force for many important LGBTQ institutions and campaigns, including the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, the MyNameIs Coalition, San Francisco Pride’s NECTAR/Women’s Stage, UNLEASH! Dance Party for Women and the Committee for Queer Justice. Alex also founded Momma’s Boyz, a troupe of hip hop activist drag kings and the KINGDOM! Drag King House that fundraises for our community.

Ken Jones has been a community organizer and activist since the 1970s, participating in the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day Parade and Celebration Committee for almost a decade. He also traveled to Cuba as part of the Venceramos Work Brigade in 1987 and that same year he served as the Northern California co-chair of the  National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.  An original volunteer at the KS Foundation, Jones was the first paid office manager of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and would go on to become the director of volunteer services at the foundation for over a decade.

Lito Sandoval (moderator) first became active in the queer community in the late 1980s when he joined ACT UP/San Francisco. He subsequently joined the leadership of AGUILAS and later served on the board of the Queer Latina/o Artists Coalition (QUELACO). Currently, he serves as co-president of the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club and is a member of the board of the GLBT Historical Society. In addition, Sandoval has practiced his craft in the spoken word and performing arts as a founding member of Latin Hustle, a queer Latino comedy trio. His short essay “I Love You Alto” was published in the anthology Virgins, Guerrillas y Locas: Gay Latinos Writing on Love (Cleis Press, 1999).

Supervisor Jane Kim: Working Together to Preserve LGBTQ History in San Francisco

Supervisor Jane Kim (left) at the unveiling of a lesbian historical plaque.

The GLBT History Museum is well known as a destination in the Castro neighborhood, but the archives of the GLBT Historical Society have long been located in another part of the city: For more than 20 years, the collections have been housed in buildings in Mid-Market, then the adjacent South of Market and now back in Mid-Market. Representing both of those neighborhoods is San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district also includes the city’s greatest concentration of museums.

A former civil rights attorney elected in 2011, Kim has long been an advocate for the LGBTQ community. In recent years, she has actively included queer heritage and historic preservation issues on her policy agenda. In this exclusive interview with History Happens, the supervisor discusses her efforts on behalf of a number of LGBTQ public history initiatives and explains her support for the GLBT Historical Society’s campaign to create a New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture.

You have supported the South of Market Leather History Alley, which was created in collaboration with a real-estate developer. What are other ways community historians could partner with the City and with developers to commemorate San Francisco’s LGBTQ history?

There is a growing movement of examining intangible cultural assets as they pertain to LGBTQ history. Our office has been partnering with preservationists and community activists on Ringold Alley, Eagle Plaza, the preservation of the Lone Star and the Stud, and creating the first transgender and LGBT leather cultural districts. The Compton’s Transgender Cultural District passed unanimously, and we recently secured seed funding for place-making, job development and staffing for the district, with of $375,000 from our City budget and $300,000 in developer fees.

The City of San Francisco and a wide range of community groups and individuals are currently working to develop a Citywide LGBTQ Cultural Heritage Strategy. What impact do you hope this report will have on LGBTQ preservation efforts and overall city policy?

The report should provide a roadmap and set of principles to both preserve and continue to grow our LGBTQ assets and showcase the unique LGBTQ character of each neighborhood, whether it’s lesbians at the Artemis Café on Valencia, leather daddies at the Toolbox in SoMa, or transgender women at the Chukker Club in the Tenderloin.

You and Supervisor Jeff Sheehy coauthored a unanimously passed resolution earlier this year calling on the City to support the GLBT Historical Society’s initiative to create a world-class New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture. What are the next steps the City should take to put this resolution into action? And how can the community help?

We need to engage in fundraising. The reality is that after the demise of the state redevelopment agency, we have less funding to sustain our museums in South of Market. The story of the Jewish Museum, the Museum of the African Diaspoara (MOAD), the Mexican Museum and Yerba Buena all had a nexus to redevelopment site acquisition and funds. I still think the City can also play a crucial role, such as identifying surplus properties for this use. This will need to be a collaborative effort. Of course, I would love to see this museum near all of its other sister museums in SoMa.

We need to develop a vision of how we hope this museum will serve our community, through showcasing the history and assets of the LGBTQ community. With a strong vision, a serious capital campaign and a committee to identify a site or building, the City and the community can and should work together to add this to our sister museums. Perhaps even join them where I serve as supervisor in District 6.

NOTE: Reprinted from the August 2017 issue of History Happens, the monthly newsletter of the GLBT Historical Society. To read the full issue, click here. To subscribe to the newsletter, click here.

New Exhibition Highlights 35 Years of LGBTQ Community Portraits by Lenore Chinn  

Veronica Passalacqua, Amari Passalacqua and Hulleah J. Tsinhnahjinnie (2016); color photograph. Copyright © Lenore Chinn.

Veuxdo in the Fillmore (2012); acrylic on canvas. Copyright © Lenore Chinn.

“Picturing Kinship: Portraits of Our Community,” a new exhibition offering a 35-year overview of portraits in painting and photography by San Francisco artist Lenore Chinn, opens on June 9 at the GLBT History Museum.

The subjects of the artist’s portraits are individuals who have contributed to the diversity of San Francisco’s cultural landscape in such fields as poetry, visual and performing arts, film, rock music, academia, and the LGBTQ movement. The exhibition is curated by Tirza True Latimer, chair of the graduate program in visual and critical studies at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

“Portraiture is at the core of my visual art practice whether it is painting or photography — both are employed in my creative process,” notes Chinn. “As a local artist, I focus on the depiction of a wide spectrum of people in all their diversity — women, people of color and the LGBTQ community. Collectively these images are visual narratives that constitute an art history largely hidden from the public’s perception of society and our particular cultural experience.

“My portraits reflect the many overlapping communities in which I move or which I have some connection to,” Chinn adds. “Many are colleagues or friends I have chronicled over three decades, so the viewer will see domestic partners, young men now departed due to HIV/AIDS and people from a wide variety of ethnic groups. Some have been involved in laying the groundwork for changing city policy pertaining to our civil rights, others are from my sociopolitical milieu. Together they have been pioneers in creating visibility and an infrastructure for our communities.”

“Picturing Kinship” runs June 9 through September 18 at the GLBT History Museum, 4127 18th St., San Francisco. An opening reception on Friday, June 9, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. will feature comments from the artist and the curator along with light refreshments.

Lenore Chinn. Detail of Butler’ s View (1993); acrylic on canvas self-portrait. Copyright © Lenore Chinn.


Lenore Chinn is a second-generation Asian American painter, photographer, and activist whose work has been shown nationally for more than three decades. Her paintings are based in the Bay Area tradition of photorealism, with its practice of creating large-scale acrylics inspired by photographs of everyday life. At the same time, her iconography escapes photorealist convention by focusing on LGBTQ relationships, racial and ethnic diversity, and Chinese-American culture and kinship.

Chinn has long been active as a San Francisco community organizer who works to create structures of personal and institutional support that will both sustain critical artistic production and advance movements for social justice. She was an original member of Lesbians in the Visual Arts, is a co-founder of the Queer Cultural Center and has been active in the Asian American Women Artists Association since the group was founded. From 1988 to 1992, she served on the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

Tirza True Latimer. Photo: Wanda Corn.



Tirza True Latimer is the associate professor and chair of the graduate program in visual and critical studies at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She has curated numerous exhibitions, most recently “Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories” for the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Latimer coauthored with Wanda Corn a companion book, also titled Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories (University of California Press, 2011).

Latimer’s published work reflects on modern and contemporary visual culture from queer feminist perspectives. She is coeditor with Whitney Chadwick of the anthology The Modern Woman Revisited: Paris Between the Wars (Rutgers University Press, 2003). She is the author of Women Together/Women Apart: Portraits of Lesbian Paris (Rutgers University Press, 2005). Latimer’s latest book, Eccentric Modernisms: Making Differences in the History of American Art (University of California Press, 2016), builds on archival research conducted for the Stein exhibition and book.


THE GLBT History Museum: Free Admission on Harvey Milk Day

Harvey Milk preparing to speak following the Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco (June 1978). Photo: Crawford Barton, from the archives of GLBT Historical Society.
A young visitor to the GLBT History Museum listens intently to Harvey Milk’s recorded political will. A portrait of Milk is in the background. Photo: Gerard Koskovich.

The State of California annually marks Harvey Milk’s birthday, May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, as a statewide day of significance. The GLBT History Museum will honor the occasion this year by offering free admission to all visitors throughout the day. The museum is located at 4127 18th St. in San Francisco’s Castro District. It will be open 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Harvey Milk Day.

Harvey Milk (1930-1978) was the first openly gay elected official in California and one of the first in the United States. He served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for 11 months before he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were shot to death on November 27, 1978, by Dan White, a former board colleague of Milk’s. The GLBT History Museum commemorates Harvey Milk on an ongoing basis in a number of ways.


Queer Past Becomes Present,” the long-term exhibition in the museum’s Main Gallery, includes an exhibit on Milk’s life and death. Among the historical objects on display are the bullhorn Milk used to lead many protest marches and the suit he was wearing at the moment he was assassinated. Visitors also can hear Milk’s voice in the political will he recorded when he was serving on the Board of Supervisors.


In addition, the museum shop offers a reproduction of a historical t-shirt produced by the legal defense committee that raised funds on behalf of protesters arrested during the White Night Riot, an uprising that took place at San Francisco City Hall after a jury found Dan White guilty of manslaughter instead of murder in the killings of Milk and Moscone. Also available in the museum shop are reproductions of a t-shirt produced for Milk’s 1977 campaign for the Board of Supervisors, as well as postcards reproducing historical photographs of Milk.

Among the materials preserved in the archives of the GLBT Historical Society is the Harvey Milk and Scott Smith Collection, an extensive group of Milk’s personal belongings. The collection and other holdings in the society’s archives provide a vital resource for historians and others seeking to understand Milk’s story. Notably, the collections were used by the art directors and costume designers for Gus van Sant’s award-winning 2008 feature film “MILK” and by the producers of the recent ABC miniseries “When We Rise.”

Fighting Back: Development vs. LGBTQ Preservation

Fighting Back: Development VS LGBTQ Preservation

Tuesday, May 23
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: Free; $5.00 donation welcome

Demolition of the Tool Box, an early leather bar (1975). Photo by Henri Leleu from the archives of the GLBT Historical Society.
The latest in our monthly “Fighting Back” series exploring contemporary queer-community issues in a historical context, this multigenerational conversation will feature panelists from preservation battles in San Francisco’s LGBTQ community.
Panelists will focus in particular on initiatives in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, including the Ringold Alley Project, the Eagle Plaza and the Stud bar. They’ll lead a discussion of strategies for preserving LGBTQ heritage: What has worked and what hasn’t? What new approaches are possible? Can development and preservation coexist?
The forum will be facilitated by architectural historian Shayne Watson, chair of the GLBT Historical Society’s Historic Places Working Group, along with working group member and local historian Jim Van Buskirk. The following panelists will participate:
Gerry Takano, founding member of the Friends of 1800, San Francisco’s first LGBTQ preservation group.
Gayle Rubin, renowned LGBTQ anthropologist and leather scholar.

Demetri Moshoyannis, advisory committee member for the soon-to-be-unveiled Ringold Alley interpretive landscape project.

Nate Allbee, cofounder of The Stud Collective, the group that saved the eponymous South of Market bar.