By GLBT Historical Society

Reel in the Closet: Showing With the Filmmakers

Reel in the Closet: Showing With the Filmmakers
Thursday, August 31
7:00 PM
Roxie Theater
3117 16th St., San Francisco
$15.00 | $12.50 for members


Home movies in the GLBT Historical Society Archives. Photo: Stu Maddux

 

This special showing of Reel in the Closet will benefit preservation of the film and video collections of the GLBT Historical Society. The feature-length documentary reveals LGBTQ life through rarely seen home movies dating back to the 1930s, drawing on extensive footage from the Historical Society and from other archives around the world.

The screening will offer a new cut of Reel in the Closet with added historical material providing glimpses of 20th-century life as it was experienced, viewed and recorded by members of the

LGBTQ community. Filmmakers Stu Maddux and Joseph Applebaum will be on hand to introduce the film and respond to question, plus they’ll show a bonus episode of their new web series, Queer Ghost Hunters.

Activist Marsha P. Johnson as seen in a 1972 home movie.

General admission is $15. Admission for GLBT Historical Society members is $12.50. Advance tickets are available for purchase online via the Roxie Theater website.

Picturing Kinship: A Tour by the Artist

Picturing Kinship: A Tour by The Artist
Monday, September 18
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00 | Free for members  


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

For the closing night of “Picturing Kinship: Portraits of Our Community by Lenore Chinn,” the painter and photographer herself will offer an informal tour of the exhibition. Chinn will share stories about the portraits and their subjects and about the processes and politics of her work during 35 years of depicting San Francisco’s LGBTQ community.

The subjects of the 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.

Queer Before the Theory: Gavin Arthur & the Circles of Sex

Queer Before the Theory: Gavin Arthur & the Circles of Sex 
Thursday, September 14
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00 | Free for members


Gavin Arthur from the dust jacket of his book The Circle of Sex (1966). Collection of Gerard Koskovich

In conjunction with the exhibition “Lavender-Tinted Glasses: A Groovy Gay Look at the Summer of Love” at the GLBT History Museum, curator Joey Cain will present the astounding story of a bisexual adventurer, utopian, philosopher and astrologer Gavin Arthur (1901­-1972).

The grandson of U.S. president Chester A. Arthur and the son of a mining millionaire, Gavin Arthur fled his privileged upbringing in the 1920s to take up outsider causes and bohemian pursuits. He frequented early 20th-century homosexual emancipationists, Irish liberation fighters, and avant-garde culture-makers, ending his days in San Francisco as a philosophical grandfather of the hippies.

Arthur laid out his radical theory of the fluidity of sexual orientation in his book The Circle of Sex, first published in 1964 and released in a much-expanded edition in 1966.

Making History Education FAIR: California Brings the LGBTQ Past to K-12 Students

by Don Romesburg

Members of the FAIR Education Act Coalition after testifying at the California Department of Education in August 2017. Prof. Don Romesburg is in the back row, second from left.

In 2012, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act — known as the FAIR Education Act — became law in California. This was just the start of an ongoing effort to bring the LGBTQ past into the state’s K-12 classrooms. The act mandated that the contributions of LGBTQ Americans and people with disabilities be added to the history of other groups such as women, immigrants and people of color that the state required public schools to teach. Unfortunately, with no state funding for implementation and no penalty for schools that ignored it, the FAIR Education Act initially was largely symbolic.

Since then, I have been collaborating with other LGBTQ historians and LGBTQ youth and family activists to turn the law into something more concrete. The FAIR Education Act Implementation Coalition has focused on two major efforts: training educators to teach LGBTQ history and advocating for incorporation of that history into the state’s K-12 History-Social Science Framework. The training was taken up by LGBTQ advocacy and history organizations, including the ONE Archives and Our Family Coalition.

Many of us learned from teachers that they simply did not know how to make LGBTQ history meaningful in their classrooms. With a major framework revision process set to begin in 2014, historian Leila Rupp, history education professor David Donahue and I worked with nearly 20 scholars of the queer past to suggest line-by-line changes. This became Making the Framework FAIR, a report from the Committee on LGBTQ History. In July 2016, the state’s new framework showed the fruits of the coalition’s labor: LGBTQ content appears in grades 2, 4, 5 and 8 through 12 — an unprecedented breadth and depth that puts California’s public schools light years ahead of any other state.

Since then, I have been collaborating with the University of California’s History-Social Science Project, the California Department of Education and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association on a series of 18 rollout sessions around the state to acquaint educators and administrators with the new framework. At every workshop, educators ask for textbooks, educational materials, and lesson plans that reflect the LGBTQ content in the new framework.

The current phase of our campaign involves making sure publishers hoping to sell to the lucrative California K-12 market revise their textbooks to reflect the LGBTQ content of the new framework. In July and August, I joined dozens of LGBTQ advocates, students, parents and teachers to urge the California Department of Education to reject any textbooks that fail to do this important work. Two more opportunities to make this demand are coming up soon. Contact Our Family Coalition to join this effort.

In addition, many historians, teachers and advocates are working to produce educational materials and lesson plans that go into the new LGBTQ content in greater depth than textbooks will. The GLBT Historical Society is currently exploring possible partnerships with the California Historical Society and other institutions to open our archives to teachers looking to create and share curricula based on our holdings. The society is eager to help students get excited about LGBTQ history, archives and museums.

When I initially got involved with the passage of the FAIR Education Act, I didn’t know I’d not only be doing this work today, but also will be continuing into the foreseeable future. It’s been inspiring to participate in such a substantial change in the ways that young people will encounter the past. That said, my biggest takeaway has been that making this kind of structural and systemic change is arduous, complex and takes a long time. With persistence, collaboration and focus, however, we can transform history education to make the LGBTQ past a part of our state’s — and our society’s — shared heritage.

Don Romesburg is professor of women’s and gender studies at Sonoma State University in Northern California. At the GLBT Historical Society, he has served on the board of directors, chaired the Program Working Group and curated numerous exhibitions.


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

Among the Bohemians: Yone Noguchi & Charles Warren Stoddard

Among the Bohemians: Yone Noguchi & Charles Warren Stoddard
Wednesday, September 6
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00  |  Free for members


Yone Noguchi portrait inscribed to Charles Warren Stoddard (1903). Courtesy Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif.

“Faces From the Past” is a new display in the “Queer Past Becomes Present” exhibition at the GLBT History Museum. It uses tintypes, postcards, newspaper articles, paintings, mug shots, arrest records and other historical documents to present more than 150 years of queer presence in Northern California.

In conjunction with the exhibit, historian Amy Sueyoshi will trace the affairs of Japanese immigrant poet Yone Noguchi, San Francisco author Charles Warren Stoddard and their bohemian circle at the turn of the 20th century. Her talk will examine how same-sex sexuality, marital infidelity and interracial love could exist openly in the United States in an era when the law criminalized sodomy and miscegenation.

Sueyoshi is associate dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State and is the author Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi (Univesity of Hawaii Press, 2012).

Take Action: Three Ways to Support the GLBT Historical Society

The GLBT Historical Society has thrived for more than three decades thanks to encouragement from the community and notably from our members who get involved in our efforts. Here are three things you can do right now to support the society in preserving and sharing the stories of the LGBTQ past:

Fill out a brief survey. The City of San Francisco is eager to hear from residents, former residents and others about the aspects of the city’s LGBTQ cultural heritage they value the most. The City will use the survey to shape a citywide strategy for sustaining this heritage. In responding to the questions, you can help the GLBT Historical Society by urging the city to fund our museum and archives — and our plans to build a new world-class center for LGBTQ public history. To take the survey, click here.

Follow us on social media. We regularly post on social media about LGBTQ history and about our programs and activities. By following the GLBT Historical Society, interacting with our posts and sharing them with your friends, you’ll help us ensure that more people discover the queer past and learn about our work. You’ll find us on Facebook and Instagram.

Spread the word to volunteers. We’re currently recruiting and training volunteer ages 18–29 to participate in our San Francisco ACT UP Oral History Project, which is gathering oral histories from veterans of AIDS activism in the city from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. Applications will be accepted through August 5. For more information, contact project director Joey Plaster at gro.y1516179844rotsi1516179844htblg1516179844@yeoj1516179844.


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


Queer Heritage Mixer at the Historic Gangway

Queer Heritage Mixer at the Historic Gangway
Wednesday, August 16
5:30 – 7:30 PM
The Gangway
841 Larkin St., San Francisco
Free (ages 21-plus)


The Gangway (circa 1973); photo by Henri Leleu from the archives of the GLBT Historical Society.

The GLBT Historical Society’s Historic Places Working Group is hosting its inaugural happy hour at the half-century-old Gangway bar in the Polk. Drop in to meet other queer preservation enthusiasts and join a lively discussion about preserving San Francisco’s beloved LGBTQ historic places.

Our working group aims to document, preserve and interpret LGBTQ historic sites in the Bay Area. The group is composed of preservationists, historians, planners and community members with a keen interest in places that tell the stories of LGBTQ history.

To join or for more information on the happy hour, contact working group chair Shayne Watson at moc.o1516179844ohay@1516179844ph_qt1516179844bgl_f1516179844s1516179844. Join the Facebook conversation here.

LGBTQ Portraits: A Queer Historical Perspective

LGBTQ Portraits: A Queer Historical Perspective
Thursday, August 10
7:00 – 9:00 PM
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission $5.00 | Free for members  


Four noted art specialists will discuss how LGBTQ artists and sitters have queered the conventions of the portrait. Why does portraiture — deeply implicated from its inception in the representation of kinship, affiliation, and identity — remain important to queer communities in the so-called post-identity era?

The panel will feature Tirza Latimer, chair of the Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the ArtsPamela Peniston, director of the Queer Cultural CenterRudy Lemcke, visual artist, and curator; and artist Lenore Chinn, whose painted and photographic queer portraits are currently on display in “Picturing Kinship: Portraits of Our Community by Lenore Chinn” at the GLBT History Museum. Join the Facebook conversation here.

Launching Our National Advisory Council

by Terry Beswick 

 

The GLBT Historical Society has long worked to strengthen our engagement with academic, cultural, corporate and philanthropic communities and to broaden support for our organization. We have now taken another major step in advancing this effort: forming a National Advisory Council to advise and support our staff and board on the fulfillment of our mission. Five distinguished leaders of the LGBTQ community have agreed to serve as honorary cochairs:

Mark Leno, former San Francisco supervisor and California State senator and current candidate for mayor of San Francisco.

Alfredo Pedroza, Wells Fargo Bank executive and a member of the board of trustees of the Mexican Museum in San Francisco.

Gayle Rubin, associate professor of anthropology and women’s studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Susan Stryker, director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, founder of the Transgender Studies Initiative, and associate professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Amy Sueyoshi, associate dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.

In particular, the council will help guide our campaign to establish the New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture — a world-class museum, archives and public history center in San Francisco that we believe is vital to the preservation of our heritage and the representation of our diverse LGBTQ communities.

The council will help establish a foundation on which we can build the new museum — but it’s just one of the blocks we need to put in place. Since we announced our Vision 2020 fundraising campaign last year, we also have made steady progress in building our donor and membership base. To all who have donated, joined or increased their membership level this year, we thank you. Please tell your friends about our campaign, and ask them to sign up as members, too.

We at the GLBT Historical Society are honored to protect our community’s heritage and to share the stories of our past with people of all ages, races, classes, genders, and sexualities. We’re grateful to the members of the new National Advisory Council for taking a stand in support of this work, to all our members and donors, and to everyone who believes in the importance of LGBTQ history.

Terry Beswick is executive director of the GLBT Historical Society.

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

LGBTQ Portraits: A Queer Historical Perspective

LGBTQ Portraits: A Queer Historical Perspective
Thursday, August 10
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00  |  Free for members


Butler’s View (1993); acrylic on canvas. Self-portrait by Lenore Chinn. Copyright © Lenore Chinn.

Four noted art specialists will discuss how LGBTQ artists and sitters have queered the conventions of the portrait. Why does portraiture — deeply implicated from its inception in the representation of kinship, affiliation, and identity — remain important to queer communities in the so-called post-identity era?

The panel will feature Tirza Latimer, chair of the Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts; Pam Peniston, director of the Queer Cultural Center; Rudy Lemcke, visual artist, and curator; and artist Lenore Chinn, whose painted and photographic queer portraits are currently on display in “Picturing Kinship: Portraits of Our Community by Lenore Chinn” at the GLBT History Museum.

Fighting Back: Gender Labels — Then & Now

Fighting Back: Gender Labels — Then & Now
Tuesday, August 22
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: Free | $5.00 donation welcome


Transvestia magazine (October 1964), an early national journal for gender-variant individuals. Archives 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, “Gender Labels: Then and Now” will offer a multigenerational conversation about the changing dynamics of gender labels within the LGBTQ community and among the general public.

A panel of historians, authors and activists will discuss the history of gender self-identification and gender-label assignment and will look at how this history can inform today’s evolving language for characterizing gender in the media, the workplace, social-justice movements and everyday conversation.

PANELISTS

Alecs (aka: Sailor) has been playing around with the significance of words and labels and their meanings in different marginalized communities, especially the trans community and gender and sexually nonconforming communities for many years. She is an avid writer, occasional workshop presenter, and committed volunteer who lives and plays in and around San Francisco.

Alexsarah “Golden” Collier is a media activist, musician and writer from the deep, black, magical South. Collier is executive director of Double Union, the nation’s largest feminist makerspace and community workshop, creator of the Womanist Trilliance on Soundcloud, and member of the Sula Collective and Sister Worldwide. Collier also is a teaching member of Girl Army, an Oakland collective providing strengths-based, sliding-scale self-defense for women, and gender nonconforming and trans folks.

Ola Osaze is a 2017 Soros Justice Fellow and a national organizer with LGBTQ Black Immigrant Justice, a project of the Transgender Law Center. He is a Nigerian immigrant with over 10 years’ experience in resource development, community organizing and program management, working for such organizations as the Opportunity Agenda, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Queers for Economic Justice and CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities. As a community activist, Osaze cofounded TransJustice at the Audre Lorde Project in New York City and was involved with Uhuru Wazobia, the first LGBTQ groups for African immigrants in New York.

Don Romesburg is professor of women’s and gender studies at Sonoma State University. He is editor of the Routledge History of Queer America (2018) and has published in numerous journals and anthologies with queer takes on public history as well as histories of adolescence, sex work, transracial adoption, family and queer/trans performers. He was the lead scholar working to bring LGBTQ content into California’s 2016 K-12 History-Social Science Framework. Romesburg is a cofounder of the GLBT History Museum.

Julia Serano is the author of three books, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity (now in second edition); Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive; and Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism. Her writings have also appeared in numerous anthologies and media outlets, and have been used as teaching materials in queer and gender-studies courses across North America.

MODERATOR

Gina White has been taking a break from a decades-long software engineering career while she considers what she is going to do when she grows up. Most of her volunteer efforts go toward queer and women-focused nonprofits. She recently led a group of first-year law students on a visit to conduct legal interviews of trans women who were being held in a men’s state prison. She is extremely proud that these students considered this to be one of the most valuable experiences of their summer.

“Do What Thou Wilt”: Kenneth Anger & the Dawn of Aquarius

“Do What Thou Wilt”: Kenneth Anger & the Dawn of Aquarius
Thursday, August 17
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00  |  Free for members


Screen capture from Kenneth Anger’s underground film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954).

Groundbreaking avant-garde gay film maker Kenneth Anger began expanding the possibilities of cinema in the late 1940s, and his visionary films had a decided influence on the participants in the Summer of Love. A foundational element of Anger’s poetics is the work of bisexual poet and ceremonial “magickian” Aleister Crowley.

In conjunction with “Lavender-Tinted Glasses: A Groovy Gay Look at the Summer of Love,” an exhibition currently on display at the GLBT History Museum, curator Joey Cain will present research into Crowley’s homosexuality, philosophy and system of magick along with excerpts from Anger’s films to elucidate themes in Anger’s ecstatic cinematic dreamscapes.

 

LGBT: San Francisco — The Daniel Nicoletta Photographs

LGBT: San Francisco — The Daniel Nicoletta Photographs
Sunday, August 27
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Dog Eared Books Castro
489 Castro St., San Francisco
Admission: Free


Front cover of Daniel Nicoletta’s LGBT: San Francisco (Reel Art Press, 2017)

Dog Eared Books Castro hosts an informal artist’s talk and book signing with photographer Daniel Nicoletta. Best known for his iconic images of his friend Harvey Milk, Nicoletta has been documenting San Francisco’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities since 1975.

LGBT: San Francisco — The Daniel Nicoletta Photographs, Nicoletta’s lavishly produced new book from Reel Art Press in London, compiles over 40 years of his forceful, surprising, historically invaluable and supremely queer images of LGBTQ arts, culture, activism and personalities in San Francisco. Cosponsored by the GLBT Historical Society.

From Mount Vernon Ladies to LGBTQ Heritage: Bringing Our Stories to the Field of Preservation

by Shayne E. Watson

LGBTQ heritage preservation — and place-based history more generally — anchor the stories and experiences of queer people to the physical spaces where the history unfolded: the home of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, the Black Cat Café, the Turk Street Baths, Compton’s Cafeteria, Folsom Street Barracks, the Women’s Building of San Francisco, Buena Vista Park, the men’s room in the basement at Macy’s. These places don’t exhibit extraordinary design; they are significant to us because they embody our histories.

Upper-class white women founded the first historic preservation organization in the United States in 1853. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union saved George Washington’s Mount Vernon and sparked a national fervor for preservation based largely in patriotism. Over a century later, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 put the National Park Service in charge of place-based history at the federal level and established the National Register of Historic Places, the foremost list of historic sites in the United States.

Queers on the National Register

For most of its history, the National Register foregrounded architectural history and essentially disregarded places important for their social or cultural heritage. In 1999, more than 30 years after the creation of the register, the Stonewall Inn in New York City was the first LGBTQ-associated site added to the list. For more than a decade, the Stonewall stood alone as the only queer listing out of nearly 90,000 properties recognized on the register.

We’ve made great progress in addressing the invisibility of the LGBTQ past in the field of preservation in the last five years, especially in San Francisco. In 2015, the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission adopted the Citywide Historic Context Statement for LGBTQ History in San Francisco, the most comprehensive local study of LGBTQ historic sites ever completed. In January 2017, San Francisco launched the Citywide LGBTQ Cultural Heritage Strategy to preserve and promote queer heritage — the first city-sponsored LGBTQ cultural heritage preservation program in the world.

The GLBT Historical Society has been instrumental in both of these projects, serving as a fiscal sponsor for the first and as a member of the task force for the second. We’re currently encouraging everyone interested in San Francisco’s LGBTQ cultural heritage to complete the city’s survey on the subject. In addition, we recently launched our own Historic Places Working Group to make queer place-based history and site preservation an integral part of the Historical Society’s mission. As chair, I’m eager to hear from people interested in getting involved. You can contact me via e-mail.

Shayne E. Watson
 is an architectural historian and preservation planner specialized in LGBTQ heritage. She serves as an administrator of Preserving LGBT Historic Sites in California on Facebook.

 

 

NOTE: Reprinted from the July 2017 issue of History Happens, the monthly newsletter of the GLBT Historical Society. To read the full issue, click here. For a free subscription to the newsletter, click here.

In the Archives: Documenting a Gay Transgender Pioneer

by Gerard Koskovich

Among the founding members and early board members of the GLBT Historical Society was a pioneering activist who helped open the way for transgender gay men to receive gender care while claiming their sexual orientation.

Louis Graydon “Lou” Sullivan (1951-1991) faced down a medical profession in the 1970s that insisted on heterosexuality as an outcome for transition, gradually locating providers who were willing to buck the demands of heteronormativity. In 1986, he founded the organization that came to be known as FTM International, creating a network of support for men like him.

Our archives include Sullivan’s complete personal papers, donated by his estate after he died of AIDS in 1991. Included in the collection are his extensive journals detailing his transition and the challenges it involved. Our holdings also include the records of FTM International and 58 issues of the organization’s FTM Newsletter (1987-2005), as well as a small collection of personal letters from Sullivan to a trans man known only as David (collection no. 2009-02).

To learn more, read the new biography of Sullivan by historian Brice D. Smith: Lou Sullivan: Daring to Be a Man Among Men (Transgress Press, 2017).

Gerard Koskovich is a queer public historian and communications director for the GLBT Historical Society.

 

NOTE: Reprinted from the July 2017 issue of History Happens, the monthly newsletter of the GLBT Historical Society. To read the full issue, click here. For a free subscription to the newsletter, click here.

 

Stories From 27 Years at the Historical Society

by Daniel Bao

In the Spring of 1990, I found myself sitting in the dark wood-paneled living room of a San Francisco Victorian filled to the brim with banker’s boxes. I was a graduate student in Stanford Professor Estelle Freedman’s class on the History of Sexuality in America, and she’d suggested I do research at the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California, as we were then called.

Bill Walker, one of the Historical Society’s founders, helpfully brought me a box filled with 1950s issues of ONE magazine, and I spent the afternoon reading them, awed by the fact that “real live homosexuals” had organized and published a journal that long ago. Little did I know how my life would be changed by that afternoon’s research.

A few months later, I was in the basement of the Redstone Building in the Mission, having joined the Archives Committee of the GLBT Historical Society. It was exciting to be in an official office space, though the street odors wafting from the emergency escape door made it clear that the society had a ways to go. By 1995, our offices were above ground on Market Street and in 2003 we moved to Mission Street, where we stayed until last year.

With the Times

The Historical Society’s moves were shadowed by my own. After serving on the Archives Committee for a few years, I found myself on the board of directors for 10 years, then served as acting executive director for a few months while we looked for a permanent ED. As soon as our new ED started in early 2004, I became the bookkeeper — and more recently was named finance director under our new executive director, Terry Beswick.

My 27 years with the Historical Society have been more than interesting. Sometimes calm and quiet, and sometimes like a crazy roller coaster with no brakes. Looking back, I’m amazed at what we’ve been able to accomplish — and proud, too. I look forward to the next 27 years and am confident that with support from the City and the community, we’ll be able to create the world-class LGBTQ public history center we are planning through our Vision 2020 initiative.

Daniel Bao is finance director for the GLBT Historical Society.

NOTE: Reprinted from the July 2017 issue of History Happens, the monthly newsletter of the GLBT Historical Society. To read the full issue, click here. For a free subscription to the newsletter, click here.

The Future of Leather: Where We Came From, Where We’re Going

The Future of Leather: Where We Came From, Where We’re Going 
Friday, July 28
7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00 | Free for members

Bikers in leather in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood (circa 1985). Photo: Robert Pruzan; a collection of the GLBT Historical Society.

San Francisco has long been known for its groundbreaking LGBTQ leather and BDSM community. In conjunction with the new “South of Market: San Francisco’s Leather Scene” display in the “Queer Past Becomes Present” exhibition at the GLBT History Museum’s Main Gallery, curator Greg Pennington will facilitate a discussion about the leather scene from the 1960s to the present and beyond. Prominent leather community members, authors, and scholars will take part, including Gayle Rubin, Jordy Tackitt-Jones, Rajat Dutta and Race Bannon. A social hour with light refreshments will follow.

Faces From the Past: Queer Lives in Northern California Before 1930

Faces From the Past: Queer Lives in Northern California Before 1930
Friday, July 14
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00 | Free for members

Homer Baker, age 19; convicted of sodomy and sentenced to six years at San Quentin. Original file identification card, San Francisco Police Department (1908). Courtesy Bill Lipsky.

“Faces From the Past” is a new display in the “Queer Past Becomes Present” exhibition at the GLBT History Museum’s Main Gallery. Using tintypes, postcards, newspaper articles, paintings, mug shots, arrest records and other historic documents, curators Paula Lichtenberg and Bill Lipsky examine over 150 years of queer presence in Northern California.

In the first of a series of programs in conjunction with the display, this panel will feature the curators, along with two historians. Independent scholar Will Roscoe will discuss Queen Califia, the semi-mythical figure after whom California is named, and the two-spirits of the Bay Area. San Francisco State University Professor Clare Sears will speak on laws that criminalized cross-dressing and same-sex sexuality in 19th-century San Francisco.

A reception with the curators starts at 6 p.m., followed by the panel at 7 p.m

Inside Hollywood’s Bisexual Closet: Marilyn Monroe and More

Inside Hollywood’s Bisexual Closet: Marilyn Monroe and More  
Thursday, July 20
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00 | Free for members


Front cover of Boze Hadleigh’s Marilyn Forever: Musings on an American Icon by Stars of Yesterday and Today (Taylor Trade Publishing, 2016)

A look at bisexuality behind the scenes in old Hollywood with Boze Hadleigh, the author of two books published last year that address the question: Hollywood Lesbians: From Garbo to Foster and Marilyn Forever: Musings on an American Icon by the Stars of Yesterday and Today. Rock Hudson once told Hadleigh, “I don’t believe in bisexuals,” yet Hadleigh thinks bisexual activity may have been prevalent in the studio system which showcased the beauty of both genders.

For a shot at stardom, he notes, many comely heterosexual men took a turn on the gay casting couch, while ambitious lipstick lesbians tolerated the straight version. Sometimes a basically gay star such as Cary Grant acted bi for career’s sake — and a sex symbol could question her sexuality while maintaining a straight image, as did Monroe.

Hadleigh will discuss these tales and more in his talk at the GLBT History Museum.

We Were Rebels: Jae Whitaker Remembers Janis Joplin

We Were Rebels: Jae Whitaker Remembers Janis Joplin
Thursday, July 6
7:00 – 10:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00  |  Free for members


Jae Whitaker at the opening of the “Lavender-Tinted Glasses” exhibition at the GLBT History Museum. Behind her at left: Portraits of Janis Joplin and Whitaker in the early 1960s. Photo: Gerard Koskovich

A conversation with Jae Whitaker, an African American lesbian musician who moved to San Francisco in the early 1960s to participate in the Beat scene that was centered in the city’s North Beach neighborhood. In 1963 she met the young Janis Joplin; the two became lovers and lived together.

Joey Cain, curator of our current exhibition “Lavender-Tinted Glasses: A Groovy Gay Look at the Summer of Love,” will interview Whitaker about her early life, the Beat scene, her meeting and relationship with Joplin, her experiences during the Summer of Love, and her life in San Francisco in the subsequent five decades.