From GLBT history

History Talk | How Has Hollywood (Mis)Represented Homosexuality?

Thursday, January 18
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco 

Admission: $5.00  |  FREE for members


Using trailers from mainstream movies from the 1960s and 1970s — including Myra BreckinridgeSunday Bloody SundayThe Children’s Hour and The Killing of Sister George — queer cultural historian Jim Van Buskirk will investigate Hollywood’s depiction of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters.

The talk is designed to spark a lively discussion of understandings of sexuality and gender issues and how they are reflected in — and influenced by — stories and images on the silver screen. Van Buskirk is an author, professional group facilitator and film buff. Among his books is Celluloid San Francisco (Chicago Review Press, 2006).

Inset: Poster for The Children’s Hour (1961). Poster for Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971). Courtesy of Jim van Buskirk.

Community Forum | Fighting Back: Disability and the LGBTQ Community    

Wednesday, January 24  
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco 

Admission: Free. $5.00 donation welcome.

The latest in the GLBT Historical Society’s monthly “Fighting Back” series exploring contemporary queer issues in a historical context, “Disability and the LGBTQ Community” will offer a multigenerational conversation about relations and intersections between the LGBTQ and disability communities. A panel of historians, veteran organizers and younger activists will discuss the history of challenges and successes related to disability awareness, discrimination and activism within the LGBTQ community and how this history can help inform today’s resistance movements:


Laura Bock is a 72-year-old lesbian, a red-diaper baby, Jewish, and a native San Franciscan who has sight and hearing disabilities. A founding member of Fat Lip Readers Theater, she is active in fat politics, peace and justice, and disability rights movements. Bock is the author of a recent memoir, Red Diaper Daughter, Three Generations of Rebels and Revolutionaries (2017).

Tracy Garza is a member of the board of the GLBT Historical Society who also serves on the LGBT Advisory Committee of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and the board of Trans LifeLine. Garza formerly was a member of the boards of Lyon-Martin Health Services and the Transgender Law Center and was active in the leadership of the San Francisco Trans March.

Danny Kodmur was in a frequent contributor to the webzine Bent: A Journal of CripGay Voices. His work has also been published in Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men and Their Stories (2003), as well as the Jewish anthology The World Is a Narrow Bridge (2004).

Tadhg Laasko is a disabled transgender queer artist based in Oakland. He is the single parent of a 16-year-old trans and autistic daughter and an 18-year-old genderqueer child. He works as an illustrator, artist and art teacher. Laasko also runs the disabled services committee at the Oakland LGBTQ Center.

Frank Lester started his activist work for the deaf-blind community and his advocacy for deaf people with HIV. Later he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, teaching life skills and HIV/AIDS prevention for deaf students. Currently, Lester teaches high school at the California School for the Deaf and is chair of the Parodi Charitable Trust.


Lito Sandoval became active in the queer community in the late 1980s when he joined ACT UP/San Francisco. He later joined the leadership of AGUILAS and served on the board of the Queer Latina/o Artists Coalition. Currently, he is co-president of the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club and a board member for the GLBT Historical Society. Sandoval also is a spoken word performer. His essay “I Love You Alto” appears in Virgins, Guerrillas y Locas: Gay Latinos Writing on Love (Cleis Press, 1999).


The GLBT History Museum is wheelchair-accessible. ASL translation will be provided.

Inset: The Gay Disability Rights contingent participating in the 1977 Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco. Photo by Marie Ueda. Courtesy of GLBT Historical Society.

Closing Reception & Gallery Tour: OUT/LOOK & the Birth of the Queer Exhibition

Friday, January 26
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco 

Admission: $5.00  |  FREE for members

The GLBT History Museum marks the closing weekend of its innovative exhibition “OUT/LOOK and the Birth of the Queer” with a public reception featuring a gallery tour by curator E.G. Crichton and a celebration of the participating artists and writers, many of whom will attend the event.

The exhibition highlights the story of OUT/LOOK, a groundbreaking national queer quarterly published in San Francisco from 1988 to 1992, via displays of historical materials as well as new work created by 38 culture-makers inspired by the journal. The show and its associated publication and website are designed to spark intergenerational conversations about the legacy of OUT/LOOKand its era.

Discounted copies of the new issue of OUT/LOOK created for the show will be available, and light refreshments will be served.

Inset: Historic issues and front covers of the journal OUT/LOOK (1988-1992) displayed in the exhibition “OUT/LOOK and the Birth of the Queer” at the GLBT History Museum. Photo by E.G. Crichton.

Exhibition Opening | Angela Davis: OUTspoken    

“Libérez Angela Davis” (Paris: Union des Etudiants Communistes de France, 1971). Poster. Artist unknown. Collection of Lisbet Tellefsen.
Friday, February 9     
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco 
Admission: $5.00. Free for members.

A new exhibition drawing on rare posters and ephemera from a private collection will trace the turbulent history of Angela Davis, a radical thinker, and activist whose work reflects her experience as a queer black woman. Davis first came to public attention in the 1970s with her involvement in the Black Panther Party, her dismissal from the faculty of the University of California due to her membership in the Communist Party, and her trial on charges of political kidnapping and murder for which she was acquitted. Today, Davis continues her militant work, challenging mainstream LGBTQ movements to see the military and marriage with a critical eye.”Angela Davis: OUTspoken” considers some of the roles Davis has played in the American political imaginary and explores the complexity and impact of her life across nearly half a century.

Illustrated Talk | We’ha: The Life & Times of a Traditional Zuni Two-Spirit      

We’Wha weaving cloth (Circa 1890s). Photo: National Archives and Records Administration.
Thursday, February 15   
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco

Admission: $5.00. Free for members.

In this illustrated talk, historian Will Roscoe will share the story of We’wha (1849-1896), a Zuni two-spirit who was a potter, weaver, and leader of ceremonial activities for the tribe. Two-spirits in American Indian societies traditionally combined male and female roles and were recognized as belonging to a third gender. Perhaps the most celebrated of all two-spirits, We’wha even met United States President Grover Cleveland – and is one of the individuals recognized on the Rainbow Honor Walk in San Francisco’s Castro District. Roscoe is the author of The Zuni-Man Woman (1991) and editor of Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology (1988). The talk is co-sponsored by Bay Area American Indian Two Spirits (BAAIT), and representatives of the group will introduce the program.

Author Talk | A Queer Love Story: Jane Rule & Rick Bébout   

Cover of A Queer Love Story. Edited by Marilyn R. Schuster. Courtesy University of British Columbia Press.
Thursday, February 22    
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00. Free for members.

Marilyn Schuster will discuss and read from her new book, A Queer Love Story: The Letters of Jane Rule and Rick Bébout (University of British Columbia Press, 2017), collecting the extraordinary correspondence of two leading figures in the queer history of Canada. Both were born in the United States: lesbian novelist Jane Rule, who grew up in Palo Alto and attended Mills College in Oakland, and gay journalist and AIDS activist Rick Bébout. According to the publisher, “A Queer Love Storypresents the first 15 years of their correspondence. At turns poignant, scintillating and incisive, their exchanges include ruminations on queer life and the writing life as they document some of the most pressing LGBT issues and events of the 1980s and ’90s, including HIV/AIDS, censorship, youth sexuality, public sex and S/M, Toronto’s infamous bath raids, and state regulation of identity and desire.” To learn more about the book, visit the publisher’s website.

Poster Exhibition Highlights Radical History of Black Lesbian Scholar Angela Davis

“Free Angela and All Political Prisoners” (Oakland CA, 1971). Poster. Artist and publisher unknown. Collection of Lisbet Tellefsen.
“Libérez Angela Davis” (Paris: Union des Etudiants Communistes de France, 1971). Poster. Artist unknown. Collection of Lisbet Tellefsen.
San Francisco — A new exhibition drawing on rare posters and ephemera from a private collection will highlight the journey of black lesbian activist Angela Davis: from radical scholar, to political prisoner, to revolutionary icon, to public intellectual.

Curated by collector Lisbet Tellefsen and historian Amy Sueyoshi, “Angela Davis: OUTspoken” considers some of the roles Davis has played in the American political imaginary and explores the complexity and impact of her life across nearly half a century. The show opens February 9 at the GLBT History Museum in San Francisco.

“As a black lesbian growing up in the Bay Area, I never really viewed Angela Davis through a specifically queer lens,” says Tellefsen, whose collection of rare Davis materials forms the basis of the exhibition. “However, for as long as I can remember, Angela was always fiercely claimed by the lesbian-of-color community as one of our own. While we could debate when or what exactly constituted her coming-out statement, what was always crystal clear was her unwavering and vocal support for LGBTQ rights.

“Angela Davis has always been about intersectionality — before the term was even coined,” Tellefsen adds. “She has always explored the connections between race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability and citizenship. She is an African American woman, she is lesbian, she is an ally for oppressed populations throughout the globe and a vocal champion for LGBTQ rights. This is who she is. She is a human rights activist of the highest order.”

Davis first came to public attention in the late 1960s with her dismissal from the faculty of the University of California due to her membership in the Communist Party and with her involvement in the Black Panther Party and her trial on charges of conspiracy, kidnapping, and murder for which she was acquitted.

Her outspoken activism and organizing efforts attracted both harsh criticism and strong support, resulting in her becoming a globally recognized symbol of radical resistance. Today, Davis continues her political work, including challenging mainstream LGBTQ movements to see service in the armed forces and participation in marriage with a critical eye.

“It’s especially important now to be reminded of the radical roots of queer activism, particularly through African American women such as Angela Davis,” says Sueyoshi. “My hope is that history will honor the queer women of color and other activists who came up during times of extreme repression. The graphics displayed in ‘OUTspoken’ not only serve as a visual reminder of the power of speaking out; they also can inspire us to continue working for a world without exploitation.”

“Angela Davis: OUTspoken” opens Friday, February 9, at the GLBT History Museum, 4127 18th St., San Francisco, with a public reception set for 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The curators will offer introductory remarks, and light refreshments will be served. Admission is $5.00; free for members of the GLBT Historical Society. The exhibition runs through May 20. For more information, visit


Following are excerpts from a 1998 OUT Magazine profile in which Angela Davis discusses sexual politics and sexual identity:

[In the 1970s], Davis rejected all “identity politics” that made categories like race, gender, or sexual orientation the basis for political organizing. Behind many of her objections was Davis’ distrust of the principle that “the personal is political.” Politics was political, she believed, and the personal was not an arena she wanted to explore.

Davis’ approach began to change in the ’80s, she says, as “new feminisms emerged, particularly from feminists of color, with new vocabularies to talk about gender and sexuality.” She says that her research on the blues, for example, helped her understand how “personal” life historically played a role in black women’s liberation. The blues women who sang about homosexual desire, abusive men, jealousy, lust, travel and love were creating, she says, “a working-class black feminism” and “a politics of resistance challenging race and gender identity.”

Davis credits younger activists for other insights: how issues like sexuality can “enter into consciousness and become the focus of struggle,” how “private” issues like domestic violence and AIDS can spark social movements.

Meanwhile, her sense of her own personal and political has shifted. Her lesbianism, she says, is “something I’m fine with as a political statement. But I still want a private space for carrying out my relationships.”

Sara Miles, “Angela at Our Table,” OUT Magazine (February 1998) 



Lisbet Tellefsen has been an archivist, collector and event producer in the Bay Area for more than three decades. She was publisher of Aché: A Black Lesbian Journal from 1989 to 1995. She frequently lends works from her collection of posters and fine arts reflecting African American radical organizing and other subjects for display in exhibitions around the United States. In addition, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) have acquired materials from Tellefsen for their permanent collections.

Amy Sueyoshi is a historian specializing in sexuality, gender and race. She serves as interim dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University and holds a joint faculty appointment in Sexuality Studies and Race and Resistance Studies. She is the author of two books: Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi (2012) and Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of the American “Oriental” (forthcoming in March 2018). Sueyoshi is a recipient of the GLBT Historical Society’s Clio Award for contributions to queer history and served as community grand marshal for San Francisco Pride in 2017.

Three Questions for Mark Leno: A Critical Time to Preserve and Celebrate LGBTQ History

Photo: J. Alex Photography.

by Terry Beswick

Mark Leno has been a San Francisco resident since the mid-1970s. During his first two decades in the city, he was active as a small business owner and a fundraiser for AIDS organizations, the LGBT Community Center and Democratic candidates. He went on to serve on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors from 1998 to 2001, then was elected to two terms in the California State Assembly starting in 2002, followed by two terms in the California State Senate from 2008 through 2016. Throughout his service as an elected official, Leno has been a forceful advocate for LGBTQ equality. Currently a candidate for mayor of San Francisco, Leno serves as a co-chair of the GLBT Historical Society’s National Advisory Council. In this exclusive interview, he responds to our questions about the significance of the queer past.

Why is representing diversity important in the context of LGBTQ history and the broader history of social justice in this country? 

Preserving LGBTQ history that honors the diversity of all communities presents a unique opportunity to foster equity and justice. So much of LGBTQ history — and the history of all marginalized communities — has been systematically and institutionally silenced, making the task of historical and cultural preservation as important as it is challenging. As the author of the Fair Accurate Inclusive and Respectful Education Act, which requires California K-12 schools to provide a history and social studies curriculum that includes the contributions of LGBTQ people and people with disabilities, I’ve seen firsthand the power of telling stories that recognize all voices. By ensuring a seat at the table for everyone, we can uphold a vision of history that honors all those who played a part in creating it.

Are we are doing enough to preserve our LGBTQ culture and history in the challenging economic environment of San Francisco today? 

The LGBTQ community has faced enormous threats, to both our communities and the spaces we hold dear, in the face of gentrification and displacement. We’ve seen the loss of LGBTQ-owned small businesses, displacement of our seniors and community-serving institutions, and rising costs of living and housing that force out countless residents. But as the challenges facing our community persist, like every struggle marking our history, there is a tireless fight to overcome them. From organizations like Openhouse working to keep our seniors housed, to out-of-the-box efforts like The Stud Co-op forming the nation’s first cooperatively owned nightlife venue and bar, historic queer spaces and vital LGBTQ services are being creatively and boldly fought for. It’s time our local and national policies reflect the same urgent need to protect and preserve. As a San Francisco supervisor, an assemblymember and a state senator, I remained committed to advancing such policies. If elected mayor, I’ll proudly continue those efforts.

Our strategy is to partner with the city and a developer to create space for a world-class queer public history center. As mayor, would you help lead this effort? 

If I have the privilege of serving San Francisco as mayor, I would be honored to lead efforts to make the creation of the New Museum of LGTBQ History and Culture possible. As we continue to resist the national assault on LGBTQ people, there’s never been a more critical time to preserve our history and create spaces that celebrate it. San Francisco deserves a museum that honors the beauty and diversity of our history despite efforts to erase it.


Terry Beswick is executive director of the GLBT Historical Society. 

Reprinted from the January 2018 issue of History Happens, the monthly newsletter of the GLBT Historical Society. To subscribe to the newsletter, click here.

From the Development Director | What Drives My Passion for Queer History

by Sean Greene

As the new development director for the GLBT Historical Society, I’m excited about working with our supporters, members, volunteers, staff, and board to make sure our queer past has a great future. My own history will give you a sense of what I bring to the job — and why I leaped at the opportunity.

For as long as I can remember, I have been active in giving back to my community. From school fundraisers and performances to volunteering and marching against inequality in college. So. Much. Marching. My activism led me to Manhattan working for AIDS Walk New York and Condé Nast and volunteering as an abortion-clinic escort in the mid-90s.

Missing the California snow-free winters, I moved cross-country again, this time making my home in San Francisco, and here I’ve stayed for the past 22 years. I arrived before the first dot-com explosion. And naturally, I did what all the other twentysomethings were doing: I became a web developer and a DJ. I didn’t know it at the time, but my subsequent years of DJ-ing and party producing were actually building vital skills — just not for work as a DJ or a party producer.

A New Sense of Camaraderie

In 2007 I was asked to coproduce of the first Bay of Pigs dance party with Folsom Street Events, then I was then invited to join their board of directors. My time on the Folsom board broadened my appreciation for our global community. Witnessing people from all over the world come here for the chance to express themselves, even for just a short time, awakened a new sense of camaraderie in me.

The years of DJ schmoozing and event planning led me seamlessly into development work with nonprofits such as the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund and the AIDS Emergency Fund. In addition, I volunteer at Hospitality House, SOMCAN (South of Market Community Action Network) and other amazing organizations. Recognizing the deep roots of these nonprofits has helped me further appreciate the importance of our LGBTQ heritage.

That’s my story. What’s yours? I’d love to get a chance to talk with you and find out what drives your passion for queer history. Together, I know we can discover, preserve and share the stories of the LGBTQ past that can inspire us to carry on our movement for equality and respect today and tomorrow.

Sean Greene is development director for the GLBT Historical Society. Contact him atgro.y1516101000rotsi1516101000htblg1516101000@naes1516101000.

Reprinted from the January 2018 issue of History Happens, the monthly newsletter of the GLBT Historical Society. To subscribe to the newsletter, click here.

In the Archives | Documenting LGBTQ People With Disabilities

Cover of Able-Together (Fall 1999). Collection of the GLBT Historical Society.

by Mark Sawchuk

The archives of the GLBT Historical Society are committed to documenting the diversity of the LGBTQ community and the intersectional lives of its members. One reflection of this commitment is our holdings on LGBTQ people with disabilities, including community members who joined the disability rights movement that emerged in the 1970s.

One of our larger collections addressing the subject is the records of Able-Together, a San Francisco-based international organization in the 1990s. Through social activities and a magazine, Able-Together: A Forum for Men With and Without Disabilities, the group facilitated romantic and erotic contacts for gay and bisexual men with disabilities, who often faced discrimination at bars, sex clubs and other gay venues.

Our archives also contain personal papers of LGBTQ people with disabilities, including a number who were engaged in advocating change as both performers and activists. To cite just two examples:

  • The papers of Julia “Dolphin” Trahan, a lesbian artist and disability rights activist, provide a window into her performances in the 1990s, including one entitled “Body Talk = Survival: Intersections of Disability, Race and Sex.”
  • The papers of Diane Hugaert contain materials related to her work with Wry Crips, a theater group for women with disabilities founded in Berkeley in 1985 and still active today.

Those interested the disability rights movement also will find an important source in the Daniel A. Smith videotapes. This collection includes an unreleased 31-minute documentary by Smith, “Sign 504 Now,” about a four-week sit-in by disability rights protestors at a federal office in San Francisco in the late 1970s.

To learn more about the GLBT Historical Society’s collections on disability, search our online archives catalog. And if you have materials reflecting the lives of LGBTQ people with disabilities you might wish to donate, email our managing archivist, Joanna Black.

Mark Sawchuk
 is a member of the GLBT Historical Society Communications Working Group.

Reprinted from the January 2018 issue of History Happens, the monthly newsletter of the GLBT Historical Society. To subscribe to the newsletter, click here.

Author Talk | Red Diaper Daughter: Three Generations of Rebels & Revolutionaries

Thursday, January 11
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco 
Admission: $5.00  |  FREE for members


Author Laura Bock will read and tell stories from her new memoir, 
Red Diaper Daughter (Second Wave Press). The term “red diaper baby” suits her perfectly: Her parents were committed left-wing radicals. Their activism was part of the air she breathed growing up in the 1950s, and later, the inspiration for her involvement in the civil rights, anti-war, feminist, disability rights and lesbian movements.Meanwhile, she was running her own business, Bock’s Bed and Breakfast, in her family’s historic home near Golden Gate Park. Bock’s memoir is a vividly written, revealing and often funny look at her family and her life choices through more than six decades of U.S. history. Bock’s papers are housed at the GLBT Historical Society, where she has been a volunteer for many years.

Front cover of Laura Bock’s memoir, Red Diaper Daughter (2017). Memoirist Laura Bock. Courtesy of Second Wave Press.

Opening Reception | New Exhibit: The Evolution of AIDS Activism, 1981-1990

Friday, December 1st 2017
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00 | Free for members

ACT UP protest during the VI International AIDS Conference in San Francisco (1990). Photo: Marc Geller.

In honor of World AIDS Day 2017, the GLBT History Museum will unveil “Finding Our Voice, Claiming Our Place: The Evolution of AIDS Activism, 1981-1990,” a new section in the museum’s permanent exhibition, “Queer Past Becomes Present.”

Curated by longtime AIDS activist Mike Shriver, the display traces the creation of brash, unapologetic, nonviolent direct action in response to the AIDS crisis in San Francisco — one of the first places in the world where militant activism AIDS emerged. From the beginnings of the people with AIDS movement in 1981 to the spectacular ACT UP protests at the VI International Conference on AIDS in 1990, the exhibit draws on historic photographs, stickers, t-shirts and other scarce materials from the archives of the GLBT Historical Society to tell the dramatic story of a powerful movement for social justice.

The curator and a number of veterans of Bay Area AIDS activism will take part in the opening. Light refreshments will be served. The new case was made possible by generous sponsorship from IDEO.

Author Talk | Truth and Love: Finding the Soul of the Sixties 

Thursday, December 7th 2017
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00. Free for members.

Courtesy More to Say From SF.
Photo courtesy More to Say From SF.

Journalist, author and San Francisco native Carol Blackman presents her new nonfiction book on recent San Francisco history, Truth and Love: Finding the Soul of the Sixties (More to Say From SF, 2017). The book demonstrates that residents of the city were doing more in the 1960s than just becoming hippies and dancing in Golden Gate Park. Blackman portrays the unique characters and social innovators who tell their stories about that tumultuous time in the City. At the GLBT History Museum, she’ll read from the book and discuss how she our drew on the archives of the GLBT Historical Society to document pioneering activist José Sarria and the movement for LGBTQ rights in the San Francisco of the late 1960s. For more information on Truth and Love, visit the publisher’s website.

Panel Discussion | Queerness in Flux: Shifting Lesbian, Trans & Genderqueer Identities

Thursday, November 16th 2017
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00. Free for members.

Cover of OUT/LOOK, no. 11 (Winter 1991). Courtesy GLBT Historical Society.

In conjunction with the exhibition ” OUT/LOOK & the Birth of the Queer” currently on display at the GLBT History Museum, this panel discussion will examine connections between the recent LGBTQ past and contemporary issues by addressing shifts in gender identities, culture and politics.

Surveys in the groundbreaking queer journal OUT/LOOK (1988-1992) asked “what is your gender?” with just two choices: female or male. Panelist will contrast that era of queer history with the radical gender possibilities created by LGBTQ people today.

Three of the panelists — Bo, Julian Carter and Ajuan Mance — have created works for the exhibition that interrogate gender and its intersections. Also joining the discussion will be New York-based activist and author Amber Hollibaugh, who has written extensively about gender in the context of class, age and economic justice.

For more information about the “OUT/LOOK and the Birth of the Queer” exhibition and related initiatives, visit


Bo is an interdisciplinary artist whose cultural interventions encompass visual arts, comics, performance, filmmaking, creative writing, scholarship and culinary business. His work across these fields addresses the complex connections among different experiences of marginalization, challenges capitalist relational practices and imagines alternative possibilities of desire and resistance. Learn more about Bo’s work at

Julian Carter is associate professor of critical studies at the California College of the Arts in Oakland. He is a critical historian and performance theorist whose work addresses normativity, embodiment and the collective construction and maintenance of identity systems. He also makes social sculptures as principle instigator of the performance group PolySensorium. Carter is the author of The Heart of Whiteness: Normal Sexuality and Race in America, 1890–1940 (2007) and serves on the editorial board of the Transgender Studies Quarterly.

Amber Hollibaugh describes herself as “a lesbian sex radical, ex-hooker, incest survivor, gypsy child, poor-white-trash, high femme dyke.” She is an award-winning filmmaker, feminist, left political organizer, public speaker and journalist. In New York City, she cofounded and directed Queers for Economic Justice in New York City and served as director of education, advocacy and community building at Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders. She also worked as chief officer of elder and LBTI women’s services at Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago. In San Francisco, she cofounded the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project, the precursor to the GLBT Historical Society. Hollibaugh is the author of My Dangerous Desires: A Queer Girl Dreaming Her Way Home (2000).

Ajuan Mance is professor of African American literature at Mills College in Oakland and is a lifelong artist and writer. Her comics and zines include Gender Studies; The Little Book of Big, Black Bears; and A Blues for Black Santa; as well as the 1001 Black Men series. Mance has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as comic and zine festivals from the Bay Area to Brooklyn. Her scholarly writings and artwork explore the relationship between race, gender and representation among people of African descent in the United States. Her most recent book, Before Harlem: An Anthology of African-American Literature From the Long Nineteenth Century, was published in 2016.

Community Forum | Fighting Back: Race & The LGBTQ Community     

Tuesday, November 28th 2017
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco

Admission: Free | $5.00 donation welcome

March from the Castro to the Mission following the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando (June 18, 2016). Photo by Terry Beswick.

The latest in the GLBT Historical Society’s monthly “Fighting Back” series exploring contemporary queer-community issues in a historical context, “Race and the LGBTQ Community” will offer a multigenerational conversation about race relations among LGBTQ people. A panel of historians, educators, artists and veteran organizers and younger activists will discuss the how the LGBTQ community has dealt with issues of race over time and how this history of challenges and successes can help inform today’s intersectional resistance movements.


Valentin Aguirre (moderator) came to the Bay Area in the 1980s to study — and in the process found a vibrant gay Latino community mobilizing against AIDS. He has fundraised for over 20 years for organizations that focus on health and the arts. He has worked with Mission Neighborhood Health Center’s Clinica Esperanza, Community United in Response to AIDS/SIDA, the NAMES Project, LYRIC and the Queer Latina/o Artists Coalition. Since August 2012, he has served as the senior grant writer at Shanti, raising money for cancer and HIV programs. Aguirre also is a poet, film director and opera producer. He holds a BA in communication from Stanford University. He serves as co-chair of the board of directors of the GLBT Historical Society.

Jennifer DeVere Brody did her graduate work in English and American Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, which awarded her the Thurgood Marshall Prize for Academics and Community Service. Her scholarly essays have appeared in Theatre Journal, Signs, Genders and other journals and in numerous edited volumes. Her books, Impossible Purities: Blackness, Femininity and Victorian Culture (1998) and Punctuation: Art, Politics and Play (2008) discuss relations among and between sexuality, gender, racailization, visual studies and performance. Her research and teaching focus on performance, aesthetics, politics and subjectivity as well as feminist theory, queer studies and contemporary cultural studies.

Dazié Grego-Sykes is a poet, performance artist and activist. He received his BA in queer performance and activism at the Experimental Performance Institute at New College San Francisco. He has developed and produced several solo plays including 3, Where Is Adam and I Am A Man. Currently, Grego-Sykes is studying to receive his MFA in creative inquiry at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Rigoberto Marquéz is director of community engaged learning in identity at the Stanford Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. For over 15 years, his community work and engaged scholarship has focused on identifying community-based solutions and best practices to address the inequities encountered by queer youth of color. His work has been published in the Journal of HomosexualityCurriculum Inquiry and Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies and in the book Critical Concepts in Queer Studies and Education (2016). Marquéz earned his PhD in education from the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Honey Mahogany gained worldwide fame as a cast member on Season 5 of the reality TV cult phenomenon RuPaul’s Drag Race. Since Drag Race, Honey has been hard at work producing music and making notable appearances on the theatrical stage and in films. She was named San Francisco’s Best Drag Cabaret performer by the Bay Area Reporter in 2016 and has become a sought-after performer and emcee across the country. Honey is currently co-owner of The Stud Bar; serves as district manager for the Compton’s Transgender Cultural District; and produces the monthly variety show Black Fridays, a POC-centered event every fourth Friday at The Stud.

Sammie Ablaza Wills is a queer, nonbinary Pilipinx organizer who is currently the director of APIENC (API Equality — Northern California), which works to build LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander power. Wills started with the organization as a summer intern in 2012, then worked APIENC’s organizing curriculum, oral history project and Trans Justice initiative. During their time as a student, Wills led initiatives to create peer-based community organizing courses and pushed school administrations to support ethnic studies and increase the diversity of tenured professors. Wills also works with and learns from social justice groups such as Movement Generation and Asians4BlackLives.

Film Screening | From Trauma to Activism: Oral Histories of the LGBTQ Movement

Friday, November 3rd 2017
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco

Admission: $5.00. Free for members.

Marchers for queer history portrayed in the film “From Trauma to Activism.” Photo: Steven F. Dansky.
A new feature-length documentary, From Trauma to Activism unpacks LGBTQ history with first-person narratives from audacious pathfinders, gay liberationists, self-proclaimed dykes and lesbian separatists, radical fairies and courageous queens. These pioneers formulated a daring politics with insights about human existence, gender identity and sexual orientation that has inspired generations of post-Stonewall  activists, academics, historians, artists, filmmakers, writers and everyday individuals. To capture these stories from the founders of the modern LGBTQ movement, activist filmmaker Steven F. Dansky journeyed from coast to coast through rural communities to urban epicenters in the United States and globally via Skype to Bangkok, Buenos Aires and Melbourne. Following the screening, Dansky will take part in a Q&A and will discuss the film and his ongoing project, OUTSpoken: Oral History From LGBTQ Pioneers. For more information, visit the OUTSpoken website.

History Talk | She Made My Daughter Do It: Lesbian Inheritance & Family Conflict

Wednesday, November 8th 2017
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00. Free for members.

A visitor views the “Faces From the Past” exhibit at the GLBT History Museum. Photo: Gerard Koskovich.
Harriet Speckart risked her inheritance over her love for Marie Equi. Photo courtesy of Oregon Historical Society.

Marie Equi and Harriet Speckart and Gail Laughlin and Mary A. Sperry were well-known West Coast couples in the early 20th century. When inheritances came into play, the mothers of two of the women launched widely publicized court battles to block the bequests, asserting that “unnatural” and “manipulative” lesbians could make no legitimate claim to family assets. Independent scholar Paula Lichtenberg will discuss Laughlin and Sperry, and  Equi biographer Michael Helquist will recount the story of Equi and Speckart. The speakers also will look at how the couples presented their relationships publicly at a time when discretion was required and will sketch the women’s activist lives, especially Laughlin’s career as a suffragist, attorney and state legislator and Equi’s advocacy for reproductive rights, suffrage, workers and the anti-war movement. The talks are presented in conjunction with “Faces From the Past,” a new exhibit in the Main Gallery of the GLBT History Museum that looks at LGBTQ lives in Northern California before 1930; Lichtenberg is co-curator of the display.

Film Premiere | Before Homosexuals: From Ancient Times to Victorian Crimes

Saturday, November 11th 2017
4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Roxie Theater
3117 16th St., San Francisco
Admission: $15.00 • $12.50 for members

Book artist Susan Bonthron shows Before Homosexuals director John Scagliotti her work inspired by a Chinese lesbian love poem. Photo courtesy of After Stonewall Productions.
From the documentary Before Homosexuals: From Ancient Times to Victorian Crimes. Photo courtesy of John Scagliotti.

Pride of the Ocean and the Center for Independent Documentary present a special San Francisco premiere of John Scagliotti’s new feature-length documentary Before Homosexuals: From Ancient Times to Victorian Crimes. The film takes viewers on a tour of same-sex desire from antiquity to the 19th century via interviews with researchers and artists who have recovered the stories of this erotic history. Emmy Award-winning director Scagliotti has produced numerous films, radio programs and television shows, including the pioneering LGBTQ magazine series on PBS, “In the Life.” The screening is a benefit for the GLBT Historical Society and is sponsored by Pride of the Ocean‘s Saving History Film Festival Cruise. After the film-showing, the director will take part in a Q&A and discussion with the audience. To purchase tickets, visit the Roxie Theater website.

Exhibition Features New Work Inspired by Groundbreaking Queer Journal OUT/LOOK

Front cover of OUT/LOOK, No. 1 (Spring 1988). Courtesy of GLBT Historical Society.

San FranciscoA new multimedia exhibition opening October 6 at the GLBT History Museum explores the story of OUT/LOOK, a groundbreaking national queer quarterly published in San Francisco from 1988 to 1992. Embracing gender and racial diversity and bridging academic and community perspectives, the magazine developed an avid readership. The show and its associated programs, publication and website are designed to spark intergenerational conversations about the legacy of OUT/LOOK and its era.

Curated by E.G. Crichton, “OUT/LOOK and the Birth of the Queer” features new work by 38 culture-makers, each asked to find inspiration in one of the 17 issues of the magazine. This diverse group includes writers, visual artists, performers, curators, activists and representatives of two organizations, all belonging to the two generations of queers who have grown up since the five-year lifespan of the magazine.

“The last issue of OUT/LOOK was published 25 years ago, yet people still tell me they miss it,” Crichton says. “Members of younger generations I speak to — including the participants in this project — express surprise that we were already wrangling back thenwith intersectional identities, marriage equality, the politics of respectability, who decides our tactics for resistance and other contemporary concerns.”

“Walking through the gallery, listening to the audio tour, visitors will be introduced to OUT/LOOK through historical materials and through artists’ and writers’ provocative new responses to the original magazine,” Crichton adds. “They’ll get a taste of innovative queer thinking and the sharp debates in and about the LGBTQ community at a pivotal time in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And they’ll discover lots of links to issues that are very much alive today.”

“OUT/LOOK and the Birth of the Queer” opens on October 6, 2017, with a public reception from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the GLBT History Museum, 4127 18th St., San Francisco. The event will include remarks by the curator. Many of the exhibition contributors will attend, as will founders and editors of OUT/LOOK. Light refreshments will be served. The exhibition runs through DATE.

Curator EG Crichton.


The “OUT/LOOK and the Birth of the Queer” project includes publication of a new issue of the magazine that brings together artwork, essays, poems, a play and editorials. The publication will be available at the GLBT History Museum for $20. Also developed in conjunction with the exhibition is a content-rich website offering historical information about OUT/LOOK, responses and recollections from creators and readers of the journal, and a portfolio of each participant’s contribution to the project. Visit the website at
A series of public programs is planned in conjunction with “OUT/LOOK and the Birth of the Queer.” The first program, “Q-Public: Out/Look for the 21st Century,” is set for Thursday, October 12, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the GLBT History Museum.


E.G. Crichton was a founder of OUT/LOOK, where she served as art director from 1988 to 1990. An interdisciplinary artist and curator, she uses a range of media and social strategies to explore specific histories, often working in collaboration with diverse practitioners and communities. Her projects have been exhibited in art institutions and as public installations across the United States and in Asia, Australia and Europe. She retired in 2016 as professor of art at the University of California, Santa Cruz. For more information, visit her website at     
“OUT/LOOK and the Birth of the Queer” is made possible in part by a grant from the Creative Work Fund, a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund that also is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. For more information about the fund, visit

Conversations with Gay Elders

Thursday, October 5
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Koret Auditorium
San Francisco Main Library
100 Larkin St., San Francisco 94102
Admission: FREE

Editor Alex Bohs, interview subject Robert Dockendorff and director David Weissman.

Filmmaker David Weissman shares a segment of his Conversations With Gay Elders, a series of in-depth interviews focused on gay men whose journeys of self-discovery precede the era of Stonewall and gay liberation. Sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library; cosponsored by the GLBT Historical Society.