From In the news

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.

Community Forum | Fighting Back: Finding the Bisexual in LGBTQ   

The Bi-Pol Contingent marching in the 1984 Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day Parade in San Francisco. Photo: Arlene Kranz.

Wednesday, February 28
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 “Fighting Back” series exploring contemporary queer issues in a historical context, “Finding the Bisexual in LGBTQ” will offer a multigenerational conversation about the place of bisexual people in the larger LGBTQ community. A panel of historians, veteran organizers and younger activists will discuss bisexual representation, discrimination and activism in Bay Area LGBTQ organizing since the 1960s and how this history can inform today’s resistance movements.

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.

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.y1516072659rotsi1516072659htblg1516072659@naes1516072659.

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.

New Project to Make 1,500 Historic Issues of Major LGBT Newspaper Available Free Online   

First Issue of the Bay Area Reporter: April 1, 1971
Last Issue in the Searchable Archive: July 28, 2005

An initiative to put the full contents of the longest-running continuously published LGBT weekly in the United States online has reached its first milestone with the posting of five years of historic back issues. The GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco has been working for a year to digitize the Bay Area Reporter, founded in 1971. The newspaper’s own website offers articles published since 2005, but earlier issues of the publication had previously been available only at the society’s archives or via microfilm in a handful of research libraries.

“The Bay Area Reporter is an exceptional resource for historians, students, preservationists, writers, filmmakers, genealogy enthusiasts and everyone who’s curious about the LGBTQ past,” said Terry Beswick, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society. “Through news and features, critical reviews, nightlife reports, editorials and opinion columns published over nearly half a century, the paper has reflected the dynamism and diversity of LGBTQ communities in the Bay Area, a region internationally recognized as a center of queer culture.”

Michael Yamashita, publisher of the Bay Area Reporter since 2013 and majority owner of the publication since December 2017, added the following: “This invaluable resource is made possible thanks to the initiative of the GLBT Historical Society and the generosity of the Bob Ross Foundation. For the first time, readers from all over the world will be able to conveniently access the nearly 50-year archive of the BAR. It’s fascinating to browse through the years and appreciate what the LGBTQ community has achieved in San Francisco.”

Project archivist Bill Levay scanning issues of the Bay Area Reporter at the GLBT Historical Society. Photo: Gerard Koskovich.

Foundation Provided Full Funding

With full funding from the San Francisco-based Bob Ross Foundation, the GLBT Historical Society acquired the specialized equipment and hired the staff needed to undertake the digitization project. Tom Horn, trustee of the foundation, stressed the exceptional historical value of the content the project is making available:

“Launching an online, searchable archive of the Bay Area Reporter is a tremendous step toward giving scholars and the public alike access to a first draft of the history of our movement,” he noted. “Users will see what the issues of the time were; the personalities who shaped our movement; what was happening politically, socially and culturally. They will even see how gay people met, socialized, sought housing and found lovers — and how advertisers reached out to our community. The online archive will be an indispensable tool in telling our story.”

With assistance from nine volunteers, the GLBT Historical Society has already scanned nearly 600 of the 1,500 issues published by the Bay Area Reporter from 1971 to 2005. The five-year span covering 2000 to 2005 is now available free of charge via one of the organizations partnering on the project, the California Digital Newspaper Collection, hosted by the University of California, Riverside. The Historical Society plans to post all the remaining back issues before the end of the year.

“It’s clear what a rich and fascinating resource this digital archive will be,” said Bill Levay, the project archivist overseeing the digitization for the GLBT Historical Society. “I’m especially excited to see what eye-opening digital humanities projects might spring from this collection.”

Levay adds that the GLBT Historical Society is continuing to recruit volunteers to assist with digitizing the remaining issues of the Bay Area Reporter. For details about volunteering, contact him at gro.y1516072659rotsi1516072659htblg1516072659@llib1516072659.

For more information about the project and to search the historic issues of the Bay Area Reporter that are now posted online, visit


About the Bob Ross Foundation

Based in San Francisco, the Bob Ross Foundation was established in 1996 by Bob Ross (1934–2003). A pioneer in the field of LGBT community journalism, Ross was the cofounder of the Bay Area Reporter, the longest continuously running LGBT news weekly in the United States. He was the publisher from the time the paper launched in 1971 until his death in 2003. Tom Horn, publisher emeritus of the Bay Area Reporter, now serves as trustee of the foundation, which provides grants to a broad portfolio of nonprofits that serve the Bay Area LGBT community. The foundation supports charities and causes that reflect the philanthropic priorities established by Ross.

About the Bay Area Reporter

The Bay Area Reporter is the oldest continuously published lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender weekly newspaper in the United States and is the highest circulation publication serving the LGBT communities of the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1971, the Bay Area Reporter is known for its original reporting on news, culture and entertainment relevant to LGBT people. The newspaper is published every Thursday by BAR Media Inc.; the print edition is distributed free of charge in San Francisco and other Bay Area cities. Visit the newspaper’s website at

For the Bay Area Reporter‘s article on the digitization project, see Matthew S. Bajko, “B.A.R. Archives Go Digital,” Bay Area Reporter (January 4, 2017).

From the Executive Director | Planning Our Future: Five Years, Five Priorities

Photo: Gareth Gooch

by Terry Beswick

I’m proud of the progress the GLBT Historical Society has made over the last couple of years: expanding our archives, staging new exhibitions, scaling up our programming and engaging the community in all our work. Meanwhile, we’ve continued planning for the years to come — and in particular, for the creation of a full-scale LGBTQ public history center.

Last spring, we embarked on a strategic planning process to strengthen both our current and future initiatives. We undertook a membership survey; interviews with organizational stakeholders including volunteers, patrons, members, donors, staff and board; and a series of facilitated workshops.

Funded by Grants for the Arts and the San Francisco Arts Commission of the City and County of San Francisco, the result is our new “Five Year Strategic Plan: 2018-2022.” This vital document highlights five major goals to guide us in our work and measure our progress going forward:

  • Goal 1: Continue to build our archival collections, while improving access to the collections and the diversity of communities and individuals they represent.
  • Goal 2: Establish a permanent home for exhibitions, archives and programs where the stories and cultures of our diverse LGBTQ communities can be shared.
  • Goal 3: Develop collaborations with other institutions (K-12 schools, colleges and universities, professional associations, archives, libraries, museums, nonprofits, community groups) to reach young people and other diverse audiences with the lessons of LGBTQ history and culture.
  • Goal 4: Communicate effectively who we are and what we have to offer.
  • Goal 5: Develop organizational structures and policies to increase stability and ensure sustainable growth.

Beyond these overarching priorities, the strategic plan clarifies our mission, vision and values and sets out specific objectives. To read the full text, click here. Thank you to all who contributed to this report, and to our members, donors and volunteers whose invaluable efforts help us bring the LGBTQ past to life.

If you’re not a member of the GLBT Historical Society, please join today. And if you’re already a member, please consider donating. Every dollar up to $25,000 that we raise during our year-end campaign will be matched by three generous supporters: Al Baum and Robert Holgate, the Bob Ross Foundation and the Excelerate Foundation. Double your donation by giving now.

Terry Beswick is executive director of the GLBT Historical Society. 

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

In the Archives | In Print: Voices of LGBTQ People of Color

by Patricia Delara

The GLBT Historical Society preserves a significant collection of LGBTQ magazines, newspapers, newsletters and zines, largely but not exclusively from Northern California — some 5,000 titles taking up approximately 450 linear feet of shelf space. A particular strength is periodicals reflecting the voices of LGBTQ people of color.

Among the long-running titles for which we hold complete or near-complete runs are Bridge (1980-2009), the newsletter of Black and White Men Together in the Bay Area; Lavender Godzilla (1988-2006), the newsletter of the Gay Asian Pacific Alliance (GAPA) in San Francisco; and Morena Newspaper(1988-1991), published by Women of Color Press/Empowering Our Communities in Berkeley.

African-American publications in our collection include Aché (1983-1989), “the Bay Area’s journal for Black lesbians,” and BLK:The National Black Lesbian and Gay Newsmagazine (1983-1989) . We also hold shorter runs or single issues of a number of Latinx LGBTQ newsletters such as Hombres Latinos (1999) and MariLES: El Sexo, las Locas y los Mayates/Magazine for Lesbian and Gay Latinos (1989).

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

Patricia Delara is the assistant archivist at the GLBT Historical Society. 

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

Board Co-Chair Valentin Aguirre: Honoring Diversity Is Key to Celebrating Our Histories

Board co-chair Valentin Aguirre at the GLBT History Museum. Photo: Leo Herrera

by Leo Herrera

Valentin Aguirre joined the board of the GLBT Historical Society in 2015 and now serves as co-chair. His passion for working with the society dates all the way back to 1999, when he curated the display of Latinx queer history in the groundbreaking “Making a Case for Community History”exhibition. As a queer Latinx, Aguirre is familiar with the challenges organizations can encounter in representing diverse LGBTQ communities.

“Many local and international queer people of color still have great resistance to collaborating with the GLBT Historical Society because of having experienced institutional and personal racism by white queer communities for decades,” Aguirre observes. “As a result, the archives and the shows we can produce are limited in scope.”

Aguirre says he is proud the Historical Society has chosen to tackle these issues head on: prioritizing the collection and exhibition of intersectional histories that highlight women, transgender people and communities of color — as well as beginning discussions on how to improve the visibility of people of different abilities, including those on the autism spectrum.

Reaching Global Audiences

Aguirre also looks forward to the organization better reaching global audiences with shows extending beyond the Northern California-focused exhibitions that have predominated at the GLBT History Museum. “I hope that the resources of the Historical Society will be accessed by many, many more people and that it will be seen as a hub for discussions, exhibits and archival materials that focus on the issues most relevant at the time,” he says.

The GLBT Historical Society’s Vision 2020 campaign aimed at opening a world-class LGBTQ public history center is one of Aguirre’s priorities. “With a larger museum and archives, we could greatly expand to include more than what’s easily found on the West Coast and the East Coast and in major metropolitan areas. We’ll be able to preserve and show the history of queer cultures beyond the U.S. and to work with major museums to borrow and lend shows that broaden our reach.”

As with every supporter of the GLBT Historical Society, a love of community and a belief in the power of history is at the forefront for Aguirre. “A big take away for me is that doing this work is difficult because our attempts to come together are laden with layers of pain, grief and tentative hope about what we can do together,” he explains.

“Once we move past this, in ways that utilize a lens of cultural humility, I think we will be able to find new ways to celebrate our histories — through arts, rituals, debates, virtual experiences and archival projects,” Aguirre notes. “I have faith in this because surviving is not enough. We deserve fabulosity and amazing narratives that shift our thinking, on bigger scales and with more impactful scopes.”

Leo Herrera is an artist and filmmaker based in San Francisco.

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

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.

In the Archives | Preserving the Memory of the AIDS Crisis

by Gerard Koskovich

Responding to the shock, grief and disorientation the LGBTQ community experienced at the beginning of the AIDS epidemic was one of the factors that inspired the creation of the GLBT Historical Society in 1985. The first issue of our newsletter offered this explanation: “Part of the dying and grieving processes involves remembering and reflecting on the past, and the crisis itself has heightened our awareness of the history of the present.”

Our archives reflect this early and enduring commitment to preserving the memory of lives lost to AIDS and to documenting the impact of the epidemic on the LGBTQ community and Northern California as a whole. While researching a talk about the Historical Society’s three decades of work on the history of HIV/AIDS that I gave last month at the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations in Marseille, France, I did a preliminary assessment of our AIDS-related holdings.

Here’s some of what I learned: Among our approximately 600 collections of organizational records and personal papers, at least 140 include materials dealing with HIV/AIDS. In our periodicals collection, 68 magazines focus entirely on the topic. Our collections of photographs, ephemera, posters, t-shirts, artifacts, audio recordings, and film and video likewise include documentation on the epidemic. The holdings represent a range of overlapping groups, including LGBTQ people, women, people of color, transgender individuals, injection drug users, immigrants and prisoners.

To learn more about this exceptionally rich body of historical materials, visit the Archives page on our website. Enter the keywords “AIDS” and “HIV” into the searchable catalog of archival collections to discover materials you can consult in our reading room. And search the digitized audio collections, too, for links to the full recordings of 32 gay radio programs from 1983-1984 that report on the AIDS crisis.

Gerard Koskovich is communications director for the GLBT Historical Society.

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

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 | Foreign Bodies: Homophobia, Race and Immigration   

Thursday, December 14th 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 of 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 will address questions of homophobia, race and immigration in relation to the 30-year period since the groundbreaking journal OUT/LOOK first emerged in 1987.

Participants will consider how the history of queer thought on these issues in the late 1980s-early 1990s affects and informs today’s intersectional resistance movements. Julie Dorf, senior advisor to the Council for Global Equality, will serve as moderator. Panelists include the following:

  • Eniola Abioye, steering committee member for the Black LGBTQ Migrant Project at the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco.
  • Marcia Ochoa, co-founder of El/La Para Translatinas, a transgender Latina social justice organization in San Francisco’s Mission District.
  • Subhi Nahas, a gay refugee from Syria. He is the founder of the Spectra Project, a nonprofit that helps LGBTQ refugees from the Middle East and North Africa.

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

New Exhibition, Publication & Website Celebrate Groundbreaking Queer Journal

Inset: Curator E.G. Chrichton at the opening of “OUT/LOOK & the Birth of the Queer.” Right: Cover of the new issue of OUT/LOOK (2017).

by Mark Sawchuk

Inspired by the 30th anniversary of the founding of OUT/LOOK, artist E.G. Crichton (pictured above) has created a new exhibition, “OUT/LOOK & the Birth of the Queer,” open through January 2018 at the GLBT History Museum. Supported by a major grant from the Creative Work Fund, the show commemorates a groundbreaking national queer journal published in San Francisco from 1988 to 1992 that sparked vigorous debate during its five-year run. Crichton cofounded the publication and served as its art director.

As curator for the exhibition, Crichton invited artists and writers to respond to each of the 17 issues of the journal. “Fairly early on, I conceived of it as a way of creating intergenerational dialogue,” she explained. “OUT/LOOKwas committed to diversity, uniting different viewpoints, types of writing, and visual work. We brought together women and men in an era of extreme gender separatism in queer magazines and consciously strove for racial diversity. With this project, I wanted to find out what younger people would think of the magazine now and start a new set of conversations.”

Responding to the History

Walking into the exhibition, visitors can ponder the history of OUT/LOOK in a mural reproducing covers of the magazine, as well as enormous chalk drawings based on cartoons by a frequent contributor, the late Kris Kovick. Crichton’s matchmaking also resulted in new artwork, essays, poetry, fiction and plays. The visual works are on display at the museum. Both visual and written works are featured on the associated website andin a new print issue of OUT/LOOK, available in the museum store.

The contributions are striking in their range of approaches and media. E. Patrick Johnson, for example, responded to the fourth issue of OUT/LOOKwith a powerful poem. Julio Salgado’s painting Drawing My Brown in a Sea of White, a response to issue 17, is a forceful look at the ways queer people of color are left out of mainstream queer narratives. Inspired by issue 5, Dorothy R. Santos’s “Swallowing My Boredom” uses interactive fiction to reimagine her teenage years as a Filipina-American.

Thirty years after it first appeared, OUT/LOOK continues making an impact. “I still run into people periodically who talk about how much they miss OUT/LOOK and how it changed their lives,” Crichton observed. “This project enables us to revisit the journal’s contributions through our holdings at the archives — and to honor those contributions and share them with a new generation of queer people.”

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

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

From the Executive Director | The Challenge: Meeting a Generous Match


by Terry Beswick

This month, I want to use my column to give you a challenge. 

One year ago, we launched Vision 2020, our campaign to establish a New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture in San Francisco. Not yet officially a capital campaign, the goal was to expand our membership and donor base so we can prepare for further growth.

Since then, the number of members of the GLBT Historical Society has indeed grown. Currently, our total active membership, including donors giving $30 and above, is approaching 2,000. To take the next steps toward the new museum, now we need to expand our base of members and donors even more.

This November, as we move into the season of gratitude and giving, we trust that the thousands of supporters of LGBTQ history and culture on our mailing list will consider joining the GLBT Historical Society at any level — and know that many current members will step up their support, too.

Doubling the Impact

So here’s the challenge to each of you: Every dollar you and your friends donate during our year-end campaign will be matched by a $25,000  grant from our generous and steadfast supporters Al Baum and Robert Holgate ($10,000), the Bob Ross Foundation ($10,000) and the Excelerate Foundation ($5,000).

If you’re already a member, please consider increasing your support. If you’re not yet a member, sign up today. And do be sure to ask your friends, colleagues and social media contacts to support the society, too. By donating now, you’ll double the impact of your gift thanks to the challenge grant.

Our community deserves a full-scale queer public history center that not only will enable us to exhibit our rich and diverse history and culture, but also will serve as a center for research and education and as a home for our ever-growing archives.

In the coming year, I believe we will see great progress in our campaign to establish such a center — and I know you’ll want to be a part of this groundbreaking effort to ensure that our queer past has a fantastic future.

I invite you to join the GLBT Historical Society’s Vision 2020 campaign. Donate now by clicking here.

Terry Beswick is executive director of the GLBT Historical Society.

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

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.