From In the news

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Approves Resolution of Support for New LGBTQ Museum

Artist’s conception of a possible New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture. Drawing by Alan Martinez. 

The Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco voted on the evening of Tuesday, January 31, to approve a groundbreaking resolution calling on municipal authorities, philanthropists and business leaders to support the GLBT Historical Society’s efforts to develop a new LGBTQ museum and public history center in the city. Supervisor Jeff Sheehy introduced the resolution, which was cosponsored by Supervisor Jane Kim. The board voted unanimously in favor of the resolution.

“Our communities have existed since time immemorial, yet our histories continually get erased,” said Supervisor Sheehy. “As recently as 1933 in what had been fabulously queer Berlin, Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute of Sexual Research along with the Museum of Sex were destroyed by the Nazis — and people from our communities were taken to concentration camps. The last 10 days have reminded me of those times. Asserting our right to our history is not only about remembering our past, but is also a powerful act of resistance.” 

San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy (left) with Terry Beswick, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society.

Terry Beswick, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society, noted that “knowledge of the past is one of the cornerstones for building equality and respect for LGBTQ people and those who care about us. We envision the new museum as a source of learning and inspiration for everyone who cherishes social justice.”

“We are grateful to the Board of Supervisors for recognizing the importance of this vision and embracing our community’s long-held dream of creating a world-class museum of LGBTQ history and culture,” Beswick added.

Founded in 1985, the GLBT Historical Society preserves one of the largest LGBTQ archives in the United States and has maintained a small museum in San Francisco’s Castro District since 2011. It recently launched a campaign dubbed Vision2020 that aims to create the New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture, a facility that will bring together the society’s galleries, programs and archives in a single high-visibility structure.

According to the GLBT Historical Society, only one other municipality in the world is known to have passed a resolution to support the establishment of an LGBTQ public history institution. In December 2014, the City Council of Paris voted to call on the mayor and other city officials to assist the creation of an LGBTQ community archives. The society adds that the only full-scale independent LGBTQ history museum and archives currently operating is the Schwules Museum, established in 1985 in Berlin.

 For more information on the Vision2020 initiative, click here.

Job Opening: Development Manager

Wrk with us at the GLBT Historical Archives space in downtown San Francisco.
Work with us at the GLBT Historical Society’s offices in downtown San Francisco.

The GLBT Historical Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization that collects, preserves and interprets the history of LGBTQ people and the communities that support them through our archives, museum and other programs. Founded in 1985, we are recognized internationally as a leader in the field of LGBTQ public history. Our growing organization is in search of a Development Manager (DM) to help supercharge our fundraising efforts.


The DM reports to the Executive Director (ED) and collaborates with all team members. The DM is responsible for working with the ED to design and implement a fundraising strategy to grow the organization’s budget; develop and maintain relationships with funders, including foundations, corporations and individual major donors; and oversee production and delivery of grant documents and other development materials. The DM also maintains and expands the society’s individual, corporate and online donor databases; identifies and develops new revenue opportunities; and throws really fun parties.


The DM works with the ED to design and implement a development strategy to help the organization sustain its current activities and continue to grow in size and effectiveness. The core job responsibilities include the following:

●  Designing and executing a multichannel development strategy that meets funding goals as set by the management team.

●  Maintaining and expanding foundation relationships and revenues, including writing grant proposals as well as reports for existing funders.

●  Overseeing the development and implementation of major donor, corporate, and individual giving and membership programs.

●  Creating and maintaining tools and systems that support the development function.

●  Identifying new revenue opportunities to match existing as well as new programs.

●  Ensuring a range of administrative tasks that support the development function are completed, such as processing checks, scheduling meetings, taking and distributing notes from development calls and meetings, generating acknowledgment letters, writing thank-you notes and other tasks.


●  5-plus years of nonprofit fundraising experience or a demonstrated track record that matches this experience.

●  Experience developing and executing a multichannel fundraising plan.

●  Experience using Salesforce to manage donor relationships.

●  Track record of success securing funding from foundations and corporations, including identifying new targets, building and maintaining relationships, and writing proposals and reports.

●  Excellent writing skills.

●  Strong relationship-building capabilities.

●  Initiative to work with ED to set and execute priorities.

●  Excellent time-management skills with the ability to plan, organize and prioritize workload and handle several tasks simultaneously.

●  Ability to quickly learn how to best navigate the museum, archives and public-history funding landscape.

●  Ability to manage work effectively across multiple teams including senior management.


●  Passion for building strong new development capacity at our growing organization.

●  Experience managing a major gifts program.

●  Experience managing fundraising events and online and individual giving programs.

●  Experience managing a capital campaign, an endowment campaign or both.

●  Experience managing a planned giving program.

●  Experience growing an organization with a budget of less than $1 million to one with a multimillion dollar budget.

The GLBT Historical Society’s organizational culture values a passion for LGBTQ history and culture, humor, kindness and respect in interpersonal relationships, working hard and effectively, and a commitment to winning.


This position will be based at the society’s offices in the mid-Market neighborhood of San Francisco. Salary is commensurate with experience. Medical, dental, optical and vacation benefits are included. The society is an equal opportunity employer that seeks to expand the diversity of its staff. Start date: ASAP.


Please submit a resume, a cover letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the job along with several writing samples to *protected*. Subject line: ‘Development Manager Application’. No calls please.

Seeking New Members for Our Board of Directors

glbtlogoThe GLBT Historical Society collects, preserves, presents and interprets the history of LGBTQ people and the communities that support them in Northern California and beyond. Founded in 1985, we are recognized internationally as a leader in the field of LGBTQ public history.

The society is entering an exciting and challenging time, as we enrich our diverse collections and educate new generations in the midst of economic pressures on nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Demand for access to our exhibitions, programs and extensive archives continues to rise — and we are constantly collecting more historical material from all parts of the LGBTQ community.

We’re looking for board members who believe in our mission and are energetic contributors. This work has never been more important than it is today. We ask board members to play an active governance role and expect that they participate in at least one working committee. We also pride ourselves on supporting each other as a diverse and dynamic team, working collaboratively and offering opportunities for our board members to learn and grow with the organization.

If you wish to be considered, we ask that you complete our brief response form.


Becky Escamilla & Brian Turner
Cochairs, Board of Directors
The GLBT Historical Society

Bay Area Reporter editorial: ‘A museum to make us proud’

Read Executive Director Terry Beswick’s editorial from the June 9 Issue of the Bay Area Reporter below — and join us in helping achieve our vision for a new GLBT history museum and cultural center by donating today!

Executive Director Terry Beswick
Executive Director Terry Beswick

We have the new SFMOMA. We have the de Young. George Lucas’ museum is back on the table. This tourist-destination city already boasts a number of great museums, many of them dedicated to cultural or ethnic minorities, and some with substantial underwriting from San Francisco taxpayers.

The larger museums sometimes even include queer artists or LGBTQ subject matter among their exhibits and collections. OK, often we’re just an afterthought, or our sexual orientation and gender identities actually go unmentioned. And all too often, our stories are left out altogether.

So does San Francisco really need a dedicated world-class museum of LGBTQ history and culture? And how do we know people will support it?

The answer is right under our noses.

Now five years old, the GLBT History Museum has run into one major problem: lack of room. We struggle to accommodate curators eager to display our rich history. Those who succeed in getting on the calendar are often frustrated by the amount of space we can provide, leaving them to create shows with less depth than they had hoped. And the museum sponsors popular public programs, only to turn away many who wish to attend because we lack adequate seating.

The heart of the problem — and the opportunity — is the wonderful diversity and range of our history. We come from everywhere and we have so many stories to tell.

Our museum has accomplished a great deal with limited resources. But as GLBT Historical Society founding member Gerard Koskovich recently remarked, “We tested a rowboat — and found out so many people want to come aboard that we need a full-scale cruise ship.”

The current museum is an offshoot of the GLBT Historical Society’s archives and research center. Our storefront galleries in the Castro were never intended to be permanent. They were a trial balloon to see if we could launch a stand-alone museum of queer history — and to measure San Francisco’s willingness to support such an enterprise.

Last year, over 15,000 individuals visited the GLBT History Museum to take in the exhibitions or attend programs, with more than 60 percent of these coming from out of state or out of the country, and with many Bay Area schools and other groups coming for guided tours. It’s an easy way for people from all backgrounds to discover LGBTQ history and go home with a new understanding.

Over the years, there have been a number of efforts to create a full-fledged museum of LGBTQ history and culture — some of them involving the GLBT Historical Society. These efforts did not come to fruition, perhaps because the time or place was not right. Over the last 35 years, an incredible amount of our community’s resources have been appropriately directed toward our very survival in the fight against HIV/AIDS and toward winning our basic civil rights. Much of this work continues today.

At the same time, we have won some major victories and have identified new directions for our movement for social justice. And that means the time has come to fully honor the struggles that have brought us here by creating a new and larger LGBTQ museum and archives — a world-class institution where we can tell our stories in the ways they merit and can welcome everyone who wants and needs to learn about them.

I’m proud to be a part of the GLBT Historical Society — an organization that understands the importance of collecting and sharing the diverse stories of our past. We do this not just to honor our elders and inspire young people, but also to show our full selves to others who may not yet appreciate our history or even our humanity.

With the recent move of our archives to a much larger space in the mid-Market neighborhood, we’re delighted that we finally have room to expand our collections — and we’re committed to using this opportunity to strengthen our documentation of diversity, including the lives of people of color, women, and other underrepresented groups.

But if we’re going to create a full-scale museum to display these collections and other treasures of the LGBTQ past in San Francisco, we need leadership from City Hall and we need to build our capacity for growth. So this month, we’re launching the first phase of our initiative to create a new museum of LGBTQ history and culture. We’ll be taking the following steps:

  • Forming partnerships with the city and with private developers to identify potential sites for a building that will bring the museum and archives together and will provide greatly expanded gallery and program space.
  • Establishing an international advisory board of prominent individuals to offer guidance as we plan a world-class museum.
  • Building the historical society’s capacity for substantial development by increasing revenues and diversifying income streams.

We have four years left on our lease for the GLBT History Museum in the Castro. We plan to use this time to move forward with creating a new, full-fledged museum of LGBTQ history and culture. We believe our community has earned it, we believe the time is right, and we believe San Francisco is the place to build it. We invite you to join us in this quest.

GLBT Historical Society announces new executive director

New GLBTHS executive director Terry Beswick
New GLBTHS executive director Terry Beswick

The GLBT Historical Society has announced the selection of a new executive director, Terry Beswick.

Beswick is the outgoing manager of the Castro Country Club, which expanded greatly under his leadership. He brings years of experience in fundraising, leadership and activism to his new role at the Historical Society. As executive director, Beswick will head both the GLBT History Museum and GLBT Historical Society archives. He will particularly focus on development and fundraising.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to have this opportunity,” Beswick says of joining the GLBT Historical Society as executive director. “I have been inspired by the important contributions and the people of the GLBT Historical Society and I plan to work tirelessly to ensure the organization’s continued success and growth. Our diverse communities are so rich with the stories, the archives and the artifacts of our struggles and our triumphs. It’s essential that we preserve these stories, interpret them and make them accessible today and for future generations.”

Beswick begins his role at the Historical Society in February. He will be officially introduced at the GLBT History Museum’s fifth anniversary celebration, “I Love History,” taking place Friday, January 29, 7:00 -9:00 p.m. at the museum, located at 4127 18th St., San Francisco.

The announcement of Beswick’s appointment was made by Historical board cochair Brian Turner in an email to members and friends of the institution this morning.

“We are thrilled to announce that Terry Beswick will be joining us as executive director,” Turner said in the email. “Terry brings years of experience leading and building another Castro-based nonprofit, the Castro Country Club. Terry is a long-time AIDS activist, is enthusiastic about queer history, and promises to bring a new era of growth and vision to the GLBT Historical Society.

“The board and I are very much looking forward to working with Terry to strengthen our financial base, move the archives to its new home, grow our organization and expand our amazing programs that serve our community and society at large by collecting, preserving and telling stories of the GLBT past in resonant ways,” Turner added.


Since 2009, Terry Beswick provided principal leadership for the Castro Country Club, a 33-year-old nonprofit, volunteer-based community center serving GLBT people in recovery. During Beswick’s tenure, the organization saw an eight-fold increase in annual operating revenue and eliminated a long-running deficit. At the same time, Beswick spearheaded a capital campaign funded by small donations and in-kind contributions, and planned and implemented a complete renovation of the facility’s interior.

Previous to his role at the Castro Country Club, Beswick served as a volunteer at the club while obtaining a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from San Francisco State University. In 2015 he completed his third consecutive AIDS/LifeCycle, riding his bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise funds to fight AIDS.

He also has worked as a journalist and as an AIDS activist with nonprofit and governmental organizations, including Project Inform, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the White House Office of National HIV/AIDS Policy, the National AIDS Program Office of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Bay Area Reporter. In the 1980s, he was a cofounder of ACT UP/San Francisco and was the first national coordinator of ACT NOW, the national ACT UP network.


Often referred to as San Francisco’s “queer Smithsonian,” the GLBT Historical Society was founded in 1985. It is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of GLBT public history and is a registered 501(c)3 educational nonprofit organization.

The society’s archives preserve one of the world’s largest collections of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender historical material, including personal papers, organizational records, photographs, art and artifacts, ephemera and audiovisual recordings spanning more than a century of queer history. The materials are used by authors, curators, journalists, filmmakers, students and other researchers.

In addition, the society operates the GLBT History Museum, the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States. Located in the heart of the historic Castro District of San Francisco, the museum offers historical and cultural exhibitions and presents panels, talks, film showings and other programs.

For more information on the GLBT Historical Society, including a calendar of events, visit


Author Conversation: ‘The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics’

newmutantsThursday, February 18
7:00-9:00 p.m.
at The GLBT History Museum
Admission: $5.00. Free for members.

Author Ramzi Fawaz and queer comics artist and scholar Justin Hall come together for a lively discussion of Fawaz’s recently published book The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics. The event also will highlight the work of San Francisco artist Paul Jermann, who created the cover illustration for the book (seen at left). A dialogue between Fawaz and Hall about queerness, comics and American culture will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.


From the publisher’s description:
In 1964, noted literary critic Leslie Fiedler described American youth as “new mutants”— social rebels severing their attachments to American culture to remake themselves in their own image. 1960s comic book creators, anticipating Fiedler, began to morph American superheroes from icons of nationalism and white masculinity into actual mutant outcasts, defined by their genetic difference from ordinary humanity. These powerful misfits and “freaks” soon came to embody the social and political aspirations of America’s most marginalized groups, including women, racial and sexual minorities, and the working classes.

Author Ramzi Farwad
Author Ramzi Fawaz

In The New Mutants, Ramzi Fawaz draws upon queer theory to tell the story of these monstrous fantasy figures and how they grapple with radical politics from Civil Rights and The New Left to Women’s and Gay Liberation Movements. Through a series of comic book case studies “ including The Justice League of America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, and The New Mutants alongside late 20th century fan writing, cultural criticism, and political documents, Fawaz reveals how the American superhero modeled new forms of social belonging that counterculture youth would embrace in the 1960s and after. The New Mutants provides the first full-length study to consider the relationship between comic book fantasy and radical politics in the modern United States.


I Love History: GLBT History Museum 5th Anniversary Party!

Design by Tim Gruneisen. Photo of the Compton's Cafeteria Riots
Design: T.A. Gruneisen. Photo: October 1969 protest by transwomen and street queens outside the Beaux Arts Ball on Market Street.


Friday, January 29
7:00–9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 general. $5.00 for members.

The GLBT History Museum celebrates its fifth anniversary with an after-hours fundraising party featuring drinks, bites, live DJs, loads of cute history buffs, and special guest hosts JUANITA MORE! and ALEX U. INN.

DON’T MISS: A performance by drag king sensations MOMMA’S BOYZ; a ticket giveaway to Brava Theatre’s “MIGHTY REAL: A FABULOUS SYLVESTER MUSICAL”; a chance to meet new GLBT Historical Society Executive Director Terry Beswick, and underground queer hits from seven decades from DJ MARKE B.

What better reason than our fifth anniversary for queer history lovers to mingle with local glitteratti in the galleries? Five special guests will lead a very short tour, with each picking a favorite object in the museum and telling a five-minute story about why it caught their eye. And everyone who attends will be invited to engage in a bit of queer-history speed dating by posting photos of their own favorite objects to social media.

Smart people! Cool party! More to be announced!

Wine donated by Beaux and the Midnight Sun.





(Check out more events!)





Illustrated Talk: Missing Places — Lost & Endangered Queer Historic Sites of San Francisco and the Bay Area

The Embarcadero and the Produce District viewed from the Ferry Building in 1959. The area was home to a gay enclave from at least the 1930s until it was bulldozed for redevelopment in the early 1960s. Photo: San Francisco Public Library.
The Embarcadero and the Produce District viewed from the Ferry Building in 1959. The area was home to a gay enclave from at least the 1930s until it was bulldozed for redevelopment in the early 1960s. Photo: San Francisco Public Library.

Thursday, January 14, 7-9pm
at the GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., SF.
$5 suggested donation

From the Sharp Park district of Pacifica to San Francisco’s Embarcadero (an area not often remembered as a gay enclave), you’ll encounter unexpectedly queer places in this lively illustrated talk. You’ll meet some fascinating people, too, including a woman tavern owner who fought the revocation of her liquor license all the way to the California Supreme Court — plus cameo appearances by female impersonator Ray Bourbon (1892–1971), famed sex researcher Alfred Kinsey (1894–1956), and chanteuses Bambi Lake and Justin Vivian Bond.

Drawing on examples from San Francisco and the Bay Area from the 1930s to the today, presenter Gerard Koskovich looks at processes that have led to the loss of GLBT historic sites and to their absence from public memory. He’ll also discuss ways to commemorate the stories of these missing places and will highlight forces currently threatening sites that embody the city’s GLBT history. Koskovich presented the talk to an enthusiastic audience at the University of London in November. The GLBT History Museum presentation marks its U.S. debut.

Cosponsored by San Francisco Heritage and Shaping San Francisco. Follow the conversation for this event on Facebook.

Gerard Koskovich is a San Francisco–based historian, curator and rare book dealer. A founding member of the GLBT Historical Society, he has published widely on GLBT history and culture and has given talks at universities, conferences and community organizations in the United States, England, France and Germany. He served as an advisory committee member for the recently adopted San Francisco LGBTQ Historic Context Statement and is one of 15 historians invited to advise the National Park Service on the launch of its LGBTQ Heritage Initiative.

“Missing Places: Lost & Endangered Queer
Historic Sites of San Francisco & the Bay Area”
Thursday, January 14, 7–9pm
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5


How the Archives Inspired a Director: “Joyful Times Despite the Oppression”

Stu Maddux, Director of 'Reel in the Closet'
Stu Maddux, Director of ‘Reel in the Closet’

“The idea for Reel In The Closet came from reading the GLBT Historical Society newsletter,” says filmmaker Stu Maddux, whose feature-length film is currently touring the festival circuit, aiming for a wider release in 2016. The documentary showcases private home movies of nightlife, picnics, house parties, and tender moments in the pre-Stonewall era. Much of the newly unearthed footage is from the archives of the GLBT Historical Society.

What sparked the film? “It was an article about GLBTHS volunteer John Raines, who was digitally transferring and preserving hundreds of reels of videotape at the archives before they became unplayable,” Maddux recalls. “As I began looking at the body of moving images that was already transferred, I was struck with a feeling pride I had never felt before.
“I was seeing people like me in the 1950s, ’40s and even ’30s carve out joyful times despite the oppression they faced. These were happy people documenting their lives. That’s when I knew that it was important to create a documentary not simply using the moving images at the archives, but to make it about the hope they make you feel and the urgency to save them before they are lost forever.”
The film also covers the upheaval of gay liberation. “The home movies by photographer Crawford Barton are fascinating. He documented his migration from rural Georgia to San Francisco in the 1970s with images that echo the experience of many LGBT people, capturing along his journey many early, historic LGBTs events. While filming the 1972 Gay Freedom Day Parade in New York, he caught several people who would later become important to queer history.
“For months I was particularly struck by a woman holding a hand made sign that reads, ‘Parents of Lesbian’s and Gays Unite.’ I was able to confirm that it is Jeanne Manford, who founded PFLAG. These are the only known moving images of her marching for the first time. And Barton captured it all with the artistic eye he later became known for.”
And how is the film being received? “The most heartening reactions to Reel in the Closet come from people starting out who have never seen personal moving images of LGBT people from the pre-Stonewall period. I had a college student tell me that she finally had something to show to her parents to prove them wrong. They had convinced her growing up that being gay started with Stonewall!”
For trailers and screening dates for Reel in the Closet, visit — or request a temporary link to view the film online from Maddux by emailing moc.x1516193465uddam1516193465uts@u1516193465ts1516193465.