From Exhibits

Opening March 4: “Feminists to Feministas: Women of Color in Prints and Posters”

March 4 – July 4
GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., SF.
Opening reception March 4, 7pm-9pm, $5 donation

"Sisterhood is Powerful," 1970
“Sisterhood is Powerful,” 1970

A new exhibit of rare posters opens at the GLBT History Museum March 4. “Feminists to Feministas: Women of Color in Prints and Posters” contains 29 works of print art from the 1970s to the 1990s that visually trace the power of lesbians, bisexuals, and transwomen of color who rallied for sexual freedom and economic justice in the fight against racism, sexism, and imperialism. The exhibit runs through July 4 at the GLBT History Museum.


On March 4, 2016, the GLBT History Museum in the Castro District of San Francisco will open an exhibit of 29 prints drawn from the GLBT Historical Society’s enormous poster collection; these prints are specifically chosen to illuminate the role of women of color in the evolving cultural messaging of queer prints and posters. Co-curators Amy Sueyoshi and Lisbet Tellefsen  selected images from the 1970s to the 1990s to trace both the changing aesthetic of posters and their significance for queer women of color.

The distinctly political images defy conventional standards of femininity, speak out against legislative abuses that disproportionately affect communities of color, and celebrate the health, beauty, and creativity of queer African American, Latina, and Asian Pacific Islander women. Come feel the power of Audre Lorde, Kitty Tsui, and Pepper from BurLEZk, as is the activism of lesbians and gays against intervention in Central America. See the dyke version of the seductive Calvin Klein underwear advertisements of the 1990s!

"We Support Gente" circa 1974
“We Support Gente” circa 1974

The prints illustrate how women of color have created community and initiated change through the building of coalitions across ethnicity and gender for multi-issue organizing.

“The GLBT Historical Society’s poster collection represents a remarkable time capsule of our communities’ history,” says co-curator Lisbet Tellefsen. “The collection is vast in both depth and scope and visually chronicles much of our history: from arts & culture to sex, politics and beyond. I look forward to mining this rich collection for years to come and am excited to offer this small glimpse into the collection with our initial exhibit, ‘Feminists to Feministas.’

“Sisterhood is Blooming” from 1972

Adds co-curator Amy Sueyoshi, “So invisible are queer women of color in gay scenes of the Castro, in marriage equality, and in the countless shows that are cropping up with queer characters. Yet so tirelessly do queer women of color work for justice, scrubbing on their hands and knees until their knuckles become raw. I wanted to put together a show that underscored the tremendous cultural and political work that they do without recognition or reward. To them – to us – I dedicate this exhibition.”


Lisbet Tellefsen is an archivist, collector, and producer of more than her fair share of posters as the publisher of Aché: A Black Lesbian Journal, 1989-1995.

Amy Sueyoshi is a historian and professor in Sexuality Studies and Race and Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University, currently the Associate Dean of the College of Ethnic Studies, and author of Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi.

For press inquiries, please contact Communications Director Marke Bieschke.

Reigning Queens opens Friday

no title4020 smallFriday, October 23 from 7 to 9 p.m.
GLBT History Museum.

Join us for the opening of Reigning Queens: The Lost Photos of Roz Joseph. Our newest exhibition presents evocative photographs of San Francisco’s epic drag and costume balls of the mid-1970s. Noted photographer Roz Joseph created these color images, which were rediscovered after she donated the series to the archives. Board member and curator Joey Plaster will be on hand to point out highlights of this new exhibition in the Community Gallery. Light refreshments will be served and a donation of $10 is suggested.

New exhibition coming to the museum

rq1Reigning Queens: The Lost Photos of Roz Joseph presents evocative photographs of San Francisco’s epic drag and costume balls of the mid-1970s. The color images were created by noted photographer Roz Joseph, whose drag-queen series was rediscovered after she donated the work to the archives. The exhibition is curated by Joey Plaster, a doctoral candidate in American Studies at Yale University who currently serves on our board of directors.

“Roz Joseph documented a world of self-styled baronesses in diamond tiaras, elaborate ‘royal’ coronations and gender-bending performance,” says Joey. “Her photos show how gay men deployed theater and fantasy to make very real contributions to San Francisco’s gay community. We’re excited to bring these long-lost images back into public view almost four decades after they were made.”

rq2Many of the drag queens Joseph photographed were associated with an organization called the Imperial Court, which annually elects a drag empress who raises funds for local charities. Founded in San Francisco in 1965 and now established in cities around the U.S. and in several other countries, the Imperial Court system is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Reigning Queens will be on display from October 23 through February in the Community Gallery.

Bulldog Baths murals closing party

Tuesday, October 6 from 7 to 9 p.m.
GLBT History Museum.

The Bulldog was strictly man sex with men in a man’s environment.
Historian William Kohler

For the past four months, the museum has exhibited some of the unique and beautiful murals that were part of San Francisco’s famed Bulldog Baths. Now, as we look forward to our next exhibit, we’re hosting a closing ceremony and celebration. Join us! and learn more about this spectacular art and the GLBT Historical Society’s mission. Beer, wine, and snacks will be served. Donation requested for entry.

This exhibit includes depictions of nudity and/or sexual activity.