For a few months now I have been volunteering on the GLBT Historical Society’s project to digitize the pre-internet run of theBay Area Reporter (1971-2005). The initiative is sponsored by the Bob Ross Foundation, created by the late publisher of the weekly LGBT newspaper. On any given day, I go through issues of the BAR, scanning each page for posting on a website that will be open to all free of charge.
The task may sound tedious, but I find it fascinating: I’ve always felt more in touch with the distant country of another decade or year when I find it reflected in old periodicals. Paging through newspapers and magazines from the past, you see your own time more clearly: the absurdity of outdated ads or hairstyles that hint our own trendy times will soon look quaint, the foreboding of headlines that only in hindsight reveal good news or bad news was on the way.
Take for example an ad for Steamworks that I spotted in a Bay Area Reporter from the mid-2000s. A man is doubled over as if crying, his figure half lost in the shadows. The copy reads, “He could have gone to Steamworks,” implying that the man is sad because he didn’t get laid. Below the bathhouse logo is information about STI and HIV testing.
Suddenly, this ad, an act of humor on the part a gay bathhouse, is a portal to the gay world after the emergence of AIDS in 1981. Suggesting the horny, the funny and the sad all at once, this small piece of newsprint helps us recognize the complexity and importance of our queer past. When we’re done posting thousands of pages of the Bay Area Reporter, discoveries of this sort will be available to web users from around the world.
Alexander Gray is an archives volunteer at the GLBT Historical Society.
Panel Discussion | Fighting Back: Marching for Our Rights
Tuesday, September 26
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-community issues in a historical context,”Marching for Our Rights: 1987 and Beyond” will offer a multigenerational conversation about marches as a tactic for advancing our rights, with a special focus on the 30th anniversary of the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987. A panel of veteran organizers and younger activists will discuss the history of marches as a tactic for promoting LGBTQ equality and how this history can inform today’s intersectional resistance movements.
Tre Allen is an advocate for equal rights. As an Evangelical Christian, he underwent several ex-gay therapies to pray away the gay. Once he moved to San Francisco, he jumped into organizing for marriage equality with the Courage Campaign and co-organized the March4Equality during the 2013 Proposition 8 and DOMA cases. He subsequently has been involved in helping organizes other marches and public celebrations. In 2015 Allen earned an associate of arts degree in LGBT studies at City College of San Francisco and recently graduated received a master’s in public administration from San Francisco State. He now works at the San Francisco Neighborhood Empowerment Network.
Pam David is a long-time progressive LGBTQ activist. With values forged in the civil rights, anti-war and women’s movements, David helped organize the Lesbian Rights Alliance and Lesbians Against Police Violence in the 1970s. In the 1980s, she served as the national outreach coordinator for the 1987 March on Washington and was the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s main advisor on LGBTQ issues. In 1990, Mayor Art Agnos made her the first out lesbian appointed to a San Francisco mayor’s staff. Working for three mayors over 12 years, she helped provide critical resources to support LGBTQ people, people with HIV/AIDS and low-income communities. As executive director of the Walter & Elise Haas Fund since 2002, David has continued her personal and professional commitment to social change.
Gabriel Haaland is a transgender progressive union activist who is dedicated to protecting workers; has led campaigns to protect renters from unjust evictions; fights for social justice and political reforms that empower working people, people of color and neighborhoods. Named a “local hero” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian, he was also a community grand marshal for San Francisco Pride. He is a former president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and former co-vice president of Pride at Work. Haaland is a graduate of UC Berkeley and Hastings College of the Law. For the past 15 years, he has worked as a political coordinator for SEIU Local 1021.
Alex U. Inn, a Bay Area resident for more than 35 years, is an advocate for justice and equality. A community grand marshal for San Francisco Pride in 2017, Alex is one of the few to be named to sainthood by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and is a winner of 32 gold medals at the Gay Games. Alex also has been a critical force for many important LGBTQ institutions and campaigns, including the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, the MyNameIs Coalition, San Francisco Pride’s NECTAR/Women’s Stage, UNLEASH! Dance Party for Women and the Committee for Queer Justice. Alex also founded Momma’s Boyz, a troupe of hip hop activist drag kings and the KINGDOM! Drag King House that fundraises for our community.
Ken Jones has been a community organizer and activist since the 1970s, participating in the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day Parade and Celebration Committee for almost a decade. He also traveled to Cuba as part of the Venceramos Work Brigade in 1987 and that same year he served as the Northern California co-chair of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. An original volunteer at the KS Foundation, Jones was the first paid office manager of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and would go on to become the director of volunteer services at the foundation for over a decade.
Lito Sandoval (moderator) first became active in the queer community in the late 1980s when he joined ACT UP/San Francisco. He subsequently joined the leadership of AGUILAS and later served on the board of the Queer Latina/o Artists Coalition (QUELACO). Currently, he serves as co-president of the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club and is a member of the board of the GLBT Historical Society. In addition, Sandoval has practiced his craft in the spoken word and performing arts as a founding member of Latin Hustle, a queer Latino comedy trio. His short essay “I Love You Alto” was published in the anthology Virgins, Guerrillas y Locas: Gay Latinos Writing on Love (Cleis Press, 1999).
Bringing together amazing queer history and forceful contemporary graphics, Butch Lesbians of the 20s, 30s and 40s Coloring Book is a new release from Stacked Deck Press. Pathologized as inverts, criminalized as cross dressers and denigrated as perverts, these handsome butches insistently blazed their own paths as poets, pilots, speed boat racers, and resistance heroes.
They were proudly butch as women, sometimes passed as men, and all the while endured the wariness or outright scorn of society. Brought back to public memory by a group of talented artists, the butches portrayed in this collection are now ready for celebration-and custom coloring schemes. At the museum event, contributors will discuss the book and the heroes it portrays.
ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS
The following contributors to the Butch Lesbians coloring book will take part in the museum event:
Avery Cassell is a San Francisco writer, poet, cartoonist and artist. Their recent work includes editing, drawing and writing for the Butch Lesbians of the 20s, 30s, and 40s Coloring Book and writing Behrouz Gets Lucky, a kinky erotic romance novel about an older genderqueer-butch couple. For the coloring book, Cassell drew Frieda Belinfante, Jackie Bross, anonymous butches in top hats, Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Janet Flanner, Olga Tsuberiller, and Lulu at Le Monocle.
Dorian Katz draws no line between the innocent and truly perverse in her work. Active in communities that inform and encourage her creative pursuits, Katz cofounded the dyke erotica collective Dirty Ink. She curates and shows work at the National Queer Arts Festival; the Center for Sex and Culture; the Exiles (a women’s SM organization); and SFinX. She has had solo exhibitions at Climate Project Space, Glama-Rama and the Jon Sims Center. Katz drew Gluck for the coloring book.
Maia Kobabe is the author and illustrator of The Thief’s Tale, a medieval fantasy webcomic, and Tom O’Bedlam, an Ignatz-nominated short comic that was accepted into the Society of Illustrator’s Comic and Cartoon Art annual. Kobabe’s other comics including the Genderqueer series can be found on Tumblr and Instagram. Kobabe drew Louise and Gladys Bentley for the coloring book.
Ajuan Mance creates comics, drawings, and zines about black life in America. A professor of African American literature at Mills College, Mance draws inspiration from the writers she encounters in her teaching and research. Her most recent work is 1001 Black Men, a series of drawing inspired by Oakland and memories of her family. Ajuan drew Ruth Ellis and Gertrude Stein for the coloring book.
In 2012, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Education Act — known as the FAIR Education Act — became law in California. This was just the start of an ongoing effort to bring the LGBTQ past into the state’s K-12 classrooms. The act mandated that the contributions of LGBTQ Americans and people with disabilities be added to the history of other groups such as women, immigrants and people of color that the state required public schools to teach. Unfortunately, with no state funding for implementation and no penalty for schools that ignored it, the FAIR Education Act initially was largely symbolic.
Since then, I have been collaborating with other LGBTQ historians and LGBTQ youth and family activists to turn the law into something more concrete. The FAIR Education Act Implementation Coalition has focused on two major efforts: training educators to teach LGBTQ history and advocating for incorporation of that history into the state’s K-12 History-Social Science Framework. The training was taken up by LGBTQ advocacy and history organizations, including the ONE Archives and Our Family Coalition.
Many of us learned from teachers that they simply did not know how to make LGBTQ history meaningful in their classrooms. With a major framework revision process set to begin in 2014, historian Leila Rupp, history education professor David Donahue and I worked with nearly 20 scholars of the queer past to suggest line-by-line changes. This became Making the Framework FAIR, a report from the Committee on LGBTQ History. In July 2016, the state’s new framework showed the fruits of the coalition’s labor: LGBTQ content appears in grades 2, 4, 5 and 8 through 12 — an unprecedented breadth and depth that puts California’s public schools light years ahead of any other state.
Since then, I have been collaborating with the University of California’s History-Social Science Project, the California Department of Education and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association on a series of 18 rollout sessions around the state to acquaint educators and administrators with the new framework. At every workshop, educators ask for textbooks, educational materials, and lesson plans that reflect the LGBTQ content in the new framework.
The current phase of our campaign involves making sure publishers hoping to sell to the lucrative California K-12 market revise their textbooks to reflect the LGBTQ content of the new framework. In July and August, I joined dozens of LGBTQ advocates, students, parents and teachers to urge the California Department of Education to reject any textbooks that fail to do this important work. Two more opportunities to make this demand are coming up soon. Contact Our Family Coalition to join this effort.
In addition, many historians, teachers and advocates are working to produce educational materials and lesson plans that go into the new LGBTQ content in greater depth than textbooks will. The GLBT Historical Society is currently exploring possible partnerships with the California Historical Society and other institutions to open our archives to teachers looking to create and share curricula based on our holdings. The society is eager to help students get excited about LGBTQ history, archives and museums.
When I initially got involved with the passage of the FAIR Education Act, I didn’t know I’d not only be doing this work today, but also will be continuing into the foreseeable future. It’s been inspiring to participate in such a substantial change in the ways that young people will encounter the past. That said, my biggest takeaway has been that making this kind of structural and systemic change is arduous, complex and takes a long time. With persistence, collaboration and focus, however, we can transform history education to make the LGBTQ past a part of our state’s — and our society’s — shared heritage.
The GLBT History Museum is well known as a destination in the Castro neighborhood, but the archives of the GLBT Historical Society have long been located in another part of the city: For more than 20 years, the collections have been housed in buildings in Mid-Market, then the adjacent South of Market and now back in Mid-Market. Representing both of those neighborhoods is San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district also includes the city’s greatest concentration of museums.
A former civil rights attorney elected in 2011, Kim has long been an advocate for the LGBTQ community. In recent years, she has actively included queer heritage and historic preservation issues on her policy agenda. In this exclusive interview with History Happens, the supervisor discusses her efforts on behalf of a number of LGBTQ public history initiatives and explains her support for the GLBT Historical Society’s campaign to create a New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture.
You have supported the South of Market Leather History Alley, which was created in collaboration with a real-estate developer. What are other ways community historians could partner with the City and with developers to commemorate San Francisco’s LGBTQ history?
There is a growing movement of examining intangible cultural assets as they pertain to LGBTQ history. Our office has been partnering with preservationists and community activists on Ringold Alley, Eagle Plaza, the preservation of the Lone Star and the Stud, and creating the first transgender and LGBT leather cultural districts. The Compton’s Transgender Cultural District passed unanimously, and we recently secured seed funding for place-making, job development and staffing for the district, with of $375,000 from our City budget and $300,000 in developer fees.
The City of San Francisco and a wide range of community groups and individuals are currently working to develop a Citywide LGBTQ Cultural Heritage Strategy. What impact do you hope this report will have on LGBTQ preservation efforts and overall city policy?
The report should provide a roadmap and set of principles to both preserve and continue to grow our LGBTQ assets and showcase the unique LGBTQ character of each neighborhood, whether it’s lesbians at the Artemis Café on Valencia, leather daddies at the Toolbox in SoMa, or transgender women at the Chukker Club in the Tenderloin.
You and Supervisor Jeff Sheehy coauthored a unanimously passed resolution earlier this year calling on the City to support the GLBT Historical Society’s initiative to create a world-class New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture. What are the next steps the City should take to put this resolution into action? And how can the community help?
We need to engage in fundraising. The reality is that after the demise of the state redevelopment agency, we have less funding to sustain our museums in South of Market. The story of the Jewish Museum, the Museum of the African Diaspoara (MOAD), the Mexican Museum and Yerba Buena all had a nexus to redevelopment site acquisition and funds. I still think the City can also play a crucial role, such as identifying surplus properties for this use. This will need to be a collaborative effort. Of course, I would love to see this museum near all of its other sister museums in SoMa.
We need to develop a vision of how we hope this museum will serve our community, through showcasing the history and assets of the LGBTQ community. With a strong vision, a serious capital campaign and a committee to identify a site or building, the City and the community can and should work together to add this to our sister museums. Perhaps even join them where I serve as supervisor in District 6.
NOTE: Reprinted from the August 2017 issue of History Happens, the monthly newsletter of the GLBT Historical Society. To read the full issue, click here. To subscribe to the newsletter, click here.
The State of California annually marks Harvey Milk’s birthday, May 22 as Harvey Milk Day, as a statewide day of significance. The GLBT History Museum will honor the occasion this year by offering free admission to all visitors throughout the day. The museum is located at 4127 18th St. in San Francisco’s Castro District. It will be open 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Harvey Milk Day.
Harvey Milk (1930-1978) was the first openly gay elected official in California and one of the first in the United States. He served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for 11 months before he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were shot to death on November 27, 1978, by Dan White, a former board colleague of Milk’s. The GLBT History Museum commemorates Harvey Milk on an ongoing basis in a number of ways.
“Queer Past Becomes Present,” the long-term exhibition in the museum’s Main Gallery, includes an exhibit on Milk’s life and death. Among the historical objects on display are the bullhorn Milk used to lead many protest marches and the suit he was wearing at the moment he was assassinated. Visitors also can hear Milk’s voice in the political will he recorded when he was serving on the Board of Supervisors.
In addition, the museum shop offers a reproduction of a historical t-shirt produced by the legal defense committee that raised funds on behalf of protesters arrested during the White Night Riot, an uprising that took place at San Francisco City Hall after a jury found Dan White guilty of manslaughter instead of murder in the killings of Milk and Moscone. Also available in the museum shop are reproductions of a t-shirt produced for Milk’s 1977 campaign for the Board of Supervisors, as well as postcards reproducing historical photographs of Milk.
Among the materials preserved in the archives of the GLBT Historical Society is the Harvey Milk and Scott Smith Collection, an extensive group of Milk’s personal belongings. The collection and other holdings in the society’s archives provide a vital resource for historians and others seeking to understand Milk’s story. Notably, the collections were used by the art directors and costume designers for Gus van Sant’s award-winning 2008 feature film “MILK” and by the producers of the recent ABC miniseries “When We Rise.”
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: Free; $5.00 donation welcome
The latest in our monthly “Fighting Back” series exploring contemporary queer-community issues in a historical context, this multigenerational conversation will feature panelists from preservation battles in San Francisco’s LGBTQ community.
Panelists will focus in particular on initiatives in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, including the Ringold Alley Project, the Eagle Plaza and the Stud bar. They’ll lead a discussion of strategies for preserving LGBTQ heritage: What has worked and what hasn’t? What new approaches are possible? Can development and preservation coexist?
The forum will be facilitated by architectural historian Shayne Watson, chair of the GLBT Historical Society’s Historic Places Working Group, along with working group member and local historian Jim Van Buskirk. The following panelists will participate:
Gerry Takano, founding member of the Friends of 1800, San Francisco’s first LGBTQ preservation group.
Gayle Rubin, renowned LGBTQ anthropologist and leather scholar.
Demetri Moshoyannis, advisory committee member for the soon-to-be-unveiled Ringold Alley interpretive landscape project.
Nate Allbee, cofounder of The Stud Collective, the group that saved the eponymous South of Market bar.
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-community issues in a historical context, “When The Dykes Went Marching In: A Celebration of 1990s Lesbian Activism” will offer a multigenerational conversation about 1990s lesbian activism and the legacy and lessons of that decade for political resistance today.
Judith Cohen has been an activist and creative entrepreneur since 1989. She is a founder of San Francisco Lesbian Avengers; a founding member of the San Francisco Dyke March Organizing Committee; and a founding member of ACT UP Golden Gate. Professionally, she is the founder and CEO of Solve Agency Inc., Above 805 Media and the TalentPath Group.
Angela Garcia is an author, activist and associate professor of anthropology at Stanford University. Her research, writing and activism focuses on themes of poverty, violence and health. Garcia is the author of the award-winning book The Pastoral Clinic: Addiction and Dispossession Along the Rio Grande (2010). She was a cofounder and editor of Revista Parallax, a bilingual literary zine featuring artists and writers from the Mission District during the 1990s. During the same decade, Garcia directed Project Inform’s Women’s HIV Treatment Information and Advocacy program, Project WISE.
Alex U. Inn (Carmen Alex Morrison), a San Francisco Pride 2017 community grand marshal, has been a Bay Area resident and activist for social justice for more than 35 years. One of few named to sainthood by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and winner of 32 gold medals at the Gay Games, Alex also has been a critical force for many important LGBTQ groups including the SF LGBT Center, the MyNameIs Coalition, Pride’s NECTAR/Women’s Stage, UNLEASH! Dance Party for Women and the Committee for Queer Justice. Alex also founded Momma’s Boyz, a troupe of hip-hop artivist drag kings, and the KINGDOM! drag king house, a philanthropic arm for our community.
Lenn Keller is the founder of the Bay Area Lesbian Archives. She is a community archivist, activist, historian, curator, DJ, filmmaker, photographer, public speaker, writer and mother. Keller is a graduate of Mills College and is an independent scholar in multidisciplinary, cross-cultural and historical research. A native of Chicago, she has lived in the Bay Area for more 40 years. She has documented, archived and exhibited Bay Area activist and marginalized communities, with an emphasis on people of color and LGBT communities. Her photography and film work can be viewed at www.lennkeller.com.
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St., San Francisco
Admission: $5.00; free for members
StormMiguel Florez and RaMona Webb will spearhead a group of artists from various parts of the South — Albuquerque, Baton Rouge and more — to discuss and perform work remembering how they found community growing up “outside the bubble” of such LGBTQ metropolises as New York and San Francisco. Florez will introduce his newest project, a film about just such a method for recognizing other queers in settings where visibility wasn’t the norm — and Webb will talk about the first integrated poetry slam in Baton Rouge. Cosponsored by the Queer Cultural Center and the GLBT Historical Society.
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.
THE SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE MUST HAVE:
● 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.
BONUS POINTS FOR:
● 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.
The GLBT History Museum 4127 18th St., San Francisco Admission: Free
The GLBT Historical Society is relaunching its “Oral History Project,” an initiative to record interviews with community elders who’ll share their recollections of the LGBTQ past. Such interviews often provide the only record of aspects of everyday life in decades gone by, particularly for LGBTQ people from underrepresented groups. The project will offer numerous volunteer opportunities, from conducting interviews and researching background histories to providing technical assistance or offering general support. This volunteer-orientation evening will provide all the details you’ll need to get involved.
Thursday, October 6
7pm-9pm The GLBT History Museum 4127 18th St., San Francisco $5.00; free for members
Starting in the late 1890s, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) was a trailblazing defender of homosexual and transgender people in Germany and beyond. In conjunction with the GLBT History Museum’s current exhibition about Hirschfeld, a panel of distinguished historians will discuss his life and legacy:
• Mel Gordon, author of “Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin” (2008), will place Hirschfeld’s work in the context of German sexual culture of the 1920s.
• Gayle Rubin, professor of anthropology and women’s studies at the University of Michgan, Ann Arbor, and author of “Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader” (2011), will trace Hirschfeld’s influence as a sexologist.
• Gerard Koskovich, curator of the exhibition “Through Knowledge to Justice: The Sexual World of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld,” will introduce and moderate the panel and will over a brief overview of Hirschfeld’s work and his 1931 visit to San Francisco.