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.

Rhino in the Castro: “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen

STAGED READING   
Rhino in the Castro: “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen
Monday, February 6
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
Admission: Free; $5.00 donation welcome
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Playwright Qui Nguyen. Photo: Mark Dawson

Theatre Rhinoceros, San Francisco’s groundbreaking queer stage company, has teamed up with the GLBT History Museum to present “Rhino in the Castro,” a series of readings of plays reflecting the LGBTQ community and our allies. The museum provides the space, and Rhino provides the scripts and actors.

This month’s offering is “She Kills Monsters,” a drama by Qui Nguyen. Agnes regrets that she never got to know her teenage sister, Tilly, who was killed in a car accident. But when Agnes ventures into Tilly’s world of Dungeons and Dragons, she discovers a Tilly she didn’t know existed, along with Tilly’s girlfriend, a few enemies and some unfinished business.

Bearing Witness: Remembering International Bear Rendezvous

LIVING HISTORY
Bearing Witness: Remembering International Bear Rendezvous  
Thursday, February 16
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
Admission: $5.00; free for members
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Winners of the 2006 International Mr. Bear competition. Photograph by Ted Buel; used with permission from Bears of San Francisco (BOSF).

From 1995 to 2011, the Bears of San Francisco produced International Bear Rendezvous (IBR), an annual gathering that celebrated older, larger, hairier, ruggedly masculine gay men who had been largely excluded from standards of attractiveness in gay popular culture. Guests arrived from throughout the U.S. and beyond for a Presidents Day weekend of fun, fundraising and friendship, culminating in the International Mr. Bear competition on Sunday evening. In its 17 years, IBR raised more $500,000 for LGBTQ charities. For this living history panel, organizers and participants will come together for an evening of laughter, insight and remembering about this foundational event for the bear community.

Missing You: Queer Memory in the Mission

MISSING YOU: Queer Memory in the Mission
Saturday, February 18
6 p.m.
Brava Theater Center 2781 24th Street, SF
$10 ADVANCE • $15 AT THE DOOR
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RADAR Productions presents an investigation of queer memory through storytelling, film and drag designed to unearth and materialize queer ghosts that linger in San Francisco’s Mission District. Includes storytelling by Still Here, performance by Persia and special guests, and a showing of the 1994 documentary ¡Viva 16! Cosponsored by GLBT Historical Society.

Gay Men & Lesbians: We Still Like Each Other, Right?

COMMUNITY FORUM 
Gay Men & Lesbians: We Still Like Each Other, Right?  

Wednesday, February 22
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The GLBT History Museum
Admission: Free
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Lesbians and gay men joining together to demand equal rights at the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, Washington, D.C. (October 11, 1987). Photo courtesy Brian Thorstenson.

Queer theater artists Tracy Ward, Brian Thorstenson and Patricia Cotter are developing a stage work about the connections between lesbians and gay men. As part of their research, they’re hosting this open forum to explore how men and women in the queer community have formed friendships, chosen family, collaboration in work and activism, and other kinds of relationships. When the country seems more divided than ever, the gathering will involve an open, honest and fun discussion of divisions and connections within the community. Some of the stories might even find their way on to the stage. All ages, opinions and genders are welcome.