In the June-July 2015 Issue...
DONATE -- Keep GLBT History Alive! VOLUNTEER -- Many Ways to Get Involved
Article1So many stories to tell
Looking back at our founding 30 years ago
by Linnea Due

In 1985, branding was not exactly a buzzword-unless you owned a cattle ranch. Still, the founders of the GLBT Historical Society realized that priceless items that told queer history were lost every day through the AIDS crisis. Willie Walker and others mounted a campaign to underscore the importance of saving papers, photographs, and periodicals.

The task was harder than it may seem. Consider: in those years, many people were in the closet. Lovers and friends swooped into apartments and destroyed "the evidence." Grieving parents did the same. Even those who were proudly out might not realize the importance of saving newspapers, magazines, and letters. 

The Historical Society needed to educate the public, and humor is often the best communicator. Slogans like "Have We Got a Story to Tell!" and "Now that You're Out of the Closet, What Else Is in There?" got the message across without a lecture or an admonition. Slogans were printed on buttons, brochures, and advertisements. And material started flowing in-periodicals at first, and later letters, diaries, photographs, and artwork. (An exhibition of three decades of paintings, drawings, and three-dimensional objects is now on view at the GLBT History Museum.) 

Now, as pioneers of gay liberation in the '50s and '60s grow gray, the GLBT Historical Society underscores the importance of gathering oral histories. Similarly, if those early messages hadn't gotten across, we would have lost more, compounding the tragedy of AIDS. 

Bay Area native Linnea Due is an award-winning writer and editor.  
Article2Frameline39 documentaries draw on LGBT archives
GLBT Historical Society to co-present films

In June, the GLBT Historical Society will co-present two documentaries at Frameline39: the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival, both of which illuminate the importance of archives in preserving and revealing queer history. 

Reel in the Closet
Reel in the Closet brings to light a trove of historical footage of LGBTQ life in America, from the 1930s thr ough the AIDS epidemic, much of which is being shown for the first time at this world premiere. Documentarian Stu Maddux intersperses this footage with interviews with the archivists w ho work to find, preserve, and catalogue such early film and video records of queer life before they are lost to history -- including our own archivists. Moving images of queer life "wait to be discovered in people's closets but are being thrown out -- sometimes on purpose," Maddux notes. Get details and tickets here

Packed in a Trunk

In Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson, director Michelle Boyaner follows the efforts of Jane Anderson, a lesbian and Emmy-winning wr iter and director, to retrace the story of her great aunt Edith, who in 1924 was torn from h er successful painting career and long-time partner Fannie and committed to an insane asylum. Get details and tickets here .  
UpcomingeventsUpcoming Events

First Wednesday means free admission

June 3 & July 1

Bob Ross Foundation logo On the first Wednesday of the month, admission is free at the GLBT History Museum, courtesy of the Bob Ross Foundation. 

California Pride: Mapping LGBTQ Histories

Historypin Pinning Party

Wednesday, June 10, 6-7:30pm

The GLBT Historical Society is proud to be a community sponsor of California Pride , an online, cr o wd-sourced archive of memories, stories and images rela ted to sites associat ed  with LGBT Q experience. Learn how to "pin" your favorite LGBTQ historic s ites to the  California Pride map at a pinning party at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco. Bay Area lesbian history will be the focus of this pinning party, though all are welcome. Details here

37th Annual Pride Concert

Saturday, June 20, 8pm

We're a community partner for the 37th Annual Pride Concert: The Panama-Pacific Centennial Concert. Join us at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre and enjoy a musical tribute celebrating San Francisco Pride and the centennial of the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition! Details and tickets here.

Wells Fargo sponsors museum admission

California students will be admitted FREE (with student ID) to the GLBT History Museum during the  entire run of the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival, June 18 to 28,  courtesy of Wells Fargo.

And everyone will be admitted FREE to the GLBT History Museum on Sunday, June 28 in honor of San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride, courtesy of Wells Fargo.

Celebrate queer pride month with a visit to queer history!

Queer Nation San Francisco: 25th Anniversary Review

Thursday, July 16, 7-9 p.m.

The summer of 1990 saw an explosion of activism by queer San Franciscans and their allies, including the birth of Queer Nation San Francisco. The ragtag organization burned brightly, with outrageous street actions and ubiquitous fluorescent stickers. It flamed out quickly, but was deeply influential for a generation of activists. Join us at the GLBT History Museum for a 25th anniversary reunion of Queer Nation veterans, a panel discussion with audience Q&A, and a slideshow that takes you back to that eventful year.
historycalendarLGBT History Calendar
June in LGBT History

June 1, 1947: Lisa Ben (anagram for "lesbian") types and mails 12 copies of Vice Versa, the first lesbian newsletter. 

June 1, 1975: Drummer magazine debuts, spotlighting gay male S/M and leather subcultures. 

June 1, 1997: S.F. Domestic Partners ordinance goes into effect, requiring city contractors to offer benefits equivalent to those for married couples. 

June 5, 1981: Centers for Disease Control reports five cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia among gay men in L.A: first published report of AIDS epidemic

J une 12, 1989: Afraid of losing federal funding, the Corcoran Gallery of Art cancels a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit that includes 13 S/M images. 

June 16, 1992: k. d. lang comes out in an Advocate cover story. 

June 19, 1975: American Medical Association recommends repeal of state laws banning same-sex acts between consenting adults. 

June 24, 1970: Hollywood transgender classic Myra Breckinridge debuts, starring Mae West and Raquel Welch

June 25, 1978: S.F. artist Gilbert Baker debuts first rainbow flag in Gay Freedom Day Parade. 

June 26, 1964: Groundbreaking Life magazine article "Homosexuality in America" features photos taken in S.F. gay bars. 

June 26, 1988: Art Agnos becomes first S.F. mayor to ride in a Gay Pride parade. 

June 27, 1952: McCarran-Walter Act bars immigrants to the U.S. who are "afflicted with psychopathic personality," counting all homosexuals. 

June 28, 1969: New York Police raid of Stonewall Inn sets off two nights of rioting, igniting new era of LGBT activism. 

June 28, 1970: Gay Pride Parade in NYC and Christopher Street Liberation Day in S.F. initiate annual commemorations of Stonewall. 

June 30, 1986: In Bowers v. Hardwick, U.S. Supreme Court cites Judeo-Christian prohibitions to uphold state laws against same-sex relations.
June Birthdays

June 3, 1926: Allen Ginsberg , poet 
June, 5,1883: John Maynard Keynes, economist 
June 5, 1887: Ruth Benedict, anthropologist 
June 9, 1892: Cole Porter, composer, lyricist 
June 12, 1892: Djuna Barnes, novelist 
June 17, 1880: Carl Van Vechten, photographer 
June 19, 1566: James I, king of Great Britain; chair, Bible translation committee (you've heard his version) 
June 22, 1910: Peter Pears, English operatic tenor, lover of composer Benjamin Britten 
June 22, 1922: Bill Blass, American fashion designer 
June 23, 1912: Alan Turing, mathematician, cryptographer, computer pioneer
July in LGBT History

July 1, 2000: Vermont becomes first U.S. state to recognize same-sex civil unions. 

July 7, 1992: Fifty activists attend first public meeting of the Lesbian Avengers in New York City. 

July 9. 1928: Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness is published in Paris. It's the first major English-language novel with explicitly pro-lesbian theme. 

July 10, 1972: Ann Arbor, Michigan enacts first comprehensive gay-and-lesbian-rights city ordinance in U.S. 

July 25, 1985: Spokesperson for Rock Hudson acknowledges that the actor is suffering from AIDS, marking a turning point in public awareness. 

July 27, 1982: At a CDC-convened meeting the name " Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome," or AIDS, is proposed to replace "Gay-Related Immune Deficiency" and "Gay Cancer."
July Birthdays

July 1, 1899: Charles Laughton , actor 
July 3, 1826: Stephen Collins Foster, composer 
July 5, 1879: Wanda Landowska, musician, scholar, wit 
July 6, 1907: Frida Kahlo, artist 
July 9, 1937: David Hockney, artist 
July 10, 1871: Marcel Proust, author 
July 11, 1946: Vito Russo, film historian and author 
July 23, 1909: Samuel M. Steward (aka Phil Andros), author 
July 25, 1844: Thomas Eakins, artist 
July 27, 1940: Troy Perry, activist, MCC founder


In the "April Birthdays" in the April-May newsletter, we gave the wrong birth year for King Edward II of England; the correct year is 1284.
ArchivesAndEighteenthIn the Archives and Out on 18th Street
In the Archives

(collection #1996-43)
In March, 1969, the States Line Steamship Company, located  in  S an  Francis co's Fi nancial District, fired a young man named Gale Whittington because he wa s gay. 

This act spawned one of the first gay liberation organizations in San Francisco, the Committee for Homosexual Freedom, which began picketing the States Line offices on California Street. Photographs of the picket line -- and the startled reactions of passers-by -- are among the J.D. Wade collection of photographic prints and negatives in the archives of the GLBT Historical Society.
Out on 18th Street

Leather David
The In the 1960s, author and tattoo artist Sam Steward (see July birthdays, above) commissioned artist Mike Caffee to produce a version of Michelangelo's iconic David sculpture dressed as a motorcycle cop. Having seen the result, Jack Haines asked Caffee to produce a gay biker version of the sculpture for the grand opening of his Folsom Street leather bar, Fe-Be's, in 1966. 

The bar was a success and the cast plaster " Leather David" was too -- it became one of the best-known symbols of San Francisco's leather scene, and its image appeared on pins, posters, calendars, and matchbooks. Numerous replicas were made in a variety of materials. Though the new owner of Fe-Be's changed the bar to a rock club in the 80s, the sculpture remained on display into the 90s. It was finally donated to the GLBT Historical Society. It's on view once again as part of the new exhibition 30 Years of Collecting Art That Tells Our Stories at the GLBT History Museum .
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For exhibitions and programs, join us at...

The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114
415-621-1107 /
Through June 13: Open Monday and Wednesday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday noon-5 p.m. Closed Tuesday.
Starting June 14: Open Monday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday noon-5 p.m.
Note that the museum will close at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 27.

For research at our Archives, come to...

The GLBT Historical Society
657 Mission Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94105
415-777-5455 /
See our research hours here.