In the April-May 2015 Issue...
DONATE -- Keep GLBT History Alive! VOLUNTEER -- Many Ways to Get Involved
Article1New collections available to public
Big grant-funded archives project completed

From a brochure for the Black
Cat Café in San Francisco, 1952
Our archivists have completed Out West, a project funded by a "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources. In collaboration with the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, we processed many collections that preserve the history of struggle for LGBTQ civil rights and give a comprehensive view of U.S. LGBTQ activists, artists, and organizations over a 50-year period. 

The collections offer a rare glimpse into the hidden origins of LGBTQ social equality movements in the 1950s and 1960s and show how California-based people and organizations had a national impact on LGBTQ civil rights. 

You're welcome to visit our archives and review these collections in person; see our research hours here.

Article2BALIF honors GLBT Historical Society
Mario Choi and Nick Clements of BALIF flank Dave Reichard of the GLBT Historical Society

Thanks to Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), the nation's oldest and largest LGBT law organization, for honoring the GLBT Historical Society with its annual Community Service Award for organizations that effect positive changes for our community. 
historycalendarLGBT History Calendar
April in LGBT History

Scenes of same-sex couplings such as this one in Wonder Bar (1934) were banned under the Hays Code
April 1, 1930: The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America introduces the so-called "Hays Code," which discourages filmmakers from including frank depictions of sex and sexuality and bans outright any mention of homosexuality.

April 1, 1950: The United States Civil Service Commission intensifies efforts to locate and dismiss lesbians and gay men working in government.

April 9, 1984: The San Francisco Department of Public Health closes the City's bathhouses in the belief that they contribute to the spread of AIDS.

April 11, 1953: The Mattachine Society holds its first constitutional convention in Los Angeles.

April 17, 1966: The Society for Individual Rights (SIR) opens the first gay community center in the United States at 83 Sixth Street, San Francisco.

April 23, 1990: President G.H.W. Bush signs the Hate Crime Statistics Act, which requires the Department of Justice to track hate crimes, including those motivated by prejudice based upon sexual orientation. It's the first law to extend federal recognition to lesbians and gay men.

April 27, 1953: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450, mandating the dismissal of all federal employees determined to be guilty of certain unacceptable conduct, including "sexual perversion."

Bessie Smith
April Birthdays

April 2, 1805: Hans Christian Andersen, author
April 5, 1837: Algernon Charles Swinburne, poet, masochist, likely bisexual
April 6, 1483: Raphael, artist
April 7, 1912: Harry Hay, gay rights activist
April 14, 1904: John Gielgud, actor
April 15, 1894: Bessie Smith, singer
April 25, 1284: King Edward II of England
April 27, 1886: Ma Rainey, blues singer
April 30, 1877: Alice B. Toklas, muse, baker, partner of Gertrude Stein
May in LGBT History

May 1, 1970: At the Second Congress to Unite Women in New York City, lesbian feminists stage the Lavender Menace action to protest lesbophobia in the women's movement.

May 2, 1983: Bobby Reynolds, Gary Walsh and Bobbi Campbell organize the first AIDS Candlelight March and vigil in San Francisco.

May 6, 1933: Nazi students sack the Institute for Sexual Science, founded by homosexual rights pioneer Magnus Hirschfeld. On the night of May 10, they burn more than 20,000 publications and 5,000 photographs from the center.

May 12, 1975: Thanks to the efforts of Assemblyman Willie Brown and State Senator George Moscone, California decriminalizes same-sex acts. Governor Jerry Brown soon signs the bill.

May 14, 1974: The first-ever gay rights bill is introduced in Congress.
Police cruisers burn during the White Night riots (photo Marie Ueda)

May 17, 2004: Same-sex marriages begin in Massachusetts, the first state to allow them.

May 20, 1996: Ruling that "a State cannot so deem a class of person a str anger to its laws," the U.S. Supreme Court declares Colorado's homophobic Amendm e n t 2 unconstitutional.

May 21, 1979: A San Francisco jury finds Dan White guilty of manslaughter, not murder, in the 1978 assassinations of Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. Rage in the gay community culminates in the White Night riots.

May 24, 1976: The San Francisco Chronicle begins running Armistead Maupin's serial, "Tales of the City," later published in book form.

May Birthdays
Christine Jorgensen

May 2, 1895: Lorenz Hart, Broadway and Hollywood lyricist
May 3, 1912: May Sarton, poet
May 3, 1948:   Miriam Ben-Shalom, first U.S. service member to be reinstated after being discharged for her sexual orientation.
May 4, 1958: Keith Haring, artist and activist
May 7, 1840: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, composer
May 15, 356 BCE: Alexander the Great, king, conqueror, lover
May 16, 1929: Adrienne Rich, poet
May 17, 1929: Jill Johnston, author of Lesbian Nation
May 22, 1930: Harvey Milk, activist, coalition builder, first openly gay elected official in California
May 23, 1958: Lea DeLaria, actress, jazz musician, stand-up comic
May 30, 1926: Christine Jorgensen, pioneering trans woman
May 31, 1819: Walt Whitman, poet of America


A "February in LGBT History" entry in the FE.-March newsletter should have stated:

Feb. 1, 1978: Tom of Finland's first U.S. art exhibit moves from Stompers in New York to Robert Opel's Fey Way Gallery in S.F.

Thanks to historian Gayle Rubin for that clarification.
ArchivesAndEighteenthIn the Archives and Out on 18th Street
In the Archives

photo by Crawford Wayne Barton,
from collection #1993-11
Our new Project Archivist, Joanna "JoJo" Black , will spend the next year completing the National Historic Publications & Records Commission grant-funded project "Visions and Voices of GLBT History" by surveying and processing audio/visual and photographic collections. 

A native to Southern California, JoJo received a B.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and an M.L.I.S. with a specialization in archival studies from UCLA. JoJo hopes to foster greater public awareness of LGBT history.

Out on 18th Street

Curator Amy Sueyoshi provides docents
with information about a new exhibition.
The volunteer docents at the GLBT History Museum are always available to answer questions from visitors. They also regularly lead tours for groups from around the world.

Tours groups may consist of middle or high school students; university students on Alternative Spring Break or whose studies focus on GLBT history, social justice, or diversity training; or anyone else who wants to explore the history of the Bay Area's queer communities.

To arrange a docent-led tour for a group of 10-35 people, please contact Jeremy Prince at at least four weeks in advance.  
EventsUpcoming Events
First Wednesday means free admission

Bob Ross Foundation logo April 1 and May 6 are the first Wednesdays of the month, which means free admission all day to The GLBT History Museum, courtesy of the Bob Ross Foundation. 
Our Queer History: a conversation about the National Park Service LGBTQ Heritage Initiative

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announcing the Initiative at the Stonewall Inn
in May 2014 (photo: Dept. of the Interior)

Find more about the National Park Service's LGBTQ Heritage Initiative at a presentation and discussion at the GLBT History Museum on Monday, April 13, 7-9 p.m. The Initiative seeks to identify, interpret and commemorate sites related to LGBTQ history, and is part of a broader effort to ensure that the NPS tells a more complete story of the nation's diverse heritage.

NPS representatives Megan Springate and Elaine Jackson-Retondo will present an overview of the initiative and talk about how you can get involved, then lead a question-and-answer period.

Black (Super)Power Fantasies: Blade the Vampire Hunter and the Black Superhero Figure

Darieck Scott, Ph.D.

The GLBT Historical Society is proud to co-present a lecture by Darieck Scott, Ph.D. at the Museum of the African Diaspora on Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. to noon. Dr. Scott will discuss the monstrous and the sexual dimensions of black male imagery in superhero comics, focusing on the character "Blade" -- also the main character of a trio of Hollywood action movies starring Wesley Snipes.

The Museum of the African Diaspora is located at 685 Mission Street, on the same block as the GLBT Historical Society's Archives and Research Center. Details here.

New exhibition reveals history through art

Man with Butterfly Tattoo, oil on canvas
by Chuck Arnett, 1963 
On Friday, May 15, from 7 to 9 p.m. you're invited to the opening of "30 Years of Collecting Art That Tells Our Stories," a new exhibition at the GLBT History Museum. It highlights guest curator Elisabeth Cornu's choices of treasures produced during one of the most tumultuous periods in the local LBGT liberation movement: the 1960s to the 1990s.

The exhibition includes photographs and artifacts from the women's community enclave that emerged along Valencia Street in the city's Mission District, anchored by pioneering institutions such as the Artemis Café and the San Francisco Women's Building. It also includes artworks by queer men, such as a mural from the long-gone Bulldog Baths on Turk Street -- the nation's largest gay bathhouse -- and a set of handmade tarot cards called "Folsom Tarot Major Arcana."
Celebrate Milk's birthday at GLBT History Museum

In honor of Harvey Milk's birthday on Friday, May 22, admission to the GLBT History Museum will be free, and our docents will lead tours every hour.

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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 /
Open Sunday noon-5 p.m.; Monday and Wednesday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.  Closed Tuesday.

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.