Supervisor Jane Kim: Working Together to Preserve LGBTQ History in San Francisco
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.
FromEDFrom the Executive Director
Launching Our National Advisory Council
by Terry Beswick 
The GLBT Historical Society has long worked to strengthen our engagement with academic, cultural, corporate and philanthropic communities and to broaden support for our organization. We have now taken another major step in advancing this effort: forming a National Advisory Council to advise and support our staff and board on the fulfillment of our mission. Five distinguished leaders of the LGBTQ community have agreed to serve as honorary cochairs:

Mark Leno, former San Francisco supervisor and California State senator and current candidate for mayor of San Francisco.


Alfredo Pedroza, Wells Fargo Bank executive and member of the board of trustees of the Mexican Museum in San Francisco.


Gayle Rubin, associate professor of anthropology and women's studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Susan Stryker, director of the Institute for LGBT Studies, founder of the Transgender Studies Initiative, and associate professor of gender and women's studies at the University of Arizona, Tucson.


Amy Sueyoshi, associate dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University.


In particular, the council will help guide our campaign to establish the New Museum of LGBTQ History and Culture -- a world-class museum, archives and public history center in San Francisco that we believe is vital to the preservation of our heritage and the representation of our diverse LGBTQ communities.

The council will help establish a foundation on which we can build the new museum -- but it's just one of the blocks we need to put in place. Since we announced our Vision 2020 fundraising campaign last year, we also have made steady progress in building our donor and membership base. To all who have donated, joined or increased their membership level this year, we thank you. Please tell your friends about our campaign, and ask them to sign up as members, too.

We at the GLBT Historical Society are honored to protect our community's heritage and to share the stories of our past with people of all ages, races, classes, genders and sexualities. We're grateful to the members of the new National Advisory Council for taking a stand in support of this work, to all our members and donors, and to everyone who believes in the importance of LGBTQ history.
Terry Beswick is executive director of the GLBT Historical Society. 
ArchivesTake Action 
by Gerard Koskovich

The GLBT Historical Society has thrived for more than three decades thanks to encouragement from the community -- and notably from our members who get involved in our efforts. Here are three things you can do right now to support the society in preserving and sharing the stories of the LGBTQ past:

Fill out a brief survey. The City of San Francisco is eager to hear from residents, former residents and others about the aspects of the city's LGBTQ cultural heritage they value the most. The City will use the survey to shape a citywide strategy for sustaining this heritage. In responding to the questions, you can help the GLBT Historical Society by urging the city to fund our museum and archives -- and our plans to build a new world-class center for LGBTQ public history. To take the survey, click here.

Follow us on social media. We regularly post on social media about LGBTQ history and about our programs and activities. By following the GLBT Historical Society, interacting with our posts and sharing them with your friends, you'll help us ensure that more people discover the queer past and learn about our work. You'll find us on Facebook and Instagram.

Spread the word to volunteers. We're currently recruiting and training volunteer ages 18-29 to participate in our San Francisco ACT UP Oral History Project, which is gathering oral histories from veterans of AIDS activism in the city from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. Applications will be accepted through August 5. For more information, contact project director Joey Plaster at

Gerard Koskovich serves as communications director for the GLBT Historical Society.
UpcomingUpcoming Events   
Panel Discussion
LGBTQ Portraits: A Queer Historical Perspective
Thursday, August 10          
7:00-9:00 PM 
The GLBT History Museum 
4127 18th St., San Francisco 
$5.00  | Free for members  
Four noted art specialists will discuss how LGBTQ artists and sitters have queered the conventions of the portrait. Why does portraiture -- deeply implicated from its inception in the representation of kinship, affiliation and identity -- remain important to queer communities in the so-called post-identity era? The panel will feature Tirza Latimer, chair of the Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts; Pamela Peniston, director of the Queer Cultural Center; Rudy Lemcke, visual artist and curator; and artist Lenore Chinn, whose painted and photographic queer portraits are currently on display in "Picturing Kinship: Portraits of Our Community by Lenore Chinn" at the GLBT History MuseumJoin the Facebook conversation here 
Happy Hour
Queer Heritage Mixer at the Historic Gangway
Wednesday, August 16 
5:30 - 7:30 PM 
The Gangway  
841 Larkin St., San Francisco  
Free (ages 21-plus) 
The GLBT Historical Society's Historic Places Working Group is hosting its inaugural happy hour at the half-century-old Gangway bar in the Polk. Drop in to meet other queer preservation enthusiasts and join a lively discussion about preserving San Francisco's beloved LGBTQ historic places. Our working group aims to document, preserve and interpret LGBTQ historic sites in the Bay Area. The group is composed of preservationists, historians, planners and community members with a keen interest in places that tell the stories of LGBTQ history. To join or for more information on the happy hour, contact working group chair Shayne Watson at Join the Facebook conversation here.   
Film Talk
Kenneth Anger & the Dawn of Aquarius
Thusday, August 17  
7:00 - 9:00 PM 
The GLBT History Museum   
4127 18th St., San Francisco  
$5.00  |  Free for members 
Groundbreaking avant-garde gay filmmaker Kenneth Anger began expanding the possibilities of cinema in the late 1940s, and his visionary films had a decided influence on the participants in the Summer of Love. A foundational element of Anger's poetics is the work of bisexual poet and ceremonial "magickian" Aleister Crowley. In conjunction with our current exhibition "Lavender-Tinted Glasses: A Groovy Gay Look at the Summer of Love," curator Joey Cain will present research into Crowley's homosexuality, philosophy and system of magick along with excerpts from Anger's films to elucidate themes in Anger's ecstatic cinematic dreamscapes. Join the Facebook conversation here.   
Community Forum
Fighting Back: Gender Labels -- Then & Now 
Tuesday, August 22   
7:00 - 9:00 PM 
The GLBT History Museum   
4127 18th St., San Francisco  
Free  |  $5.00 donation welcome   
The latest in our monthly "Fighting Back" series exploring contemporary queer-community issues in a historical context, "Gender Labels: Then and Now" will offer a multigenerational conversation about the changing dynamics of gender labels within the LGBTQ community and among the general public. A panel of historians, authors and activists will discuss the history of gender self-identification and gender-label assignment and will look at how this history can inform today's evolving language for characterizing gender in the media, the workplace, social-justice movements and everyday life. Join the Facebook conversation here.  
Book Talk
LGBTQ San Francisco: The Daniel Nicoletta Photographs
Sunday, August 27        
2:00 - 3:00 PM 
Dog Eared Books Castro 
489 Castro St., San Francisco
Free admission  
Dog Eared Books Castro hosts an informal artist's talk and book signing with photographer Daniel Nicoletta. Best known for his iconic images of his friend Harvey Milk, Nicoletta has been documenting San Francisco's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities since 1975. LGBT San Francisco: The Daniel Nicoletta Photographs, Nicoletta's lavishly produced new book from Reel Art Press in London, compiles over 40 years of his forceful, surprising, historically invaluable and supremely queer images of LGBTQ arts, culture, activism and personalities in San Francisco. Cosponsored by the GLBT Historical Society. Join the Facebook conversation here.
Archives Benefit
Reel in the Closet: Showing With the Filmmakers
Thursday, August 31         
7:00 PM 
Roxie Theater 
3117 16th St., San Francisco
$15.00  |  $12.50 for members 
A special showing of Reel in the Closet, a documentary that reveals LGBTQ life through home movies dating back to the 1930s. The film includes extensive footage from our collections, as well as moving images from other archives around the world; the screening will feature a new cut with added historical material. Filmmakers Stu Maddux and Joseph Applebaum will be on hand for a Q&A, plus they'll show a bonus episode of their new web series, Queer Ghost Hunters. The evening is a benefit to support the film and video holdings of the GLBT Historical Society. Buy tickets online here.

VisitVisit Us    
The GLBT History Museum
4127 18th St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 621-1107
Monday - Saturday: 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday: Noon - 5:00 PM

The GLBT Historical Society
989 Market St., Lower Level
San Francisco, CA 94103-1708
(415) 777-5455 

Call to schedule a research appointment.

CREDITS: Feature: Photo by Gerard Koskovich. Terry Beswick: Photo by Gareth Gooch. LGBTQ Portraits: Detail of Veuxdo in the Fillmore (2012); acrylic on canvas by Lenore Chinn. Happy Hour: The Gangway (circa 1973); photo by Henri Leleu. Kenneth Anger: Screen capture from Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954). Gender Labels: Detail from the front cover of Transvestia (October 1964). LGBTQ San Francisco: Detail of Castro Street Fair: Harmodius and Hoti (1975) by Daniel Nicoletta. Roxie benefit: Still from a 1972 home movie of Marsha P. Johnson; courtesy Stu Maddux

Gerard Koskovich       Design: PEPE Creatives

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