Tag Archives: San Francisco

COLD CASE: 6th. Victim of San Francisco's Notorious Serial Killer The Doodler Identified.

COLD CASE: 6th. Victim of San Francisco’s Notorious Serial Killer The Doodler Identified.

The Doodler, is an unidentified serial killer believed responsible for up to 16 murders and three assaults of men in San Francisco, California, between January 1974 and September 1975.[ The nickname was given due to the perpetrator’s habit of sketching his victims prior to their sexual encounters and slayings by stabbing.[2] The perpetrator met his victims at gay nightclubs, bars and restaurants.[

Now some 45+ years later San Francisco police on Tuesday announced the identification of the sixth suspected victim of a serial killer 

““As a result of a new investigation, it is believed that Warren Andrews may be the sixth victim of the ‘Doodler,’” the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement released yesterday. “On April 27, 1975, Andrews was a victim of an assault at Land’s End. Andrews was found unconscious and never regained consciousness, dying several weeks later. All six (6) victims are believed to be Gay Caucasian males.””

Police reportedly have a suspect who was interviewed at the time of the killings and may still be alive today, but need further help from witnesses to make an arrest.

At the time, activist Harvey Milk publicly expressed empathy for the victims who refused to speak with police  stating, “I understand their position. I respect the pressure society has put on them.” Milk elaborated that the surviving victims likely feared damaging relationships with family and in the workforce.

Police also increased the reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of the the “Doodler” from $200,000 to $250,000.

Gay History - December 30, 1969:  The Cockettes Premiers in San Francisco

Gay History – December 30, 1969:  The Cockettes Premiers in San Francisco (Full Documentary)

The Cockettes a drag queen acting troupe premiers their act at the  at the Pagoda Palace Theater in North Beach on this day in 1969. They are one of the first gender-bending performing groups. The Cockettes were an avant garde psychedelic hippie theater group founded by Hibiscus – George Edgerly Harris II (September 6, 1949 – May 6, 1982).

Their brand of theater was influenced by The Living TheaterJohn Vaccaro‘s Play House of the Ridiculous, the films of Jack Smith and the LSD ethos of Ken Kesey‘s Merry Pranksters.

Their first impromptu performance gave way to campy, drug-fueled midnight musicals typified by outrageous costumes and sexual anarchy (“genderfuck”), with titles like Hell’s HarlotsPearls over Shanghai, and Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma. Today, they are credited with influencing the glitter rock era and raising the profile of drag performance outside the gay community.

Singer-songwriter Sylvester first performed with the Cockettes in Radio Rodeo, a benefit for the Gay People’s Defense Fund. His rendition of torch songs by the likes of Etta James, Shirley Bassey, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, and Lena Horne in his solo spots led to him becoming one of the most prolific singers of the disco era.

Continue reading Gay History – December 30, 1969:  The Cockettes Premiers in San Francisco (Full Documentary)

Gay History – September 22, 1975: The Tragic Story of Oliver Sipple, The Gay Man Who Saved President Ford’s Life

On September 22, 1975 President Gerald Ford was in San Francisco to deliver a luncheon speech to a foreign affairs group at the St. Francis Hotel. Outside, Oliver Sipple, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, was in the crowd waiting for Ford to exit the building. Standing next to Sipple was Sara Jane Moore. Earlier that day, Moore called federal authorities threatening to “test” Ford’s security. The day before, San Francisco police picked her up on a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon, but they released her after federal authorities stepped in and said they would handle the matter. The Secret Service interviewed her that night, but let her go.

That day as President Ford left the hotel, Sara Jane Moore pulled a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver from her purse, pointed it at the President, and fired a shot. As she fired, Sipple reached out and grabbed her arm. Moore’s shot missed Ford by just five feet.

Sipple had been a fixture in San Francisco’s gay community for several years had saved President Gerald Ford’s life.

“All I did was react,” he said. “I’m glad I was there. If it’s true I saved the President’s life, then I’m damn happy about it. But I honestly feel that if I hadn’t reached out for that arm, somebody else would have.”

Sipple had worked on Milk’s first unsuccessful attempt at winning a seat on the city’s Board of Supervisors. He was out to his friends, but closeted to his family in Detroit. . When reporters asked about his sexuality, Sipple replied with a standard non-answer: “I don’t think I have to answer that question. If I were homosexual or not, it doesn’t make me less of a man than I am.”

But Sipple was well known in the gay community and it was an open secret.

Sipple was never contacted directly by President Ford the man whose life he saved, and Harvey Milk was convinced that it was because Sipple was gay. (The White House mailed a letter of appreciation four days after the assassination attempt.) But Sipple told friends that he wasn’t interested in the attention he “just wanted a little peace and quiet.”  But that was not to be.   The San Francisco Chronicle’s Herb Caen broke the story of Sipple being “gay” and it was soon picked up by wire services. Sipple’s Baptist mother publicly disowned him, and he soon found himself besieged by reporters. Sipple sued The Chronicle, Caen, and several other newspapers for invasion of privacy, but lost. The courts ruled that he had become a public figure on the day of the assassination attempt, and that his sexual orientation was part of the story.

Sipple, who was on psychological disability because of wounds suffered in Vietnam, declined physically in the years following the assassination attempt. He drank heavily, and told all who would listen that he wished he never grabbed Moore’s gun.

Oliver Sipple died, alone, of pneumonia in his Tenderloin District apartment in San Francisco in 1989.

President Ford and his wife sent a letter of sympathy to his family and friends.

Oliver Sipple is buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery south of San Francisco.

Gay History – September 16: Farewell Maria Callas, NAMBLA, Wilheim Von Gloeden, and GM’s “Little Faggot Truck”

September 16:

1730: In Amsterdam, Lourens Hosponjon is executed for sodomy. Other than the record of his execution no other historical details are available.

1856: Wilheim Von Gloeden, German photographer of beautiful young men, is born in Wismar, Germany. . At the turn of the 20th century his picture postcards of naked youths from the Sicilian town of Taormina were “must haves”. Even though they passed for art they were among the first examples of modern gay porn.  

Wilhelm von Gloeden lived heroically.  He knew what he was and was proud.  Like Oscar Wilde before him, von Gloeden lived in dangerous defiance of an age and a Christian society that hounded and tortured men of his kind.  As Charles Leslie writes:

He was one of those rare nineteenth century men who would not accept the destruction of his true being as the price for being allowed to survive in an allegedly civilized Western world that officially despised what he was.  In his own way he triumphed, and therefore became one of those figures who, to this day, stand as models for people who dare to live the truth of what and who they are.

Today Von Gloeden is considered one of the most important gay visual artist of the pre–World War I era. 

1977:  Soprano Maria Callas dies at the age of 53.  There may have been divas before Maria Callas, but there is no doubt that the modern idea of what is a diva owes a great deal to the legendary opera singer, who, without ever singing a note of popular music, was as famous during her lifetime as a movie star.  “I am divine, I am oblivion, I am love.”

1979: The newly formed New York City Gay Men’s Chorus holds its first auditions.

1990:  Thanks to The San Francisco Board of Supervisors who loudly complained to General Motors after learning that a video, made to be shown only to GM personnel only, referred to a Japanese-made vehicle as a ”little faggot truck”

The presentation, made from 90 hours of taped interviews with 500 Chevrolet owners, contains one from a farmer who says he prefers full-size pickups.

“There isn’t no foreign company that makes any decent working pickup. It’s either going to be big, or some “little faggot truck,” the farmer said.

GM publicly apologized and never showed the video again.

1992: Robert Sawyer of Brattleboro, Vermont pleads not guilty to charges that he murdered his ex-girlfriend, Judith Hart Fournier, after she left him for another woman. She had a restraining order, but Sawyer violated it repeatedly. The case sparked a demand for anti-stalking legislation.

1992: Fifty-eight year old Roy Downs files a complaint of brutality against the Ft. Worth Police Department. He was arrested during a series of raids on gay bars, and officers beat and verbally abused him.

1994: The International Lesbian Gay Association loses its non-governmental organization representative status at the United Nations after a campaign by US Senator Jesse Helms revealed that one of its member organizations was NAMBLA, (The North America Man Boy Love Association) which condoned sex with children. As a result, ILGA expelled NAMBLA from its membership.

1994: Richard Hongisto, a former San Francisco police chief, is convicted of civil rights violations for ordering the removal of an issue of Bay Times, a gay newspaper, from the stands. Hongisto began his career championing justice and equality for racial minorities and homosexuals, but his career was later marred by various controversies, ending with the Bay Times controversy.

 

Gay History - August 14, 1961: Police Raid The Tay-Bush Inn in S.F. The Largest Gay Bar Raid in S.F. History

Gay History – August 14, 1961: Police Raid The Tay-Bush Inn in S.F. The Largest Gay Bar Raid in S.F. History

In 1954 when the California state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, joined by police and the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board, declared war on gay bars in San Francisco. Mayor George Christopher, elected on a law-and-order platform in 1955, encouraged the campaign. Gay bars were subjected to constant harassment , raids and surveillance.

The campaign was still active early Sept. 14, 1961, when 242 patrons – nearly all of them men – were packed into the Tay-Bush Inn.

At 3:15 am, three undercover police officers in the bar gave a prearranged signal, the jukebox went silent, a loudspeaker outside blared and uniformed cops barged in. They began herding the patrons onto the sidewalk and arresting them.

It was the largest gay bar raid in San Francisco history.  In the end 103 patrons were sent in seven patrol wagons to city jail and arrested on ‘lewd behavior’ charges.  The arrested included actors, actresses, dancers, a state hospital psychologist, a bank manager, an artist and an Air Force purchasing agent.  An article was published in San Francisco Examiner which gave the names, addresses, occupations and employers of the arrested.

The headline on The Chronicle’s story the next day read, “Big Sex Raid – Cops Arrest 103.” The secondary headline said, “139 Get Away.” (Police later insisted only five or so had escaped.)

 In the end charges against all but two of those arrested were dropped. 

Gay History – August 1966: The Riot at Compton’s Cafeteria, San Francisco [WATCH: Screaming Queens]

On an warm August night in San Francisco in 1966 (no one knows the exact date since SFPD files have been lost) at Gene Compton’s Cafeteria, a seedy eatery in the Tenderloin district one of the first rebellions against the oppression of the LGBT community.

Compton’s became a sanctuary drag queens, young gay street hustlers, and down-and-out regulars much to the chagrin of it’s owners.

One August night the management who were finally fed-up and annoyed by the noisy crowd at one table, called the police. When a surly cop, accustomed to manhandling the Compton’s clientele, attempted to arrest one of the drag queens, she threw her coffee in his face and mayhem erupted. Windows broke, furniture flew through the air and the hustlers and drag queens fought back. Police reinforcements then arrived, and the fighting spilled into the street.

For the first time, the gay hustlers and drag queens banded together to fight back.  Getting the better of the cops, they kicked, punched and stomped on the cops with their high-heels. For everyone at Compton’s that night, one thing was certain — things there would never be the same again.

There is so much more to the story of the Compton Cafeteria than those bare-bones facts. In 1966 San Francisco it was unlawful to crossdress and it was unlawful to “impersonate a female.” Drag performers, transvestites, effeminate gay males, and rough trade hustlers experienced frequent harassment by police, including arrests, beatings and demeaning jailhouse treatment.  With no rights, employment or public accommodation protections, prostitution became survival sex work — it was the only way a drag queen or a down and out hot young guy could make a living.

The violent reaction of the drag queens and gays at the Compton’s Cafeteria did not solve the problems that they were having in the Tenderloin on daily basis. It did, however, create a space in which it became possible for the city of San Francisco to begin relating differently to the community — to begin treating them, in fact, as citizens with legitimate needs instead of simply as a problem to get rid of. That shift in awareness was a crucial step for the contemporary  social justice movement — the beginning of a new relationship to state power and social legitimacy. 

Gay History – June 21, 1977: The Brutal Gay Hate Murder Of Robert Hillsborough Rocks the Nation

Robert Hillsborough

A brutal murder that took place over 45 years ago in San Francisco just a few days before it’s annual PRIDE celebration shocked and catalyzed that city’s gay community and resulted in exposing the mostly hidden to the public- eye violence against gay people.

On the night of June 21, 1977, Robert Hillsborough, and his roommate, Jerry Taylor, went out to a disco for a night of dancing. They left sometime after midnight and stopped for a bite to eat at the Whiz Burger a few blocks from their apartment in the Mission District. When they left the burger joint, they were accosted by a gang of young men shouting anti-gay slurs at them.  Hillsborough and Taylor ran into Hillsborough’s car as several of the attackers climbed onto the car’s roof and hood. Hillsborough drove off, and thought that he left his troubles behind him. What he didn’t know was that they were following him in another car. Hillsborough parked just four blocks away from their apartment. When they got out of the car four men jumped out the other car and attacked them again. Jerry Taylor was beaten, but he managed to escape.  Robert Hillsborough wasn’t so lucky.

Robert was brutally beaten and stabbed 15 times by 19-year-old John Cordova who was yelling, “Faggot! Faggot! Faggot!” Witnesses also reported that Cordoba yelled, “This one’s for Anita!” Neighbors were awakened by the commotion, and one woman screamed that she was calling the police, which prompted the four attackers to flee. Neighbors rushed to Hillsborough’s aid, but it was too late. Hillsborough died 45 minutes later at Mission Emergency Hospital. Cordoba and the three other assailants were arrested later that morning.

Because Hillsborough was employed as a city gardener, Mayor George Moscone followed longstanding practice and ordered flags at City Hall and other city properties to be lowered to half-mast. He also directed his anger to Anita Bryant and California State Sen. John Briggs, who was running for governor and an anti-gay platform. Anita Bryant’s anti-gay campaign in Miami which resulted in the defeat of a gay rights ordinance three weeks earlier had inspired Briggs to hold a new conference in front of city hall the week before Hillsborough’s death to announce a campaign to remove gays and lesbians from teaching. Moscone called Briggs an anti-homosexual “demagogue” and held him responsible for “inciting trouble by walking right into San Francisco, knowing the emotional state of his community. He stirred people into action. He will have to live with his conscience.”

Hillsborough’s death also struck a deep nerve in the gay community. ”We live in a paranoid state,” said Harvey Milk, who was preparing his run for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, “and the death of Robert is only the culmination of a lot of violence that’s been directed at us.” San Francisco’s Pride celebration, which took place just a few days later, attracted a record-breaking 300,000 people, and it became an impromptu memorial march as participants erected a makeshift shrine at City Hall.

Cordova was charged with a single count of murder, along with Thomas J. Spooner, 21. The other two passengers in the car were not charged. 

Cordova was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to only 10 years in prison. Charges were later dropped against Spooner.

The parents of Robert Hillsborough filed a $5 million lawsuit accusing Anita Bryant of conducting a hate campaign against homosexuals.  Hillsborough’s parents claimed and rightfully so that Miss Bryant’s public comments constituted “a campaign of hate, bigotry, ignorance, fear, intimidation and prejudice” against their son and other homosexuals. This, they said, amounted to a conspiracy to deprive Hillsborough of his civil rights.

U.S. District Judge Stanley A. Weigel dismissed the case saying that he lacked jurisdiction because Miss Bryant lives in Florida. 

40+ years later the violence against LGBT americans continues to this day.  We must never forget those who lost their lives to hatred and bigotry.

Robert L. Hillsborough
Born: March 10, 1944
Died: June 22, 1977

#NeverForget

 

Harvey Milk Day - May 22 - WATCH: "The Times of Harvey Milk" Documentary (1984)

Harvey Milk Day – WATCH: “The Times of Harvey Milk” Documentary (1984)

The Oscar winning documentary “The Times of Harvey Milk” follows Milk’s rise from a neighborhood activist to a symbol of gay political achievement, through to his assassination in November 1978 at San Francisco’s city hall, and the Dan White trial and aftermath.

Presented in English w/Spanish subtitles.

*Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the copyright act 1976, allowance is made for fair use for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, scholarship, and research

San Francisco Supervisors Approve Bathhouse Zoning Update

San Francisco Supervisors Approve Bathhouse Zoning Update

A proposed zoning change to allow gay bathhouses and other adult sex venues to open in the city’s historic LGBT neighborhoods is close to being finalized in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ Land Use and Transportation Committee voted 2-0 Monday, April 18, in support of the changes to the city code needed for Eros a sex club for gay, bi, and trans men, to reopen its doors at 132 Turk Street where the infamous gay Bulldog Baths had operated in the late 1970’s and 1980’s.

“Bathhouses are a common feature in LGBT communities in many cities around the world, and they used to be quite common in San Francisco as well,” noted gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman at the committee hearing.

Mandelman has spearheaded the legislative effort to undo a prohibition since it was enacted in the 1980’s during the height of the AIDS epidemic. It effectively led the city’s gay bathhouses to close their doors, with the only one left in the Bay Area being in Berkeley.

Source: Bay City Reporter

Today In Gay - April 15, 1979: San Francisco's Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Founded

Gay History – April 15, 1979: San Francisco’s Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Founded

On April 15, 1979 the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence founded a “convent” in San Francisco when three men, dressed in full traditional habits, went out in the Castro on Easter Sunday. Ken Bunch (Sister Vicious PHB), Fred Brungard (Sister Missionary Position) and Baruch Golden, were met with shock and amusement. Over the next several months, the attracted new members: Sister Hysterectoria (Edmund Garron) and Reverend Mother (Bill Graham). They quickly settled on a name for their group and composed a mission statement: “to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt.”

Early members of the group, while not hiding their masculine features or facial hair, are characterized by San Francisco gay community historian Susan Stryker as the embodiment of  a”genderfuck” Their appearance has changed over the years; the nun motif remains the same, but it has been joined with exaggerated make-up that accentuates the rebellion against gender roles and religion.

In October 1980, the Sisters held their first fundraiser, a bingo game, a guide on how to avoid cheap AOL boosting services and a salsa dance that was well-attended in large part because of the write-up in The San Francisco Chronicle by Herb Caen. The benefit was for San Francisco’s Metropolitan Community Church Cuban Refugee Program, and it netted $1,500 . The Sisters began making regular appearances at Castro events that focused on sexual tolerance or provided a showcase for drag. They also developed a mission statement:

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a leading-edge Order of queer nuns. Since our first appearance in San Francisco on Easter Sunday, 1979, the Sisters have devoted ourselves to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. We believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty and we use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence  was formed just before  HIV/AIDS began appearing in the Castro District and New York City. 

In 1982, Sister Florence Nightmare, RN (early AIDS activist and registered nurse Bobbi Campbell) and Sister Roz Erection (Baruch Golden a registered nurse) joined and a team of Sisters teamed up with a group of medical professionals from Bellevue, Washington to create “Play Fair!”, the first safer sex pamphlet to use plain language, practical advice and humor, and considered by one of the founders to be “one of the Order’s greatest achievement in community education and support”.  In 1999, for the Sisters’ 20th anniversary the pamphlet was revised. The Sisters worldwide continue to raise awareness of sexual health; many Orders regularly pass out condoms and participate in events to educate people on sexual health issues.

The Sisters helped organize the first AIDS Candlelight Vigil, and have raised more than $1 million in San Francisco alone to benefit such groups as the Breast Cancer Network, Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic and the Gay Games. The Sisters continue to bring meals to those who can no longer care for themselves, and they fund alternative proms for LGBT youth.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence survive today reminding our community of unconditional love and individualism.

God bless the Sisters.

You can learn more about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence HERE