Tag Archives: San Francisco

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

Gay and Lesbian Rights Pioneer Phyllis Lyon Dies At Age 95

Gay and Lesbian Rights Pioneer Phyllis Lyon Dies At Age 95

Phyllis Lyon has died at 95 - Dallas Voice

SFist reports:

One of the founding members of the Daughters of Bilitis and one half of the first same-sex couple to be legally married in San Francisco in 2004, Phyllis Lyon, has passed away. She was 95, and reportedly died of natural causes early Thursday.

Lyon and her wife Del Martin (pictured above) were famously the first couple to be granted a marriage license by then Mayor Gavin Newsom on Valentine’s Day 2004, and her life was characterized by a commitment to activism and equal rights for all.

“I’m very sad to learn of the death this morning of Phyllis Lyon,” writes legendary LGBTQ activist Cleve Jones. “I met Phyllis and Del in 1972 and it changed my life. Two of the most remarkable people I’ve ever known.”

The DOB advertised itself as “A Woman’s Organization for the purpose of Promoting the Integration of the Homosexual into Society.” The statement was composed of four parts that prioritized the purpose of the organization, and it was printed on the inside of the cover of every issue of The Ladder until 1970:

Education of the variant…to enable her to understand herself and make her adjustment to society…this to be accomplished by establishing…a library…on the sex deviant theme; by sponsoring public discussions…to be conducted by leading members of the legal psychiatric, religious and other professions; by advocating a mode of behavior and dress acceptable to society.

Education of the public…leading to an eventual breakdown of erroneous taboos and prejudices…

Participation in research projects by duly authorized and responsible psychologists, sociologists, and other such experts directed towards further knowledge of the homosexual.

Investigation of the penal code as it pertain to the homosexual, proposal of changes,…and promotion of these changes through the due process of law in the state legislatures.”

Both Phyllis Lyon and her partner Del Martin went on to form the Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH) in northern California to persuade ministers to accept homosexuals into churches, and used their influence to decriminalize homosexuality in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They became politically active in San Francisco’s first gay political organization, the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, which influenced Dianne Feinstein to sponsor a citywide bill to outlaw employment discrimination for gays and lesbians. Both served in the White House Conference on Aging in 1995.

They were married on Feb. 12, 2004, in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the city clerk to begin providing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but that marriage was voided by the California Supreme Court on August 12, 2004. They married again on June 16, 2008, in the first same-sex wedding to take place in San Francisco after the California Supreme Court’s decision in In re Marriage Cases legalized same-sex marriage in California.

Thank you Phyliss for all that you did for us.

Rest in peace.

SAN DIEGO: Construction Begins on Historic Naval Vessel USNS Harvey Milk

SAN DIEGO: Construction Begins on Historic Naval Vessel USNS Harvey Milk

At a ceremony at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego on Friday, the “first cut” of steel was rendered for the Navy’s newest ship the USNS Harvey Milk named after the famous slain gay civil rights leader and San Francisco Supervisor in the 70s,  Harvey Milk was California’s first openly-gay politician. 

As a Navy diving instructor in the early 50’s, Milk was stationed briefly in San Diego. Less well known, is that when the Navy found out Harvey Milk was gay, he was forced out of the service for being gay.”

Stuart Milk, Harvey Milk’s nephew attended Friday’s event and said naming the ship — known as a fleet oiler — after his uncle sends a message to people around the world.

He told the gathering, “”For those who will be working on this ship, it’s important to note his legacy. If anyone asks, ‘did Harvey dream of this day,’ the answer is yes.  It’s what gave him the courage to face those bullets 41 years ago. He dreamed of all of us being included, and we would not be diminished because of that.  When we worked so hard to get rid of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy,’ it sent a message that the Armed Services weren’t going to discriminate against anyone.”

This “sends a global message of inclusion more powerful than simply ‘We’ll tolerate everyone,’ ” Milk said. “[It says,] we celebrate everyone.”

Gay History 1979 – WATCH: KPIX 5 Special Report: Has San Francisco Gay Power Gone Too Far? ~ The Aftermath Of Milk & Moscone Murders [VIDEO]

Watch the Emmy Award winning KPIX People’s 5 report with Don Knapp presented on the 1 year Anniversary of slain Mayor Moscone & Supervisor Harvey Milk’s murders.

The 25 minute special report opens joyously with the Village People song about San Francisco, with street scenes in SF’s Castro neighborhood but interviews are spliced in of people on the street obviously uncomfortable with the growing homosexual community. The camera pans out to a giant gay bathouse billboard for 330 Ritch and an interview soon follows with Cleve Jones.

The young activist discusses how to many citizens, the signs of simple gay affection like handholding are considered flaunting & “throwing it in people’s faces”. He sees the idea that homosexuals will take over local politics as “ridiculous” and the threat of a growing potential influence of the gay community “nonsense”. People’s opinions on the flamboyant out gay lifestyle and and growing political ambitions of the gay community in San Francisco are discussed.

Footage from a spirited 1978 debate between Harvey Milk and conservative John Briggs, moderated by Richard Hart, shows Milk calling the bigoted Briggs a liar, and the men clashing over issues relating to Proposition 6 and the rights of gays and lesbians to teach in California classrooms.

Several lesbians (including Ann Kronenberg) describe the challenges they face being accepted in society and also explain how their priorities and life experiences diverge from those of gay men.

San Francisco’s late mayor George Moscone is seen briefly playing basketball in 1978 and discussing what he considers to be appropriate behavior for politicians.

The program ends with views of a candlelight march from the Castro to San Francisco City Hall on November 27th 1979 to remember Milk and Moscone, on the first anniversary of their murders.”

GAY HISTORY – Tales of the City FLASHBACK: Michael Tolliver’s Valentine’s Day Dirty 30.

In the first chapter of Armistead Maupin’s 2nd. Tales of the City Book titled More Tales of the City, the hopeful romantic Michael “Mouse” Tolliver delivers a handmade Valentine’s Day card to Mary Ann Singleton, a friend and fellow resident of the domain of the eccentric, marijuana-growing landlady Anna Madrigal.

Author Maupin describes Mouse’s gift as “a handmade pastiche of Victorian cherubs, pressed flowers and red glitter.” Inside, he had provided 10 numbered spaces for Mary Ann to list her “Valentines Resolutions.”

Micheal then produces a list of 30 of his own.

The year is 1977. For those younger readers I will explain things that only us mature gays remember. Consider it a Gay History lesson.

Michael Tolliver’s Dirty Thirty for ’77

  1. I will not call anyone nellie (fem queen) or butch, unless that is his name.
  2. I will not assume that women who like me are fag hags. (Fag Gag: A straight woman or lesbian that enjoys the company of gay men.)
  3. I will stop expecting to meet Jan-Michael Vincent (actor) at the tubs.
  4. I will inhale poppers only through the mouth. (Smells like dirty socks and gives you a head RUSH.)
  5. I will not spend more than half an hour in the shower at the Y. (Men used to pick each other and have sex at the YMCA. Thus the Village People song YMCA.)
  6. I will stop trying to figure out what color my handkerchief would be if I wore one. (The Hanky or Bandanna code. A code for gay men to tell what favorite sex play they were looking for by placing a colored handkerchief in their back pockets)
  7. I will buy a drink for a Fifties Queen sometime. (An older gay man. Which now incluses most of us who remember the original TotC.)
  8. I will not persist in hoping that attractive men will turn out to be brainless and boring. (Some things never change)
  9. I will sign my real name at The Glory Holes. (San Francisco “private” (for 5 dollars) sex club that had many booths with holes at crotch level to have anonymous sex. One had to sign their name upon entry.
  10. I will ease back into religion by attending concerts at Grace Cathedral. (Famous San Francisco Church prominent in the TotC universe.)
  11. I will not cruise at Grace Cathedral.
  12. I will not vote for anyone for Empress. (The Imperial Council of San Francisco; a drag queen based charitable organization.)
  13. I will make friends with a straight man.
  14. I will not make fun of the way he walks.http://www.imperialcouncilsf.org/index.html
  15. I will not tell him about Alexander the Great, Walt Whitman or Leonardo da Vinci.
  16. I will not vote for politicians who use the term “Gay Community.”
  17. I will not cry when Mary Tyler Moore goes off the air.
  18. I will not measure it, no matter who asks. (PENIS!)
  19. I will not hide the A-200. (A-200 was used to kill crab lice which was fairly common and usually caught by having multiple sex partners and sex in the bath houses.)
  20. I will not buy a Lacoste shirt, a Marimekko pillow, a secondhand letterman’s jacket, an All-American Boy T-shirt, a razor blade necklace or a denim accessory of any kind. (All parts of the gay world and uniform of the late 70’s . A popular Lacoste joke went: “Did you hear the one about the alligator who bought a shirt with a little faggot on it?”)
  21. I will learn to eat alone and like it.
  22. I will not fantasize about firemen.
  23. I will not tell anyone at home that I just haven’t found the right girl yet. (Closet case.)
  24. I will wear a suit on Castro Street and feel comfortable about it.
  25. I will not do impressions of Bette Davis, Tallulah Bankhead, Mae West or Paul Lynde.
  26. I will not eat more than one It’s-It in a single evening. (Famous Ice Cream in San Francisco.)
  27. I will find myself acceptable.
  28. I will meet somebody nice, away from a bar or the tubs (bathouse) or a roller-skating rink, and I will fall hopelessly but conventionally in love. (Common gay meeting places before the internet.)
  29. But I won’t say I love you before he does.
  30. The hell I won’t!

San Francisco PD Releases Updated Sketch Of Serial Killer Who Killed 5 Gay Men in the 1970's

COLD CASE: San Francisco PD Releases Updated Sketch Of Serial Killer Who Killed 5 Gay Men in the 1970’s

San Francisco police on Wednesday released a sketch of a serial killer dubbed the “Doodler” who terrorized San Francisco’s gay community over 40 years ago.

The sketch is “age-progressed” and shows what the man might look like today. They also announced a $100,000 reward for details leading to his capture.

Police believe the killer stabbed at least five men to death from early 1974 to late 1975.

He became known as the “Doodler” after a victim who survived an attack told police the man was doodling while they talked at a late-night diner and said he was a cartoonist

“In the 1970s, this was gripping the gay community and San Francisco,” police Commander Greg McEachern told the news conference, saying authorities were releasing the new sketch in hopes of bringing justice to victims of the “horrendous homicides.”

It’s one of several cold cases, particularly serial crimes, being re-examined after the capture last year of the notorious “Golden State Killer” through DNA analysis, McEachern said. Police have submitted DNA samples from some of the 1970s crime scenes in the Doodler case and were waiting for results from a lab.

Police described the killer as an African-American male, about 5 feet, 11 inches tall with a lanky build who was likely in his early 20s during the attacks.

The killer targeted white men he met at after-hours gay clubs and restaurants in San Francisco. He usually sketched them before having sex and stabbing them.

The bodies of four men were found along the beach. Another stabbing victim was found in Golden Gate Park.

Witness at that time were able to give investigators a description of the suspect, leading to a man being detained in 1976 but never charged.

Police have interviewed the man since returning to the case and he remains a person of interest. His name was not released .

An AP story from 1977 quotes police as saying the suspect at the time could not be charged because three survivors, including a “well-known entertainer” and a diplomat were reluctant to “come out of the closet” to testify against him.

SAN FRANCISCO – November 27th. Candlelight Walk Planned For 40th. Anniversary Remembrance of Harvey Milk’s Assassination

On November 27, 2018 at 7 pm slain gay civil-rights rights icon Harvey Milk will be remembered with a candlelight walk from the plaza named for Milk to City Hall, where he was assassinated by SF Supervisor Dan White 40 years ago.

The candlelight walk is being organized by the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club and will echo the spontaneous march of thousands that took place in the city after the murders,

Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club writes: :

“In November of 1978, bookending the Thanksgiving holiday, the city of San Francisco and, it might be said, the world was changed forever. The double horror of the tragedy at Jonestown, followed by the slaying of Harvey Milk and George Moscone was a crushing trauma to the heart and soul of San Francisco, and yet in that darkness we rose together in candlelight not only to remember those we had lost but to strengthen and galvanize ourselves to give them voice to continue their fight and and vision for the future….In honor of that same eloquent response, the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club invites all to join us in quiet reflection from those who knew these great advocates of social justice at Harvey Milk Plaza. Following this, we will walk in candlelight to the steps of City Hall where current community leadership will echo their vision, just as those who were there did that warm November night in 1978.”

Back2Stonewall hopes that all who can attend will and remember Harvey Bernard Milk one of the greatest gay activist and legend of our times.


Gay Man Attacked at Harvey Milk Plaza in S.F.'s Castro

Gay Man Attacked at Harvey Milk Plaza in S.F.’s Castro

A 53 year old gay man was kicked in the head and then harassed by his assailant who screamed anti-gay slurs at Harvey Milk Plaza in San Francisco’s Castro last weekend.

Michael Levy, 53, had just gotten off Muni and was on his way home from a fundraiser Saturday, August 25, at 10 p.m., when a man, sitting on a brick ledge, kicked him in the head. Levy decided to continue walking up Market Street toward his home.

But after walking a short distance, Levy heard the man screaming, “Suck a dick you fucking faggot” at him, and decided to get a picture of the suspect so he could report the incident to the police.

The suspect, listed in the police report as a while male, in his 40s or 50s, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, left the scene before police arrived.

Levy has lived in the Castro for the past 19 years, this is his second encounter with neighborhood crime, the first occurred several years ago when someone broke into his garage.

“The whole city has gone to shit,” he said, “given the volume and aggressiveness of the crimes.”

SFPD District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said that recently he has been “hearing way too many stories about people being assaulted or feeling unsafe” in the Castro.

Mandelman  continued; “We know we have a serious mental health and addiction crisis and dealing with it is a priority for me,” he said.

This year’s budget for the police department will bring a “significant increase” in the number of police officers, he added.

The incident, categorized as a battery and considered a misdemeanor, could be punished more severely if prosecutors classify it as a hate crime, according to an SFPD media relations spokesperson.

Source: Bay Area Reporter

Man Charged With Attempting to Support Terrorism Planned To Attack San Francisco Gay Bars

Man Charged With Attempting to Support Terrorism Planned To Attack San Francisco Gay Bars

According to recently unsealed audio tapes an Oakland man who is facing federal criminal charges, including attempting to support a terrorism organization was planning on attacking gay bars in San Francisco.

21-year-old Amer Sinan Alhaggagi was already in custody after being arrested in November 2016  facing a single charge of aggravated identity theft.  

But prosecutors were building a case against Alhaggagi based on electronic communication and a face-to-face meeting with an undercover FBI agent in which he relayed plans for multiple attacks.

The communication started in late July 2016, Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Waqar Hasib said at the hearing in December, when Alhaggagi was trading messages with an unidentified FBI source about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — known as ISIS .

Several of Alhaggagi’s alleged communications identified San Francisco .

Hasib quoted from one of the messages: ” ‘I live close to San Francisco. That’s like the gay capital of the world. I’m going to handle them right. LOL, ’m going to place a bomb in a gay club. … I’m going to tear up the city. … The whole Bay Area is going to be up in flames. “

He told the FBI source that he had access to equipment “to make the cards and checks,” according to the prosecution at the December detention hearing. “I’m trying to make bombs. I’m going to need funds.”

Alhaggagi allegedly told the FBI’s source that he planned to work for a local police department and steal weapons. Agents started canvassing Bay Area police departments.

“They learned that Mr. Alhaggagi had submitted an application to the Oakland Police Department,” just a few days earlier, Hasib said.

The source introduced Alhaggagi to an undercover agent posing as an al-Qaida-trained fighter.

“His plan was to blow up a car bomb at an unidentified gay nightclub in San Francisco and then place backpack bombs around the East Bay,” Hasib said. “He also took the undercover around the UC Berkeley campus and identified buildings, including dorms, where he wanted to plant backpack bombs.”

Alhaggagi’s attorney, Mary McNamara, who took over his defense in March, paints a different picture from the evidence presented at the detention hearing.

“What is clear from that hearing is that Mr. Al Haggagi ran away when he believed that things had gone beyond talk with the undercover agent,” McNamara wrote in a statement to KQED on Monday. “Mr. Al Haggagi never re-engaged with him and never took any steps to commit any violent act. Unlike most of the cases charged under this statute, Mr. Al Haggagi is not radicalized, is not a supporter of ISIS or any terrorist network. He is a peaceful, sociable and well-liked person. He is also young and naïve. It appears that he allowed himself to be drawn into conversations that he should have been far more suspicious of.”


White Supremacist Plows Motorcycle Through Crowd of Health Care Bill Protesters In San Francisco


San Francisco police detained a motorcyclist who they said drove his bike at a group of protesters demonstrating against the federal health care bill in an apparent attempt to hit them, according to witnesses as well as photographs and videos from the scene.

The red 2015 BMW motorcycle captured in photographs is registered to San Francisco resident Jeffrey Dillon, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. On social media, Dillon is seen posing with the bike and is the administrator of a Facebook group called the “White Privilege Club.”

“This isn’t a racist site/group, it is the exact opposite. It is a celebration of our culture and who we are,” Dillon posted on the group page. “I am proud of who I am and my people,” he wrote. “The media and these social justice warriors are going to try to shame us with the words ‘white privilege,’ well we will throw it right back at them and wear it as a badge of honor.” – The San Francisco Chronicle