God save us nelly queens!
August 24, 2013 3:36 PM Subscribe
Jose Julio Sarria
posted by gingerbeer (36 comments total)
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, Her Royal Majesty, Empress of San Francisco, Jose I, The Widow Norton, passed away on August 19th, at the age of 91.Jose Sarria
was the first openly gay person to run for public office anywhere
. He founded the Imperial Court
, which continues to be a significant gay institution
. He also helped found the Society for Individual Rights
and the Tavern Guild
. A waiter and drag performer who grew tired of police raids on the Black Cat bar
, when it was a crime for two people of the same gender to dance together, or to wear clothes of the other gender, he began serenading the police with a chorus of "God Save Us Nelly Queens
" at closing time every night. Early video without sound of Jose at the Black Cat
'Gay journalist George Mendenhall recalled: "It sounds silly, but if you lived at that time and had the oppression coming down from the police department and from society, there was nowhere to turn ... and to be able to put your arms around other gay men and to be able to stand up and sing 'God Save Us Nelly Queens' ... we were really not saying 'God Save Us Nelly Queens.' We were saying 'We have our rights, too'."'
He took the name "Widow Norton" as a reference to an earlier colorful San Franciscan, the Emperor Norton
will be, as he requested, a grandiose public affair, culminating in his burial in Colma near the Emperor Norton.
His archives have been donated to the GLBT Historical Society