While many of us are familiar with June LGBT Pride, October is the lesser-known but equally important LBGTQ+ History month! While it may seem redundant that there are two official Heritage Months that are dedicated to LBGTQ+ people, the focus of October is LBGTQ+ History while June is LBGTQ+ Pride, which is dedicated more to active visibility and the movement toward equality. Having a separate History month in October is important because Queer History has largely been invisible. It is often not discussed at all. Or it is erased. Within my lifetime, I have witnessed insistences of notable historical figures forced through a lens that reduces their queer relationships as “close friendships.” Even when there is documentation: journals, love letters, photographs- the heavy bias of historians color these instances as “something of the time” or use other reductive language to undermine the importance of their own written evidence.
Reclaiming History is a powerful act. It ties groups together, it creates community, facilitates understanding, bolsters the imagination, and paves a path that leads to more future achievements and accomplishments. Locationally, San Francisco has a very rich LBGTQ+ history. One that spans through activism, tragedy, and triumph. This city has been a bubble, a safe haven, and a beacon. Those who have left their legacies interwoven into the City’s fabric are the people and organizations we are highlighting this month. There is a wealth of theater makers, activists, and storytellers who have made a difference in our communities and should be recognized.
Our Highlights this Month include:
National Coming Out Day: Inaugurated in 1988 by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary, they chose October 11th to commemorate the anniversary of the second major National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. National Coming Out Day is observed annually to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ community and civil rights movement. It became an annual commemoration to show that there are higher numbers of LGBTQ+ folks in existence than historically believed, as the act of coming out was to be seen and counted. It was to prove that everyone knows at least one person who is queer. For more information click: https://nationaltoday.com/national-coming-out-day/#history
Marga Gomez: MARGA GOMEZ is the writer/performer of fourteen solo plays which have been presented in the Bay Area and nationally. She is a GLAAD Award recipient and is one of NBC’s “Out Latinos you should know.” More at margagomez.com.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence: Making their first appearance on Easter Sunday in 1979, this order of queer and trans nuns have devoted themselves to “community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment.” They distribute resources for the community in the form of online information, grants, and events. For more about the sisters, go to: https://www.thesisters.org/home
Left Coast Theatre Company: Founded in 2012, “Left Coast Theatre Co. is a non-profit organization that promotes the artistic work of the LGBTQ and allied communities in order to promote diversity, encourage dialogue and provide an opportunity for unique voices to be heard.” For more information: https://lctc-sf.org/
Diana Lynn Brown: Diana is an actor, producer, director, communication and performance coach & improv artist. She performs as half of the nationally touring comedy duo Bingewatch. She’s proud to be an Associate Company Member of 3Girls Theatre Company. Diana is also Co-producer of the Southern Railroad Theatre Company. Southern Railroad has collaborated with 3Girls to produce several world and Bay Area premiere productions including WHEN YOU ARE CALLED by Diana Brown and 3Girls playwright Susan Jackson DEATH BE NOT LOUD by 3Girls playwright Susan Jackson. Learn more about Southern Railroad Theatre Company here: http://www.southernrailroadtheatrecompany.com/
The Queer Cultural Center (QCC)/National Queer Arts Festival: Queer Cultural Center is one of seven Cultural Centers in San Francisco. One of the most notable events run by the Queer Cultural Center is the National Queer Arts Festival. Started in 1988, the NQAF celebrated its 25th anniversary in June of 2022. It was a hybrid event of in-person within the Bay Area and virtual worldwide. As stated on their website, “The National Queer Arts Festival centers Queer, Trans, Gender Nonconforming, Intersex, Two-spirit, Black, Indigenous, People of Color (QTI2SBIPOC artists) and honors their work.” For more information, click: https://queerculturalcenter.org/national-queer-arts-festival/
Leigh Rondon-Davis: Leigh Rondon-Davis is a performer, dramaturg, director, and visual artist from both New York City and the Bay Area. They attended Wellesley College and was a member of Oakland's Laney College Fusion Theatre Project. They have also led 3GT’s BIPOC Dramaturgy Workshop in 2021 and regularly collaborates with theater companies in the Bay Area including Shotgun Players, New Conservatory Theatre Center, and Crowded Fire Theatre Company.