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Category Archives: History
Center for Sex and Culture’s Exhibition Catalog of Safer Sex Posters
The Center for Sex and Culture, located in San Francisco, is publishing an art exhibition catalog on our safer sex poster collection in conjunction with an exhibition displaying these posters at our gallery. The 2-month exhibition opens on November 8, 2013.
Buzz Bense, sex activist and graphic designer, donated over 150 unique posters to CSC last year. Bense has collected and produced safer-sex posters aimed at members of the LGBTQ community since the mid-1980s. Circulated at a time when the community was particularly hard-hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, these posters comprise a striking aesthetic collection of graphically innovative design that explicitly visualizes homosexuality, diverse LGBTQ communities and safer-sex activism.
Because of the cultural and historical significance of the posters, we are inspired to share these images and their story with people in the Bay Area and beyond. It is easy to forget details of recent history, especially when related to sexual history because it is less likely to be preserved. This project aims to preserve and share some of what might easily be lost. The book will contain over 20 color reproductions of posters, an introduction by CSC’s executive director, Dr. Carol Queen, and an essay by the New York based art historian and curator, Alex Fialho, and an interview between Buzz and Alex about the history of the collection. Alex has spent time in San Francisco and New York researching and interviewing the people who created these posters as activists, artists, community organizers, members of health organizations and independent graphics designers.
The collection consists of posters, primarily from San Francisco, but also encompasses other cities throughout the United States. It also includes international representations from Australia, Germany, Denmark, and Canada. This historical archive presents the visual means through which LGBTQ people passed on life saving information about safer-sex practices during the height of a health epidemic that continues to affect us today.
We are confident the exhibition and book will function as both an art historical survey of the importance of this collection of aesthetically beautiful and functionally informative posters as well as an educational endeavor engaging the LGBTQ community and beyond.
These posters do more than chart the tragedy of an epidemic, of an outsider community reeling from grief, loss, and the decimation of a blooming culture of sexual liberation. The history of these posters is a story of a fight against stigma, hatred and ignorance; of a community stepping up to take care of its own; of finding a way to extinguish fear and build pride and self-esteem; and of devoted efforts of committed activists to communicate a path to health and survival. -Buzz Bense
Please help FUND this worthy project – the inaugural book of CSC, and one we hope will be the first of many. Kickstarter campaign HERE.
29 years old and that’s no joke. The recently re-opened SF Eagle hosts the contest for San Francisco Leather Dad and boy XXIX tonite from 9pm – midnight. Cum help pick the winners. It’s a fine field of contestants and it’s for a great cause, too. (Better than a mine field for no cause!) This venerable contest was started nearly three decades ago, at the height of the crisis, by the original SF Leather Dad, Mr. Alan Selby – aka Mr. S, aka the Mayor of Folsom Street. Tonite’s event is to benefit the AIDS Emergency Fund. Of course. More on Daddy Alan here.
Soldier. Homosexual. Native Son. Candidate. Empress. Activist. Gentleman. Widow. San Francisco Legend. R.I.P. Jose Sarria, aka the Nightengale of Montgomery St, the Widow Norton and Empress Jose I. born December 12, 1922/23. died August 19, 2013.
First Gay Candidate.
(Haiku for Jose Sarria)
Funeral service at 11am on Friday, September 6th at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Internment in Colma, reception at Lookout Bar on 16th Street.
Mike Caffee, who knew Jose, says his friends sometimes jokingly called him “the Nightmare of Montgomery Street” – instead of “Nightengale!”
The Bay Area Reporter has more here.
Photos 1, 2 & 4 Courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society (San Francisco).
SF Leather Marshall Steve Gaynes drawn by human pony cart up Market Street in San Francisco. Very kinky! That’s his boy, Rob, holding the banner and his female cohort Luna sharing the cart. Men of the 15 are bringing up the rear. It was a long, hot, trot…
Steve Gaynes, Leather Marshall for SF Pride, 2013, waiting for the parade to start. Hot! More here.
From pal of this site, Big Gay Al. Word from his groovy Rabbi, who loves on the queer Tribe and the goy gays both. The cool Franciscans dig us, too. Righteous faith communities have been at the forefront of our struggle for a long time. As whip-smart homo-hopper and site-pal Tim’m T. West has said: “If it ain’t Love, it ain’t God.” Word! Thanks for this, Al! Rabbi Avi Schulman is at Temple Beth Torah in Fremont, California. Such a mitzvah!
A WORD FROM RABBI SCHULMAN:
On Wednesday I rejoiced when I learned that the Supreme Court’s had decided to nullify the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. As a result of this ruling, gay and lesbian married couples will receive equal protection and benefits under the law as do heterosexual married couples. I was further gladdened when the Supreme Court declined to overturn the decision by a federal district court invalidating Proposition 8. In doing so, it is expected that within a month same-sex couples can marry in California.
It has been a long, hard struggle to reach this point in our society. As a heterosexual male, I have not been subject to the intense discrimination if not outright hatred that gays and lesbians, bi-sexual and transgendered people have experienced. But I have encountered intense resistance to granting any legitimacy to those who are LGBT. Some years ago, I gave a sermon advocating for gay rights. In response, I received the following letter:
I hope your Temple isn’t caught up in supporting homosexual rights!! God in the Old Testament has never approved of the homosexual life style. In fact they were to be taken outside the gates of the city and stoned. Also, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.
Remember, homosexuals are filthy people and have filthy practices. No wonder they have AIDS and thanks to them, heterosexuals have it, too. Don’t give them any rights!
A lot of Jews and Christians are homosexuals because they didn’t bond with a Dad. The Dad’s too busy for them and they are just around women and get too feminine.
A lot of Jewish boys too are homosexual because they got pampered in the city.
Do not grant homosexuals any rights. Follow God’s way and not Sodom’s way!”
The repulsive attitude, the appalling ignorance, and the sheer bigotry of the writer of this letter are reprehensible. But make no mistake, even today there are still people in our society who would agree with these sentiments.
Yesterday’s rulings by the Supreme Court represent landmarks in the fight for equal rights for gays and lesbians in America. However, there is still much more work to be done. More than thirty states do not allow same-sex marriage. However, through education and advocacy, we can help ensure that LGBT couples can marry in every state in the US.
Our Torah proclaims that each human being is unique and precious, endowed with the spirit of the Divine. Our prophetic tradition urges us to strive toward creating a society that is just and righteous. Amos the prophet proclaimed: “Let justice roll down like waters, righteousness like a mighty stream.” Wednesday’s landmark decisions by the Supreme Court felt like a waterfall of refreshing water that washed over our land.
Homo Marry! It’s happening right now. The 9th circuit pulled the hold, and gays are flooding City Hall in San Francisco to tie knots. The clerk’s office will be staying open all weekend to marry the gaze. DADT, Scouts, Prop 8, DOMA – and former political enemies Exodus, etc tripping over themselves to apologize. WTF?! Critical Mass? Whatever tis, it’s amazing. San Francisco expects the largest Pride event ever. Parties all weekend, parade Sunday. And then there’s the weather. It’s sizzling…hot.