October 10, 2013

José Sarria ~ A Memorial

 José Julio Sarria aka Empress Jose I
December 12, 1922 or 1923 – August 19, 2013
photographer unknown

I just found out last night that José Sarria died a couple of months ago on August 19th, 2013. I had written an article about him in June of last year (José Sarria & The Black Cat Bar). He was a part of my experience in my early twenties.

Jose was the first political activist for gay rights in San Francisco; he ran for a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1961. He was the founder of the International Court System. He co-founded the League for Civil Education, the Tavern Guild and the Society for Individual Rights.

There was a funeral service for him at Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill. The service was performed by the Right Reverend Marc Handley, the eighth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California. Sarria was buried in a plot next to San Francisco's self-proclaimed Emperor of the United States, Joshua Norton, who died in 1880. The funeral was held on September 6. Sarria was 90 years old.

To give some indication of his impact on the San Francisco scene, to say nothing of the international scene, here are some of the notices of his passing.
The Huffington Post on the elaborate funeral instructions he left.
The Advocate with amazing photos by Liz Highleyman of the funeral at Grace Cathedral.
The Bay Area Reporter
LGBT Weekly
San Francisco Sentinel
The Atlantic
and dozens of other sites

May his memory live on forever.

Styrous ~ October 10, 2013


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