Gay Politics in the 1970's before and after Harvey Milk : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

Did the amount of gay voters and/or candidates in San Francisco increase during Harvey Milk's campaigns, while he held office, and after his death? Any sites where I can get solid data?

-- Ruth Wentworth (, March 07, 2001


You are not going to find that type of information in any usable form for that period. Until a few years prior to his death, HOMOSEXUALITY was ILLEGAL! Period. San Francisco Mayor, then Assemblyman, Willie Brown pushed through legislation to legalize then outlawed sex acts between consenting adults.

So until the election of Harvey Milk, gays were an illegal class of citizen. Today, you don't have undocumented residents openly supporting candidates either.

-- ziggy (, March 26, 2001.

yes all the fggots died when that dude died so the answer is yes kill all the gays

-- greg miller (, April 17, 2002.

I have a responce for the persom who called Homosexuals faggots. Just because they don't agree with what you do it does not mean they are wrong and should die. Open up your mind and stop talkin out your butt!!

-- Ashley Marie (, October 01, 2002.

Either of these two excellent books have a lot of information on what gay political organizations there were before Harvey Milk. Both should be available through your public library:

Mike Weiss: "Double Play"

Randy Shilts: "The Mayor of Castro Street"

-- Rosa (, October 01, 2002.


-- Bill Nutsalot (, April 04, 2003.

Um, do you mean the ENTIRE shopping center?

-- Rosa (, April 04, 2003.

Elton John (my main man) wrote a song about being gay on his latest album. The lyrics...

"American Triangle"

Seen him playing in his backyard Young boy just starting out So much history in this landscape So much confusion, so much doubt Been there drinking on that front porch Angry kids, mean and dumb Looks like a painting, that blue skyline God hates fags where we come from 'Western skies' don't make it right 'Home of the brave' don't make no sense I've seen a scarecrow wrapped in wire Left to die on a high ridge fence It's a cold, cold wind It's a cold, cold wind It's a cold wind blowing, Wyoming See two coyotes run down a deer Hate what we don't understand You pioneers give us your children But it's your blood that stains their hands Somewhere that road forks up ahead To ignorance and innocence Three lives drift on different winds Two lives ruined, one life spent

-- SFHE editor (, April 05, 2003.

Nice comeback Rosa.

I wrote an article about Harvey on my website...
The Mayor Of Castro Street

-- SFHE editor (, April 05, 2003.

I totally support gay politics. Rock on!!

-- Kim Stevens (, May 06, 2003.

Gay politics started in the mid-60's in San Francisco,A drag queen Jose Seirra who first sang at the N.Y.Worlds Fair in 1939 and entertained at many of the early Gay bars in S.F. in the late 50's including the Famed Black-Cat,one time as the bar was being busted...he stood on the bar and sang what was to be his theme song...GOD SAVE THE QUEENS! Most people think S.F. was always Liberal-not so! As late as 1962, if you dressed in drag , you had to wear a tag saying you were a boy,even on Halloween, and on that holiday you could be busted after mid-night. It began to change when on Halloween in 1964, A party at the Hilton drew crowds of thousands...In 1965 Jose, who had been arrested many times just for entertaining in drag ran for supervisor and got over 5,000 votes including mine.It was the birth of Gay power and soon politicians were corting gay voters, including Congressman John Burton at Aquatic Park...As for Harvey, I help run the campaign of Terry Hallinan who was running against Harvey in 1977. Ironically on the block I lived-Alpine Terrace Harvey got more votes from straights then he did from Gays. Many Gays supported Republican Kevin Wadsworth, but be that as it may, there were hope for all.I use to call myself a middle of the roader when it came to politics but was reminded what Pres.Eisenhower said about taking that position,you open yourself up to the extremes of both sides,and for me it did. Harvey was a friend of mine, but the reason I supported Terry, his family was known for their fight for civil rights and Terry Marched down South and I thought he could best serve all the citizens of the 5th distict, for that I was branded as being the enemy by Milk's supporters, but remained a friend of Harvey always. I still believe you should vote for the best qualified person for the job and not because he happens to be Gay!

-- Jerry pritikin (, July 29, 2003. has a lot of info on him. p.s. i love your name!

-- Ruth Simmons (, April 15, 2004.

There's no question about it. At that time, there was a strong coalition to get out the gay vote and organize the gay community like never before. All you have to do is look at old newspaper articles or old TV newscasts and you'd see the constant rallying of the gay community. On top of everything else, the rest of the gay community across the nation was very inspired by San Francisco and what they heard and saw on their newscasts and newspapers and so there came to be a big migration of gays from across the nation to make the gay community even stronger. And with all that came the freedom to practice their sexuality like never before in the many new bathhouses that opened that included such things as Glory Holes.

In the end, there was a sad ending for so many of these young gay men. 20,000 of them in San Francisco died of Aids in that period alone.

I have to admit though that I benefited nicely from the residual effect of the gay movement at that time. I accidentally came across an establishment that, would you believe it, was a heterosexual one, probably the only such place in the entire nation. It was not even established for that purpose to begin with. And in the beginning, I had no idea that there was any hanky panky going on because it was kept a deep dark secret by the establishment and was absolutely not a whorehouse. I still have photos of it but would not have dared take photos of the women though I sure would have liked to because a lot of them were extremely hot and I don't mean with their clothes on. There was never ever any money exchanged because the women were not whores. Nor did many of the women members who went there even know that any hanky panky was going on but when they found out about it and often spoke to women who participated and then thought about it, sooner or later, when they were good and ready and in the right mood, they too would decide to take advantage of the opportunity and participate. Hey, when in Rome do as Romans do. Yes! It sure added a lot of excitement to everyone's lives. Funny, I even remember speaking to a woman who told me about what she discovered and I acted all innocent like I knew nothing about it. Then three months later she was in there going at it like there was no tomorrow. There were some harsh complaints by a few women but the establishment told them they could cancel their membership if they didn't like it. Fortunately none of the women who complained were revolutionary activists who might have run to the police who might then have shut the place down. I think most of the women there liked the place and would not have wanted to see it shut down. So the ones that didn't approve just turned their eyes away, avoided the hot spots and went about their business. That would not have been the case in a place like Topeka, Kansas. The establishment eventually closed down in the early 1980s but oh, how I wish that place still existed.

-- Harry Murphy (harrymurphy*, April 17, 2004.

If it wasn't for Harvey Milk myself and fellow homosexuals would have to be the closet forever in fear for our jobs and quite possiable our lives. Harvey Milk was aman just trying to show the other side of the opinion of homosexually. WE are just like everyone else we love we hurt and we live. We go on with our lives as anyone else. We don't ask for your love ar even acceptance, but for your understanding. Learn to live with us we aren't going anywhere!!!

-- Colleen Amanda taylor (, July 15, 2004.

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