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Sun, Jun 11

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Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

Nelly Queen The life and times of Jose Sarria

In 1961, the first openly gay man runs for office - and he ran in heels! Directed by Joseph R. Castell A panel discussion with the director will follow the screening.

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Nelly Queen The life and times of Jose Sarria
Nelly Queen The life and times of Jose Sarria

Time & Location

Jun 11, 2023, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM PDT

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA

About the event

In 1961, the first openly gay man 

runs for office - and he ran in heels!

Directed by Joseph R. Castell

A panel discussion with the director will 

follow the screening.  

Additional information:

The film tells the true story of Jose Sarria, a gay activist, and drag performer who was a pioneer in the fight for LGBTQ rights. When San Francisco politicians threatened to shut down all the gay bars in 1961, Sarria chose to run for City Supervisor, and became the first openly gay man to run for political office in the United States, 11 years before Harvey Milk. Although he lost his bid for City Supervisor, he forever changed the face of politics in San Francisco. Sarria, born in 1922 in San Francisco, was a World War II veteran who fought in Europe and began performing as a female impersonator in the mid-1950s. Nelly Queen paints an intimate portrait of a drag performer who brazenly stood up to corrupt San Francisco police officers, the vice squad, and city officials. In 1965, he started the nation’s second largest gay nonprofit, The Imperial Courts. Nelly Queen, directed by Joe Castel and produced by Mario J. Novoa features interviews with Sarria’s friends, historians, and fellow 

activists. It also includes rare archival footage of Sarria’s performances and speeches. Sarria died in 2013 at the age of 90.  The film is sure to inspire and educate viewers about the history of the LGBTQ movement and introduce them to an amazing pioneer activist that most have never heard of before.

Organized by: Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

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