International Court System News and Announcements
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Bentley’s auctioneers will conduct an online estate auction of Jose Sarria, Empress I, The Widow Norton, from August 1 to August 11, 2014. The auction proceeds of nearly 2,000 valuable artifacts, including rare jewels, all belonging to the founder of the Imperial Court System (ICS) will go to fund a documentary about the activist’s life. To view the Lots, go to Bentley’s at:
Sarria passed away in Los Ranchos, New Mexico August 19, 2013, at the age of 90.
“Jose was a collector of fine jewels, coins, antiques and oil paintings,” said Sarria’s executor Tony Ross. “This is a great opportunity to own a bit of LGBT history and for the gay community to support a documentary long overdue on one of our unsung heroes.”
Award winning Los Angeles filmmakers Dante Alencastre and Daniel Carrera are in pre-production on Sarria’s documentary “Nelly Queen,” slated to be released in 2015. Sarria was the first openly gay candidate to run for public office in the United States in 1961, more than a decade before Harvey Milk.
When San Francisco city officials vowed to shut down all the gay bars in 1961, the 38 year-old cabaret singer ran for a seat on the Board of Supervisors. Although Sarria lost the election, he garnered nearly 6,000 votes, proving for the first time in American politics that there was a gay voting bloc.
Speaker John A. Pérezof the California Assembly noted that “Jose Sarria’s trailblazing run for public office as an openly gay man laid the groundwork for LGBT Californians to run for public office proudly and openly. But Jose's refusal to be silenced or shamed back into the closet--in an era where LGBT People were routinely discriminated against--was the greatest contribution to our movement.”
In 1965, Sarria founded the ICS in San Francisco when a group of gay bar owners formed a Tavern Guild as a means to stand in solidarity with one another under the pressure of police harassment. The Guild put on the first large public drag ball in San Francisco's history. The following year, Sarria declared himself Absolute Empress I Jose of the newly formed nonprofit.
ICS was intended mainly for "camp" fun as its members derived royal titles and elected Empresses and Emperors at annual Coronations. However, under Jose's guidance the organization grew to 70 chapters, making it the second largest LGBT nonprofit corporation in the U.S., and since its inception has raised millions of dollars for AIDs organizations and other charities.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 —The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force celebrates the confirmation by the United States Postal Service that it will introduce a stamp commemorating LGBT rights pioneer and one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S., Harvey Milk. He will become the first openly LGBT elected official to be featured on U.S. postage.
October 22, 2013 - Portland Coronation:
Forty years ago I made my first visit to the “City of Roses”… Portland … it was my very first coronation out of state. I was the reigning “Baroness II de San Diego” having been defeated in my campaign for Empress II de San Diego (I placed fourth among eight Empress candidates). Well it was Empress Doni Lame’s coronation and Empress Elsa Daniels was on her way to the throne. Well this little ole baroness could not believe her eyes as I witness one of the most glamorous, magical, and exciting coronation ball ever and right then and there I decided, I too wanted to be an “Empress” more than ever and just like Doni and Elsa !!!!
October 19, 2013 - Toronto Coronation and ICC Meeting:
Canada is indeed a progressive nation. In 1969 when gay and lesbian Americans were fighting back against oppression at the Stonewall Inn the Canadian Prime Minister was making homosexuality legal. Indeed Canada has gay marriage and health care for all and allowed gays in the military long before the USA did. It’s always an honor to attend Coronations of our Canadian Courts… there is no border when it comes to our International Royal family and the International Court System.
October 11, 2013 - Cincinnati, OH Coronation:
I had to be at the San Diego airport very early so Prince Kaiden picked me up at 430 a.m., so I really didn’t sleep the night before. My flight had a stop in Salt Lake City prior to landing at the Northern Kentucky Airport. When I arrived at baggage claim there were about a dozen Court members from Cincinnati to welcome me- I was very touched by their kindness and wonderful greetings. It was a great start for my five day state Visit.