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Honor Mama Jose and Support the film Nelly Queen: The Life and Times of Jose Julio Sarria
Honor Mama Jose and Support the Film Nelly Queen
About this campaign
When San Francisco city officials vowed to shut down all the gay bars in 1961, the 38 year-old female impersonator threw caution to the wind and campaigned for a seat on the Board of Supervisors. Sarria lost the election, but garnered nearly 6,000 votes, proving for the first time in American politics that the LGTBQ community had a voting bloc. Why is it Called “Nelly Queen: The Life and Times of Jose Juilio Sarria” ? From 1951-1963, Sarria stood in bright red heels on table tops at the Black Cat Café in San Francisco to sing torch songs accompanied by a honky-tonk piano. The diva performed one man opera parodies, replacing the straight love story with a gay one.
Whenever the vice squad entered the café to entrap patrons, Sarria exposed them by forcing his closeted patrons to stand up and sing “God, Save Us Nelly Queens,” a takeoff on Britain’s national anthem as the vice marched out of the café. Why is Jose Important Now? Jose is important today as he was back in 1961 when he ran for office. Nelly Queenis not just an LGBT history lesson; it’s a triumphant story of the human spirit, a hero’s journey of a man fighting unjust laws and uniting a fractured community. Jose stands as a courageous role model to people still struggling with their sexual identity and self-esteem.