San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Walks the Talk in MLK’s Footsteps

Written by | Entertainment, Stage

San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus in performance.

The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, the world’s first openly gay chorus, decided to take their grievances with the current political climate right back to the source.

Recognizing the deep divisions in America — whether over race, creed, sexual orientation or economic status — the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus cancelled their European tour to take a message and music and inclusivity on the road across five southern states to promote universal equality and put truth to power in demonstrating the value in treating all individuals with dignity, irrespective of what might separate them.

The group’s history dates back to the pre-AIDS struggle for equality. According to Wikipedia, “the chorus was founded by gay music pioneer Jon Reed Sims. Despite popular misconceptions, the group does not require that members identify as gay or bisexual. The eligibility requirements for SFGMC are to be at least 18 years of age, to self identify as a man, and to pass the audition process defined by the Artistic Director. Today, with a membership of over 300 voices, the SFGMC continues to present a wide range of music and perform for many different kinds of audiences.”

The chorus held its first rehearsal on Halloween Eve, 1978. Their first performance in public was an impromptu affair at San Francisco’s city hall to pay tribute to gay rights advocate and slain city supervisor Harvey Milk and San Francisco mayor George Moscone, who was slain at the same time by the same assailant. Since then, the chorus has since become an institution in the city, a model for other gay men’s choruses around the world, and a touring emissary preaching (mostly through music) a gospel of love, empowerment and equality around the the world.

Below is a video that recaptures their trip into America’s heartland — a place where not all members of the LGBT community feel valued, or even safe.

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Last modified: December 6, 2017

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