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Celebrating Queer California History

Listen to this and more in-depth storytelling by subscribing to The California Report Magazine podcast.

To celebrate Pride month, we reprise our 2019 episode looking back at the early days of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, with a visit to the Oakland Museum of California’s exhibit “Queer California: Untold Stories.” We explore the impact of that activism on young people today, and hear about a place that’s become a refuge for the LGBTQ+ community in rural California.

Trans Man Finds – and Creates – Refuge in His Family’s Small Town Cafe

Jackson is a quaint Gold Rush-era town with brick buildings on its main street. It’s pretty quiet, except when you walk into Rosebud’s Cafe. Rosebud’s is a place that shouts its values from its bright green walls: huge family portraits, and tons of posters and flyers announcing programs for the arts, supporting local homeless initiatives, and advocating for LGBTQ rights. For the series California Foodways, Lisa Morehouse tells us this place has become a refuge for people who don’t always feel accepted. 

‘The Flower Guy’ A Constant in an Ever-Changing Castro District

Guy Clark has been selling flowers on the same corner in San Francisco’s Castro District for 40 years. Surrounded by peonies and sunflowers, reporter Asal Ehsanipour joins Guy on a sunny San Francisco morning. He recalls how the community “came through the catastrophe of AIDS,” and how he survived eviction and temporary homelessness, and he talks about his enduring relationships with his loyal customers.

Letter to My CA Dreamer: Finding the Gay Mecca

We’ve been asking listeners to write a letter to one of the first people in your family who came to California with a dream for our series, “Letter to My California Dreamer.” This week’s letter comes from trailblazer, activist, and Vietnam War veteran Felicia A. Elizondo, AKA Felicia Flames, who passed away in May of this year at the age of 74. In this letter, she shared the story of her journey from Texas to San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in 1962, and recalled the aftermath of the Compton’s Cafeteria riot.

Why Harvey Milk Still Matters to These Young People

One of California’s most well-known LGBTQ voices is Harvey Milk. Milk became the state’s first openly gay elected official when he won a seat on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in 1977. But his time in office was cut short when he was gunned down in City Hall a year later by one of his colleagues on the board. Milk is a seminal figure in queer history, but for many people coming of age today, their first exposure to Milk and his story was not from firsthand experience or even their history books, but from the 2008 Oscar-winning film Milk. We sent reporter Ryan Levi to City College of San Francisco to find out what Milk means to young people today.

Copyright 2021 KQED