California Hall

Beyond the Binary: Self-Guided Tour of San Francisco

California Hall

San Francisco, California 94102, United States

Created By: Quest University


625 Polk St.

The site of the 1965 Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH) sponsored Mardi Gras Ball.

“The CRH sponsored one of the most significant events in LGBTQ history in San Francisco: the Mardi Gras Ball on January 1, 1965, at California Hall. Organized as a fundraiser for the newly founded CRH, over five hundred guests purchased tickets for the event. CRH leaders anticipated some form of police harassment and negotiated with city officials to obtain the proper permits. In spite of this, the police turned out in full force, illuminating Polk Street with klieg lights and photographing everyone who entered the event. After a scuffle with police, six attendees were arrested, including two attorneys retained to prevent harassment. The following morning at a press conference, CRH clergymen called to end police harassment of gay and lesbian communities in San Francisco, marking one of the first times in US history that religious leaders spoke publicly for LGBTQ rights. The ministers’ outrage provoked unprecedented public support and homophile groups mobilized to combat police oppression.” (excerpted from p. 25-26, Chapter 25: "San Francisco: Placing LGBTQ Histories in the City by the Bay" by Donna J. Graves and Shayne E. Watson LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History)

This point of interest is part of the tour: Beyond the Binary: Self-Guided Tour of San Francisco


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