Glide Memorial Church

Beyond the Binary: Self-Guided Tour of San Francisco

Glide Memorial Church

San Francisco, California 94102, United States

Created By: Quest University


330 Ellis St.

Glide Memorial United Methodist Church was the first church in San Francisco to open its doors to the LGBTQ community.

"The Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH), the first homophile organization in the United States with religious affiliation, was founded in San Francisco in 1964. In 1962, Glide Memorial Methodist Church in the Tenderloin hired clergymen to staff and operate the Glide Urban Center, a pioneering community organizing center that operated out of the church. Glide hired Reverend Ted McIlvenna to oversee a young-adult program focused on the Tenderloin neighborhood’s growing population of homeless youth. Soon after arriving at Glide, McIlvenna discovered that many of the program’s youth were young gay men “driven to street hustling by the hostility and ostracism of their parents and peers.” Because McIlvenna was heterosexual and unfamiliar with LGBTQ issues, he turned to local homophile organizations for help. In late May 1964, McIlvenna, with sponsorship from the Glide Urban Center, organized a three-day conference attended by twenty Protestant clergymen and over a dozen members of the homophile movement, including representatives from the DOB, Mattachine Society, SIR, and the Tavern Guild. For many of the ministers in attendance, the “face-to-face confrontation” with the homophile activists was “the first time they had ever knowingly talked with a homosexual or a lesbian.” Del Martin wrote of the retreat: “San Francisco was the setting for the historic birth of the United Nations in 1945. And again, in 1964, San Francisco provided the setting for the re-birth of Christian fellowship ... to include all human beings regardless of sexual proclivity.” The CRH was founded as an outgrowth of the conference. It was the first organization in the country to have “homosexual” in its name." (excerpted from p. 24-25, 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)

More on Glide can be found here. And more on Glide's history can be found here.

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


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