The History of the Alice B Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, San Francisco, California, 1971-2004

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This is a short history of the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Club. This history explains how the club got started in San Francisco, California as the first registered LGBT Democratic Club in the nation. The history recounts the decades-long struggle of the LGBT community to influence public policy at the local, state and national level by making inroads within the Democratic Party in one of the nation's most important Democratic strongholds. Unless otherwise noted, all source material for this history came from the Alice Reports newsletter, interviews with longtime Alice members, and the Gay Vote Newsletters of the Harvey Milk Democratic Club. The 1971 section on Jim Foster establishing Alice is sourced from “Out for Good – the Struggle to Build a Gay Rights Movement in America” by Dudley Clendinen and Adam Nagourney.


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The Alice B. Toklas Memorial Democratic Club of San Francisco was the first registered Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Democratic Club in the nation. Forming only two years after the Stonewall riots in the infancy of the LGBT civil rights movement, Alice grew to become a vibrant organization that has made a profound impact on San Francisco, California and American politics. Alice made its impact by training activists over four decades to become political professionals and electing candidates that have fought for the issues that are important to the LGBT community. The club has been instrumental in growing new leaders who would rise to the highest levels of government in the nation, such as Dianne Feinstein, an early friend of the club. Alice has been critical to the fight for LGBT leaders to win office, such as Mark Leno, the first gay man elected to the California State Senate. These leaders have helped make San Francisco the epicenter of the LGBT political movement, advancing causes such as equal benefits, domestic partnership, transgender health care, and marriage equality. Alice continues to be a major player in local, state and national politics and remains an inspiring and effective organization to this day.


Researched and Written by Nathan Purkiss.

Copyright (c) by Nathan Purkiss, 2010. All rights reserved. Contact