This collection documents the religious life and community activism of one of San Francisco’s most controversial figures,
Broshears. The collection contains correspondence, ephemera, financial records, newsletters, photographs and subject files.
Broshears, one of San Francisco’s most controversial gay citizens, was a community activist and ordained minister in the Orthodox Episcopal
Broshears was born Earl Raymond Allen in Centreville Station, Illinois in 1935. When his mother later remarried, she gave him her new
husband’s name, though he was raised primarily by his grandmother and his three aunts. He served in the United States Navy
and received a medical discharge in 1955.
Broshears, who preferred to be called “Reverend Ray,” formed the Gay Activists Alliance in 1971, the Lavender Panthers in 1973, and
was one of the founders of San Francisco’s first gay pride parade in 1972. In addition to his work for gay and lesbian rights,
he was also a strong advocate for the poor and elderly communities in the Tenderloin. He founded the Old Folks Defense League
and the Helping Hands Community Center to serve this population and also helped produce an annual Christmas Show at Fort Miley
Broshears was a polarizing figure in San Francisco’s LGBT community as evidenced by the many lawsuits and charges brought against him
in his lifetime. He regularly used his newspaper the Gay Crusader to attack and criticize individuals and organizations that
disagreed with him.
Broshears died at home of a cerebral hemorrhage on January 10, 1982.