Guide to the Lesbian Avengers (San Francisco Chapter) Records, 1993-1997

Processed by Jessica Moll, June 1997 and Isaac Martin, May 1998; machine-readable finding aid created by Gabriela A. Montoya
Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California
P.O. Box 424280
San Francisco, California 94142
Phone: (415) 777-5455, #2
© 1999
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society. All rights reserved.

Guide to the Lesbian Avengers (San Francisco Chapter) Records, 1993-1997

Accession number: 1996-10

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society

San Francisco, California

Contact Information:

  • Gay and Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California
  • P.O. Box 424280
  • San Francisco, California 94142
  • Phone: (415) 777-5455, #2
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
Jessica Moll, June 1997 and Isaac Martin, May 1998
Date Completed:
Encoded by:
Gabriela A. Montoya
© 1999 The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Lesbian Avengers (San Francisco Chapter) Records,
Date (inclusive): 1993-1997
Accession number: 1996-10
Creator: San Francisco Lesbian Avengers
Extent: 1 linear foot
Repository: The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.
San Francisco, California.
Language: English.

Administrative Information


The Records (96-10) were donated to GLHS in 1996 and 1997.


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright to unpublished manuscript materials has been transferred to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

Audio-Visual Materials

The Records contain many photographs.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Lesbian Avengers (San Francisco Chapter) Records, 1996-10, The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.

Historical Note

The San Francisco Lesbian Avengers engaged in direct-action politics throughout the San Francisco Bay Area between 1993 and 1997 to promote visibility of queer women and to fight the rise of the Christian right. Founded in New York in 1992, the Lesbian Avengers were noted for their bold, theatrical style and their use of humor to capture media attention.
The San Francisco chapter of the Lesbian Avengers was convened to organize San Francisco's first Dyke March in June 1993. The group's subsequent actions targeted misogyny among gay men in the Castro; government inattention to lesbians with AIDS; the Christian "ex-gay" organization Exodus International; harassment of lesbians in the military; and a variety of other issues. The San Francisco chapter was known for working on such non-lesbian-specific issues as immigrant rights and police accountability, as well as for being the first Lesbian Avengers chapter to incorporate bisexual and transgendered women into its mission statement. The controversy over the latter decision is documented in meeting minutes, correspondence, and press clippings.
The bulk of the San Francisco Lesbian Avengers' records were donated to GLHS in 1996, during a period of relative inactivity. The group subsequently dissolved in 1997, at which time the remaining records were donated.

Scope and Content

The papers (1 linear foot) document the group from its founding in 1993 through mid-1997. The Records are composed of 3 series (internal records, literature, and photographs), and are organized chronologically within each series.
Box 1 contains internal records. These are primarily minutes from meetings, but they also include agendas, training materials, group policies and guidelines, notes on tactics, logos, correspondence, and communiques. Meeting minutes dated after 1995 are all handwritten and consist mostly of fragmentary notes, often on the backs of flyers announcing community events. Earlier minutes are more detailed and often typed. Typically, minutes include a treasurer's report, a summary of the past week's events, actions and ideas, committee reports, announcements and proposals. These document the group's evolving structure and process, the controversy over its mission statement, and internal discussions about race and class.
Box 2 contains literature from other organizations and other Lesbian Avengers chapters, as well as information about most of the San Francisco chapter's public actions-announcements about events, leaflets, press releases and media reports.
Box 3 contains the Lesbian Avengers' photograph collection. The photographs are from 1993 through 1995. They are all color, 4"x6" and 3.5"x5" positive images, and portray several Lesbian Avengers events and actions, especially the 1993 and 1994 San Francisco Pride Marches, the 1993 political funeral for Joan Baker, "Come Out for the Holidays" (1993), and "Castro on the Rag" (1994).
The Records also include one oversized folder and two legal-sized folders.

Subjects and Indexing Terms


Related Collections

Lesbian Agenda For Action Records, 92-8

Other Contemporary Direct Action Groups

AIDS/ARC Vigil Records, 91-5
AIDS/ARC Vigil II Records, 94-21
Meg Barnett Papers [Lesbians Against Police Violence], 89-5
Boy with Arms Akimbo/Girl with Arms Akimbo Records, 96-41
Forget-Me-Nots Records, 89-10
Queer Nation Records, 93-2

ACT-UP related collections

Ephemera files on ACT-UP
Arawn Eibhlyn Papers, 95-23
Stephen Fish Papers, 91-19
Sheldon Ramsdell, 96-28
Bob Smith Papers, 93-21
Hank Wilson Papers, 96-2

Materials Separated from the Collection

Photographs (Box 3) are located in the Photo Room.
Oversized Folder located in Mss. Manuscript Collections Oversized Box C.
2 Legal Sized Folders located in Mss. Manuscript Collections Legal Sized Folders.

Materials Removed from the Collection

Articles from various newspapers around the U.S. pertaining to gay and lesbian youth were removed. Complete issues of The Progressive, the Klanwatch Intelligence Report,and the Southern Poverty Law Center Reportwere removed. A complete inventory of materials removed is available in the accession folder.


Internal Records

Box Box 1


Access Information


July-August 1993


September-October 1993


November-December 1993


January-February 1994


March-April 1994


May 1994


June 1994


July-August 1994


September-October 1994


November-December 1994


January-February 1995


March-April 1995


Materials in notebook with minutes July 1994-April 1995


May 22-July 17 1995


"Info Session" material accompanying minutes May 22-July 17 1995


Material in May 22-July 17 1995 notebook, including policies and notes


July-August 1995


September-November 1995


December 1995-February 1996


March-April 1996


May-June 1996


Materials in notebook with 1993-1996 minutes


July-August 1996


September-December 1996


January-February 1997


March-May 1997


Notes and materials with minutes, November 1995-February 1997


Internal documents

Access Information


Internal trainings






General Media


E-mail December 1996-March 1997

Access Information



Box Box 2

Other Chapters


New York Chapter


Coalition and Support


Fighting the Christian Right


Pride and Dyke March, June 1993


Political Funeral for Joan Baker, October 23, 1993


Badlands Bar takeover, November 5, 1993


Come Out for the Holidays, December 1993


Lorena Bobbitt and Sharon Bottoms, January 1994


Camp Sister Spirit, February 1994


Castro on the Rag, May 14, 1994


Pride and Dyke March, June 1994


Center for Disease Control/Lesbians Get AIDS protest, August 1994


No on Prop. 187, 1994


National Coming Out Day, October 11, 1994


Flush Pete campaign, November 1994


Kate's Kitchen protest, November 1994


Holiday Actions, December 1994


Dykespeak Amazon Award, December 1994


Other 1994 events


Smell the Fuse protest at Wilson's inauguration, January 1995


Avenging Tongues benefit, March 11, 1995


Office of Citizen Complaints (OCC) Reform, 1995


Plague of Locusts, February 1995


Boob-a-licious Crotch-a-rama Valentine's party, February 1995


KSFO Full of Shit, April 1995


Pride and Dyke March, June 1995


Mumia Abu-Jamal, June and July 1995


Chowchilla Demonstration for medical care for women prisionors, July 8, 1995


No on Prop. 209/CCRI literature, March-September 1996


Republican National Convention, July 1996


Cable Car Awards, February 1997


Voice Bomb, May 1997


Web site 1997



Box Box 3

Lesbian Avengers photo album, June 1993-January 1994


San Francisco Pride parade, June 1994


Castro on the Rag (Protest of Misogyny in the Castro), May 14, 1994


Various events, 1995 (Pride parade, Mumia Abu-Jamal demonstrations)


There is also one envelope of duplicate photographs, for exhibition purposes.


Legal sized folders


Internal literature (Highlights of San Francisco Lesbian Avenger actions; phone tree)


Other chapters/coalitions


Oversized folder


Posters and Manifestos