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    Rainbow Honor Walk Unveils Plaques for 8 Honorees

    The Rainbow Honor Walk on August 9 unveiled plaques honoring eight new honorees: Alvin Ailey, W.H. Auden, Josephine Baker, Marie Equi, Freddie Mercury, Gerry Studds, Lou Sullivan and Chavela Vargas. The event began at Catch Restaurant on Market Street before Rainbow Honor Walk board members and supporters stopped by each plaque on Market between Castro and Sanchez Streets.

    The Rainbow Honor Walk, according to the organization, “features bronze sidewalk plaques that honor Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer individuals who have made a significant difference to society in California, the U.S., or elsewhere around the world. Now spanning several blocks (and growing!), the Rainbow Honor Walk landmark is educational and inspirational for all who walk with some of the greatest and bravest pioneers in modern history.”

    Board member and San Francisco Bay Times columnist Dr. Bill Lipsky shared the following information about each of the new honorees:

    • Alvin Ailey (1931–1989) American ballet dancer and choreographer credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th-century concert dance.
    • W.H. Auden (1907–1973) English poet known for love poems such as “Funeral Blues,” poems on political and social themes such as “September 1, 1939,” and poems on cultural and psychological themes such as “The Age of Anxiety.”
    • Josephine Baker (1906–1975) American-born dancer, singer, actress, and world-famous entertainer, embraced by France as a national treasure, who refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States.
    • Marie Equi (1872–1952) American physician and political activist devoted to providing care to working-class and poor patients, providing health care information to women, and fighting for civic and economic reforms, women’s right to vote and an eight-hour workday.
    • Freddie Mercury (1946–1991) Bisexual British singer, songwriter, record producer and lead performer with the rock group Queen.
    • Gerry Studds (1937–2006) American politician and the first openly gay member of the U.S. Congress.
    • Lou Sullivan (1951–1991) American author, activist, and female to male transgender pioneer who is widely credited for the modern understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity as distinct, unrelated concepts.
    • Chavela Vargas (1919–2012) Costa Rican-born singer known for her rendition of Mexican rancheras and for her contribution to other genres of popular Latin American music.