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    Third Round of LGBTQ Honorees Selected for SF’s Rainbow Honor Walk

    The Rainbow Honor Walk recently announced its full slate of 24 history-making LGBTQ pioneers to be honored with sidewalk tributes in the city’s Castro District. 

    Last year, the all-volunteer Board of Directors began its selection process with the unanimous selection of Phyllis Lyon, the world-renowned San Francisco-based activist for lesbian rights and visibility. The group has finalized this selection round with 23 additional individuals to memorialize. To date, the nonprofit organization has installed 36 sidewalk tributes, with another previously chosen 8 plaques scheduled for placement this spring.

    “We continue to find inspiration and strength from the lives of LGBTQ pioneers,” says Rainbow Honor Walk board president and Bay Times columnist Donna Sachet. “In this diverse group of names, some are quite famous and others not as well-known. As we review hundreds of names for inclusion, we seek to honor individuals from a wide range of careers and across a great span of history to highlight contributions that have truly changed the world. The process of doing this, especially during the ongoing pandemic, has only strengthened the love and appreciation we feel for our far-flung community.” 

    Hometown Heroes, International Leaders, and Artists for the Ages

    Joining Phyllis Lyon, the additional 23 honorees are:

    Peter Adair (1943–1996), filmmaker best known for 1977’s Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives, offering a clear, detailed picture of the broad spectrum of the LGBTQ population;

    Gloria Anzaldua (1942–2004), a Tejana-Chicana who wrote widely on feminism, queer theory, and marginalization, best known for her ground-breaking books 1981’s This Bridge Called My Back and 1987’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza;

    Gilbert Baker (1951–2017), American artist, gay rights activist, and designer of the rainbow flag, worldwide symbol of LGBTQ pride;

    Tallulah Bankhead (1902–1968), openly “ambisextrous” stage and screen actress, gay icon, and pioneering civil rights activist who strongly and publicly opposed racism and segregation;

    Bernice Bing (1936–1998), recognized San Francisco Bay Area painter whose artwork bridged her Chinese American background and her interest in modern philosophy, women’s issues, and abstract expression;

    Bobbi Campbell (1952–1984), early self-identified person with AIDS whose prolific writing helped inform the public, empower early sufferers, and destigmatize the condition;

    Esther Eng (1914–1970), the first woman to direct Chinese-language films in the U.S., recognized as a female pioneer who crossed the boundaries of race, language, culture, and gender;

    Leslie Feinberg (1949–2014), radical activist and author whose book Stone Butch Blues familiarized readers with transgender, non-binary and genderqueer terms, pronouns, concepts, and politics;

    Lorraine Hansberry (1930–1965), first African American woman to have a play performed on Broadway and the youngest playwright to receive the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award;

    Magnus Hirschfeld (1868–1935), pioneering German physician and sexologist, outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, important theorist of sexuality, and a prominent advocate for sexuality minorities in the early 20th century;

    Billie Holliday (1915–1959), Harlem-based singer and jazz legend who courageously made public a wide range of personal and political truths, notably recording 1939’s anti-lynching song “Strange Fruit,” widely considered one of America’s most influential protest songs;

    Langston Hughes (1901–1967), a leader of the Harlem Renaissance, whose poetry, plays, novels, and columns gave fresh insight into the experience of Black men in the U.S.;

    Carlos Jáuregui (1957–1996), a courageous Argentinian activist who fiercely fought for the rights of the full spectrum of the LGBTQ community;

    Marsha P. Johnson (1945–1992), ​​known as the “Mayor of Christopher Street,” a founding member of the Gay Liberation Front and co-founder (with Sylvia Rivera) of the radical activist group Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries;

    Larry Kramer (1935–2020), American playwright, author, film producer, public health advocate, LGBT rights activist, and a founding member ACT UP, created to publicize and protest the lack of treatment and funding for people with AIDS;

    Xulhaz Mannan (1976–2016), martyred Bangladeshi human rights activist, founder of the country’s first and only gay magazine, and organizer of the Rainbow Rally to celebrate its broader LGBTQ community;

    Marlon Riggs (1957–1994), Award-winning filmmaker whose examinations of Black gay life boldly confronted racism and sexual repression, most notably with 1989’s Tongues Untied;

    Bob Ross (1934–2003), co-founder and publisher of the Bay Area Reporter, the oldest continuously published LGBTQ publication in the U.S., political figure, and philanthropist;

    Charley Parkhurst (1812–1879), famous California stagecoach driver in the Gold Rush era who was discovered, upon his death, to be biologically female; decades before female suffrage was legal, he voted as a man in the 1868 presidential election;

    Oliver Sacks (1933–2015), neurologist, naturalist, historian of science, and author who wrote of his experiences with some of his patients to inform and inspire others;

    Jon Reed Sims (1947–1984), founder of the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Twirling Corps (now San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band), the first openly LGBT musical group ever formed in U.S. history, and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, the country’s first openly gay American choral group;

    Edith Windsor (1929–2017), who faced onerous federal tax penalties after the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer, following their 40-year relationship, and was the lead plaintiff in the 2013 landmark Supreme Court case, United States v. Windsor, which established marriage equality rights for American citizens;

    Sophie Xeon (1986–2021), Grammy-nominated musician, record producer, singer, and DJ who reframed trans self-expression for Millennials and Generation Z cohorts with her brash and “hyperkinetic” take on pop music;

    With this announcement, the Rainbow Honor Walk Board of Directors now turns its attention to a daunting fundraising effort. Each bronze sidewalk plaque costs nearly $6000 to fabricate and install. Help is needed! Financial support for the public tributes has overwhelmingly come from individual donors, with additional gifts from corporations and allied nonprofits to the 501(c)3 organization. To make a tax-deductible donation, please visit

    Published on March 10, 2022