September LGBTQ History Programs Highlight the Gay Games, Our Family Coalition Executive Director Mimi Demissew, Rainbow Flag

San Francisco — The program series for September 2021 sponsored by the GLBT Historical Society will highlight film footage of the Gay Games; an interview with Mimi Demissew, the executive director of Our Family Coalition; and the GLBT Historical Society’s recent acquisition of a segment of one of the original 1978 rainbow flags. All events take place online; registration is required for access to the video link. For more information, visit

Mighty Reels
Body and Soul: Footage of the Gay Games
Friday, September 3
6:00–7:30 p.m. PDT
Online program
Admission: free, $5 suggested donation

Right off the heels of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, this installment in our program series “Mighty Reels” will focus on remarkable film footage from the first few gatherings of the Gay Games. This worldwide competition for LGBTQ athletes first took place in San Francisco in 1982. Patterned after the Olympics and now held every four years in a different city, the Gay Games were originally called the Gay Olympics until a lawsuit filed by the International Olympic Committee—just weeks before the event—began forced a last-minute name change. In its early years, which overlapped with the worst years of the AIDS crisis, the Games’ mission of celebrating LGBTQ sports achievement and the queer body was especially vital. Today the Games remain a significant athletic and cultural event providing queer athletes from around the world a joyous forum to excel.

Highlighting home movies, drag performances, amateur documentaries, and interviews with queer history-makers, “Mighty Reels” is a quarterly program series that provides an intimate look at the LGBTQ past straight from the camera lens. Each program in the series features a screening of footage from the archives, followed by a discussion with historians, community members and activists on the significance of these images. More information is available at Tickets are available at

Queer Culture Club
Catching Up With Mimi Demissew
Thursday, September 9
7:00–7:30 p.m. PDT
Online program
Admission: free, $5 suggested donation

GLBT Historical Society executive director Terry Beswick will interview Mimi Demissew, the recently appointed executive director of Our Family Coalition. Demissew has a extensive background in organizational development and strategic planning, having dedicated over two decades to sexual and gender-minority advocacy in the Washington, D.C. area. This is the September installment of “Queer Culture Club,” our monthly series each second Thursday that focuses on LGBTQ people who are defining the queer culture of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Each month, Beswick interviews queer culture-makers, including authors, playwrights, historians, activists, artists and archivists, to learn about their work, process, inspirations, hopes and dreams. More information is available at Tickets are available at

Panel Discussion
Under the Rainbow: How History is Made
Thursday, September 16
6:00–7:00 p.m. PDT
Online program
Admission: free, $5 suggested donation

From books and movies to museum exhibitions and art installations, we are continually interacting with objects from history. Many people are unfamiliar with the behind-the-scenes work that takes place to authenticate, contextualize and present a single object for display, work that can take months or even years. In this event, a panel of experts will focus on the original 1978 rainbow flag, a fragment of which was recently discovered and is now on display at the GLBT Historical Society Museum. Panelists will dive into the segment’s origins and long journey home, providing a look behind the curtain and under the rainbow in a program that considers how history is made, from discovery to display. The event will include a brief Q&A; guests are encouraged to submit questions in advance. Send questions to with “Under the Rainbow event” in the subject line. More information is available at Tickets are available at

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The GLBT Historical Society is a public history center and archives that collects, preserves, exhibits and makes accessible to the public materials and knowledge to support and promote understanding of LGBTQ history, culture and arts in all their diversity. Founded in 1985, the society is recognized internationally as a leader in the field of queer public history and maintains one of the world’s largest archival collections of LGBTQ historical materials. Our operations are centered at two sites: the GLBT Historical Society Museum, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood; and the Dr. John P. De Cecco Archives and Research Center, open to researchers in the Mid-Market district. For more information, visit

Mighty Reels 9/3

Man and woman with medals on the field, 1986 Gay Games; six men embracing from the back, 1986 Gay Games; athletes at Opening Ceremony, 1986 Gay Games; all photographs by Robert Pruzan, Robert Pruzan collection (1998-36), GLBT Historical Society.

Queer Culture Club 9/9

Headshot of Mimi Demissew, courtesy of Mimi Demissew

Panel Discussion 9/16

A segment from one of the two original rainbow flags created for San Francisco Gay Freedom Day 1978, donated to the GLBT Historical Society in April 2021; photograph by Matthew Leifheit, courtesy of the Gilbert Baker Foundation.