Before he passed away last month at age 91, José Julio Sarria left behind a legacy of LGBT activism and some very specific instructions on how to make his funeral a spectacle worthy of his title — Empress Jose I, the Widow Norton. The service for the founder of the International Court System and the first openly gay candidate to run for public office in North America was held at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and filled with the pomp and spectacle worthy of LGBT royalty, which Sarria certainly was. A regal reception followed, appropriately, at Castro’s Lookout Bar.
Sarria’s long cortege was escorted by two dozen San Francisco police motorcycle officers, from the same force that used to round up gays, reports San Francisco Gate. He was buried in a grave next to that of Joshua Abraham Norton, better known at Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.
Photos: Liz Highleyman