Blast from the Past

PHOTOS: Harvey Milk’s Jeans, Vintage Sex Toys, Jars of Pubic Hair, and More From the Archives of San Francisco’s LGBT History Museum

It’s appropriate that the first LGBT history museum in the country opened its doors in San Francisco – the city which hosted some of the first gay riots as well as some of the first gay weddings. Only the second of its kind in the entire world, the GLBT History Museum in the Castro has been serving the community since January and has even been visited by the real deal, non-drag Britney Spears.

Now Queerty is taking you on an exclusive backstage tour of the museum thanks to our friend Michael Stabile. The local director went through the archives of the museum’s parent organization, the GLBT Historical Society, when he was researching for his upcoming documentary about SF gay porn mogul-turned-philanthropist Chuck Holmes (whom the city’s LGBT center is named after).

While digging up facts about the gay Hugh Hefner, Stabile stumbled upon a piece of queer history in the form of Harvey Milk’s jeans, Butterfly Brigade nets, and an assortment of dildos. Let’s just say our forefathers were kept busy by more than just fighting for gay liberation.

Check the following pages for an exclusive gallery of the fascinatingly collection. Some of the kinkier stuff would certainly have made even Britney blush. To get up close and personal with our queer past, visit the GLBT History Museum in San Francisco.

Photos courtesy of the GLBT History Museum.

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  • TMikel

    Well, it is an interesting collection and a most unique one. Odd too. There is nothing really surprising about the objects shown, I have seen jeans that are more ragged, toys that are larger, and the pubic hair, well I prefer mine attached to a man.

  • Jerry Pritikin

    I have an image of Harvey Milk(c) in jeans, and a unique story to go along with them. Take a peek at a link to my blog:

    Harvey often wore tattered clothes, and on my site he is wearing a t-shirt
    with holes that I gave him in 1976. While you are there hit some of my other Milk memories in the archive section.

  • Anon

    Am I the only one who thought that for a museum, they really don’t know how to store sex toys safely? I’m suprised they haven’t all melted into a giant pile of rubber.

  • Michael Bedwell

    Far more interesting than just another pair of jeans [never hear of the “Castro Clone”?]
    they also have the clothes Harvey Milk was wearing when he was murdered, albeit with
    most of the copious blood stains washed out. They’ve displayed them in two previous
    exhibits, but weren’t in the museum the last time I was there. I don’t quite understand why they aren’t on permanent exhibit.

    The significance of one of the items too few understood. The belt he was wearing when he was killed was the belt he wore in the Navy over twenty years before with its Master Diver insignia. Even though he had evolved from Goldwater Republican to hard core progressive Democract, he was still very proud of his military service—something one would never know even happened from the film. You can see a photo of it at:

  • Clamydia Jones

    Lawd have mercies, you homosexicals crazy , all up in duh public hairs and all dat, looktidid likes you got Angela Davis, Malcomb X and Jimi Hedrix & others heads all up in doz jars.

  • Jeff

    I agree about how the sex toys shouldn’t just all be lumped in together. Why even keep them?

  • NOH8

    An important historical institution, struggling to preserve our past. Hats off to them!

    I was shocked and saddened during my visit when, without warning, I came upon the actual blood-stained suit that Supervisor Milk was wearing when he was assassinated at SF City Hall, along with Mayor Moscone, by ex-Supervisor and homophobe Dan White.

Comments are closed.