The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band started its life as the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Twirling Corp in 1978.
That year was historic, marking both the defeat of the Briggs initiative — which would have banned gays and lesbians from working in public schools — and also the short but revolutionary term of Harvey Milk as one of the first openly gay elected officials in the country.
The San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band has since become one of the city’s most beloved musical, social and political institutions — they are even the official band of the City of San Francisco.
That piece was produced by Jen Chien. You can catch the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band's 31st annual Dance-Along Nutcracker at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts December 9-10.
This piece first aired on May 10, 2016.
(Editor's note: When this story was first published, Harvey Milk was originally identified as the nation's first openly gay elected official, but others, including Kathy Kozachenko, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, preceded him.)