Metro Weekly

Community mourns José Sarria, aka Empress I José

“Words cannot express what a tremendous loss I feel today on the passing of José Sarria. He is an icon of the LGBT community, a hero, a mentor and a friend. José brought laughter, camp and fun to all of our lives and to the struggle not just for gay and lesbian liberation, but for all people. His legacy as a gay Latino leader, activist and drag queen will live on for all of us who share his commitment to the communities from which we come.”

Russell Roybal, first Imperial grandson to “Empress I José, the Widow Norton and deputy executive director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force,” in a comment today marking the death of José Sarria, as quoted by GLAAD. Sarria, who died in his New Mexico home, was 91. A native San Franciscan, Sarria was a World War II veteran, founder of the Imperial Court System, longtime LGBT-rights activist and openly gay 1961 candidate for San Francisco Board of Supervisors. (GLAAD)   

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.