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Historical Perspective on Diva’s Closure

| Apr 8, 2019
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Sadly, Divas, San Francisco’s preeminent trans women’s bar and safe space, is closing, ended a 30-year dynasty that began in 1989 a block away at Motherlode. The Motherlode’s original owners were Joseph Jurkans and Mark Gilpin. “When these men bought the Motherlode, Gilpin let it be known that transgendered women were welcome there…One problem with the Motherlode, however, is that it is too small inside,” wrote transsexual author Christine Beatty. 1081 Post Street with over 9,000 sq. ft. was the answer.

Full page ad from Odyssey, Vol. 2, #10, June 18 – July 1, 1993.

In 1993 Jurkans and Gilpin proposed moving Motherlode, and renaming it Divas, to state and city regulators. As soon as the word got out there was opposition from the Apostolic Faith Church and Polk Street District Merchants’ Association, even though the bar was moving less than a block from its original location at Post and Larkin. When the Board of Supervisors weighed in, unanimously approving the move, Mayor Frank Jordan vetoed their resolution. On April 17, 1995 the board overrode the Mayor’s veto 10 to 1.

Though Lexington Club, San Francisco’s last lesbian bar, closed in 2014, Alexis Miranda, Divas long-time manager promised that Divas wouldn’t, “We will find another place in the city. I’m working on it.” Miranda, a former Imperial Court Empress, is seeking, “investors…willing to open a new bar that is diverse and non-judgmental.” Interested parties, please, message her through Facebook. We hope the task is easier now than it was in the ‘90s.

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Category: History, Impersonation

Ms. Bob

About the Author ()

Ms. Bob Davis, MFA, founder & director of the Louise Lawrence Transgender Archive in Vallejo, CA, served two terms on the GLBT Historical Society board of directors.

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