Queer Silicon Valley: Our Community, History, & Activism

The BAYMEC Community Foundation proudly presents the documentary “Queer Silicon Valley.” The film skillfully memorializes the work of a generation of activists who were all part of the LGBTQ+ movement in San Jose and Silicon Valley, from the 1970s to now. Spanning almost 50 years, this groundbreaking documentary showcases 22 history-making activists, as they recount the struggles and discrimination they endured to ultimately build a local society that was accepting and inclusive. The film features many of the people who helped shape the vibrant and cohesive queer culture that exists today. 

From its bar and Imperial Courts, to fighting the Religious Right, to forming ethnic clubs, to battling HIV/AIDS, to fighting for marriage equality, to enacting groundbreaking non-discrimination policies at High-Tech companies, Silicon Valley’s rich history informs the greater LGBTQ+ movement in the United States. This is the story of a movement set in a traditional, heteronormative suburb. Even without a central gathering place like Castro Street of Greenwich Village, progress still happened. The archival documents, personal narratives, photographs, and videos shown in the film tell that story.

The film is directed and co-produced by award-winning documentarian and SJSU professor Bob Gliner, for the BAYMEC Community Foundation (BCF). No such documentary has previously been produced that focuses exclusively on the queer community in Silicon Valley.   

Co-Producer and BCF Executive Director Ken Yeager – also in the film as the first openly gay elected official in the county – says this: “Each of these 22 inspirational people interviewed deserve their own documentary. Their impact on queer culture has been that profound.”

Thank you to all whose histories we were able to present:

Rebecca Obryan
Whayne Herriford
Bennet Marks
Wiggsy Sivertsen
Omar Nunez
Gail Chandler-Croll
Liz Burkhouse
Jim Michl
Fred Ferrer
Maribel Martinez
Rodrigo Garcia
Amor Santiago
Lance Moore
Diamond John
Aejaie Franciscus
Sera Fernando
Dani Castro
Ken Yeager
Elizabeth Birch
Dr. Marty Fenstersheib
Dr. Dennis Low
Sharon Miller
Kim Harris