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Who / What: The Rainbow Honor Walk dedicates the next Eight Honoree Plaques

media contact:  David Perry / (415) 676-7007 /  

Who / What:  The Rainbow Honor Walk dedicates the next Eight Honoree Plaques

When:        Friday, August 9: 10:30am – 11:30am

Where:      Catch Restaurant / 2362 Market Street (@ Castro) San Francisco

7 August 2019 – San Francisco, CA:  The Rainbow Honor Walk ( will unveil its next 8 honorees this Friday, August 9 at 10:30am beginning at Catch Restaurant (2362 Market Street @ Castro).  Plaques honoring Alvin Ailey, W.H. Auden, Josephine Baker, Marie Equi, Freddie Mercury, Gerry Studds, Lou Sullivan and Chavela Vargas will be dedicated as Rainbow Honor Walk board members and supporters stop by each plaque. The eight new bronze plaques, 3 feet x 3 feet, are on Market Street between Castro and Sanchez Streets.

Following are the eight honorees whose plaques are to be dedicated:

  • Alvin Ailey (1931-1989) Gay American ballet dancer and choreographer credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th-century concert dance.
  • W.H. Auden (1907-1973) Gay English poet known for love poems such as “Funeral Blues,” poems on political and social themes such as “September 1, 1939,” and poems on cultural and psychological themes such as “The Age of Anxiety.”
  • Josephine Baker (1906-1975) American-born dancer, singer, actress, and world-famous entertainer, embraced by France as a national treasure, who refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States.
  • Marie Equi (1872-1952) Lesbian American physician and political activist devoted to providing care to working-class and poor patients, providing health care information to women, and fighting for civic and economic reforms, women’s right to vote and an eight-hour workday.
  • Freddie Mercury (1946-1991) Bisexual British singer, songwriter, record producer and lead performer with the rock group Queen.
  • Gerry Studds (1937-2006) American politician and the first openly gay member of the U.S. Congress.
  • Lou Sullivan (1951-1991) American author, activist, and female to male transgender pioneer who is widely credited for the modern understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity as distinct, unrelated concepts.
  • Chavela Vargas (1919-2012) Lesbian Costa Rican-born singer known for her rendition of Mexican rancheras and for her contribution to other genres of popular Latin American music. 

When a volunteer committee of community members proposed the Rainbow Honor Walk, they received the unanimous support of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to create the sidewalk monument. Comprised of 3 foot x 3 foot bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalk, the Walk salutes the groundbreaking achievements of noted LGBT individuals throughout history. The first 20 honorees were announced in 2011. In 2012 the Rainbow Honor Walk board solicited design proposals from around the world.  An independent jury of artists and cultural leaders selected the winning design by architect Carlos Casuso of Madrid, Spain. The plaques were manufactured by Mussi Artworks of Berkeley, California with creative oversight of the process spearheaded by Lawrence Noble, head of the sculpture department at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University. The first 20 plaques were installed in September 2014 with an additional eight plaques added in 2017.

The Rainbow Honor Walk Board is comprised of the following individuals: Peter Goss, Madeline Hancock, Karen Helmuth, Bill Lipsky, David Perry, Joe Robinson, Charlotte Ruffner, Donna Sachet, Gustavo Serina, Barbara Tannenbaum and Tarita Thomas.

The Rainbow Honor Walk will eventually extend from the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy on 19th Street at Diamond down to Castro Street—the LGBT community’s “Main Street”—and will continue up Market Street with additional extensions on 18th Street. On Market Street, San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, the Walk will continue to the LGBT Center at Octavia Boulevard.  

All funds for manufacture of the Rainbow Honor Walk are raised privately, with each plaque costing approximately $ 6000. A major source of income comes from the San Francisco Human Rights Campaign Action Center and Store (575 Castro Street) through the sale of commemorative mugs, t-shirts and lapel pins, which has generated over $20,000 for the Rainbow Honor Walk.

Individuals interested in contacting the Rainbow Honor Walk may do so by email at or by mail to Rainbow Honor Walk, 584 Castro Street, #113

San Francisco, California 94114.  Contact can also be made via Facebook by searching “Rainbow Honor Walk”. Information can also be found online, and donations made, through the Rainbow Honor Walk website at