This collection documents the religious life and community activism of one of San Francisco’s most controversial figures,
Ray Broshears. The collection contains correspondence, ephemera, financial records, newsletters, photographs and subject files.
Raymond Broshears, one of San Francisco’s most controversial gay citizens, was a community activist and ordained minister
in the Orthodox Episcopal Catholic Church. Broshears was born Earl Raymond Allen in Centreville Station, Illinois in 1935.
When his mother later remarried, she gave him her new husband’s name, though he was raised primarily by his grandmother and
his three aunts. He served in the United States Navy and received a medical discharge in 1955. Broshears, who preferred to
be called “Reverend Ray,” formed the Gay Activists Alliance in 1971, the Lavender Panthers in 1973, and was one of the founders
of San Francisco’s first gay pride parade in 1972. In addition to his work for gay and lesbian rights, he was also a strong
advocate for the poor and elderly communities in the Tenderloin. He founded the Old Folks Defense League and the Helping Hands
Community Center to serve this population and also helped produce an annual Christmas Show at Fort Miley Hospital. Broshears
was a polarizing figure in San Francisco’s LGBT community as evidenced by the many lawsuits and charges brought against him
in his lifetime. He regularly used his newspaper the Gay Crusader to attack and criticize individuals and organizations that
disagreed with him. Broshears died at home of a cerebral hemorrhage on January 10, 1982.