Nelly Queen: The Life & Times of Jose Sarria
Produced by Mario J. Novoa in association with Film Bliss Studios
Directed by Joseph R. Castel
Status: Film Festivals
When San Francisco city officials vowed to shut down all the gay bars in 1961, the 38 year-old female impersonator threw caution to the wind and campaigned for a seat on the Board of Supervisors. Sarria lost the election, but garnered nearly 6,000 votes, proving for the first time in American politics that the LGTBQ community had a voting bloc.
Logline: A documentary film that chronicles the life and times of Jose Sarria, the first openly gay person to run for public office in the United States.
Nelly Queen: The Life and Times of Jose Sarria is a documentary film that chronicles the life and times of Jose Sarria, the first openly gay person to run for public office in the United States. Sarria was a drag queen, activist, and singer who was born in 1923 in San Francisco. He began performing in drag in the early 1950s, and in 1961 he ran for city supervisor in San Francisco. Sarria lost the election, but he gained national attention for his campaign and became a symbol of the early gay rights movement. He continued to be active in the LGBTQ+ community for many years, and he died in 2013 at the age of 90.
The film features interviews with Sarria's friends, family, and colleagues, as well as archival footage from his life and career. The film also explores the impact that Sarria had on the LGBTQ+ community and the gay rights movement.