Pride in Grit City

Pride in Grit City: An LGBTQ Retrospective

McMenamins Elks Temple Virtual History Pub with WSHS
  • Dates:
    Jul 7, 7:00pm - 8:30pm
  • Ages:
    All ages
  • Where:
  • Tickets:

    No tickets required

  • Accessibility:

    Free online event

Join us for another McMenamins Elks Temple Virtual History Pub! We will be joined by John Reed all the way from Sacramento for a special retrospective on LGBTQ history in Tacoma.

John is featured with Kenny (Lisa) Olson in a mural at McMenamins Elks Temple commemorating the Barony Ball taking place on site in 1975 and 1976. Not only was John instrumental in coordinating and hosting these major events in the Grit City, but was also active in organizations like the Tacoma Committee, a gay social group.

Join John for a casual conversation about the early history of openly gay events in Tacoma. You’ll also hear from Molly Wilmoth who will show and give an overview of  LGBTQ related materials preserved at the Washington State Historical Society.

Remember you can order take-out from McMenamins Elks Temple (or any McMenamins!) and dig in to augment your virtual History Pub experience!

History Pubs are free. If you like this programming, consider making a donation to support the Washington State Historical Society so we can continue to share more great programs like this one.

Speaker’s Bio:
John Reed was born and raised in Tacoma.  He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1972 and became Vice President of the Gay Social Group “The Tacoma Commitee” in the summer of 1975. He was directed by the group to work with and support the organizing activities for the newly formed “Barony of Tacoma”. This included assisting in the planning of their first “Barony Ball” scheduled for November 1975.

By that time, John had decided to run for the position of “Baron of the Barony of Tacoma” and became the first elected co-monarch of the Court of Tacoma.  John’s friend Kenny Olson (who performed and dressed in drag as “Lisa”) was selected as his counterpart. John & Lisa were crowned by the Emperor & Empress of Seattle and the Olympic Empire as Their Royal Highnesses Marquis & Marquise I of the Barony of Tacoma. John & Lisa went on to create the Gay Washington Pageant and completed their reign with “Chinatown” in November of 1976.

John retired from AT&T in 2013 after 35 years. He has lived in Northern California with his husband Michael since 1999.