The SFLGFB was founded by Jon Reed Sims in 1978 as the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Twirling Corps. Sims, born in Smith Center, Kansas, was a musician and performer who formed the band in response to Anita Bryant‘s anti-gay campaign in the late 1970s. Upon its founding in 1978, it became the first openly-gay musical group in the world. In successive years, Sims created the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, the Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco, Lambda Pro Musica orchestra (now defunct), and encouraged the formation of the Big Apple Corps GLBT band in New York by Nancy Corporon and The Great American Yankee Freedom Band of Los Angeles by Wayne Love.

Artistic Directors

  • Jon Sims, founder (1978–1982)
  • Tom Smith (1982)
  • Lesesne Van Antwerp (1982–1985)
  • Jay Kast (1986–1988)
  • Jeff Foote (1988–1989)
  • Wayne Love (1988; 1989–1990)
  • Nancy Corporon (1990–1996)
  • Jadine Louie (1996–2006)
  • Dr. Roberto-Juan Gonzalez (2007–2008)
  • Jadine Louie (2009–2012)
  • Pete Nowlen (2013–present)

Coda Section

In memory of those who have marched on.

1980s Photos from the Band’s Archives

These photos feature the artwork of former band member Tandy Belew on concert posters. The band archive includes articles listed in this bibliography of 1980s press coverage. Contact president [at] sflgfb [dot] org to request access to our archives.

Band Memories

These stories tell about the experiences of band members.