A new mural is going up on the Octavia-facing side of the SF LGBT Center highlighting a dozen local and national queer heroes, including Harvey Milk, drag queens Juanita MORE! and Sister Roma, and drag performer turned politico Honey Mahogany.
Work on the mural began Wednesday, and it's the work of queer Latinx muralists Juan Manuel Carmona and Simón Malvaez — who were also responsible for the new mural on the front of El Rio, and Carmona has done three previous murals featuring MORE!, one facing Alamo Square that was done last year, another facing Alamo Square with Malvaez completed last week, and another on 18th and Sanchez in the Castro. Malvaez also recently had a commission from the SFMTA for a mural at the Church and Market J-Church stop.
Writing on Instagram today, Malvaez said, "We feel very grateful to have this amazing opportunity to share our talent, and have the power to raise our voices and celebrate who we are and who we represent.” Carmona says, on his website, that the new piece represents "the intersection of the LGBTQI and Latino communities of San Francisco."
The Center posted the video below announcing the mural, which comes on the heels of a controversy over the first mural that the organization allowed on this wall, by prolific local artist fnnch. That mural, of three LGBTQ-themed honey bears, was tagged by individuals as part of a growing backlash against the ubiquity of fnnch's work, and a perception that these over-exposed honey bears represent gentrification and the middling taste of all those who like them. The Center ultimately painted over the honey bears last month, and pledged to use the space to highlight queer artists and people of color.
The new mural, dubbed "Queeroes," also features the likenesses of Freddie Mercury, Frida Kahlo, Stonewall Riots figure Marsha P. Johnson, artist Keith Haring, singer Chavela Vargas, writer James Baldwin, trans activist Sylvia Rivera, and dancer/choreographer Willi Ninja.