Center for Sacramento History hosting celebration of first LGBT newspaper in Sacramento

The Center for Sacramento History is hosting a free event June 6 to celebrate Linda Birner, the founder of Mom Guess What! (MGW), one of Sacramento’s first LGBT newspapers. 

The event will be held at the Clunie Community Center (601 Alhambra Boulevard) from 6 to 8 p.m.  

“Birner created MGW in 1978 in response to California’s Proposition 6, an initiative sponsored by State Senator John Briggs that sought to ban gay and lesbian people as well as their supporters from teaching in public schools,” explained the Center for Sacramento History’s manager and City Historian Marcia Eymann.  

MGW originally went to press to advocate against the measure, which Californians ultimately voted down, the newspaper continued to be published every two weeks for the next thirty years.  

“MGW served as an important source of news and events for the local LGBT community, and as a way to help educate the larger Sacramento population about the LGBT community,” said Eymann. 

The evening event will feature a discussion and Q&A with founder and guest of honor Linda Birner along with panelists: 

  • Dennis (Denny) Mangers, Sacramento political and LGBT activist and founding member of the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus. 
  • Frank Lawler, a Sacramento teacher and activist, former editor for MGW and founding member of the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus.  
  • Rosemary Metrailer, former legal counsel for MGW and partner in an all-female Sacramento law firm that fought for LGBT and women’s rights.  

The Center will also have displays of newspaper cover pages through the years available for viewing. There will also be a special performance by the PolyPhonics of the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus. 

The event is free, but registration is required. Those interested in attending can register here. 

The Center is looking for additional MGW original copies of the newspapers, photographic material and administrative papers from readers and those who worked on the paper.  

The Center for Sacramento History is the official repository and research center for historical city and county government records, and they house collections from individuals, families, businesses, and community organizations that chronicle the history of the Sacramento region. 

The Center is open to the public for in-person research by appointment only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon. and 1 to 4 p.m. Learn more at the Center’s website. 

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