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Court System

The International Court System (ICS) is one of the most exciting, diverse GLBT organizations on this continent! With 70 non-profit chapters across the United States, Canada and Mexico, our members utilize their unique talents to raise funds and awareness, educate and teach, and help fulfill the needs of their communities. We put the fun back in fundraising!

Our organization is open to everyone. Our membership is made up of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and hetero-sexual individuals. A person’s gender or orientation has no bearing on being a member of the court “family.”

The Court System today consists of 70 chapters or Courts in the US, Canada and Mexico. These chapters are each chartered by the International Court Council but are independently governed in accordance with national and local charitable organization requirements.

The court system was founded in San Francisco when a group of gay bar owners formed a Tavern Guild in early 1965 as a means to stand in solidarity with one an-other under the pressure of police harassment. The Guild put on the first large public drag ball in San Francisco’s history called the Beaux Arts Ball. In its third year Jose Julio Sarria, a World War II veteran and the first openly gay candidate to run for public office in North America, in 1961, was declared the Queen of the Ball, and then declared himself Empress. With that the Imperial Court System was born. Jose’s unique combinations of talent influence and vision guided the start of what is now an international organization. From that beginning we derived our titles: Emperor, Empress, Prince and Princess, as well as our yearly gala function-Coronation.

The Communiqué

The official newsletter is available quarterly in digital form and includes submissions from around the continent. Focused on events and sharing fundraising and governance ideas, many chapters print the Communiqué for distribution to their members.

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