The Lavender Pen Tour

In response to recent events in the United States, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus will take its message and music on the road.

The Chorus will kick off its 40th Season by embarking on a tour of southern states — states that have major discriminatory laws aimed at the LGBTQ+ community.

It is our hope that the music will encourage LGBTQ+ people and our allies to come together, provoke conversations and action around civil liberties for all, while raising funds for local LGBT organizations.

We are taking this opportunity to marshal our mosaic of powerful, positive voices to empower our fellow Americans, especially our LGBTQ+ youth, and equally in a hopeful attempt to offer an outstretched hand and have an honest dialogue about the future of our country. We are not looking to argue, to preach or anger, but rather raise awareness, spread tolerance and bring harmony through song.

We will join with local non-profits and LGBTQ+ groups to help raise much-needed funds so they can continue doing their vital work to dismantle these biased and discriminatory laws. 

It is our intention to have the tour fully underwritten so that all monies raised stay in the respective communities.

The Lavender Pen Tour is made possible by generous donations from SFGMC patrons like you.

These Southern states have sought to legalize bigotry and intolerance with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that include:

• Transgender people may not use bathrooms that match their gender identity
• Businesses may deny services to same sex couples due to religious beliefs
• Mental health professionals may refuse to treat LGBTQ+ individuals


Harvey Milk, the first openly gay candidate elected to major office in the U.S., has often been referred to as the patron saint of SFGMC. The Chorus’ first public performance was at the candlelight vigil held on the night of Milk’s assassination. It was as if the baton of activism had been passed on. 

In 1977, a year before his death, Harvey sponsored a landmark gay civil rights bill. Mayor George Moscone signed that bill into law with a lavender pen given to him by Harvey. The Lavender Pen remains a symbol of the fight for equality for all and the reason for the tour’s name.


For the Lavender Pen Tour, our 250 SFGMC members will be joined by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir (OIGC). 

OIGC embodies a community of diverse races, cultures and faiths, and brings together 55 singers to inspire joy and unity among all people through black gospel and spiritual music. 



To commemorate the launch of the Lavender Pen Tour, the Chorus has released a live video of "Light" from Next to Normal, recorded live this past summer in Denver, CO. 

"When thinking about this tour in the wake of recent political tumult, this song immediately came to mind.  It is a piece that has brought us comfort in dark times. It is our hope it will do that again.” - Dr. Tim Seelig, Artistic Director