Wiggsy Sivertsen, better known as just Wiggsy, has been fighting for LGBTQ equality, against injustice, and battling discrimination in an around Santa Clara County for more than half a century.
It’s important to share the stories of people like Wiggsy who have been fighting for LGBTQ rights even before Stonewall, out of the spotlight of places like New York and San Francisco. Her contributions to the community have made a lasting impact to make a more inclusive and equitable society for all of us.
For her generation, she was the most well-known lesbian in town. She was vocal and fierce, as was necessary for a strong-willed lesbian to be when fighting battles by herself. She took on anybody she felt was hostile to LGBTQ people, especially the “Bible Nazis” as she always called them.
In 1967, Wiggsy fell in love with a soft and gentle woman. The following year, when that relationship became known at her workplace, she was fired. It wasn’t in a far-away land—it was in Palo Alto. So began her 50+ years of fighting against discrimination of LGBTQ people and all vulnerable groups.
Her political involvement includes joining Harvey Milk in 1978 in defeating a proposition that would have made it unlawful for gay people to teach in public schools. From there she worked to defeat three AIDS quarantine initiatives. In 1984, she co-founded the Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee (BAYMEC), a local political action committee still active today.
As a professor and counselor at San Jose State University, she campaigned against ROTC programs on campus because of the Defense Department’s discriminatory policies toward lesbians and gays. She was active in other ways on campus, too, including as a faculty advisor to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance and the Women’s Center. It was in these roles she counseled hundreds of students in the coming out process.
Wiggsy has been a tireless advocate, teaching classes to San Jose police officers about LGBTQ lifestyles, fighting for more programs for those who experienced domestic violence, advocating for LGBTQ seniors, being president of the California Faculty Union, and serving on the county’s Commission on the Status of Women and the Human Rights Commission, to name a few. In short, there hasn’t been a single human rights issue that she hasn’t been involved in for the last half century.
Come hear her stories about all the battles at An Evening with Wiggsy and Pals—from John Briggs, to Lyndon LaRouche, to the Boy Scouts, to the Mormon Church, to the Moral Majority in an up close and personal interview with Wiggsy. Afterwards, we will hear comments from people who were involved in those struggles with her.
An Evening with Wiggsy and Pals will take place at Cafe Stritch on June 24. For more information or to buy tickets please click here.