The International Court System
Welcome to the International Court System's Official Web Site! We hope you enjoy your visit and find it enlightening.
The International Court System (ICS) is one of the most exciting, diverse GLBT organizations on this continent! With 68 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 almost 70 chapters or Courts in the US, Canada and Mexico. The individual Courts are both social and community service organizations bound together in shared structure, policies and goals. Even though each court is part of the International Court System they are governed in accordance with national, state 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 another 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.
When the Court System originated in San Francisco, California, in 1965, it was intended mainly for "camp" fun. From that beginning we derived our camp titles: Emperor & Empress, Prince & Princess, and so forth--as well as each court's annual gala function, Coronation. Jose's unique combinations of talent influence and vision guided the start of what is now an international organization.