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The Passing of Empress Norton

Widow Norton grave site.
As a follow up to young Clutterbuck’s post on Emperor Norton, I wanted to mention that last spring, St. Mae of treated my wife and I to a tour of the fabled grave site of the Emperor, which is located—as young Clutterbuck mentioned—at one of the many cemeteries located in Colma, California, otherwise known as the “City of the Graves,” the city with more cemeteries per capita than any other in these United States.

The Widow Norton.
During our visit, St. Mae dropped some additional Emperor Norton knowledge on us of which I was previously unawares—that located right beside the Emperor’s grave was the future burial plot of The Widow Norton (aka José Sarria), a famous San Francisco drag queen who’d been instrumental in maintaining the Emperor Norton’s grave site over the years, as well as somehow wedding him along the way.

Also sharing plots adjacent to Emperor Norton and his beloved Empress were four other drag queen comrades of the Widow Norton—some still living, others having shed the mortal coil.

Grave sites of the other cross-dressing colleagues of the Widow Norton.
Shortly after our Emperor Norton grave site visit—in September 2013—I learned of the passing of José Sarria who, I soon discovered, was much more than a mere cross dressing widowed Empress, but also known as the “Rosa Parks of the gay rights movement.”

Read more about Sarria’s passing here.

Sounds like they had a hell of a going away party for the Empress!

Live Like Norton!

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