We, the Imperial Rainbow Court of Northern Utah, would first like to welcome you and thank you for allowing us this opportunity to introduce ourselves and give you some insight to our purpose and the history of the International Court System.
In 1965, José Sarria proclaimed herself the Empress of San Francisco, and laid the foundation for the formation of the Imperial Court de San Francisco. Now known as the International Court System, this organization was created for charitable, educational and social purposes focusing mainly towards communities needs. Having chapters, known as courts, now expanding throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, while keeping the tradition of the Court Systems in the gay communities and striving to continue her legacy.
As representatives of our courts, our primary goals are:
Each year, courts within the Imperial Court System contribute tens of thousands of dollars to local community services. Our members raise this money through community functions and fundraisers and those funds raised are used to assist many community members without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion or national and ethnic origin. By doing this, we hope to bridge the gap between all facets of the community and to improve quality of life.
The Court System has spread far and wide. Presidents of the individual courts, typically known as Emperors and Empresses, can be found from San Diego to Anchorage, Honolulu to New York and beyond. The Court system remains an informal organization, so no exact membership can be tallied. However, over 65 cities have Emperors and Empresses elected annually. In the same spirit and practice, the courts operate much like other organizations, such as the Masons and Elks. It is also similar to a theater group, providing a creative outlet for its members. Talented individuals have the opportunity to design elaborate costumes, sets, and musical numbers and then have a place to present them. A lot of networking and traveling takes place throughout the system, not only locally but from one city to another.
The primary goals of the elected officials are to further relationships with organizations and businesses within their communities and to hold functions and fundraisers for the enjoyment of all. The Courts are an effective fundraising organization in the community at large.
In 1993, by proclamation of Emperor XVII, Jeff Freedman, of The Royal Court of the Golden Spike Empire, The Barony of Northern Utah was established. During the first year, the Barony had approximately 20 members. Since then, membership has grown to over 70. In the year 2000, The International Court Council gave approval to the Barony of Northern Utah to change to an Imperial Court. On November 18, 2000, at Barony Ball 8 / Coronation 1, The First Emperor and Empress were crowned and The Barony of Northern Utah changed its name to The Imperial Rainbow Court of Northern Utah (IRCONU).
The IRCONU is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization which holds fundraisers to raise money for charitable organizations such as: Christmas Box House, Youth Outreach, Northern Utah Coalition, Lantern House and our local food bank as well as to National and International causes such as: Pink Ribbon Campaign, Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Matthew Shepherd Foundation. We also donate money to individuals in need who are afflicted with HIV/AIDS, Cancer and many other illnesses. All of our representatives are volunteers and therefore do not receive any monetary gain from the money raised at court fundraisers.
When most people think of the Imperial Rainbow Court of Northern Utah, the first thought that comes to mind is drag queens. Although some of our members who perform for fundraisers are drag queens… the organization is much more than that. Our purpose, along with fundraising, is to provide a creative outlet for the LGBTQ+ community to express there individuality and for talented individuals to have the opportunity to design elaborate costumes, sets, and musical numbers and to provide a place to present them.