The Court System was started in San Francisco, which is known for its outrageous personalities and colorful figures. So it was, in that city that Empress I, Jose declared himself the Dowager Widow of the Emperor Norton – Empress of San Francisco and the Protectress of Mexico. Emperor Norton is a historical figure of the 1800’s, a product of the first wave of gold miners to the Barbary Coast. An eccentric, he made a fortune in gold, lost a fortune in rice, and finally declared himself the Emperor of San Francisco.

Jose Sarria was notorious in 1965. He was, perhaps the first openly gay political candidate when he ran for city supervisor in 1961. At the same time he was doing this, a group of gay bar owners were organizing The Tavern Guild. This organization was designed to provide support in coping with an anti-gay political machine operating in San Francisco at that time. The Tavern Guild sought out a hostess for its functions; Jose was indeed the logical choice. Jose was instrumental in bringing the various factions to her home for her now infamous

“Brunches” where she would hostess, (some say hostage taking) between the parties and bring about a consensus beneficial to the Community as a whole, Straight & Gay.

The standard of fun, glamour and irreverence attracted many. The Court system was growing up and down along the West Coast. In Seattle, George Ray and colleagues from the Queen City Business Guild, a group of gay bar owners traveled to San Francisco and petitioned Jose for permission to establish a Court. In 1971 Seattle became the fourth Empire of the International Court System, in which there are more than (60) sixty in the United States and Canada. The Court of Seattle has mounted many campaigns to lead the fight for Gay Rights, which Jose I, in general terms, believes are indeed nothing more than Human Rights.

In 1998 the Court filed for and received its 501.c3 Non-Profit status, and became known as The Court of Seattle Organization. The purpose of the Court is to maintain pageantry and heraldry for the Monarchy by means of electing titles and other such positions; to create goodwill, to organize charitable social events, to hold fundraising activities, and to provide for the enjoyment and benefit of its members and for the social community in which it exists. The Court still maintains it initial focus of ensuring equal treatment for all members of the Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.