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History of The Imperial Star Empire

Formation and Early Years

In 1978 by the decree of the Widow Norton, Empress I Jose, the Empire of Alameda County was given to the people to select their own Monarchs for Imperial representation. However, Imperial roots had already been established in the East Bay by another "reigning" organization known as the "King & Queen of Hearts of Alameda County". To make a long story short, the reigning Queen of Hearts stepped down to run for the title of Empress. Alameda County's first Imperial Board of Directors had quite a job, the writing and formatting of a constitution and bylaws as well as encouraging members of the community to participate. By September 1979, Alameda crowned it's first Monarchs, Emperor I Eddie Paulson and Empress I Suzie. Over the course of the next several years the men and woman of the Empire represented Alameda County and assisted many people through their charitable works.
During the 7th and 8th Reigns the organization saw many noteworthy changes. As one chapter of the book closed, another one opened. One of the more influential members of the community, Emperor 8 David Montoya's partner, Princess Royale Star (aka Doug Bohrer), was considered destined to become Empress. Unfortunately, before this could happen, we lost Star to AIDS, which was beginning to ravage the community during about this time. The Board of Directors chose to honor her memory by changing the organizations name. From the 8th reign forth we would be know as The Imperial Star Empire of Alameda County (ISE).
ISE also began to focus on becoming more "legitimate" in the eyes of not only the gay community, but also the federal and state authorities. We officially became incorporated during the 8th reign. By the 10th reign ISE achieved federal and state tax-exempt status, and began the public elections of our Board of Directors.
Just Some Of The Significant Moments Through The Years:
  • 11th Reign - Emperor Michael and his Empress Timmi Ryan, well known for her performing, brought us into our 2nd Decade with style.
  • 12th Reign - Camp and fun were the theme this year as Empress 12 Trampolina Lopez sported a mustache and red sequined tennis shoes all year. Her and Emperor David Murray led a fun-filled year.
  • 13th Reign - 1st and only tie in the election of monarchs with the election of Empress 13 Honey Hush and Empress13 Larissa Campbell-Winchell. Both reigned jointly along with Emperor 13 C.J. Stoyka and had a hugely successful year. A provision has since been added to the Constitution to prevent ties in the future.
  • 14th Reign - This reign saw an attempt to remove Empress 14 Raven Madd from her elected position due to issue in her personal life. The very popular Empress successful fought back and the community stood by their Empress. She would go on to become one of the most popular Empresses on the court circuit; reigning for a 2nd time many years later as Empress 30 in our sister city of Stockton. Raven, along with her equally popular Emperor, Ray Braggs lead a successful Reign here in Alameda.
  • 15th Reign - 1st and to date only Lesbian monarchs with the election of Emperor 15 Kari and Empress 15 Victoria Rose. In addition to our popular drag fundraisers, we saw softball and bowling tournaments, which proved equally successful.
  • 16th Reign - Along with Emperor 16 Taco Tony (previously Empress 3) we say our 1st Transgender monarch elected, Empress 16 Tiffany Woods. They were both know for their wonderful sense of humor, he as a popular bartender at the World Famous Turf Club and she for her stand-up routine which always included her popular Top 10 List. It would be another 10 years before another Transgender woman would be elected, Empress 26 Niyah Ashley St. James. The 16th reign also saw official recognition for ISE by U.S. Congressman Pete Stark, Tiffany lead Hayward's 1st AIDS Candlelight Vigil and the "People's Court of Comedy 7 Laughter" participated in the 1st ever Gay Prom in Northern California.
  • 17th Reign - With guidance from Emperor 17 Darryl Wandry & Empress 17 Courtney St. James, nearly 400 gift baskets/stockings handed out to patients at five Alameda County hospitals at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.
  • 18th Reign - 1st solo monarch with the election of Empress 18 Beverly Hills Gold. Although solo, Beverly and her "Cumming of Age" Court got the job done and had fun along the way. Decade Emperor 8 David Montoya escorted her Majesty on occasion.
  • 19th Reign - The start of our 1st Imperial website, thanks to Imperial Crown Prince JJ Ferra (later Emperor 20). Also, ISE's participation in the 1st ever East Bay Gay Mardi Gras. The Empire also grew significantly in land area during this reign with the incorporation of Contra Costa County. The well-traveled "Imperial Court of the Wild Kingdom" was represented at an amazing twenty-nine Coronations that year. All of this would lead up to a very successful step down; which for the 1st time in many years was held in Downtown Oakland.
  • 20th Reign - Emperor JJ Ferra & Empress Jessica DeWells and their court had the most funds ever raised for the Children's Hospital AIDS Ward and participated in the local Public Broadcasting Station's on-air pledge drive.
  • 21st Reign - 1st Regent Monarch title bestowed to Regent Empress 21 Larissa Campbell-Winchell (also Empress 13) who reigned with Emperor 21 Jason Parkos. The following year, two regent titles were given to Regent Emperor 22 Tim Carlisle (also Emperor 19) and Regent Emperor 22 Ray Braggs (also Emperor 14 & Empress 17 Courtney St. James). In all three cases, the Regent titles were dropped before the respective monarchs stepped down.
  • Also in the 22nd Reign - This year saw our three monarchs named as the Emperors & Empress of California at Coronation in our State Capital, Sacramento. In addition, two of the highlights of this reign were the courts command performance of Dreamgirls, on Broadway, at New York's Coronation and the very successful clothing drive for the homeless.
  • 23rd Reign - In this transitional year, we saw the first resignation by a monarch when Christopher St. James resigned due to personal reasons. He will forever be recognized as the 23rd Elected Emperor.
  • 25th Reign - Led by our 1st monarchs from Contra Costa County, Emperor 25 Alex P (who would later was elected Empress 27 Jowanna Piece St. James) and Empress 25 Deneka Ashley St. James, we celebrated our Silver Jubilee.
  • The 26th Reign - While a challenging year, we still saw many successes under the leadership of the very popular Empress 26 Niyah Ashley St. James as well her husband of state Emperor 26 Ellis Linsey.
  • 27th Reign- in this transitional year, we saw the Second resignation by a Monarch when Jo-Wana Piece St. James resigned to do personal reasons. She will forever be known as the 27th elected Empress.before she resigned , she reigned with Emperor 27 Christian Dior Essence who finished out his remaining months of the 27th Reign with Regent Empress 27 Absolute Empress 26 Niyah Ashley St. James.
  • 28th Reign- while a very well planned year, with some challanges to bridge building,we saw many successful eventsand fresh ideas brought in, under the leadership of this very popular couple Emperor 28 John Marques and Empress 28 Jessica Avalon who are not the first set of Monarchs to also be Life Partners.
  • 29th Reign- one Monarch was elected by the name of  Marla Holmes aka Miss Lady Cranberry. She  was a real Female but not our First to be elected Empress.She Reigned as Empress for the better part of the year until she had to resign do to health reasons in May of 2008.She will forever be known as the 29th elected Empress. The Imperial Double Crown Princess Donica Chatmon went on to represent the Empire along with Imperial Crown Princess Royale Cseneca St. James. they both did a upstanding job during this term.
  • 30th Reign-Restructuring has begun so we did not have elections for Monarchs this term. Instead the Board of Director's appointed two Representatives to be The Imperial Prime Minister of Affairs. Cseneca St. James and Tomas Hernandez.Their duties  included hosting events and traveling throughout the International Court System and other Cities and States representing our Empire.Since their Reign was Completed, both Tomas and Cseneca where elevated to the position of Emperor and Empress 30.
  • 31st Reign- Brought Two Men to the Empire to Represent the Community and brought Emperors New Clothes and Coronation to a whole new level.Emperor 31 Christian the Strength and Pride of the Empire and Emperor 31 Jason the "California Happy Cow" who will Dance your ring off your finger for Charity.
  • 32nd Reign- Moved to Alameda County from one of our Sister City Empires to  become one of our's. Empress Athena Van Doren "get out your Money " she either wants it for her Charity or a beer!. this Awesome sometime blonde boom shell, took it to new heights.Welcome one of the Fab 5 to the to the International Court System Emperor 32 Margaret Ramirez (#2).More Women have stepped into the positions of Emperor or Empress then ever before.then 5 Women from 5 different cities stepped up within months of each other and took California and the position of Emperor  to a new level. 
  • 33rd Reign- This was a second go around for both our Monarchs Emperor Elect Christopher and Empress Cseneca. we wish them much success in the future.A hard year for some. much harder for one.
  • 34th Reign- A Fab 5 Emperor Margaret Ramirez, has stepped up to be Regent Emperor XXXIV.a year with a TWIST.
  • 35th Reign- made standing on Ethics a whole new game. this year a solo Regent Monarch is running the show with his ICP at his side.
  • 36th Reign-Represented By The Governing Board of Directors and the Anniversary Decade Monarch Absolute Emperor XXVI Ellis A. Freakshow St. James
  • 37th Reign-Represented by The Governing Board of Directors and the Anniversary Decade Monarch Absolute Sovereign Emperor XXVII Christian Dior Essence
  • 38th Reign- The Year of the Majestic Jungle where only The Queen of  the Jungle survived Empress 38 Tarzanna
  • 39th Reign- The 40th Anniversary Celebration Coronation with the Reign starting with Regent Emperor Emmanuel and Regent Empress Cseneca she had to remove herself for personal reasons, in the final months of the reign Athena stepped in to complete the year with Emmanuel..
  • 40th Anniversary Monarch Regent Empress XL Jessica Avalon the Perseverance of the Stars stepped up to reign over the empire she grew up loving since no one was willing to take on another year, she was ready to do it ALONE.

     Our Foundation
The strongest work of the Empire is the Constitution and By-Laws, written by our forefathers/mothers: Empress 9 Tootsie, Manuel Oliver, Emperor I Eddie Paulson, Empress 1 Suzie, Peter Palm (Nez Pas), Fat Fairy, Fred Corella, and Empress 5 Cha Cha. Their words are as poignant today as when they were conceived:
"To establish, preserve and support the persons of Emperor and Empress of ISE Inc. and said titles can never become the personal property of a few individuals, but will be held in trust for the benefit of all people in Alameda (and now Contra Costa) County. Service through united action, guided by intelligence shall be the hallmark of ISE. The organization is formed to cultivate friendship and fellowship among members, to promote harmonious relations between members and the community, to place their fellow human beings on a higher plane of understanding, concern, and to be of assistance and aid to those in need."

Helping Out

Throughout the years ISE and it's volunteers have raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity which went to help thousands of people throughout the community suffering from AIDS, Breast Cancer, Domestic Abuse, Homophobia, Racism, Homelessness, and numerous other societal problems and ailments. Members and former members of ISE have gone on to be instrumental in the formation of the Alameda County Leather Corp (ACLC) and the Royal Grand Ducal Council both of which have also raised tens of thousands of dollars for our community. All three organizations work hand in hand for the betterment of Alameda County. As an example of this unity and "cross-over" appeal, Empress 9 Tootsie, Empress 15 Victoria, Emperor 20 JJ & Empress 20 Jessica de Wells have all held "Reigning" Titles in these sister organizations.

The Big Picture

ISE is proud to be recognized as a chapter of the International Imperial Court System (ICS), which was founded in 1965 by Empress 1 of San Francisco Jose, the Widow Norton. The ICS is one of the largest and oldest predominantly gay and lesbian organizations in the world with over 70 chapters/courts in the United States, Mexico and Canada; each working for the betterment of their respective communities. While there is no official count, there is little doubt that over the last 40+ years that collectively the ICS has helped millions of people in need throughout our hemisphere.

Today and the Future

This reign, like all those that preceded it, has been interesting and full of transition. In September 2005, the community elected Christian Dior Essence and Jowanna Piece St. James as the 27th Emperor and Empress. Despite the tough local economy and numerous other organizations competing for the same dollars, the Monarchs, their Court, and several members of the Imperial Family went out into the community and did what many others had done before them?tried to make a positive difference. From participating in Hayward Pride in September to San Francisco Pride in June and many Coronations and Fundraisers in between.

As the 28th House began their adventure They had begun to unfold what would become the most successful reign in years. Emperor 28 John Marques (marks) and Empress 28 Jessica Avalon both travelled extensively and raised Thousands of Dollars during their term. keeping at heart what came first their Community, and those less fortunate then themselves.Both these Monarchs brought new ideas and new funding for the Imperial Court such as grants for scholarships to LGBT&Q Members of our Community who need assistance for schooling.Their Majesties continue to this day being involved in making changes and always looking for the betterment of their community.

Get ready for the 29th Reign of one single Monarch for Empress and Energetic Woman named Marla Holmes aka Lady Cranberry. who will always be known for her raffles and her wanting to win them where ever she went.her term was shorten do to health reasons making her leave the reign in May of 2008.

The Imperial Double Crown Princess Donica Chatmon went on to represent the Empire along with Imperial Crown Princess Royale Cseneca  St. James. they both did a upstanding job during this term. finishing the year with a Coronation event that will go down in History as one of the most exciting and funniest ever.

As we bring the 30th Reign to a close it was a very tough year for our Empire. seating Regents to Represent your Empire is never easy but sometimes nessessary to maintain your Empire and Charitable deeds. Regent Emperor Tomas Hernandez and Regent Empress Cseneca managed to travel and represent the Community and the Empire.They raised money and they kept their focus mainly on helping Children with HIV and AIDS and Families who where in Crisis and in need of assistance.

move over Beyonce the 31st Reign is putting a ring on it here. Two Emperors took over the empire to show us just how things are done in a Mans world Emperor Jason and Emperor Christian took us on a regal roadway of fun and mischief..

The 32nd Reign brought two of our sister cities Monarchs to us. After several years of supporting their new community.Emperor Margaret of the Fab 5, Reigned with that popular Mexicali Blonde Bomb Shell Empress Athena Van Doren together thay made huge changes. They put a whole new feeling to the word "RESPECT".

The 33rd Reign, when are we ever without drama in the court system.This Reign will go into the History books as a "he said, she said". Follow through or team work was not the best suit for these two. In the end only the Empress made it to Coronation.

The 34th Reign, Regent Monarch Margaret Ramirez stepped up for what she believed in and worked at bringing in new blood for the next several years. We learned also from this year of Change and New Ideas, that we are who we are "a team" that works together finishes together.. 

The 35th Reign, Absolute Dowager Emperor 20 walked in wanting to be Emperor, and with a solo candidate for Empress by the name of Vivica Montenegro the year was off to a short run.with personal and family issues we said good bye to our Elected Empress and continued the reign with the men at the Helm ICP 35 Tess and His Majesty JJ set there sites on charity and doing work in their community.We take a Bow to you Gentlemen for your Believe in the Community and the Court.

The 36th Reign is maintained by the Governing Board of Directors who felt it best to lay out the guidelines of the job of an Empress to their Regent, who then at 6 months quit. Decade Anniversary Monarch  Ellis will Finish representing,stay tuned,it was a night of 3 seasons of American Horror story what a amazing Coronation.

The 37th Reign is again represented by the Governing Board Direct along with the decade Monarch Absolute Sovereign Emperor Christian Dior Essence a well devoted Monarch of this Organization.

The 38th Reign woo hoo honey this year the Jungle got raddled and Tarzan had to go..Meet the Sole Monarch who thought she could do it all The Queen of the Jungle Empress 38 Tarzanna.she put the FUN back in the court that had been missing for sometime now such freshness. Not Only did she reach out to our lets see WOW Reign 2 Emperor and Empress Chuck and Carla and Emperor 8 David, these are some of our Founders and Senior Monarchs so nice to see them back in action, and congratulations to hosting over 30 years of history at your Coronation.

The 39th Reign is here with an Elected for the 3rd Time, you GO Honey, and she brought a Twist to the table. Empress Cseneca St. James with 100% of the College of Monarchs support. if selected, ISE would place a Regent Monarch of her Choice if no other stepped forward, Her selection well be from Another land pllease Welcome Regent Emperor 39 Emmanuel Lara to Our Imperial Family.

Take Note Children its our 40th year so lets see what wonderful things the 39th Reign will bring to our Celebration and 40th Anniversary Celebration Coronation..

 Everyone involved in the Imperial of  I.S.E. is a volunteer; just those individuals wanting to make a small difference.Each day we go out into our Community to make a difference no matter how big or how small it's how you impact your Community that matters most.

Together, all of these individuals have made a huge difference to thousands of people over the years. We look forward to continuing to be a positive force within our community, our state, our country and our world for many, many years to come. Remember this is History made by observation

Thank you,

The History Fairy

Celebrating 40 years of Continued Service to the Community