Talk:José Sarria/GA1

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GA Review[edit]

This is a very interesting article about a fascinating figure. I learned quite a lot about the early LGBT movement, a subject I know little about. I found the article to fit most of the criteria for Good Articles: it is mostly well written, correctly formatted and verifiable. The sources seem to be reliable as far as I can tell, the article is stable and neutral, and the one image is correctly tagged. A few comments in regards to the prose:

  • If you don't mind, I'm going to strike through your comments as I make the fixes. If that's a problem, go ahead and revert.
  • Nope, that's fine. Just remember to leave the asterisks unstricken so the formatting does not turn wonky. :) María (habla conmigo) 16:37, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


  • Sarria co-founded the early homophile organization the League for Civil Education in 1960 or 1961: should be reworded, perhaps as "Sarria co-founded the League for Civil Education, an early homophile organization, in the early 1960s"? The uncertainly of "1960 or 1961" is confusing for the lead, I feel.
  • If the above is changed, then: Also In 1961 he became the first openly gay candidate...
  • In 1962 he helped to form the Tavern Guild to fight
  • Sarria entertained at the Black Cat until its closure in 1963. What does "entertain" denote, exactly?
  • It's a matter of personal choice, but do you prefer In 1964, with a comma, or In 1964 without? I see it both ways in the lead with various years, but consistency is important.
  • Also in 1961 he became the first openly gay candidate for public office in the United States when he ran for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. That he was the first openly gay candidate for public office in the US is stated here in the lead, but not in the body of the article. Keep in mind WP:LEAD.
  • "Empress José I, The Widow Norton." Per WP:PUNC, logical punctuation rules state that unless the period/comma is part of the quotation, then it should go outside of the quotation marks: "Empress José I, The Widow Norton".

Early life

  • Is Sarria Mexican American? It's never explicitly stated.
  • Sarria attended the Emerson School for kindergarten and then, because he spoke Spanish: should be made more clear; he spoke only Spanish? Primarily Spanish?
  • Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor: Attack on Pearl Harbor should probably be linked here.
  • despite being too short to meet the Army's height requirement. Random question that may be of use here but is not too important in the long run, but is it known exactly how tall (short) he is?
  • He seduced a major who was attached... Although it's stated in the lead, nowhere does it say in the article itself that Sarria is gay. So, by the time of his seduction, he already knew his sexual identity? Is there anything more to be said about this, how he came to the realization that he was gay, etc? We make a jump from learning he dressed as a girl when he was young to seducing a military major, which is somewhat confusing.

The Nightingale of Montgomery Street

  • He and his sister...: this is the first mention outside of his parents. Her name? Are there others?
  • Sarria and his sister both became smitten with a waiter: "smitten" is a great word, but I feel it may be a little too unencyclopedic? :)
  • At around this time, Sarria was arrested in a sting operation at the St. Francis Hotel. I can guess the gist of the situation, but for what was he arrested, exactly? It's far too vague.
  • ...entered a contest at an Oakland bar called Pearl's. This is also vague; was it a drag performance?
  • "I thought, 'I might be able to make a living this way.'" This needs qualification and attribution; some kind of introductory phrase for the quote ("Looking back on the event, Sarria stated," or something) and, of course, a reference.
  • "The Nightingale of Montgomery Street." Move period outside of quote.
  • "There's nothing wrong with being gay -- the crime is getting caught," fix dash per WP:DASH
  • Sarria formed the League for Civil Education... what was the purpose of this organization?

The Widow Norton

  • "Pocket Lawyers." period fix.
  • "already a queen," comma fix.
  • "Her Royal Majesty, Empress of San Francisco, Jose I, The Widow Norton." period.
  • Sarria and members of the Imperial Court appear along with other notable drag queens in the opening scenes of the movie To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995). Great film, but this seems somewhat trivial; if it's necessary, it should be integrated into the preceding paragraph.
  • "José Sarria Court." period.

I will put the article's nomination on hold for a week until these (mostly minor) issues are addressed. As a whole, the article is fairly broad in its coverage, but some more explanation would go a long way; don't assume that readers will know everything about drag queen performances, for example. :) A little more personal information regarding Sarria would be an asset to the article, as well, especially regarding his sexuality and/or personal life. If it's not available in the sources, then the brevity is of course unavoidable, but I thought I'd ask just in case. Thank you to the main contributors for an enlightening read! Let me know on my talk page if you have any questions. María (habla conmigo) 14:02, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


Of what's remaining:

  • Sarria entertained at the Black Cat until its closure in 1963. What does "entertain" denote, exactly?
  • "Entertained" refers back to "performing" in an earlier sentence.
  • I added Sarria entertained patrons with satirical versions of popular songs and operas. to help clarify.
  • Is Sarria Mexican American? It's never explicitly stated.
  • I think I remember seeing something about the ethnicity of his parents. I'll look through sources again.
  • He seduced a major who was attached...
  • I haven't found a great deal about his early life beyond what's there. I agree that it's a bit of a jarring transition. I have a source that talks about his studying singing that talks about his tenor voice so I could put in something like "as he grew up his voice deepened to a natural tenor" or something similar to give a sense of the time passage.
  • I added He also studied singing, and as he matured his vocal range became high tenor. I don't much care for the phrasing but it provides something of a transition.
  • He and his sister...
  • My source doesn't mention his sister's name. I'll see if I can find it elsewhere. And I think "smitten" is encyclopedic enough and it's so perfectly descriptive.
  • I merged the sentence about To Wong Foo to the preceding paragraph but if you think it's too trivial to include I don't mind losing it. I didn't write that sentence anyway. ;-)
  • As for the punctuation issues, I strongly disagree with the MOS on that point. I think commas and periods outside of quotation marks look horrible and I don't find such placement to be at all logical. It's not the way that I was taught to write American English either from a thesis-writing or a journalism perspective. For a number of the noted instances the punctuation is properly placed regardless.
  • I will dig a bit more to see if I can turn up any more personal information. He has a semi-autobiography out that I haven't read yet; I've ordered it from the library and I'm assuming it will be a strong source. Otto4711 (talk) 18:17, 2 July 2008 (UTC)
Great, most of my concerns have been addressed and I approve of your additions. "Smitten" is fine with me and To Wong Foo doesn't stick out as much since it's been merged, so no problems there. As for the logical punctuation, trust me, I completely agree. It's unsightly and sloppy. The MOS minions, however, are quite picky about punctuation placement, and if this article were to be brought to FAC today, there are those who would oppose its promotion solely on those grounds. Because GA and FA are two completely different things, and it's truly a minor issue at best, I'm not going to push it; just don't say I didn't warn you. :)
One thing I noticed while reviewing but forgot to mention were a couple dashes for the page ranges in the citations that should be replaced with en dashes; again, very minor, but some folks make mountains out of molehills, etc. I believe this article is ready to be promoted now. Wonderful work, Otto, and congratulations on an illuminating article. I hope to see more of this kind at GAC sometime. María (habla conmigo) 12:59, 3 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for a great GA experience! I wish there were more reviewers like you. Otto4711 (talk) 13:02, 3 July 2008 (UTC)

The MOS minions, however, are quite picky about punctuation placement, and if this article were to be brought to FAC today, there are those who would oppose its promotion solely on those grounds.
I feel compelled to say this is the sort of thing that makes me a lot less enthusiastic about contributing to Wikipedia than I used to be. (The very idea that an expressive word like "smitten" might somehow be inappropriate is another example.) There are editors out there who seem to want to make Wikipedia as cookie-cutter and tedious as possible, and it's too exhausting to fight them. Languagehat (talk) 17:38, 27 August 2013 (UTC)