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Our History

Rise of the Phoenix

In the mid 1970's, Arizona had two active Imperial Courts. The Empire of Tucson, was based in Tucson and the Imperial Court de Phoenix, was based in Phoenix. Both were started to aid and support their gay communities by hosting social events and benefits and had connections to the International Court System.

Flight of the Phoenix

Cicely was elected Empress I of Tucson in October of 1976 and Fernando was elected Emperor I in Febuary of 1977 to join her. Robin and Adrian were elected Emperor and Empress I of the Imperial Court de Phoenix in 1978. The Emperor's Halloween Ball, the Empire Ball, was perhaps their best known event and people still talk about it 30 years later.

More records survive of the Tucson Court thanks to the archives of the Observer which began as the Arizona Gay News in 1976 and continues through this day. Empress I Cicily and Emperor I Fernando helped introduce the city of Tucson to the Court System and hosted many successful fundraisers and raised awareness of various issues. Notably they won the Producer’s Trophy for best presentation of theme at the 1976 San Diego Coronation, the first coronation Tucson attended.

Fire of the Phoenix

Both Courts only lasted a few years and then like the fabled Phoenix went up in Flames. The Imperial Court de Phoenix endured some politics, had a member run off with funds and had someone die during the Emperor's Ball. The Court never recovered.

The Empire of Tucson deposed it's first elected Emperor and its second elected Emperor abdicated to take a job in Texas. The two Courts maintained civil relationships in the best of times, but rarely cooperated with each other and after the loss of Emperor II the Tucson Court faded away.

Rebirth of the Phoenix

The ashes settled and the Valley of the Sun went without a Court for 30 years. A spark appeared at a local Leather contest in 2005 when two previous Court members Jennifer Carol, a past Monarch from Waco, Texas and Steve LaFata, a previous Court member from Denver, Colorado crossed paths. The spark smoldered for a few months as an idea in the back of their heads and then after some successes in the community became an ember. They fanned the embers, recruiting others, finding support in the community and laying the proper foundations for a successful Court.

Please join us as the Court rises from the ashes of its past and is reborn as the Imperial Sovereign Empire of Arizona.

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