The International Imperial Court System (IICS), also known as the International Court System, is the second largest LGBT organization in the world, only surpassed by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC).
It was founded in 1965 by José Sarria, one of San Francisco’s first queer activists and drag legend. “Mama José” took on the name “the Widow Norton” as homage to Joshua Norton (1818-1880), a 19th San Francisco eccentric who declared himself “Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico” in 1859. (If you must go crazy you might as well go big.) IICS soon became a grassroots network of community fundraisers whose members bore titles of nobility bestowed upon them by elected Emperors and Empresses.
In 2007, the elderly Widow Norton (who died in 2013) abdicated and was succeeded by the Empress Nicole the Great of San Diego, AKA Nicole Murray-Ramirez.
The Imperial Sun Court of All Florida, established in September 2016, is the 70th regional court that is part of the Imperial System. According to the Queen Mother for Life, Czarina 1, Barbie LaChoy (Steven Rule), President of the Board of Directors, “Our founders are Steven Rule (aka Barbie LaChoy), Marc Viens and Bill Rolls (aka Fabergé). For about two years, we had talked about founding a court here in Florida, as we are all three from San Francisco and are permanent title holders in the Founding Mother Court of SF.”
“While I was attending a Coronation in Boise, Idaho, I was approached by Queen Mother 1 of The Americas, Empress Nicole Murray-Ramirez, the Great. She had been pushing me to start a court in Florida, stating that there were many people calling her wishing to start one, but none had any experience with the Court System. Since I have been involved with The Court System for 30+ years, experienced as a former Emperor, Empress of Alaska and an Empress in San Francisco, she thought I would be the one to follow through. We were fully approved and sanctioned as the Imperial Sun Court of All Florida. In March 2017, we hosted our Adornment, which was attended by Royalty from 10 out of state Courts, and I was crowned Czarina 1 of All Florida. I later invested Marc Viens as Czar 1 of All Florida.”
The Imperial Sun Court of All Florida is a non-profit corporation that hosts and participates in events and activities to raise money for other community-based organizations.
One such event was the Coronation Two, "Hollywood Glitz and Glam," held on Jan. 25 at the beautiful Sonesta in Fort Lauderdale Beach.
According to the Czarina: “The goal of the GALA is to celebrate the current Emperor and Empress [John Walters and Candy Cox] and their reign. The money raised throughout the year will be distributed/awarded to the charities that they selected at the start of their reign, including TranSocial, SAGE, Pet Project, Compass Center of WPB, Ignite Women Empowerment, Camp Aranu’tiq of Harbor Camps for Transgender Youth and the Bridge Outreach."
At last year’s coronation, “attended by 22 visiting Courts, I was bestowed the title of Queen Mother for Life and Protector of Florida for Life and Marc Viens was bestowed King Father for Life by Queen Mother of the Americas, Nicole the Great. We anticipate another great year of representation.”
For more information on the Imperial Sun Court of All Florida visit .
Jesse Monteagudo is a freelance writer and journalist. He has been an active member of South Florida's LGBT community for more than four decades and has served in various community organizations.