Cameron B. Tanner was born Richard Reese in about 1947 and was living in San Francisco and going by the nickname of "Butchie" by the time he was 18 in 1965. A numerologist would later suggest that he change his name, which he did, to Cameron B. Tanner. Cameron was a bartender and drag performer in San Francisco and was elected "Empress of San Francisco" in 1988 and February 3, 1988 he was awarded a Certificate of Honor by the City of San Francisco through the efforts of Supervisor Hongisto. On March 11, 1992, after having seen a movie at a theater in the Latin area below Castro, he was beaten and killed by two thugs with baseball bats. He died from his injuries on April 21, 1992. Although he was not transgendered and it is believed that his killers were not aware that he was gay, he is often included in several transgender memorial lists.
E-mail received March 27, 2012
I would like to help clarify a fact or two about Cameron. I first met him when he was only 18. That was 1965. I knew him up until his death 27 years later. When I first met him, I was only 21 and we both were cruising Polkstrasse in San Francisco. His name AT that time, was Richard Reese; but, he went by the name BUTCHIE. Later, because of a numerologist telling him if he really wanted to lose weight, he would need to change his name. He changed it to Cameron B. Tanner (no middle name, just an initial). I would visit him in both San Francisco and also when he lived in Los Angeles.
Later, Butchie shared an apartment with a fellow called Big Jimmy. Big Jimmy was a performer at the Alley Cat. He performed at least two mimes to Rusty Warren songs. They were “Get Your Knockers Up” and the “Salvation Army Parody”. Upon Big Jimmy’s death, Butchie inherited those songs/tapes.
Even later, Butchie would become an Empress of San Francisco and in between working as a bartender, do drag shows.
Butchie had attended a movie at a theater below Castro in the Latino area. Coming out of the theater, he was hit from behind by two gang wannabe’s. He never knew what hit him. To my knowledge, after speaking with his roomie at the time, it was NOT a hate crime. Other than when performing, Butchie would not be considered even close to being effeminate. He most CERTAINLY was NOT a TRANSEXUAL.
I hope this helps clear up a few things. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.