The TV mini-series When We Rise tells many stories of many gay rights activists who have fought and struggled politically, professionally and personally over the decades. One of the trailblazers featured in When We Rise is Jim Foster. After his “undesirable discharge” from the U.S Army in 1959 for being homosexual, in 1964 Foster co-founded the Society for Individual Rights (SIR) which later become the Alice B. Toklas Memorial Democratic Club, the first gay Democratic club in the country. Most notably, the Toklas club delivered one-third of the signatures needed to secure George McGovern on the California ballot in 1972. Foster was the first openly LGBT person to address a national party convention (with fellow delegate Madeline Davis). Foster died of an AIDS-related illness in 1990.
Jim Foster is portrayed by Denis O’Hare. He’s known for his roles on This Is Us (William’s partner Jesse), and in the films Dallas Buyers Club (Dr. Sevard), The Proposal (Mr. Gilbertson), Milk (John Briggs), J. Edgar (Albert Osborn), and on the TV shows American Horror Story (Spalding), The Good Wife (Judge Charles Abernathy), True Blood (Russell Edgington), and Brothers & Sisters (Travis Marsh), among others. When We Rise premieres Monday, February 27 at 9pm on ABC.