Friday, June 28, 2024

In Which We Are Still Gay

 

Every year, volunteers erect a giant pink triangle on Twin Peaks, the biggest mountain here in town right above the Castro.  I dig it.

Allow me to be nostalgic and to gripe, two of my favorite pastimes.  This weekend is Gay Pride in San Francisco.  It's been pretty quiet today, but I'm sure this weekend will see my neighborhood, the Castro, the queerest hood in the world, will be stuffed with out of towners wandering around looking for the gay rides.  The Castro isn't really that different from any other nice part of town except for maybe the various sex toy emporiums (dildo stores in the local parlance) and the bakery that sells dick shaped cookies.  People think that's just hilarious. 

It wasn't always that way.  40 years ago, the Pride parade kicked off up here and ambled down Market Street to the Civic Center for the big party afterwards.  Eventually the parade just got too big to be staged here and instead moved down to the other end of Market Street where it could set up in the big streets there that were empty on Sundays anyway.  Part and parcel of the parade moving away from its community origins.  Here's a bit of trivia for you: when it started in the Castro, since the parade had to cross Van Ness Street to get down to the Civic Center, and since Van Ness is technically part of highway 101 and since you can't block a federal highway, getting the whole damn parade past that choke point was always a problem.  Also I'm pretty sure most of the people here in town don't know Van Ness is highway 101. 

Running up against laws was always part of the parade, just like most other aspects of gay life.  The parade was not only a celebration, it was also a protest, a determined effort to show people the gay world is here and we're not going anywhere.  Representation matters.  So it was probably inevitable that the growing presence in the parade of corporations and entities formerly opposed to queers and now embracing us was not a comfortable fit for a lot of the people the parade was supposed to be representing.  A group of lesbians (and who better to oppose the conformist attitude to parade was adopting) organized their own Dyke March, held the day before the actual pride parade, up here in the neighborhood to sort of return to their roots.

An impromptu party sprang up following the march and eventually it got big enough and organized enough to warrant its own name and that's how Pink Saturday was born.  It was a big, rowdy, casual event, very much along the subversive vein of the protests that sparked the original parade.  I liked it.

Of course, under the heading of Why We Can't Have Nice Things, poor little Pink Saturday became yet another victim of its own success.  As it got bigger and more well-known, knuckleheads started showing up and causing trouble, assaulting organizers and robbing party goers.  Eventually, in 2016, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, who were running it, gave up and shut it down.  I was sorry to see it go, it seems like there's little enough of the old timey rebellious queer life left.  I understand acceptance is important and we should celebrate it, but it's also important to remember that we achieved it by struggling.

But you know what?  As I was writing this, and feeling sort of glum, I suddenly heard people laughing and somebody whacking away on a drum kit downstairs, enjoying the nice weather and being young during San Francisco Pride, which reminds me that the struggle I was talking about is important, but so is celebrating.  So much of the fight for equality is just showing up and refusing to be invisible.  So yeah, I need to remember that I'm an old man and cynical and that things do change, but that doesn't mean queers are giving up.  So good for them.  And good for me, and good for the random tourists getting in my way in my own neighborhood.  Yay.  Pride.

Guys who should be proud: 

The admirable William Mann, squirting.



Dimitry Averyanov looking all meaty.


Deserves his own parade.


Queer sports, another aspect of this life I do not understand.


I, for one, would welcome an all naked, all hot guy parade.


More of this and less of the politicians trying to suck up the gay vote.


Give this guy a baton and let him lead the parade.

13 comments:

  1. A excellent post my friend!!!! When you mentioned Twin Peaks...I had a flash back being in the bar Twin Peaks...last time there found me and my ex in the company of two out of town Brits. A foursome ensued.

    Some of my friends ask why I still go to Pride parades and festivals. I mean after 30 years of doing Prides one has seen it all and there basically the same. But it's for the reason you made. not to be invisible. Like you aid just showing up makes a statement and one in numbers. And you can pass up looking and ogling the eye candy in short shorts?

    Happy Pride dear Peenee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have seen some misguided youth, tiktokkers and the like, complaining about Pride being "too sexualized." What rubbish. Sex is what defines people as gay. I think if they're worried about go-go boys at Pride, that's their problem.

      Delete
    2. Just out of general interest Mistress Maddie... erm... what year was this?

      Delete
  2. I sometimes have lapses in cynicism - though brief, they are welcome.
    Have a good day!
    Sx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cynical or clear-eyed? Hard to tell sometimes.

      Delete
  3. Replies
    1. Are you seeing italics? Maybe you're just leaning over to the side.

      Delete
    2. Oh, my first italic-y comment has disappeared! Perhaps it leant over to the side and fell off?

      Delete
  4. A great post, but maybe SF Pride needs some of your grumpiness. Get out there and show those young studs how it's done! Representation matters!

    Anonymous, too

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Youth is wasted on the young and grumpiness on the old.

      Delete
  5. So, do you walk by the dildo store, look in
    the window & exclaim, "I recognize that one!"

    ReplyDelete
  6. Picture 3 is wearing a key around his neck, I wonder what it opens. I was with a friend in clonezone many years ago, when poppers were called poppers and not aromas, he stole a display dildo by pulling his shorts down and sticking it up his bum, I was very impressed, he did it without using any lube.

    ReplyDelete

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