SO here is why I am the way I am — that is believing in freedom and civic engagement. San Francisco today…beautiful sunny day, the fog resting just on the crest of the hills over Twin Peaks. We went to see the Catro — my memory is of throngs of young men, bare-chested or in leather chaps and leather caps, milling around outside the bars — just revelling in being proud of who they were after whole lives of hiding and shame. I think the gay rights movement in SF in the seventies was so formative for me– I saw this big group of people just suddenly be DONE with shame, lesser legal status, marginalization, and they organized and elected their own power brokers and changed everything.
Well there were no milling crowds…where was everyone? MAybe AIDS and other STDs have changed that scene completely….but a glimpse of the past tradition was there nonetheless: a nice new civic patio had been built at the top of Castro street — a huge rainbow flag blew above it — and there were chairs and tables and pretty landscaping, people seated enjoying the sun. And at one table was an absolutely beautiful young man, about six foot three or four, in perfect physical condition – tanned, oiled, like a living Greek statue, perfectly hairless — wearing cowboots boots as I recall and a hat but otherwise completely nude. And absolutely no one bothered him because — well, he was bothering absolutely nobody.
That is why I am the way I am..that was the SF I grew up in…a city of total tolerance.
Agree or disagree that this is always a good thing but it was a very peaceful scene.
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