San Francisco’s last gay gym fading to straight

Update:  18 June 2020.  I thought I’d update this article after reading the front page of the website of this gym that I wrote about back in 2014.  This text is from their website:  Welcome to the cultural capital of San Francisco. Enjoy your morning cardio routine as you overlook the views of bustling Market Street, take in the beautiful colors of the historic Castro District, and belong to a truly diverse Bay Area community.”  That is all a lie.  The Castro is the cultural capital of San Francisco?  There is no culture in The Castro.  That’s one of the problems with The Castro.  The culture was evicted and left The City.  I’ve never heard of a “culture capital” of San Francisco, but if there is one, it would be the area around Davies Symphony Hall near the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.  None of which has to do with the culture-less Castro.  There is no culture in The Castro.  And what is the “beautiful colors” they’re talking about?  Most people wear Millenneal black and grey.  Most people in The Castro are terrified of colour.  The only colour you’ll see in The Castro is with the over-saturation of Rainbow Flags and they are there merely for tourist purposes.  Diversity in The Castro?  Where?  It’s now a Breeder Mecca with a few straggler queer boys on the odd occasion.  Another part of their website they were referring to the “vibrant Castro.”  Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, The Castro was the opposite of “vibrant.”  There’s nothing there but some bougi, over-priced restaurant and greasy-spoon restaurants, a conservative hardware store and a conservative film theatre (which caters to children and “family” stuff).  Mi amigo/My friend was glad when he left this gym because he found the gay guys who were still here most unfriendly, stuck up and most tried to be very heteronormative.  Unfortunately, the gym he switched to announced recently that they’re closing (bankruptcy), but he has no intention of going back to the gym that this article is about, especially considering that the monthly membership fee is now $100.00.  The Castro was ruined when the conservatives sanitised it as they welcomed the straights who were moving in by the droves.  Today, The Castro is a breeder and baby stroller mecca.  Chau.—el barrio rosa

[Article updated el 21 de febrero de 2014]
El 15 de febrero de 2014. Hola. Here’s an e-mail I received earlier today about the gym in San Francisco’s Castro barrio that for years has been known unofficially as “the gay gym.” Here’s what the person wrote:

“In one of your articles, you wrote about [Ed. name of gym removed] on Market Street near Castro. I’ve been going to that gym for years and it used to have a distinct gay feel. It was mostly gay guys who worked out there. That’s now gone.

About a month ago, management painted over the rainbow flag colored pillars on both floors of the gym and they’re now drab gray. Inside the gym, they put up a poster advertizing the gym featuring a male-female hetero couple. There’s an aerobics class upstairs that continues to grow and the new group coming in I’d say is generally mainly thin, anorexic-looking white females (techies?). There are hetero couples now. Hetero couples used to be rare in this gym.

This gym is now just like any other gym with nothing to distinguish it from any other gym. Sad to see this happen that the businesses in the Castro are quickly running away from the gay scene.”

My response: Hola y muchas gracias for your e-mail. Yes it is sad. I’ve heard the same thing from mi amigo who also goes to that gym. He told me that just from looking around the gym when he’s there he’d say about one-third of the gym is now “straight.” Like the rest of the city and The Castro, it seems as though management is trying to sanitize the gym—don’t want to offend the “straights,” and make them feel the least bit uncomfortable you know—so that the gym bears no resemblance whatsoever to its gay past. Mi amigo especially noticed the anorexic-looking muchachas. He said, “they are so thin you can see all their bones.” He said this is the standard look for these muchachas at the gym, except they are thinner at the gym than in this picture (at this link) and have a lot more bone showing (like every rib). I suspect they are the “techies.” Do they have an eating disorder? Mi amigo said it’s rare to see a muchacho at the gym looking that thin. This is also very representative of what I wrote in this article: What Happened to San Francisco? You haven’t heard?. Chau.—rosa barrio

NOTE: I like the rainbow flag keychain up above which is supposed to represent the columns in the gym which were repainted to that drag, ugly gray which that ugly keychain at the bottom is supposed to represent.

2 comments on “San Francisco’s last gay gym fading to straight

  1. jim

    bad news with this gym. i noticed today at the gym that they’ve installed surveillance cameras every 8 feet with microphones and also speakers on the ceiling playing quiet music so they can listen to conversations and watch and monitor everyone’s actions. this is big brother in the castro.

    they won’t hear many conversations because most people are on their (to use the word you use which i like) “stupidphone” and they don’t talk in the gym. like the gay community, this gym has gone conservative since they broke away from the gym they belonged to. i think when they broke away people thought that was a good idea. by what they’ve done to this gym since they broke away it’s turned out to be the opposite. a bad idea. thanks for reading my comment.

  2. Cool Dude

    Since you wrote this article, I’d say the gym has stalled in regards to fading to straight. Even though today I did see a straight couple signing up. I hope that’s rare. Other than that, the gym clientele is mostly aging gay men with phones in front of their faces. There is no way that anyone could tell that this is a gay gym anymore. There are no symbols that it’s a gay gym. It remains a straight-looking gym so I sometimes tell people that my gym is one of the first businesses in the Castro to go back in the closet.

Fin. The End.