The 2021 Castro Street Fair

Hola a todos. Well, I expected the fair to be mostly a sea of heterosexuals considering that’s what one mainly sees in the rainbow flag-saturated New Heterosexual Castro these days. A sea of “him and her” with their required/mandatory hand-holding. The mandatory hand-holding or her latched onto his left arm like she’s on a leash — clearly feminism is dead — seems as mandatory as wearing a face mask indoors in stores. They want everyone to know they are a couple. But the thing is, who cares that they are a couple since nobody knows these insecure people?

What was particularly noticeable with the subdued fair is that people were packed together with the majority of people NOT wearing face masks. All packed in together and next to each other. I thought it was California law that face masks be worn at mega-events outdoors in the state. Los Ángeles requires that whether vaccinated or not. A wise move. I also saw people hugging and kissing on the lips and sharing food. WTF? In the era of COVID and with the variants that are breaking through the vaccine? Insane.

But on Monday (the next day), many people were back to wearing masks outdoor. Did they abandon their mask for the fair? Loco. Will this fair have been a super-spreader event? Some of us were surprised the fair had been held at all. It feels too soon.

Most of those at the fair looked to be Queer singles and Queer couples which was refreshing to see, since that’s not what one mostly sees in today’s Castro. I thought: Where are the people 364 days of year? They must not live here since we don’t see them here. I think most were visitors. They looked like Millennial Queers from the Old City.

Because what I noticed was that when people started leaving a little after 6.00pm, “no one” was going into The Castro or into the Muni Metro (our subway system). They were walking east towards Church Street as if most of them don’t even live here. Were they headed towards BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit; the Bay Area’s subway system). And that’s what I had sensed. Again, some of them looked like young Old City people. They were dressed in a way that you never see these days in the now-conservative Castro. A guy wearing just a jock strap? That’s never seen these days in the conservative Castro. You would have seen that in the Old City Castro of the gay mecca era, but not in the new, sanitised, Disney-fied, no-fun-allowed, “him and her” and “Family-Friendly with black baby strollers” (gag!) Conservative Castro of today where the dress code 364 days a year is the majority of people wearing all-black clothing from head to toe even in baking heat. Most people in The Castro appear to have had a lobotomy. It’s as if they feel nothing in all-black clothing even in blazing heat. Do they sweat at all?

So I got the impression the people who were at the fair, most of them don’t even live here. They came from the East or South Bay or elsewhere in The City because I never see them any other time. I never see people dressed like them. Some were wearing tie-dye shirts. In today’s Castro tie-dye is made fun of by some locals who insist that everyone should be wearing funeral black. I remember being trolled on the sidewalk years ago for wearing my tie-dye shirt. I haven’t worn it since, because I don’t care to be harassed, bullied and trolled on the street in my own neighbourhood for what I wear. So much for the now-outdated slogan, “Anything goes in liberal San Francisco.” Yeah right, that’s no longer the case. The City has become quite conservative in recent years — due to the tech invasion — and seems to have run from its liberal past, as if many now-conservative residents are ashamed of it and or embarrassed by it.

Near the end of the fair, I noticed “him and her” couples lining up to go into the Twin Peaks bar which has been taken over by straights, or are they really closet cases pretending to be straight? None of the straight bars in The City have closed so they could go to those instead of taking over an historically gay bar and come stumbling drunk and vomiting out of there as I saw the other night.

In the Old City, people would have been looking for parking in the Upper Market above The Castro. For the Castro Street Fair 2021, no one looking for parking in Upper Market, which also speaks to the majority of those at the fair not being from here. So, that’s about it. Chau.—el barrio rosa