UPDATE: El 23 de marzo de 2014. Hola. I received this e-mail earlier today from a lesbian couple:
“My girlfriend and I were in the Castro last weekend and hung out at the gay bar at Market and Noé. We were sitting on the outside deck area and watched as three straight white young couples left the bar in an embrace as they walked across the street. My girlfriend and I had heard something about straights coming to the Castro but we weren’t ready for this. I think they came out of the bar we were in. We asked ourselves why would straights come to a gay bar? That would be like us going to a straight bar in the Marina or North Beach. We don’t get it. It makes no more sense that straights are coming to the Castro. Crazy shit.”
My response: Oh this again. On the face of it it makes no sense, as you say. Because as a Queer person I have no interest in going to “straight” bars or “straight” neighborhoods. So then why would “straights” come to a gay bar in the Castro or even come to the Castro to begin with? What is the attraction for them? Why are they here? I’ve talked with some locals about it: I propose that they’re not “straight” but rather they try to give the impression they are, even to each other. They are gay closet-cases. I can hear them now, “Let’s go to the Castro to support ‘The Gays’.” Yeah right! And really what they’re coming to the Castro for is so that the closet-case guy can “discreetly” check out guys and/or she can possibly check out chicas. Because this is happening too much and too often. It’s also happening in other cities. Someone in Manhattan was asking why there are so many “straight” couples in the Manhattan gay bar he was in. WTF? One or both of the people in these “straight” couples are either bi or gay but they’re too damned weak, insecure and immature to come out of the fucking closet. I and others are sick of it. I’ve seen them too. They come out of a gay bar and then proceed to have this—what appears to be mandatory—heavy makeout session below the gay bar’s rainbow flag and then they walk arm-in-arm down the sidewalk looking half-drunk. Either that or they’re cheating on someone so they come to the Castro to meet each other (and get drunk) because the Castro is the last place they think they will be discovered by the person they’re cheating on. Those are the only two explanations I and others can come up with because I don’t think alcohol is that much cheaper over here than elsewhere in the city especially after including transportation costs from the Marina or wherever the hell they’re coming from. Some locals tell me that they now make a point of staying out of the Castro on “straight invasion” days/weekends as they call it because they too are sick of seeing this “straight invasion” shit and obnoxious loud drunks in an area that has long historically been a GLBTQ area. Of course, the right-wing/conservatives who love what is happening to San Francisco these days call this “straight” invasion, “bringing diversity to the Castro.” Bull shit. Oddly enough, these same conservative people have never given a fuck about “diversity” before. They’re only for “diversity” when it involves “straight” white young people taking over an area. Then they love “diversity.” They also love what is happening en el Distrito de la Misión de San Francisco (in the Misión district of San Francisco) where “straight” young whites are pouring in and taking over and Latinos/Hispanos/Mexicanos et al are being evicted/kicked out/forced out of their own barrio as we lose our rich ethnic diversity. The conservatives love that too. So when you see this “straight” invasion, just try to keep in mind that: 1) they’re cheating on somebody and came here to the Castro to cheat and get drunk, or 2) one or both of them are gay closet cases but don’t have the maturity to come out to each other and possibly to themselves. Also, these days Market Street near Castro is the most obnoxious and immature area of the Castro with drinking and drunks especially on Domingos/Sundays, and that also seems to be the area where the young and mainly white “straight” Techie Trash hang out. Gracias for your e-mail. Chau.—rosa barrio
El 3 de febrero de 2014. Hola. Even though I’ve written quite a bit about this previously, someone apparently new to pink barrio e-mailed me and asked this question:
“Why are heterosexual couples going to gay bars in San Francisco? Why would they do that? What’s wrong with the heterosexual bars?”
My response: Oh you haven’t heard? Oh this is juicy stuff. We have some chisme caliente/hot gossip to talk about. I thought everyone knew about this as it was all over the noticias/news. It’s big. Very big. In San Francisco, a Declaration From On High was issued fairly recently closing all the “straight” bars in the city. Yes, it’s true. I think it had to do with a form of prohibition or something. I didn’t quite catch the terminology. Most of it washed right over me. This Declaration From On High urged all heterosexuals in San Francisco from henceforth and forever more to frequent the GAY bars in the Castro in order to bring “Tolerance and Diver$ity to the Ca$tro” (dollar signs intended). That’s how this Declaration was spun. And it was highly recommended in the Declaration to heterosexuals that they continue to change the Castro barrio to whatever they’d like it to be. The Declaration stated on page 3, paragraph 2, “Please continue to sanitize the Castro even more than it currently is to make it ‘Child and Family Friendly’ and like any other conservative, bland, boring and dull place.” The Declaration From On High specifically touted and celebrated that the Castro of today is nothing like it was during the “Gay Mecca” days. The Declaration gave a plug to the fairly new obnoxious (supposedly gay) sports bar on Market Street which goes out of its way to not let anyone know it’s a gay bar. Some people have said that this bar (and others like it in other cities) is where the gay rights movement ended. I agree with that based on what I’ve seen happen since with the GLBTQ populace.
The Declaration specifically mentioned in a positive way that there are corporate sports flags on the front of this bar but there is no GLBTQ flags of any kind (such as the ones on this page) flying on the front of this supposedly gay sports bar where people go to act out their jock and heteronormative fantasies while screaming and grunting like loons at walls of television screens over corporate sports teams. This Declaration seemed to imply that the GLBTQ Rainbow Flag is “too gay” for this bar and that’s why this obnoxious sports bar on Market Street doesn’t have a Rainbow Flag on the front, except for Pride Day/Weekend when the owners want to exploit GLBTQ visitors to the Castro and then they put one out for a couple of days as bait. Then back in the closet it goes for the rest of the year.
The Declaration From On High also touted the city-wide nudity ban in that one will not see any naked guys (gasp! I can’t imagine seeing a naked person, can you?) in the Castro now that the Castro barrio has been sanitized and divorced from its previous alternative and radical past. (Reality: the few naked guys are still around on occasion wearing cock socks, but this Declaration conveniently left that out). So that’s what’s going on and gracias for asking.
So to sum up, there are no “straight” bars in San Francisco any longer. Only GAY bars. But as many GAY people have noted, there was one glaring omission from this Declaration and some GLBTQ people think it was an intentional omission. What was missing from this Declaration was any statement urging “straights” (especially macho “straight” guys) to not be offended, angered, put-off, pissed off or led to violence in the least when approached by a GAY guy in a GAY bar. It has been pointed out that some (macho) “straight” guys who are not secure with their sexuality get offended when a GAY guy approaches a “straight” guy (rightly assuming he’s GAY because he’s in a GAY bar) and shows interest in the guy. You see, some “straight” guys don’t have the maturity or intelligence to say something such as: “I appreciate your interest in me and it’s flattering but I’m sorry but it’s not mutual, but thank you and have a good evening.”
So I’m very glad that you wrote asking about this. That’s what’s going on and I think the same thing is happening in other cities. I think all the “straight” bars have been closed in New York City as well because someone from Manhattan wrote me this about a bar in the West Village:
“You write mainly about San Francisco and what’s going on there, but the same thing is happening in Manhattan. There’s a gay bar in Manhattan. It’s a couple doors down from the Stonewall Inn where the gay rights movement began. When I’m in that bar I look around and think: why are all these straight couples in this GAY bar? So don’t think it’s just San Francisco.”
I guess this person hasn’t heard about the Declaration Issued From On High in New York. I suspect I’ll be receiving all kinds of e-mails from GLBTQs in other cities wondering what the fuck is going on. Now you know. Chau.—el barrio rosa