Well, I never see gay guys dressing up like females as one saw occasionally during San Francisco’s Gay Mecca decades. And I rarely see any guys these days that I would describe as “fem.” I think the few remaining drag queens we had (before COVID-19 hit) are pretty much gone.
What brought this all up was that I read an article the other day about various groups that are going to help The City with a campaign to get idiots to wear face masks going into Fall 2020. One of the groups listed was the group of gay guys who dress up like (Roman) Catholic nuns and mock nuns. I didn’t know they were still around. And frankly, these days I think only a small group — maybe some senior citizens who remember their history — would have the ability to appreciate the gay nuns. Tech San Francisco certainly wouldn’t appreciate the nuns or drag queens. The lobotomised techies would likely ask, “Why is a guy dressed up like that?” From my observations of the techies, they have zero sense of humour and have never developed the facial muscles required for smiling. The gay nuns are likely considered “outdated” and of a different time/generation. Seeing gay guys dressing up like women pretty much ended the night that gay marriage became legal and queers were told that we needed to “assimilate”/blend in with the breeders. Ugh. That was the death of our Movement. Around the same time, a gay sports bar opened up on Market Street without “the gay.” Despite allegedly being a gay bar, the owners (a heteronormative gay guy and a lesbian) apparently found the Rainbow Flag “too gay” for their bar so they only flew the flags of corporate sports teams. I’ve never been in the bar but reading some of the reviews and walking by the bar many times it looked like a bar for closet cases. Some days it looked mostly straight (him and her), other times it looked like all-guys. Some reviewers implied as much when writing about the secretive looks that gay guys gave each other in the bar (think 1940s and closet cases). This was also around the same time that the breeders (techies) were taking over The Castro and the gay gym changed, painted over their Rainbow Flag wall so it wouldn’t offend the (anti-gay?) breeders coming to the gym. It was also around the time that mi amigo/my friend was telling me about one guy after the other who had been at the gay gym who was now with a chick, holding hands and making out on Market Street. Apparently some gay guys from the gay gym liked what they saw with the breeders (him and her) who were making out on the sidewalks and thought, “I’d like to be like him, be a ‘real man,’ get a girl, fuck pussy and be normal, please my (anti-gay?) family and say fuck this faggot shit.” It was also around the same time that much of the Queer so-called “community” gave themselves a make-over to be as much like straight guys as possible. This was also the time that the majority of Queer ads on Craigslist (men-seeking-men category) went from being gay to bi. I remember asking: So the gay “community” is now the bi “community?” Who believes that? I responded to some of these guys and none of these so-called “bi” guys had any interest in talking about women. It was all a lie. Presumably they were now ashamed of the word “gay” and its negative connotations so they en masse started calling themselves bi (even though most of them were not bi), which made them appear to be more “straight” and “normal.” It’s called gay shame. I thought “we” had worked through all that, no? Clearly not.
Queers took out their earrings almost overnight (because most straight guys don’t wear earrings), they became “straight” baseball cap jocks — any guy can instantly become a jock by wearing a baseball cap — and buying corporate sports team clothing. (It’s quite ironic that Queers decided to take on the jock persona considering historically and to this day it’s the homophobic “straight” jocks on sports fields and in locker rooms who have and continue to bully gay guys and make homophobic “jokes.”) Walk by any gay bar and one saw gay guys yelling and screaming at television screens over corporate sports teams in the remaining gay bars on “game night.” Someone said about the sports bar immediately after it opened, “The gay rights movement ends at this bar.” Indeed. He was absolutely correct and the Movement has been dead ever since. So, you won’t see any guys dressing up like girls other than the gay nun Sisters, and as I said, they’re now considered dated, I think. The art of Drag is out/gone.
And The Castro has become so conservative. I remember a couple of years ago wearing a bright pink t-shirt on Castro Street and I was trolled by one or two people who felt the need to make some disapproving judgment about my shirt. The Castro is a very judgmental and conservative place. There was some of this during the Gay Mecca decades — which is why I never felt that I fitted in; I had this love/hate relationship with The Castro –but it was not as judgmental then as it is today. The “live and let live” attitude is long gone. Today, the dress code is Millennial all-black or black and grey even when it’s 46 Celsius/115 degrees outside. Conformity is more important than comfort.
As I’ve written before, it’s as if the Queer so-called “community” completely flipped out when gay marriage became legal. There seemed to be this attitude of: “Please accept us now, breeders. We’ll do anything to be like you and your lifestyle. We’ll start acting straight and looking straight and cheer corporate sports teams just like you do. We’ll go back in the closet and some of us/many will get girls and have heterosexual relationships. We will abandon our Rainbow Flags (which they did), remove them from our backpacks and person, we’ll try to look like exact replicas of you breeders. We’ll laugh at your homophobic jokes at work as we pretend to be straight and go back in the closet. We’ll stop short of apologising for our “radical” Queer past, wanting nothing to do with it since it seemed to have offended you.
And that’s how it was from our perspective of that time. Today? The so-called Queer “Community” is dead. Nothing is going on. Oh, The Castro is awash in Rainbow Flags to give the false impression it’s still a Gay Mecca but that too is a lie. There are some Queers still living here, but it’s a Breeder Mecca today. Walking around The Castro, if the Rainbow Flags were not there, one could easily think they’re walking around any other straight area of the City.
One wonders why many gay guys and some lesbians worked decades for gay marriage when in the end — out of gay shame — they were going to go back in the closet and marry the opposite gender? Doh. They could have done that to begin with! Insanity. During the Movement, I didn’t now any Queers who wanted to be exact replicas of the breeders.
The impression one gets these days, is that most gay guys and lesbians want to be seen as “straight” and “normal.” In our opinion, gay marriage has completely backfired because it was the death of our movement. Who would have ever thought that would be the case? And things have only gotten worse for Queers since. Chau.—el barrio rosa