Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gay Marriage Evening in the Castro

The US Supreme Court judgment on Friday affirming that marriage is now gender neutral was huge, as was their tentative defense of Obama's healthcare legislation in King v. Burwell the day before.

The US President also sang Amazing Grace acapella Friday afternoon at the Charleston funeral of nine murdered black Christians, and the Confederate flag officially became anathema overnight. It was telling that the South Carolina governor started her defense of flying that flag at the state capitol with "corporate CEOs never mention it as a problem." One week later Wal-Mart is no longer selling Confederate flags, and the governor reversed herself and is calling for it to be taken down. It feels a bit as if we have stepped into a time machine like Rod Taylor and the world speeded up at a completely different rate into the future.

I went to the Castro district on Friday to meet young friends for Happy Hour, and was greeted by a Mock Bishop at the Muni station. "He's been working at this for a very, very long time," the woman above said in an admonishing tone. "I'm also old," I told her, "and have seen it all too, but glad to know I'm looking young enough that I have to be lectured on gay history."

Castro Street from Market to 18th was closed for an impromptu celebration with a stage and a sound system but not a lot of people seemed very interested, except for annoying volunteers from the corrupt HRC organization handing out equality flags...

...and the couple above who brought their own sound system so they could dance a duet in the streets.

There were a ridiculous amount of uniformed San Francisco police offers stationed around 18th and Castro, engaging in their usual practice of talking amongst themselves and completely ignoring those who they are sworn to protect and serve.

I moved to San Francisco in 1974, when the San Francisco Police Department was routinely coming to the Castro neighborhood to bash people's heads in because they were fags and they could get away with it, and have still never seen or heard an official apology for their behavior. The homophobic and racist texts by SFPD officers that were recently released by the US Justice Department indicate not much has changed in that regard, either.

Still, Friday was an authentically joyous moment, and I hugged strangers and friends like Farzad above all evening with the greeting, "Happy Gay Marriage Day!"

The techie gold rush is transforming San Francisco at what passes for lightning speed in this city. Young Minnesota transplant Eric above was apologizing for the disruption and I told him, "Don't worry about it, the place needed some new energy."

"Capitalism is what really needs to change, and I don't see that happening in my lifetime, but I didn't see going from being criminalized for my sexuality to gay marriage in this lifetime either."

It feels like we're living in a science fiction story.


janinsanfran said...

Wonderful. Would you believe I didn't get up there to Castro because I had to attend a long planned, quite delightful, gay wedding on Friday night? And on Saturday, I found myself at the Grateful Dead concert at Levi's Stadium.

Political developments leave me wrung out. You've caught much of what I feel. Be well.

Hattie said...

As a straight person, I worry for us all. It's great to celebrate,but I am not sure underlying beliefs have changed.

Hattie said...

And talk about straights co-opting another group's hard-won victory!

Michael Strickland said...

Dear Jan: Glad I captured some of the ambiguities we're both feeling.

Dear Hattie: I have no problem with "straights co-opting." When I got married last year, for financial/legal reasons, those most genuinely happy about the development were hetero friends and family. So it really is a victory for everyone, except those who are opposed to same-sex marriage, and I do worry about them. If I'm feeling stunned by the quickness of change these days, how must they be feeling? Probably as if the world has turned upside down on them, which is going to make them crazy and dangerous.

Hattie said...

Congratulations! But I still feel uneasy. Maybe I'm just an old fart.