Gays on Parade

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle this morning was titled: Gawking Tourists Not Welcome in the Castro. I laughed out loud. I guess the days of priding ourselves on our differences are gone.

I do know exactly what the article was talking about, however. For months now, double-decker tourist buses have been driving through the heart of the Castro. And recently, they are actually letting the tourists out. There goes the neighborhood. I will admit it always makes me giggle a little when I’m dragging my laundry to the laundry mat or walking to the store and the bus roles by at about 10 miles an hour. I’m curious just how many pictures I’m in. I’d love to read the caption in their scrapbook. It might possibly read:

Here’s Henry and me… amongst the homosexuals.

-or-

Here’s a picture of one dragging his laundry along like a homeless person.

-or-

…and the homosexuals go grocery shopping, too!

I can almost picture Margaret and Henry sitting in a doily-filled living room showing off their scrapbook to friends.

According to the article, the real problem is that the tour bus companies have recently changed their route to allow for a 20-minute stop in the Castro. People are getting off the bus and moving about the Castro in groups of 30 or so intensely-afraid tourists. I have seen them. But, I think it’s great. If we want people to view the GLBT community as humans, real people, they need to see that we are just like everyone else. Right? Of course, not all communities have men dressed up as flamboyant nuns or hunky men dressed up as Jesus on Easter.

I’m just surprised that there is an uproar at all. After all, tourism is–ok, I’m sorry… side note here. As I was typing this at my café, a double-decker tour bus just rolled by full of gray-haired folks–anyway, tourism is San Francisco’s life blood. It has kept many of our businesses afloat.

I guess these days gays are trying so hard to be considered normal that they don’t want people to see their differences. With the vote on the same-sex marriage ban looming, many are afraid that if people think all we do is just run around in the nude having sex behind bushes, they won’t want to support our relationships. But, I think that if we have to sacrifice our culture, which is sexual, but actually much more, what have we gained? So, in that vein–gays on parade–I decided to share some of the footage I shot from this year’s San Francisco GLBT Pride Parade:

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