Nick Verne (nverzeanu) wrote,
Nick Verne

Back from the trip

I got back from my San Francisco "Google App Engine / Gay Pride" trip yesterday morning. Firstly, apologies to everyone I failed to see when there. Social opportunities were always pretty minimal outside my work agenda this time. I was lucky enough to run into a few of you and I promise next trip I'll budget some proper social time. The second thing, I was staying nearer my old neighbourhood with some generous friends who gave me their guest room for the week, saving me from having to take a hotel room downtown. I wasn't able to get into Parker Guest House which has been my usual for the last few trips. They were full when I tried to book (the last minute), which was understandable.

Anyway, it was a quickie week, working in Google's SF offices, then down to Mountain View to meet developers using Google App Engine. The bigger deal for me was marching in SF Pride for the first time! Hooray! Two hundred and fifty Gayglers and I assembled on Beale St and waited hours and hours for the parade to begin.

I was pretty damn tired for the parade and here's why.

Pink Saturday Bummer

Of course I wanted to look at Pink Saturday's Castro party. It's always been a pretty happy and very gay crowd when I've been before. Steven and David (my hosts) and I took Muni to Castro before emerging at street level.

This time the vibe was just wrong. The energy was pretty excited but who the hell was there? It looked like a lot of drunk college kids on Spring Break, a lot of Halloween gawkers up around Market and Castro. Further down Castro toward 18th looked more like the usual Pride crowd. You know, the Gays, the Dykes, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the communities by and for whom Pride was created. There were no drinks to be had on the street, a change from the previous time I went (about 2006). Lots of people had them anyway, so I assume you could get a drink in a plastic cup from a bar and walk outside with it.

There was no getting into a bar in less than an hour with the crowd so thick. We threaded our way past the Midnight Sun toward 18th and Noe where we exited the barricades. We headed for the Pilsner and had a couple of beers in the back yard. It was definitely decompress time. That was enough for Steven and David. They went home and I decided to take in Eros. As I figured, it was busy and I stayed "busy" with a few nice gents for an hour.

So now it was about 12:40 and Muni had just closed. No problem, I could always go up to 17th and Market and get a cab when the steets reopen. But what was this police tape blocking Market St at Noe? Stern cops were telling us we had to take a detour around it. I headed for 18th thinking I could slake my thirst and bide my time. (The steam room is quite dehydrating. Who knew?) A short while longer and the streets would be open and I could get a cab home.

Except there was now a line of baton wielding cops clearing 18th St including the sidewalks. I overheard some younger women talking about a shooting, and now I was sure it must have been tonight and not some other street party. There was no choice but to divert to 19th street to try and get out of the Castro. I wished I had gone right instead of left at Noe previously. I was in no mood to try and retrace my steps. I already spent energy going uphill and decided to maintain the high road, all the way up to Market St. OMG the steepness. Up and up winding toward Twin Peaks and still no cabs in sight. Finally an hour and a half after leaving Eros there was a vacant cab coming the other way. I crossed Portola and flagged it down.

The driver confirmed the shooting to me. He had taken passengers to the hospital, friends of some of the injured.

WTF, people? First Halloween ruined by gangbangers and now this?

Give me back the overtly, scarily sexual Pink Saturday. Exhibitionists masturbating in windows above the crowd on Castro St, sluts doing it up on top of bus shelters in front of appreciative (and often uncomfortable) audiences. It might have been distasteful to some of the gays, a "bad example". But would gangbangers ever be found in a place like that? Do the East Bay radio stations hype it as a great place to party? No. Do we get crowds of kids completely unconnected with the LGBT communities swarming in and falling down drunk by 7 p.m.?

When was the last time you heard of gay guys settling scores with guns? In a crowd? When gay guys want to get back at each other they bitch each other out, or sleep with each other's boyfriends. They don't fire into a crowd that might contain a future Mr Right. Who the hell is armed? Territoriality and trying to prove that we're big scary men is utterly useless to us. We already said we're a bunch of fags. We are the people that the straight thugs are trying to prove they're not.

If the price of dismantling homophobia is to invite thugs into our parties, I say keep a little homophobia around. Let them be afraid of our cock sucking and ass fucking. It might be "antisocial". That's a matter of opinion. Public sexuality in an adults only street party strikes me as plenty social. Use it to keep the thugs away.

I'm not just complaining that my night was ruined. One man ended up dead. Several others were injured. I got home very late and very tired. I'll take a lot of convincing that Pink Saturday should continue.

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