January 24, 2012

I Don't Haight Ashbury

Let's roll back to the 60's,
But we all have to climb that hill,
Are you coming down from that high?
The movement is just starting up.

The left,
The blacks,
The movement,
They call us the movement,
On the top of the hill,
Where Ashbury and Haight meet,
But it's more than that,
It's the whole city.

It's the whole fucking world dude,

But no one is doing a thing,
They never do shit,
Except watch our every move,
Cause they can't.

So yeah,

Maybe I do hate you,
Cause you don't have a spine,
Or worse,

A voice,
Different than the reasons for why you hate me,
I've figured that out,

But let's get one last thing straight,
I don't Haight Ashbury,
I love San Francisco.

January 23, 2012

LGBT Population in San Francisco

The Castro District
As the United States and other parts of the world become more diverse and gay friendly, many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals no longer need to seek refugee in San Francisco, New York, or Los Angeles.  However, forty years ago, San Francisco slowly developed into a gay safe haven for the LGBT community, and to an extent, became the only "gay mecca" in the world.  Have you ever wondered why?

As I have spent the past few days in the city, I was overwhelmed by the beauty, the hills, the people, and everything about this unique escape from the mediocrity of average American cities.  In college, I took a 1960s American History class and much time was devoted to the social and political movements; many which occurred in the bay area.  We touched upon the gay rights movement, which began to take off in the early 1970s, and I wondered why this one particular city had the highest concentration of LGBT individuals in the United States, and quite possibly, the world. Outside of class, I did a bit of research, and although it's not "proven," my professor stated that the following is the most widespread belief when I presented my findings in class.


View from the Farmers Market
It turns out that it has to do with the military.  World War II changed America in a plethora of ways; many women worked outside the home for the first time, African-Americans were fighting overseas, and for one of the first times, the armed forces sought out and dishonorably discharged homosexuals. San Francisco had a surge of discharges for this reason, as the city was a major point of departure - and return - for the war.


Most, given the oppressive social and political atmosphere of the time, stayed in San Francisco after their time fighting in the war, discharged or not. The next few decades would prove crucial for the LGBT movement in the United States and beyond, and as someone who is deeply interested in history, I thought it would be interesting to share this information with others.

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