SAN FRANCISCO – You think they’ll go away. They didn’t, they haven’t and they won’t. They are not just a passing phase with cultural mileposts. They are here to stay in the heart of the Castro.

The district is a world of its own: a special enclave, their home habitat where they are out and about. You can bring them anywhere. Sightings occur daily at shopping malls, amusement parks, fast food restaurants and local supermarkets — they are lovely!

You don’t need to look for arched eyebrows or limp wrists.  Some wear their hearts on the hood of their cars.  The comic stand up, as always, thinks that character development consists of the worst quality and present them as entertainment: a parody done either with affection or cruelty. They are at their best bartending, as you wonder why one insists on calling himself Margarita. He told me, ”Shirley Temple is taken and Virgin Mary didn’t just seem to fit his lifestyle.”

At the Gay Pride March, they are on display. Some groups were grossly overdressed and others just as extremely underdressed.  Family ties are either nuclear or dysfunctional, compared to an overwhelmingly straight world in whose corridors they are always threatened.  It’s been the subject of countless books, magazines articles and talk shows; and once you’re out, you’re proud, you’re free.

In the 60s with my Philets classmate Bernardo Bernardo, we would happily, joyfully say, “Enola Gay, gay Paris, gay caballeros.”  We all banded in all that was very, very…gay!

Some are gay but not “overdone.” That means it is like a camp without bonfire, regal but not too queeny — dizzy but don’t spin out of control. A fairy with clipped wings; promising but not in full bloom. He holds the falsetto, but doesn’t hold long enough.

Reading about gay people, my mentors were Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, EU Foster, Christopher Isherwood, Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote. I was hoping understand and learn more about this lifestyle if not a strange culture of a rare section of society, but it was inadequate.

No one knows what makes a person so, though we have many theories. Existence of a gene? But environmental factors can’t be totally discarded. Some experts believe that it’s traced back from over identified with dominating mothers/fathers, while others suggested that is not biological cells based but free choice.

In the middle of the 1900s, the first magazine called “One: The Homosexual Magazine” had the following paragraph on its page one, when it was published in New York.

“ONE is a nonprofit organization corporation formed to publish a magazine dealing primarily with homosexuality from the scientific, historical and critical point of view…to sponsor educational programs, lectures, and concerts for the aid and benefit of social variants and to promote among the general public an interest, knowledge and understanding of the problems of variation…to sponsor research and promote the integration into society of such persons whose behavior  and inclination vary from the current moral and social standards.”

It was a master stroke of consciousness — raising that reach to the core of what being gay was all about.

It started a movement, then they came forward  and joined with their brothers and sisters in the march toward a new concept in society.


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