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Traditionalizing pressure from gay families in S.F.:

The evidence is anecdotal so far, and very preliminary, but it appears that gay (and straight) families in San Francisco are starting to complain about the hyper-sexualized atmosphere of the Castro. Public displays of sexuality that would have gone unnoticed just a few years ago are now being contested. I've gathered some of the evidence of the trend here.

Bobbie:
As a straight man, who only recently moved from the Castro and still lives in the city, I haven't noticed any "traditionalizing" pressure.
4.27.2006 10:01pm
Cornellian (mail):
Is it all that sexualized? I haven't been to SF in a few years and haven't seen any more of the Castro than one could see driving through it along Market Street, but I don't recall seeing any public displays of sexuality, or really anything that would strike a typical resident of a large city as extraordinary.
4.27.2006 10:20pm
SFresident (mail):
When you notice two guys having sex in the bushes two houses down from yours, there's some public displays of sexuality going on. The guy who works next to me lives right in the heart of the Castro (his wife does too).
4.27.2006 10:26pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Yeah, I wonder how much of this is caused by the influx of people from around the country who just aren't used to that kind of stuff. For instance, most New Yorkers couldn't care less when two guys make out and grope each other and public. "New Yorkers" who moved to Murray Hill after 25 years in Indiana are often shocked by it.
4.27.2006 10:28pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
each other *in* public. (sorry) :(
4.27.2006 10:30pm
Tony (mail):
Oh, heavens, a whole three-block district with gay sexuality on display? Horrors! Not that there isn't another fifty square miles of San Francisco to choose from, or a whole state chock full of heterosexuality for that matter.

Jesus, every time I turn around there's a half-naked woman slumped over some object that's being marketed to men. If there were even the tiniest hint of balance in public displays of sexuality - of any variety - heterosexuals would drop dead from shock.
4.27.2006 10:51pm
Baffled:
Does anyone recall ever seeing more than a small handful of kids in the Castro? Do kids live in the Castro? (Christ, do kids live in San Francisco?)

Dale, you also seem to assume that gay and straight families are "starting" to complain. How do you know there hasn't always been a few complaints here and there (surely, this must be true)? If you're going to illogical cite to anecdotal evidence to support your argument, at least make sure it actually supports your argument -- i.e., that there is a trend of increasing complaints.
4.27.2006 11:01pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I also think your opening paragraph is a little misleading. A couple gay families showing up for the event would be a sign of normalcy. A couple hundred showing up with a press-release ready has a whiff of the "we're here, we're queer, get used to it" attitude that you claim is fading.
4.27.2006 11:19pm
MarkM:
Seriously, I can't imagine there are that many families living in the Castro. I know people who live there and it seems to me from their experience that most people there are either single professionals (not all gay, of course) or middle-aged gay men.
In any case, there are cheaper and safer neighborhoods in the Bay Area for families to live in. What's next: residents of the East Village complaining about how family-unfriendly it is?
4.27.2006 11:23pm
M (mail):
A shame if it's true- I'm more for allowing experiments in living and all. The boring gay families should go live in the mid-west.
4.27.2006 11:37pm
anonymouse2 (mail):
Is it all that sexualized??? Are you kidding?

Market Street isn't in the Castro; it's the edge of it. Go down Castro street. And yes, it's sexualized. Men out for the evening wear very little clothing, and what they wear is overly suggestive of various kinds of..predilections, shall we say. They shout and scream and each other. They pick up strangers on the street. Most of the stores on the streets sell plainly sexual objects. And often, you will see men having sex on the street in the Castro.

But yes, there are now families in the Castro. Call it the gentrification of Dolores Park and Noe Valley bleeding into the Castro. Largely, it's gay couples with children rather than straight. There are still a tiny tiny number of children in SF, but the irony is that there are more in the Dolores Park/Noe Valley/Castro area than in any of the other main interior parts of SF. Why? Because of the houses there, unlike the apartments in most of the rest of the interior. (I am not claiming moreso than the Sunset, etc.)
4.28.2006 12:12am
S.A. Miller (mail) (www):
The boring gay families should go live in the mid-west.

Apparently you've never had the experience to the over-sexualized "Boystown" neighborhood of Chicago or the Warehouse district of Minneapolis.
4.28.2006 12:30am
Lev:

are starting to complain about the hyper-sexualized atmosphere of the Castro. Public displays of sexuality


Those complaining are, quite obviously, homophobic rightwing Christian extremist Bush Republicans.
4.28.2006 12:42am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
When you notice two guys having sex in the bushes two houses down from yours, there's some public displays of sexuality going on.

Get a few cherry bombs and a slingshot, and you can have great fun...
4.28.2006 1:34am
Tony (mail):
And often, you will see men having sex on the street in the Castro.

I've been visiting the Castro for over ten years, and have never, ever seen anything remotely like this. Maybe in some dark corner at 3 in the morning, or in the middle of the vast crowd on Halloween... but not "often".

There is one notorious alley (Ringold) which sees a good bit of public sex in the wee hours of the morning. But you have to go looking for it. It's not like you're going to stumble across it accidentally.
4.28.2006 2:06am
Bobbie:
I've also never seen anyone having sex in public in the Castro.

Dale, do you think gay couples becoming more "traditional" (i.e., Christian) is a good thing?
4.28.2006 2:21am
JB:
I'm all in favor of people not fucking in the street. That seems like a right not really worth defending.
4.28.2006 2:49am
Fern:
I saw a news segment about this phenomenon. Apparently the Castro district is seeing an influx of both gay and straight families (according to the segment, they are attracted to the quaint victorian homes and good schools) and they are complaining more about sex shops with graphic displays in the window than they are about public sex or gay couples being affectionate in public. If you read Professor Carpenter's article (which seems to be the backgrounder for the news segment I saw), you'll see that he's not talking about people from Indiana who are complaining, it's the local LGBT Parents group that is upset.
4.28.2006 4:24am
Cornellian (mail):
"Dale, do you think gay couples becoming more "traditional" (i.e., Christian) is a good thing?"

"Traditional" and "Christian" are not synonyms.
4.28.2006 7:18am
Federal Dog:
"How do you know there hasn't always been a few complaints here and there (surely, this must be true)?"


Not here and there. I lived there in the 80s. The conduct was open, in the streets and parks (literally), and in your face. It was carnival 24/7. Complaints about obscene public conduct in the Castro, Polk, and Buena Vista were rampant, and only the AIDS scare really prompted conduct reform.
4.28.2006 8:04am
Joshua (www):
S.A. Miller wrote:
The boring gay families should go live in the mid-west.

Apparently you've never had the experience to the over-sexualized "Boystown" neighborhood of Chicago or the Warehouse district of Minneapolis.


I can't speak for Chicago, but nowadays the Warehouse district in Minneapolis is more notorious for street crime and nightclub violence than for public debauchery, gay or otherwise. And to think the Twins want to build their new ballpark right next to it!
4.28.2006 10:36am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Oh, heavens, a whole three-block district with gay sexuality on display? Horrors! Not that there isn't another fifty square miles of San Francisco to choose from, or a whole state chock full of heterosexuality for that matter.
The rest of San Francisco is filled with depravity of all sorts. I was in San Francisco one evening for a political event, and I noticed a sex shop with a sign out front: "Inflatable sheep here."

A few years back, there was a celebratory party for the new stadium initiative passing, at which a naked woman chains a naked man down, cuts patterns into his back, and then urinates on the wounds. All sorts of important political figures were there, including the chief of police and several county supervisors when this "entertainment" started.

San Francisco is filled with sickness.
4.28.2006 11:42am
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):

The rest of San Francisco is filled with depravity of all sorts. I was in San Francisco one evening for a political event, and I noticed a sex shop with a sign out front: "Inflatable sheep here."

An inflatable sheep? That's probably the best idea for a gag gift I've ever heard. Clayton, do you recall the name of the store?
4.28.2006 12:23pm
EricK:
A quote from the link article,

At the LGBT Community Center, nudity is now forbidden in the hallways -- requiring bondage classes to stay behind closed doors. "Twenty years ago we couldn't have had such a rule," the center's director, Thom Lynch, told the Times. "People would have fought it."


If more people visited areas like the Castro district or Hillcrest in San Diego, they wouldn't have such a Will and Grace view of homosexuals.
4.28.2006 12:56pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

An inflatable sheep? That's probably the best idea for a gag gift I've ever heard. Clayton, do you recall the name of the store?
No. This is San Francisco. I wouldn't assume that people were buying it as a gag gift. You may recall the situation a couple of years ago when a woman was killed by a couple of aggressive dogs, and the subsequent police investigation led to criminal charges against the lawyers who owned the dogs. As the investigation went onward, they searched the cell of their adopted son (one whom they adopted while he was in prison). They found pictures of the couple having sex with the dogs. When this came out, the lawyer was indignant that local newspapers were acting all horrified about this, and pointed out that San Francisco was very tolerant of diverse sexual interests. "It's not like we're Republicans!" Now that would be too gross to be accepted.
4.28.2006 1:29pm
The Electronic Anarchist (www):
Conservatives have long exaggerated the extent of hedonism in the gay community. The vast majority of homosexuals are rather mundane and boring people. Still, its the hedonists who get the press.

With that said, I have no sympathy for someone who knowingly moves into a red light district (or fails to research the neighborhood before moving) and then complains about the neighbors.
4.28.2006 1:36pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
EricK writes:


If more people visited areas like the Castro district or Hillcrest in San Diego, they wouldn't have such a Will and Grace view of homosexuals.
I completely agree. A lot of liberal enthusiasm for homosexuality is because the only homosexuals they know are judges, lawyers, and others with enough sense not to expose the seamy side of gay life to straight society. Live in the Bay Area for a while, and you get to see an uncensored view of it.

Yeah, there are gay male couples that have been together for 20 years--but there's an awful lot of gay men for whom "long-term relationship" means that they go back to an apartment, instead of exchanging fluids in a public restroom, or on the beach at Fire Island, or the Russian River.
4.28.2006 1:37pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

With that said, I have no sympathy for someone who knowingly moves into a red light district (or fails to research the neighborhood before moving) and then complains about the neighbors.
I also don't have a lot of sympathy for such people. If you move to San Francisco, expect to see all sorts of depravity on a regular place, and not just sexual depravity. It is a place that prides itself on having a huge population of mentally ill people living on the streets until they die of pneumonia, begging, urinating on the sidewalks (the smell around United Nations Plaza is often quite horrifying), and for some, raping, robbing, and murdering each other and those people silly enough to live in Babylon West.
4.28.2006 1:42pm
GGU1L (mail):
Clayton (and others)~
How long were you even in SF? Have you ever been to any other big city (notice that the smell and homeless situation were incredibly similar to that of SF)? Also, you mention Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller, those were incredibly sick individuals and everyone from SF knew it and said so. That is why there was the sudden cry to prosecute them. News reports of the Castro are the epitome of modern muckracking.
The "seamy side of homosexuality" that people have referred to is also a bogus argument. What about the "sex cruises" that straight people go on (one of my wife's coworkers goes on at least 2 a year)? Or the trips to South East Asia to have sex with 12-14 year old girls. Does all of this mean that straight people are all deviants too? Of course not, it means that, just like every other group of people, there are some in the group that are sick.

Also, the reason that very few people with kids live in central SF is because of the cost. Anyone who has the joy of being a parent knows that it is expensive to be one. The fact that studio condos here usually start at half a million dollars is fairly cost prohibitive. So many people- like me- choose to live in the East Bay and commute into the city.
4.28.2006 1:59pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Clayton (and others)~
How long were you even in SF? Have you ever been to any other big city (notice that the smell and homeless situation were incredibly similar to that of SF)?
I travelled into San Francisco on average once every month or two during the period 1987-2001. There were periods when I visited there infrequently; at other times, I was using the law library at Hastings, and I was there every weekend for many weeks on end.

Yes, there are other big cities with big homeless problems. San Diego, at least the last time I was there, was not too different (although perhaps because less crowded, it seemed less severe). I've spent a few days recently in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. None of them were free of homeless people, but San Francisco seemed to have a much more severe problem (again, perhaps because of density). San Franciscans seem to take some pride in how severe their homeless problem is--sort of, "Isn't this cool! We have people who are so unconventional that they don't even have regular homes! How bohemian!" It is a city awash in people who think the "La Wie du Boheme" (or whatever the title of the song is in Rent) is something to be proud of.

Also, you mention Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller, those were incredibly sick individuals and everyone from SF knew it and said so. That is why there was the sudden cry to prosecute them.
Why would you call people that have sex with animals "sick"? Isn't that awfully narrowminded and puritanical of you?

News reports of the Castro are the epitome of modern muckracking.
How about when those of us who have passed through the Castro open our eyes? Sorry, but the news reports I see of the Castro seem to be pretty cleaned up compared to what I used to see there.

The "seamy side of homosexuality" that people have referred to is also a bogus argument. What about the "sex cruises" that straight people go on (one of my wife's coworkers goes on at least 2 a year)? Or the trips to South East Asia to have sex with 12-14 year old girls. Does all of this mean that straight people are all deviants too? Of course not, it means that, just like every other group of people, there are some in the group that are sick.
I have no memories of seeing those groups marching in straight pride parades. Why is that? Because straight people don't make excuses or defend child molestation--instead, we passed laws that made a criminal offense to travel to a foreign country for the purpose of child prostitution.

Also, the reason that very few people with kids live in central SF is because of the cost. Anyone who has the joy of being a parent knows that it is expensive to be one. The fact that studio condos here usually start at half a million dollars is fairly cost prohibitive. So many people- like me- choose to live in the East Bay and commute into the city.
There are all sorts of reasons not to live in San Francisco. It has always had a rough side. When my family moved there in 1958, we lived in an apartment south of Market. My older sisters were absolutely shocked by what they saw in the junior high: guys attacking each other with knives, girls cutting each other with broken bottles.
4.28.2006 2:37pm
Fub:
GGU1L wrote:
...What about the "sex cruises" that straight people go on (one of my wife's coworkers goes on at least 2 a year)?


Well, at least the straight people have enough consideration to take their cow orking offshore.
4.28.2006 3:06pm
BobN (mail):
I don't know what to make of Clayton's "witnessing" on his experiences of San Francisco's "wickedness" while living in one of the City's REMOTE bedroom communities (48.09 miles away from Castro and Market Sts to Rohnert Park). I wonder how many of his trips to the library at Hastings involved passing through the three blocks of the Castro (2.32 miles in the opposite direction from home, 30-45 minutes walk or 10-15 minutes on public transit) and why. I'm certainly not suggesting he's in the closet. I just think he's terribly, terribly misinformed and kind of likes it that way.

I have no doubt that he did see an awful lot of homeless people because Hastings is right next to Civic Center and that was long been a place where the homeless congregated -- it's relatively empty at night now because of heightened law enforcement and other efforts to "clean the place up". The homeless situation in SF is also improving under our liberal mayor, with all sorts of liberal programs to help the homeless -- programs Clayton would no doubt dislike.
4.28.2006 4:08pm
Fern:

Well, at least the straight people have enough consideration to take their cow orking offshore.

LOL!
4.28.2006 4:33pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

I wonder how many of his trips to the library at Hastings involved passing through the three blocks of the Castro (2.32 miles in the opposite direction from home, 30-45 minutes walk or 10-15 minutes on public transit) and why. I'm certainly not suggesting he's in the closet. I just think he's terribly, terribly misinformed and kind of likes it that way.
Trips to Hastings didn't take me through the Castro. (My wife and I got lost one Sunday afternoon---that was eye-opening.) However, the area near Hastings was awash in dreadfully sorry male prostitutes trying to look like women. I suppose if you were blind, you might think these were women. I don't think anyone else would, unless it was very, very dark. I tried to leave San Francisco as quickly as I could when visiting Hastings--even in daytime, it was a scary and ugly place. The nearest parking to Hastings was several blocks away.
4.28.2006 5:09pm
Bobbie:
The homeless problem in San Francisco has been made worse by other cities decision to bus their homeless here because of our liberal social programs.

I've never met someone who takes pride in our homeless problem. Indeed, to the contrary, San Francisco more than most cities tries to do something to help the homeless (which, of course, only attracts more homeless people here).
4.28.2006 5:12pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
By the way, here's an interesting piece of data that suggests that indeed, homosexuals are definitely more hedonistic than the general population, from what seems to be a gay newspaper:
Paul Fressola, one of HBHC's psychotherapists, presented a grid illustrating the use of hard drugs ( e.g., meth, heroin and cocaine ) by LGBT seniors. It is estimated that 10 percent of those aged 50-75 abuse a hard drug, compared to 1.8 percent in the general population. There is no data for individuals aged 75 and over, and none at all on the senior transgender community.
This is consistent wth other data that I have seen that show LGBTs are disproportionately substance abusers.
4.28.2006 5:12pm
Elais:
Clayton,


This is consistent wth other data that I have seen that show LGBTs are disproportionately substance abusers.


Where in the report is the 'hedonism' suggested as a reason for the higher rate?

Are you talking out of your ass again Clayton?

Is the meth problem in rural states due to the fact that we in rural areas live a more hedonistic lifestyle?

You are grasping at straws to justify your hatred towards gays.
4.28.2006 5:27pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Where in the report is the 'hedonism' suggested as a reason for the higher rate?
Why else do people become drug addicts? I'm sure that there are a few people who get addicted to opiates because of an injury somewhere, but that's not the bulk of hard drug abuse, and you know it.

Is the meth problem in rural states due to the fact that we in rural areas live a more hedonistic lifestyle?
What are the substance abuse numbers for the country as a whole? You might to be careful on this; meth and Viagra are consumed by a rather wild gay party crowd in many big cities, producing a very high STD rate. The meth causes erection problems; the Viagra solves that problem; the meth causes stupid actions like unsafe sex.

In any case, the high substance abuse rates of the homosexual community are well established.


You are grasping at straws to justify your hatred towards gays.
Hatred. No. I am tired of seeing the whole society and its laws restructured so that damaged people don't have to confront their damage.
4.28.2006 6:06pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The homeless problem in San Francisco has been made worse by other cities decision to bus their homeless here because of our liberal social programs.

I've never met someone who takes pride in our homeless problem. Indeed, to the contrary, San Francisco more than most cities tries to do something to help the homeless (which, of course, only attracts more homeless people here).
Tries to help them, except for the one area that would actually help them--correct the deficiencies in how judges have chosen to implement the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act. Part of the problem is that San Francisco's representatives in the legislature have long fought any attempt at correcting these problems.
4.28.2006 6:09pm
anonymouse2 (mail):
--I've never met someone who takes pride in our homeless problem.

I lived in the SF Bay Area for ten years, leaving less than 2 years ago. Of those ten, I lived in SF proper from 1995-1999 and 2002-2004. In between I lived in the South Bay, the Peninsula, and the East Bay.

San Francisco may not have homeless activists who "take pride" in their homeless problem, but they actually do have activists who have legally ensured that it is IMPOSSIBLE to force a homeless person out of the filth and into a shelter or assisted living. They have activists who have buoyed up the drug and crime infested shanty towns. They have activists, judges, and politicians who have made sure that it is basically impossible to stop giving cash payments to addicts.

You can tell me that SF is cleaner in the last two years--I wouldn't be able to disagree, as I have no data--but no one was even trying to clean up Polk Street or Van Ness or Mission at 16th before. There it was common for me to watch junkies buy heroin from RVs. It was common for me (as in, occurred MULTIPLE TIMES A WEEK) to watch them shoot up in front of the church at the corner of Sacramento and Van Ness. It was common for me (again, MULTIPLE TIMES A WEEK) to see men walk around and defecate in public.

re: my claim about often seeing men having sex in the Casto in public: by "often", I mean that I'd say on average, one in 4 weekend Saturday nights, I'd see men having sex with men on the street next to the Hot n Hunky. You may not think that's often, but I do.
4.28.2006 11:02pm
Randy R. (mail):
Lordy, so people see a sex shop,, and complain about how the neighborhood is 'sexualized.' You know, in one of the Carolinas, there is a bill to prohibit the sale of any sex toys at all! What is it with people? Why is sex considered to be always dirty and disgusting, and something that can't be mentioned in public? Sheesh -- what a bunch of prudes.

As for sex in public, frankly, I don't really see what the problem is. I've been to France and all over Asia, and there public sex isn't considered such a big deal. Maybe if Americans got over their prudery of the human body, and embraced the naturalness of sex, then maybe all our therapists could pack their bags....
4.29.2006 12:37am
raj (mail):
Elais http://volokh.com/posts/1146182849.shtml#86209

Are you talking out of your ass again Clayton?

Yes.

Cramer seems to know more about what homosexuals do than more than a few of us homosexuals. Having observed some of his rantings and ravings off and on over a few years, he seems to have a fixation on homosexuals. It makes one wonder why.
4.29.2006 6:50am
Just:
Here's my one question for Mr. Clayton Cramer (is it really true that this guy was once a regular poster here, asked by Eugene? I just can't believe that...):

Mr. Cramer,
Have you ever met or known a homosexual who was living a life that you respected? You seem so biased here.

Is there not one homosexual law professor, or homosexual family person, that you have come to know and respect? If not, then I think the problem is with you.

We are here (respectable homosexuals, religious homosexuals, parenting homosexuals). Some of us respect our straight friends, family and co-workers and simply want equal rights to what heterosexuals have in society, no more and no less.

I've read you enough to know you think this is greedy, and probably immoral in your view. Like you have some duty to deny these rights, it makes me laugh at all the scholarly noise here.

Mr. Cramer: No one cares what your personal views are. You have no power over us. And you can't be truly enjoying your freedoms much if you keep coming here to comment on homosexuals pursuit of theirs. You are a silly silly little man. Silly. Little. Really.

You impress your views on your own family; leave American society out of it. Here, you're entertainment, not intellectual, not reasoning. You have sexual fears; you sputter and spout, but convince no one.
4.30.2006 3:07pm
Just:
"re: my claim about often seeing men having sex in the Casto in public: by "often", I mean that I'd say on average, one in 4 weekend Saturday nights, I'd see men having sex with men on the street next to the Hot n Hunky. You may not think that's often, but I do."

Let's see... After the first time, you went back again on a Saturday night. Then the second time ... third... fourth... You must have liked what you were seeing to keep going back for more. Did you ask to join in, or maybe shoot some pictures to get you through the weekdays?

Say, do you commonly visit highway restrooms too?
4.30.2006 3:11pm
Jay C (mail):
Why would you call people that have sex with animals "sick"? Isn't that awfully narrowminded and puritanical of you?

Well, I wouldn't think so, no. Just for the record, Clayton: what would YOU call them?
4.30.2006 7:51pm
...Aaaaand there it is:
[insert inevitable veiled accusation of closeted homosexuality in face of criticism here]

raj, Just--took you guys long enough!
4.30.2006 10:10pm
Just:
Sorry I'm late.
Just got around to reading this today...

Seriously though, if you don't like what you're seeing in the street of a gay area on a Saturday night, why go back again, again, and again (4 times he says) just to be offended? To see if they had "cleaned up their act" ??

Just suggesting that being curious -- 4 times over -- might account for his being offended. Nothing at all wrong with that though...
4.30.2006 11:22pm