words: Logan Crapser
photo: Clara Neupert
San Francisco is spectacular. If you are Queer you should probably try to go at some point in your life, but you should also be aware of some things before you go. First and foremost, if you come from the Midwest, realize that you must go home at some point. This means that the sudden, literally breathtaking freedom you may experience is purely temporary. The experience might change you, in some ways it did me, but that change will likely disappear when you go home.
Second, you should prepare yourself for the precise level of Queerness you will encounter. It feels like a place where all are welcome, and for the most part they are, but there is no collective Queer space here. It’s all splintered; each identity, fetish, "lifestyle," and category having carved out their own place. On one hand this is remarkable, everyone can probably find a place where they have peers. On the other hand, the way the Queer populace has moved forward and created the acceptance that enables people to have these spaces is by coming together and occupying space as one insane, freaky, fucked up, beautiful, deviant community.
When Queer people can have friends, and build community without it being only Queer, there is an obvious loss of pull towards each other. It is monumental that Queer people can occupy space that is not Queer, but we lose that shared energy that calls us to make change. When we do not always need each other, we cease to push boundaries together. We stop fighting each other’s oppression. We end up only battling for ourselves. This is the vibe you end up taking in at San Francisco: Overflowing acceptance mixed with almost apathetic complacency.
That being said, I would put serious money (if I had any, that is) on the fact that I may stand alone in this conclusion, or at least in the minority, among my cohort. I may be cynical, I may have given up on a Queer utopia long ago, but this is how I feel I must conclude after my trip, and that is a valid viewpoint. Still, go make memories and decide for yourself, but for me San Francisco ain’t that Queer. Oh, also it is really, really expensive.