As a young teenage boy I dreamed. I also feared.
I feared that my dream of being able to be part of the late 1970s Castro Street Gay Scene in San Fransisco wouldn’t ever come to fruition. Still I dreamed and I hoped I would be part of it one day.
The 1980s came and I came out, graduated from high school then started college. I still dreamed. Then an epidemic spread and gay men were dying. Not only dying but dropping like flies of horrific painful deaths. The AIDS epidemic had started in San Fransisco and New York. My dream dimmed, flickered and died out.
Gay society, as it had evolved, died along with the casualties of 100’s of thousands of men in the prime of their life. Or so it seemed.
Life in my hometown isolated away from the gay epicenters became safe. California was far away. I had never been and thus made no plans to go.
Later on life would take another path and California would become my home. San Fransisco and L.A would become my playgrounds just north of my San Diego home. However this post isn’t about that turn of events and eventual blessings. This post is about a lifestyle from a part of history.
My understanding of it is that in the late 1960s, before my childhood memory kicks into consistency, San Fransisco became a social experiment. It became a place of refuge, expression, dissonance, art, rebellion, experimentation and change. Born of this era the later 1970’s sexual revolution would allow gay lifestyle to flourish, especially in San Fransisco. It was this 1960s era in this enlightened place that would change minds and broaden the potential of a society that was to come.
Today I stumbled upon this historical clip. At this moment I pause, reflect and feel gratitude for those who expressed themselves. Expressed themselves not only so they could live an open honest authentic life, but that others may follow their newly emblazoned path.
Their path helped us get to where we are today. May their path also help us to continue and go to many new, better and brighter places in our future.
Never loose sight. Never stop dreaming. Don’t ever loose hope. Start by enlightening yourself, then those around yourself.