Some folks in San Francisco forgot their city is basically a homosexual playground (I mean, Robin Williams keeps a manse there), which is demarcated by rainbow flags flying from the lamp posts in the Castro. Except those lamp posts are historical city landmarks, as of 1991, and the flags were only supposed to be hung temporarily. Leaving them there is basically vandalism! What’s left of the banners, hung years ago, isn’t pretty: some are simply gone, others are in tatters. A few still fly brightly. And now some OBVIOUS HOMOPHOBES want to take the banners down.
The Mission Delores Neighborhood Association said the banners simply don’t belong on the posts permanently. “We completely support the diversity in the area,” the association said in a statement Friday to The Associated Press. “This is about preserving a city landmark from permanent signage.”
But others argue the banners in the Castro define the neighborhood and are slowly being lost as they become tattered and can’t be replaced. Only about a quarter of the 40 or so original banners on Market Street remain. Banner supporters want the law changed to allow new banners to go up. “This is where the rainbow flag started. This is a neighborhood that should be identified as one of the strongest and most vibrant gay and lesbian neighborhoods in the world,” said city Supervisor Bevan Dufty.
Dufty is calling for a compromise. Legislation he is promoting is designed to save the banners while keeping the lamp posts safe. The city’s Historic Preservation Commission backed the plan this past week.
That plan has the backing of the Board of Supervisors, which means the rainbow flags should find a more permanent welcome. I’m sure the Ruth Institute will be pleased.