FIRST PERSON

Hey Castro, Enough With The Rainbows Already!

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Castro Street in San Francisco is getting a $8.3 million dollar makeover in the hopes of making the neighborhood more inviting and more pedestrian friendly. And more gay.

But is that really necessary? The Castro is already about the gayest place on earth. It’s really, really gay.

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For example, within three square blocks you have a dozen gay bars, six sex toy/porn stores and the world’s largest rainbow flag flying high above Harvey Milk Plaza. There’s also the Human Rights Campaign store located in the space that was Harvey’s camera store replete with murals of our pioneer, and there’s both an elementary school and a restaurant named after Harvey. Every street light has a rainbow flag on it. And once June rolls around, there are so many pride flags adorning local businesses that it looks like Dorothy herself painted the Castro.

As a long-time Castro resident, I actually love all the rainbow representation. At its peak during gay pride month (or June, as straight people call it), it even makes me smile. However, even a gay man living in the gayest place on earth has his limits.

The project will reportedly now “enhance the streetscape experience with widened sidewalks, repaving, new lighting, and street trees.” Sounds good so far. Oh, and more rainbows. The new “Rainbow Honor Walk” project will commemorate LGBT leaders and heroes and add “celebratory” LED lighting along the street. Rainbow colors, anyone?

rainbow-crosswalk-designsLet’s not stop there. The Castro business district recently sent out a survey that included questions about painting the decorative crosswalks. The options: rainbow flag with lengthwise stripes, rainbow flag made up of hankies (really!), plain squares and artsy representation of overhead electric wires. 50 percent of the choices are rainbows. I voted for the wires.

The second question: “If (when) rainbows are painted on the crosswalks, which specific design of rainbows should we do: Rainbow flags stacked on top of each other, one long rainbow flag or rainbow flags in a checkerboard pattern? The survey creators wanted more rainbows and “Look! People picked it!” is a perfect way to justify their pre-ordained decision.

The winner of the survey was soon announced with much fanfare. Can you guess which? Rainbow flags will be painted on the crosswalk (“length-wise modern” won).

This is likely just the beginning. Why not add rainbow colored parking meters and those fabulous GAYTMS at all banks and give rainbow blankets to the homeless to keep warm. There’s so much more to do!

I love living here and I love making our neighborhood more welcoming, but can we just get over the rainbow? I’m certain even Dorothy would agree.

Photos: karendesuyotorbakhopper