Mecca is a holy pilgrimage destination, a holy place, not nirvana/heaven. I do think that San Francisco and Greenwich Village still speak to lgbtiq people everywhere with historic and symbolic value. While part of me began way back in the 1990s to lament the devolution of San Francisco Pride from a worldwide queer celebration (crazy party) destination back into more of a regional phenomenon, the rest of me was gladdened.
See, to understand why the crowds were more local and less outrageous, one had to grasp the social changes taking place nationwide and worldwide. Every small city had a pride celebration and the world wide web was making networking and coordinating plans and dates incredibly easy. Potential pilgrims could spend their money on localizing the community movements and celebrating nearer home in a place more real and relevant to them. The SF celebration even shrank for a few years, but now numbers are higher than ever. It’s still a destination; but like the Haj, you need only make it once and need not make it at peak time. San Francisco Freedom Day is a celebration of normalcy as much as diversity, now. That’s beautiful. In many parts of the country and world, that environment still does not exist, yet it’s no longer a rarity.
Symbolically, culturally, we still have our “Meccas.” Many of these cities/neighborhoods are still havens from the most repressive of locations; but they no longer represent escape to paradise for most of us. They are examples of the future, of hope for the continuation and progress of the gains we have made over the last few decades, of finally attaining normalcy without sacrificing difference or honesty, of sharing with all segments of Society these gifts and celebrating diversity in everything.
If anything, the party destinations have already changed and will probably change again; like any centers of industry. Most will still want to, at least once in life, dance in the streets of San Francisco, see the Stonewall Inn and a Broadway play in New York, kiss their spouse in Amsterdam, show skin at Mardi Gras in Sydney or Rio de Janeiro. History is not finished, so we do not know what other places will earn the iconic status that draws “pilgrims.”