San Francisco’s New “Rainbow Honor Walk” Littered With Offensive Typos And Misinformation

0901-2014-Castro-rainbow-walkIn a rushed effort to build and unveil San Francisco’s brand new Rainbow Honor Walk, it appears as though the project’s coordinators forgot to proofread or spell check the first 11 of 20 bronze plaques that were laid into the sidewalk early this morning.

The walk, an homage to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, is located on Castro Street between 18th and 19th, and will consist of 20 bronze plaques that honor now-deceased pioneers and icons of the LGBT movement, including Alan Turing, Frida Kahlo, Keith Haring, and Allen Ginsberg.

The honorees were chosen by Rainbow Honor Walk’s volunteer staff, who apparently then hired a third-grader to do their copywriting.

At an unveiling ceremony of the plaques that took place in the Castro this morning, several onlookers noticed some very obvious and glaring spelling and grammatical errors etched in a few of the plaques.

The Castro Bubble was first on the scene, pointing out Oscar Wilde’s “bitting wit”:


Instagram user gayvideohistorian takes a look at Harry Hay, a “sexual revolutionary who defined LGBT as a cultural identity.” Huh?

And Sylvester, a “multi-gold record singer and songwriter”:

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.05.56 PM

And most offensively, Christine Jorgensen, the first “trangendered [sic] American publicly to announce her change of sexual identity.” What is trangendered [sic]? And since when do people “change” their sexual identity?


Rainbow Honor Walk “Board member” Benjamin Leong has reportedly said the horrific errors will be replaced by October. Until then, this mess will remain embedded in San Francisco’s sidewalks.

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  • throwslikeagirl

    Awful. This is an embarrassment for all of us. These plaques need to be changed STAT.

  • Teeth

    It is awful– but it really shows where SF is now… it’s become a bedroom community for 25 y/o millionaires from Silicon Valley, there is no heart here, no community to get involved in making things like this right. SF is done, it was a nice dream once.

  • Snapper59

    Oscar Wilde could have better been described as a premiere novelist and play-write who was sentenced to hard labor in prison for being gay. Who cares what he wore. I like his memorial in Dublin, just a lifesized bronze statue relaxing in the park.

  • Matt1961

    This is just an extension of the idiotic print media intelligence drain we’ve seen coming down the road for a while now. With all of the blogger, micro-bloggers, and social media ‘stars’ that have no respect for literature or proper writing skills. These giants of 140 character bites have no clue how to use punctuation.

  • blackberry finn

    @Snapper59: Playwright…. You’d think the people in charge of setting a text in bronze (and subsequently in stone) would think of hiring the services of a professional copy editor. An absurd waste of money and time, and an embarrassment to everyone. O tempora o mores!

  • mezzacanadese

    Folks, let’s get over this. They admit they goofed and are fixing the mistakes. Can we just find something more important to get exercised about?

  • beachcomberT

    Doubly ironic that a piece taking potshots at the writing errors and misspellings of others would have in its second paragraph confusing verbiage on the location of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. I believe the Walk is still in Hollywood, not in the Castro. Let’s admit it — we all need copy editors.

  • drice

    @mezzacanadese: Let’s not forget the higher level intent – Great for San Francisco to be doing this and honoring some great pioneers. Yes, mistakes and they need to fix, but let’s look at the bigger picture – way to go SF at a high level, fix it, but keep doing cool things.

  • robirob

    Why bother with English at all? Just use emoticons. It’s the language of the dumbed down future after all.

  • Tackle

    Strange and funny how what I wrote got deleted. Yet on a post dated Aug 30th, titled “So Close” about Michael Sam, @ Dixley uses hate words and violates Queerty’s comment policy, and his post are still up…

  • Saint Law

    @Tackle: Dixley lol.

    Yeah it’s odd. I’ve had a couple of posts having a go at that turdgobbler removed. I put it down to his thin skin – but who knows? Maybe he’s sucking somebody in Admin? (however badly).

  • Jay

    Has anyone noticed that the text on the installed plaques differs substantially from was (and is) shown on the website at ? There may be good reason for the change, but I feel this is deceptive. The website should be showing us the actual text.

    And if you’re really interested in making your displeasure known, contacting the board members might be more effective than venting here. The board member’s contact info can be found here:

  • sanfranca1

    @Snapper59: That would be “playwright”.

  • Brian

    The errors are not “horrific.” Please gain some perspective. They’re errors, surely, but actual “horror” implies something like murder, crime, mutilation, dismemberment, carnage, or violence. This isn’t that. Your inability to use the English language is on par with adding a “t” to biting — stupid and embarrassing, but not horrific.

  • Brian

    @Teeth: This memorial was not designed, voted on, created, or constructed by 25-year old tech workers. I understand your frustration, and that community may deserve criticism for other things, but you’re totally off base bringing your hate here to this. Young, newly arrived tech workers had absolutely nothing to do with this project. Random whining doesn’t help.

  • Snapper59

    LOL, PlayWRIGHT. Sorry. And no, I wasn’t part of this project. Wouldn’t “Picture of Dorian Gray” have made him a novelist, too? It wasn’t a play and he was very famous for it while alive.

  • Snapper59

    And my point was according to what is presently there that many would just know he was a great artist and a snappy dresser. Not that he was outed and had a very celebrated trial where he was found “homosexual” in Britain and sentenced to hard labor in prison that made him so ill it eventually killed him. In Paris, penniless, but still with the wit: “Either this wallpaper goes or I do.”

  • sfhally

    Really, that’s all you have? Slow day at Queerty or just the need to make trouble where none exists?
    How is transgendered so offensive?
    Far as I can see, the real problem is that image of Sylvester. I hope he rises up and smacks whoever chose it.

  • sfhally

    @Jay: You’re right–the images there are much more interesting. Must have been a money issue.
    And check out the map–they’re gonna bring the Castro all the way down Market to Octavia if it kills them. My neighborhood has apparently been taken over again. First I had the Hayes Valley Association try to tell me I lived in Hayes Valley (I live just off Market on Guerrero) and now I’m apparently living in the Gateway to Castro”. Bunch of nonsensical shit.

  • corey

    Anyone else wonder if this was done on purpose? And u bet ur ass and a box of Twinkies, if this happened to anything Christian or Republican, FOX would be all over it calling it “A War”… Against something lol

  • morgantsf

    Oscar Wilde is described as a dramatist, poet, novelist and essayist known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress, glittering conversation and enduring artistic achievements. Everything in that description is true. A dramatist IS a playwright. The term is not misspelled on his Honor Walk plaque because the term is not on his Honor Walk plaque. Wilde wrote only one novel, unless you can prove he wrote Teleny, so Dorian Gray is included, although not mentioned specifically. Besides, many people think it doesn’t hold a candle to his great plays of the 1890s. True, there is no mention that “he was outed and had a very celebrated trial where he was found ‘homosexual’ in Britain and sentenced to hard labor in prison.” Should there be? Which of his accomplishments described in the 20 or so words on the plaque would you give up to include it? Besides, he was tried and convicted for gross indecency, not homosexuality. Read the text on the plaque. That way you won’t criticize it for saying something it doesn’t say.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    How about no words, only the names.

  • gaypalmsprings

    I want to be a record singer, too.

  • pressuredrop

    Is it a violation of policy to point out mistakes.

  • eddief

    @Teeth: It’s a little silly to blame 25 y/o tech workers on this one….

  • BadSeed

    @mezzacanadese: “. . . something more important to get exercised about?” That’s easy: the SF Health Dept.’s ban on lockable cubicles in bathhouses — the infamous privacy ban — and the City Attorney’s ahistorical interpretation of the bathhouse regulations which holds that such lockable cubicles are not permitted.

  • lykeitiz

    @hephaestion: ROFL!!

  • David Gervais

    “The walk, an homage to Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, is located….”. See the two commas? They set that phrase apart from the rest of the sentence. The rest is “The walk … is located on Castro Street between 18th and 19th”. After 19th is a good place to put ‘and’.

  • pressuredrop

    I forgot the question mark up there. To be fair, it was a rhetorical question, so it sounded like a statement in my head.

    See how good it feels to own up to your mistakes?

  • jar

    The errors are bad enough, but the copy and images are equally unappealing. There is no want of creative talent in our ranks. Surely, this could have been better executed in design, images, and copy. What is that blob in front of Harry Hay?

  • Cobalt Blue


  • AzLights

    Although OT I hope posters from San Francisco might be willing to give me an answer. I used to live in SF (about 11 years ago). Since leaving I married and my wife and I are considering moving back. Is San Francisco much the same or has it changed> For better? For worse? I hear that it is not the place it used to be and that a lot of the LGBT soul is gone. I want to move back but only if it is not so changed as to be unrecognizable. I thank anyone in advance who will be so kind as to answer this.

  • sfhally

    @AzLights: Depends on what kind of life/community you had when you were here. And if you have money. The changes in the last 12 or so years is incredible. If you’re looking for funky/homey feels it’s disappearing fast. What’s seems to be happening too often is that as new condos/apartments go up the new tenants want “amenities” that didn’t exist in the previous neighborhoods so marginal mom/pop businesses are losing leases as their rents rise. In my neighborhood I’ve watched a comic book store become an art gallery; a corner market become a yoga studio. I’m dreading the day my corner market is priced out as several large housing projects line Market Street with commercial space below and they’ll drive commercials rents up.
    The rule of thumb is that once you leave you usually can’t come back.
    If you’re new-housing is unbelievable unless you’re in the upper percentile.
    One of the unmentioned things about the idealization of the Castro is that it not set up to be a neighborhood in the way it once was. Neighborhoods need young people coming in and the Castro made it harder. A lot of the people who made the Castro what it was got older and established and just wanted things to be quiet. And the newer generations do things differently–there isn’t the need to gather like there once was.
    The Castro of myth is just a memory like the Summer of Love or the Harlem Renaissance–special because it was only for a brief instant.

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