Click here to return home.

Go back one page

Permission granted by author for anyone to distribute this
writing free of charge (including translation into any
language)...under condition that no profit is made therefrom,
and that it remain intact and complete, including title and 
credit to the original author.

Ezekiel J. Krahlin

(A True Tale From The Castro. Eat your heart out, Armistead!)

(c) 2003 by Ezekiel J. Krahlin 

The following article was posted to various queer mailing
lists and newsgroups on August 3, 2003:

On Sat, 2 Aug 2003 a gay participant posted to a queer mailing

I agree that we need to watch the Christian Right very
carefully, and formulate an aggressive  attack.

(Note: all names mentioned herein--except mine--are fictional,
though the persons spoken of quite real. I have a true story
to tell:)

Here, here! My own little contribution this afternoon, will be
to show up in a "straight" bar, wearing my rainbow sweater.
Now this may strike most as being a pointless, unnecessary
project in oh-so-liberal San Francisco a.k.a. "Gay Mecca."
However, let me assure everyone, that homophobia is alive and
well here, too...and getting increasingly belligerent at a
rapid rate. Not only has the enemy arrived at the gate...but
she has broken through and infiltrated every neighborhood, in
every strata of our local society. Nor should anyone forget
that--while a relatively large number of churches here are
gay friendly--one must keep in mind the words "relatively" and
"gay friendly."

MOST of the churches in S.F. are indeed anti-gay...and I
think it's a large stretch to conclude that even 1/4 of all
churches in this city are pro-gay. And what do they mean by
"gay friendly." I know way too many heteros who claim to be
gay friendly, as in: "Some of my best friends are gay..."
while at the same time screaming at me for discussing gay
issues in THEIR bar...a bar which is supposed to be "mixed,"
but which I recognize as essentially "straight."

Now, I have discussed my queer activism, my street counseling,
my ongoing lawsuit with other residents (against our property
owner), women's rights, and various other topics...only a
third of which are queer-related...but NONE of which include
sports and chicks. And...not one of the various good people I
have held conversations with, were in the least upset about my
freely speaking on gay issues. Those who rose up against me
last night...were EAVESDROPPERS who want to force their
heterocentric dogma on me. Those are folks who claim to have
plenty of gay friends.

I was told by one nice lady, Regina, that some guys were
complaining about my gay conversations...and she advised me to
tone it down. I told her that I couldn't do please
point them out to me. NO WAY am I going back in the closet to
appease a bunch of alcoholic, addle-brained heteros. (But she
said they'd already left, and she'd have to point them out to
me another day. So here I am, being warned of potential
violence yet DENIED any real description of what they look
like; who they are.)

To tell me to lower my voice to a whisper in a NOISY
bar--while others holler out to be heard--is way over the top,
and playing to homophobic idiocy. And, a regular there, whose
nickname is "Dirt Bag," started yelling at me that everything I
talk about is "gay this and gay that."..and that he's not
homophobic, he has plenty of gay friends. Then another guy,
Quizzy, who is the boyfriend of bartender Corina, said all that
people want is that I act "normal," and that plenty of gays
come to this bar...and he also has gay friends. 

Quizzy continued to tell me if I were anywhere else in the US,
talking like I'd do, I'd experience a lot WORSE than some
angry folks. And that you can't do anything about Christian
fundamentalists, you can't change them. (So I asked, oh, is He
a fundamentalist?" pointing to my oppressor. Quizzy said "No."
So I said, "Well then that's a lousy example." Furthermore, you
CAN do something about fundies...such as confronting them on
their turf, and taking your stand. Oh, yeah, and he wore a nose 
ring as he lectured me, so I dub him "Mr. Nose ring Normal.")

Well, ANOTHER guy chimed in--Native Amerikan named
"Benny"--bragged about how he stood up for his gay brother
while the rest of his large family rebuked him. But that when
he went with his brother to a gay bar in The Castro, he said
his brother just talked too much, just talk, talk, talk,

So I cut him off, and said, "And what is the point of all
this? I don't see how this relates to anything going on here
against me, right now." So a woman friend of his tried to
block Benny from continuing more prattling. Meanwhile, Quizzy was
still standing over me, trying to convince me that I need to
act "normal." I decided to pack up and leave, so I put on
my jacket, picked up my backpack, and said: "I really don't
need this. Don't worry, I won't be back."

Stepping out, Regina, Benny, Monique, and Quizzy circled me, with
Benny grabbing onto my arm. I said, "Look, I'll find another
place where I can have a nice time." Well, they insisted that
I should come back in, that that's just one idiot (seems to be
no mention of the veiled threat that came to me from a
concerned customer)...and I shouldn't let it "get to me." Now,
mind you...all this going on right in the face of a rather
large, strong-looking bartender who remained MUTE through the
whole thing...when he COULD have told the drunk to back off.
And why didn't he? Probably because "Dirt Bag" was a long term
regular with money to burn.

This is not over...I know how these kinds of jerks think. (And
I'm not including the well-meaning--if somewhat naive--new
friends I have recently made there.) So...I'm supposed to be
scared of bringing up any gay topic, eh? Well...that's who I
am, dears! I love my queer activism, and the many fantastic,
true tales I have to tell...and I never spoke with anyone
there who did not ENJOY listening, and sharing their own true
stories. So here I am, on the defense, against both visible
and invisible enemies.

Isn't it absurd that now, I could be putting my life in
danger, my merely showing up in a rainbow sweater? I'd LOVE to
have another sweater that says "gay gay gay" all over it, in
little words. Wouldn't that be too fun! Isn't it absurd that
such HOMOPHOBIA continues to hold sway, even in so-called
"mixed" straight/gay bars, in good ol' liberal "Gay Mecca?"

So what am I supposed to do to be "safe."..yet still go to
that venerable bar? Do not speak about any gay topic? Do not
wear any clothing, buttons or pins with a pink triangle or
other gay-related symbol or phrase? Yes...and shut up and try
to ENJOY heterosexist music pumping from the jukebox (and from
guest bands every weekend) such as "Mama's Got a Squeeze Box"
and "When a Man Loves a Woman."

And another note: Women have it really lousy here, too...and
they put up with an awful lot in order to try to enjoy the
evening. Two examples I witnessed among the debacle about my
way-obviously GAY presence:

Benny acted sweet on Regina, who accepted his approach,
expecting a nice hug. Instead, he forced a deep-throat French
kiss on her, and would have kept it up had she not pushed him
away. She made "yuck" sounds in a playful way, so as to make
it clear (in a non-confrontational way) that he's
overstepping his bounds.

Than a little while later, a musician who was going to play
later that night, presented a toy balloon whose shape was
complex, and which I didn't bother to interpret. He handed it
to Monique, then I said, "Did you make that balloon?" He said,
"No."..than later pointed out to Monique that it depicts a
monkey with an erection. Now, I still didn't bother to look
closely to see if that really was the case...however, it did
seem to be what he said, if I concluded that it was being held
upside down. Noticing it was purple in color, I chimed in:
"Oh, its a GAY monkey, huh?" He stared at me weirdly for a
moment, during which time I spoke: "Well, it IS purple, after 
all, so work with me here."

To which the (obviously) str8 musician retorted: "I don't
believe in gay monkeys." Then walked into the bar. Silly me, I
wasn't quick enough for the perfect comeback, which (with
hindsight) I will now say:

"I guess you don't know about the Bonobos chimpanzees. They're
the only species of chimps that resolve conflicts same-sex stroking, fondling, and lots of hot
sex. It was in the news last years, and you can quickly find
articles about the Bonobos on any Internet search engine."

Anyways, I think it's tragic that some (read "too many")
straight males--of even the LIBERAL persuasion--think it's
cool to force their sex on women, and hand them phallic
statues and images. I presume this is happening now, because a
lot of str8 guys are freaking out over the gay issue being so
in-your-face these days, as the politics of sexual minorities
heats up (and spills over into a likely civil war).

Oh, yeah, my new friends enticed me back in, finally, and
bought me a drink. But I'm sorry to say, the issue is NOT
resolved, and I guess more ugliness is to ensue...assuming I
return, and do not let some idiots silence me. To the benefit
of my friends, they rallied around me, and one even wore my "I
Bash Back" button. Yet I think more could have (and should
have) been done: such as a firm reprimand against the
offender...instead of laying all the blame at my feet, as if
just being my friendly queer self were really the problem
after all. And of course...why didn't the bartender nip it in
the bud, when he was standing right there while "Dirt Bag" was
hollering at me?

So..even when I want a break from human ugliness (in my case
by avoiding the gay bars, what with the intense hard-drug
addicts and extreme alcoholism...which creates OTHER sorts of
ugly scenarios to drive me out)...controversy seems to swim
around me no matter what. I guess I should go back...though
another part of me says I don't have to prove anything, and no
longer showing up will have the needed impact.

However, I've decided to wear my rainbow sweater...all white
except for a horizontal rainbow band around the upper arms and
chest. And I guess I'll throw in the pink dragonfly cloth
pendant, and wear it as a necklace. (Really, it's a
refrigerator magnet from Walgreens, which I creatively

So I guess youse all would like to know WHICH bar this is?
Well, it can't be MOST of the straight bars...because they are
SOLIDLY it must be one that is considered very
mixed, gay-friendly, and liberal. The bar is:

1315 9th Ave. (btwn Judah & Irving)

I will be there by 3:45pm (today, Sunday), expecting to meet
my new girlfriends, Regina and Monique, who will show up at 4.

This is the same neighborhood ("Inner Sunset") where I was not
allowed to participate in an open mic session at the Canvas
Cafe. The guy running it, seemed nice at first, and said I'd
get on even though I signed up as the 35th person. But he kept
delaying me and delaying me, pretending changes in the night's
format. However...he let the other poets on, and
musicians...just kept me hanging on till closing time,
tricking me into thinking I'd get on, when apparently, he
never intended to in the first place...but got his sadistic
jollies by wasting my time. Yeah, I guess he just couldn't
handle it, that I signed myself on as "Jehovah's Queer
Witness." Jeez! What's a talented faggot to do in Gay Mecca,
when he winds up getting black listed from even open mics at
"liberal/mixed" coffee houses and bars?

I invite other queers (and supporters) to join me for a good
time this afternoon...and help keep the 'phobes at bay. Of
course, if you've never met me, you'll still be able to figure
out which person I I am all too OBVIOUSLY gay (or so I
would seem in some losers' eyes).

P.S.: Imagine if I had my own humor/gossip column in this or
that gay rag. I don't think the BAR would allow it, due to
some hate e-mail sent me by their political editor...who ALSO
happens to be the current S.F. Police Commissioner. Well!
There are OTHER gay rags out there...yet for some strange
reason, they don't realize what  a great columnist I'd be for
our community! So, if others here would like to see me with
some sort of fun, regular column, contact these gay-media
venues...and don't stop at just newspapers. Obviously,
controversy is my middle name, and I am destined to use it as
a tool of empowerment for myself...and through me, for ALL
sexual minorities.)

This is ridiculous...the idea that I'd even be under some sort
of threat, merely for wearing a RAINBOW. Well, I'll be
there...and wouldn't at least ONE other be eager to share (and
witness) the adventure, too?

---finis (for now)


Well, things have taken a quick dive for the worst. I returned
to the Mucky Duck this Sun. afternoon.

I gave a cheerful hello to those who were there (about six).
Corina's boyfriend, Quizzy was there...the one who told me last
night I should act "normal" (meaning "straight" of course, but
he surely wouldn't admit THAT). So I walked up to him, tapped
him on the shoulder, and said:

"Say Quizzy, you were concerned about my acting and appearing
normal. So how do I look today, normal enough?" (I was wearing
a long brown jacket and black Levi's.) He just shook his head
and mumbled, and started to walk away. But I stopped him
again, to zip open my coat to shoe him my rainbow sweater
w/pink dragonfly pendant. And added: "But don't you think this
is much nicer?"

The bartender on duty, Corina, said she must refuse to serve
me, by orders of the owner, "Freddie." I said, "How nasty! But
you're stuck in the middle."

So I extracted my 7-page printed grievance "Report from the
Trenches" (the original article I posted that started this
thread). and dumped it on the counter before her. "Here is a
list of my complaints against this bar. If you want, share it
with the owner or whomever...or just toss it out."

Then I noticed Benny (who forced a deep-throat French kiss on a
woman customer, against here wishes. Well, he also said in a
drunken stupor last night, that he was wrongfully imprisoned
for three years, on false accusation of rape. His behavior
that night made me think otherwise). So I came up to Benny and
said, "Hey, the owner's 86'd me from this bar. What do you
think of that?" So brave little Benny who supposedly defended
his gay brother...guess how he reacted? With simply a shrug of
his shoulders, and turned away from me to continue
conversation with a male acquaintance sitting across from
him. (Closet cases? Hmmmm.)

The instigator of last night (who screamed at me in front of
the nighttime bartender who did NOTHING) was cowering in a
corner, with a grim look on his walrus-mustache face. I turned
to him and said, "This has been fun dear. Let's do it again
some time. I'm gonna sue this place, and that won't make Freddie
very happy with you!" Then I started to walk away; then did a
"Columbo" on him:

Before I actually exited via the door, I turned around and
walked right back up to him, and said:

"By the way, I can smell a closet case a mile away." And
grinned, and finally left. He didn't say one single word, but
stayed frozen.

Then I really did leave. Oh, yeah, for extra effect I wore my
"skull" bandana (little skulls scatttered across a black

Now, I didn't really plan things to go this way, was
all copasetic; I didn't miss a beat.

Now, I've contacted my new gal-friend about this...just on the
answering machine. Told her I intend to process a legal
grievance against Mucky Duck's...hopefully, to sue big time.

I need an attorney who'll take this case pro-bono...and it
looks like a solid case to me. After all, the ONLY way they
could convince the owner to 86 me, is by defaming my character
(slander and heresay). And I have excellent witnesses who were
totally on my side, and saw EVERYTHING. At least three.

So does anyone care to help me find that lawyer? How about a
rally around Mucky Duck by neighborhood activists? Anyone put
me in touch with some groups?

Look, I think we're sitting on a gold mine. How many straight
bars are out there in S.F., just ripe for the plucking? This
is absolutely disgusting and UNFORGIVEABLE, for these straight
and/or "mixed" bars and clubs to foment anti-gay atmospheres,
while PRETENDING they're so gay friendly. They set us up big
time, all these years, to do violence against us (or at best,
exclude us from neighborhood hangouts, and a social life).
Time to return the favor, and set THEM up for easy
lawsuits...that are WELL DESERVED. Hey, it's not only fair,

And I believe queer activists can do same in any other city or
town here in Amerika. So spread the word...spread the Gay
Gospel. We're here, we're queer, and we want a piece of that
pie!  $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$



Put your money where your pride is!