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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!)

© 2002 by Ezekiel J. Krahlin

The following letter I sent to various gay media outlets,
including San Francisco's B.A.R. I also e-mailed it to several
mainstream newspapers, and gay and activist Internet

---begin letter:

October 12, 2002

Dear Editor,

The Castro has suffered a recent spate of violent deaths in a
short period, all directly linked to homeless people (or
"drifters") who are also quite homophobic (though some hide it
well). Oh, about four months ago, a gay cop died in the line of
duty (and another severely brain damaged) in pursuit of a
violent felon attempting to find sanctuary here in the
Castro. His name is "Monte", and he had just left his
girlfriend beaten within an inch of her life, one eye gouged
out. Prior to this incident, Monte had been a long-term
vagrant of the Castro, intimidating other decent folks (both
houseless and housed) throughout our valley. (Fortunately, he
was apprehended in the chase...but what a horrid price to pay
for such worthless trash: two brave young police attempting to
protect our gay community from this monster, paid the ultimate
price. My heart goes out to them, and all their comrades in

And a few weeks ago, a long-term (and friendly) regular at the
popular neighborhood bar, The Pendulum, was brutally murdered
by another who frequented that place, and had built up a
circle of trust among local residents. (Let me say this about
The Pendulum: it's a great place with very friendly and
community-supportive, culturally diverse bartenders. And for
the most part, a great crowd hangs there throughout the day. I
invite everyone to show their support by spending some time,
and money, there. The good folks of The Pendulum certainly
deserve a boost of positive support, after that shocking
murder of a favorite customer. But do I hear them whining? No
way; they're such great soldiers!)

And, just a few days ago, a crazed street person screaming
"faggot" and wielding two butcher knives in and around the
Bagdad Cafe, was shot just as he lunged at an armed officer
of the law. (See "Mr. Akbar's Demise" for my take on this 

And I also see that these deaths are the likely outcome of
years of our neighborhood having to put up with violent
ex-cons and drug-crazed bullies lurking our streets at all
times of the day and night. (In my examples above: one's
African American, one's Caucasian, and another's Arab American race has little, if anything, to do with it.) For
the above incidents are examples of the most dangerous among
the street denizens, in the Castro. As those who live and
frequent this area know too well: these streets are overrun
with a whole crowd of very nasty, homophobic thugs and their
cohorts. And I know who they are. I even know a few who are
100% homosexual, yet in public act out as if they're totally
straight--strutting around with bowed legs to prove this to
the world--in order to defend themselves from possible attacks
from other bullies of their peer. They don't want their
"secret" known; no, not even here in the Castro, the heart of
the heart of Gay Mecca.

There are some decent street folk, and I know them too...and
they suffer constantly from threats by these thugs...and are
driven out, or live in fearful truce. Also terrorized by these
criminals, are our own gay houseless, who must acquiesce to
these hetero-supremacist bullies; often going back into the
closet to minimize the odds of being bashed. Imagine that: in
our own gay areas, the gay homeless are still in danger of
bashing, because the streets themselves are very homophobic.
(And what's to stop hetero street trash from claiming they're
"bisexual", in order to take up what few beds we can provide
to our own sexual-minority houseless? Nothing, because the law
is biased against homosexual equality.)

I speak with familiarity on the homeless and gay issues,
because I've been an activist in our community since 1973: for
sexual minorities, including those who are without any roof
over their heads. And, I was homeless myself, for a time
(1973-1974). My history as an activist is laid out for the
world to see, via my writing and art, at: .
The queer papers know me well, as I have been sending letters
to the editor since 1985, under my birth name of Gene
Catalano...and in the last few years under my new name
(legally changed): Zeke Krahlin. (Proof of name change can
be easily found on my web site.)

My intent was to reach out to my gay sisters and brothers on 
the Castro streets, to advocate for them. But so many heteros 
(most clueless about gay rights, some hostile) among our local 
street people have made it impossible for me to freely seek out 
these gays, as they remain in fear of being bashed, even in Gay 
Mecca. And it's quite true, sad to say. I know of one gay homeless 
man who got on welfare, and had to share a cruddy hotel room 
with a guy who turned out to be very homophobic, and beat him up. 
The social services ignored his plea for help, so he dropped out of 
this program, and is now back on the streets. Streets which are 
every bit as anti-gay as a welfare hotel rife with homophobic vermin.

I never thought things would come to this, being an advocate
for the homeless and all...but: our streets are truly
dangerous for gay folk these days, due to thugs overrunning
our sidewalks and parks. But this is not a homeless issue; it
is a street issue, a behavior issue. For some of these thugs
do have homes; and some housed (often affluent) gays do sell,
buy and partake hard drugs with some homeless. The situation
is so tragic at this point in time, that our community is
under siege by bratty monsters strutting our neighborhood like
they own it (because godammit, they're STRAIGHT hence SUPERIOR
to the friggin' faggots around here). So even though I have
houseless friends, I MUST stand with those good people who are
FED UP WITH THIS HOMOPHOBIC CRAP terrorizing us in our own
neighborhood...and join them in flushing any and all street
thugs OUT of our once-safe community.

I may be a homeless advocate, but I sure as hell am NOT a
bullshit advocate...and that's what these thugs are: the dregs
of humanity who, for the "good fortune" of a corrupt legal
system releasing them to the public prematurely (without
warning or protection), have insinuated themselves into our
queer community. Why? Because that's where desperate thugs run
to, when they are in serious trouble again. Like Monte who
gouged out his battered girlfriend's eye: "I'll hide out in
the Castro, shack up with some rich fag, maybe bash him or
some others, and rape a homeless bitch while I'm at it." You should 
know that the state prison system releases most prisoners to either 
Los Angeles, Sacramento, or San Francisco. And they ALL know the 
Castro; much to my alarm (likewise, West Hollywood).

When a society ignores the homeless issue, this is what we
finally wind up with: wonderful neighborhoods in all the major
cities and towns overrun with undesireables or unloved
homeless vagrants. And many gravitate to gay communities, for
the intrinsic homophobia of the legal system sees fit to
create holding cells for these outcasts, in gay neighborhoods.
And this social disease that rages on, called "homophobia",
infects MOST of the homeless who find their way here...for
that is the baggage they took with them, from their home town.
It is their God-given DUTY to harass and beat us, even when we
offer them our food, clothes, money, and other hospitality.
They are like perfect brainwashed puppets of the Religious
Reich, sent to create mayhem and dissent within gay
communities, in order to sabotage their progress. Talk about
cheap, expendable mercenaries!

I blame the rise of our government's anti-gay "Religious
Reich" into power, right up to the White House. They call the
Taliban "faggots", thus exacerbating the hatred against our
gay citizens. They deem us unworthy of fighting for our
nation, or of raising a family, or giving blood to our
soldiers. They whip up fear and disgust against us. 

And Pres. Clinton did us no big favor when he signed DOMA 
(Defense of Marriage Act) in 1996; which as good as proclaims 
that we gays are an imminent threat to American hetero-family 
values. This act empowered the Republican Reich to point their 
finger at Clinton and say: "See, your own liberal President of the
Democratic Party even agrees with us about you faggots," then
point to gays as the cause of all social ills...rising to such heights 
of absurdity as to blame us for 9/11. 

It is this rising pitch in anti-gay sentiment that is creating these 
ugly street scenes and murders across our sorry nation...and 
even into the heart of our own sexual-minority neighborhoods. We
have a dumbed-down populace with an itch to bash gays. And that 
is why statistics show a rapid rise each year in anti-gay violence, 
since DOMA, and even more so, since Dubya's usurpation of our 
ailing democracy.

But there ARE ways to convert these jar heads to our side of
the war. Just as their home folk put the fear of God into them
(with anti-gay attitude being a BIG part of it), we can put
the fear of the Lawn Mower Man in them, to get them to protect
our neighborhood from other rough types. Granted, it's
preferable to do away with jar heads completely, but as long
as we're stuck with their presence amid our community, we need
to make them work for us, to make our neighborhood safer. We
can turn the jar heads AGAINST those more dangerous, cunning
street thugs who keep the homophobic flames burning in the

We can also reach out to the smaller number of DECENT
houseless--especially sexual minorities--to both protect them
from these hostile vagrants, as well as to assist us in
forming an effective neighborhood watch. We CAN work with the
good homeless--and I'll even participate in the selection--who
know very well, all the dangerous types that have trashed and
terrorized our streets for much too long...and some of whom
are pretty big guys themselves. But I feel the situation of
anti-gay thugs is so urgent, I'd have no qualms with helping
to flush out ALL the homeless...if that's the only way our
community at large wants to do it.

In fact, I already have some of my street friends watching my
back, because another bully has been harassing and stalking me
for over two months now. (Unfortunately, he is also
gay...which goes to show that we can't assume someone is
decent, just because s/he is queer.) He is a long-term
houseless vagrant in the Castro, who screams and bullies a lot
of folks; name of "Dane". Unfortunately, I am more often a
target of hate from the streets, since I am part of the street
counterculture myself, and very adamant about maintaining gay
turf, and gay presence, in the streets of the Castro. 

I am willing to take a risk on my own well-being, by posting this
letter to gay papers and Internet newsgroups...for I know some
of my street enemies watch my every move, and know I am going
for the jugular, this time around. (And I don't at present
have another place to stay in the city, until the dust settles
in the Castro where I live. Guess I'll just have to grin and
bear it...and carry pepper spray and put on my steel-toes before 
stepping out.)

I am not the only queer FED UP with constant harassment by
nasty vagrants, and ineffectual legal action that could
discourage these idiots from such horrid behavior in the first
place. We must develop a perfectly legal method that is also
EFFECTIVE with or without the police, that uses peer pressure
and other low-key strategies to drive the dangerous ones away.

And I know we can do it, for the time is right, the need is
urgent...and I've met more than enough outraged Castro
denizens and visitors to realize we won't lack in numbers or
resources. We can approach the hostile ones as a group, and
suggest they leave. We can volunteer to hang out in groups at
the hot spots in the neighborhood, where thugs tend to
congregate...and make them feel quite unwelcome. And these are
just two effective strategies among others that can be
applied. But whether or not the community likes my idea of 
seeking out the decent homeless to join this effort, remains to be
seen. Either way, I am now totally devoted to inspiring an
overwhelming desire by these heterocentric thugs to leave the
vicinity of our queer community ASAP...which is ALL of San
Francisco, as far as I'm concerned.  (Hey! Make that all of
Northern California!)

I am gay; I was homeless; my soul mate was a cop. So I have a
heart for all these groups. But in this matter of street
thugs, I must side with those who are sick of what they define
as "the homeless". The threat of anti-queer violence is just
way too out of hand, for us to afford much compassion for
houseless people in our long-suffering neighborhood. Daily, I
see crazed fools "acting out" in violent gestures, often with
clubs, sticks, or some other wieldy weapon...up and down
Market Street, or 17th, or Castro, or 18th. And you tell me
that the police can't do anything about this? Can't take away
their weapons? Can't be arrested in order to discourage such
unruly behavior? (Is there perhaps a wish among some in City
Hall, to let the street thugs harass the faggot neighborhoods?
Because I don't see our straight 'hoods having much trouble
keeping the bottom dwellers away!)

The hypocrisy of "Gay Mecca" in pretending there isn't much
homophobia still, in our local institutions of government,
education, and medicine, is also to blame. Gays can barely be
safe in most areas of The City, without the risk of imminent
violence on their persons...and thus do NOT walk hand-in-hand
or kiss, in most of "Gay Mecca". A few years ago, a gay couple
were shot--one, to death--just for holding hands walking down
Haight Street. "Da Mayor" played the homophobic card to help
win his second term, by advertising in local newspapers a
photo of men in drag (Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence) with
the proclamation "Do we really want these kinds of people
running our city?" (or something in that same vein). And on
August 16 1998, the Sunday Examiner/Chronicle printed a
full-page anti-gay ad, page A-22 titled "Toward a new national
discussion of homosexuality" (paid for by a Christian cult,
to the tune of a handsome $35,000).

And for almost a decade now, our own local hate-talk radio
KSFO, spews venomous slander at our sexual minorities round
the clock. And the biggest offender remains, as always, one
Michael Savage. Though other hosts like "Doctor" Laura and
Rush Limbaugh are no big fan of queers, either. And guess what
medium street folk use most often, to get their news? Radio!
And guess which station has the most listeners? KSFO. I have
encountered various houseless literally PARROTING the hateful
anti-queer diatribes of these paid goons for the Religious in our own gay community. (Sadly, the twisted
sensationalism of KSFO sells better than honest, quality news
coverage and discussion...which you WILL find at KGO.)

Now, we have anti-gay violence and murders all around the same
time: the Castro, West Hollywood, the Mayor of Paris,
the prime-minister candidate for the Netherlands, etc. The
trend is nationwide, and global; thus these eruptions mark but
the beginning of an awful trend. A trend which, however, I
believe will inspire our gay family across the world, to rise
up and fight back...and finally, gain our Desired Victory. I
remember years ago (mid-70's), a political cartoon in some gay
newspapers that depicted a giant labeled "Gay Rights"
beginning to wake up from a long slumber...breaking the cords
of anti-gay bigotry that have been holding him down. The
caption went something like "The Sleeping Giant will someday
awaken." Well, I have not the slightest doubt that that
"someday" has finally arrived.

I hang at The Pendulum most every day, ready to serve as a
community ear and coordinator in matters of our right to live
in reasonable peace and safety...not just in our own 'hood,
but in this country which is supposed to protect legitimate
minorities from the tyranny of majority coercion. I intend to
see that it does; down to my last breath, if need be.

One final thought. Perhaps the latest crimes are a warning to
thugs: Act out in violent suggestive manners, or scream
"faggot" in our 'hood, and maybe someone will just up and
shoot you, like a cop did on Monday night October 8th in front
of Bagdad Cafe. That officer has all the positive support I
can muster, to protect his career and hopefully win him an
award and a beefy raise.


Zeke Krahlin

Lavender-Velvet Revolution

---end of letter