By: Kylie Condon
San Francisco, California is widely considered to be one of the gayest cities in the world and is chock-full of rich history. This Northern California city administered some of the first same-sex marriages and has always been at the forefront of fighting for our community’s rights. In a place with so much LGBTQ+ history to uncover, where exactly does one start? I recently took a trip to San Francisco to find out.
Rainbow Honor Walk
A good introduction to San Francisco’s queer history can be found in its famous gayborhood, the Castro. While strolling around the Castro, you can get a free history lesson from the Rainbow Honor Walk. The Rainbow Honor walk features bronze, sidewalk plaques that pay tribute to the LGBTQ+ individuals that have made a significant impact on the queer community in San Francisco and beyond. It’s basically the gay equivalent to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. So while you’re barhopping around town, don’t forget to look down at the sidewalk and remember some of the trailblazers who made it possible for you to get your gay on so freely.
Pink Triangle Park
Also located in the Castro is Pink Triangle Park. The moving memorial is dedicated to the tens of thousands of queer people who were persecuted, imprisoned and murdered during and after the reign of Nazi Germany. In the park, 15 granite pillars stand in remembrance of the estimated 15,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people affected. Pink Triangle Park is actually the first permanent, freestanding memorial in the United States dedicated to the LGBTQ+ experience during World War II.
AIDS Memorial Grove
Within Golden Gate Park, you’ll find another touching memorial. The AIDS Memorial Grove was created to remember the victims of the AIDS crisis. Here, people affected directly or indirectly by AIDS pandemic can gather to pay tribute. The idea for the memorial first came about in the late 80s by a group of San Francisco residents wanting a place to express their collective grief. In 1996, Congress and the President of the United States approved the “National AIDS Memorial Grove Act” which officially set aside the deLaveaga Dell land in Golden Gate Park as the site for the first AIDS memorial in the nation.
GLBT History Museum
Last but certainly not least is the GLBT History Museum. This one-stop shop for all things LGBTQ+ history is located in the heart of the Castro. The small, yet informative, museum documents much of the community’s history and progress over the years in San Francisco. In addition to housing fascinating relics, the museum also holds many events and lectures further promoting the understanding of our community’s past, present, and future. The museum’s exhibits are also constantly changing so it’s definitely worth visiting more than once! (Photo credit: Gerard Koskovich)
For more info on LGBTQ+ San Francisco, click here.
**To follow Kylie and see more travel photos, find her on Instagram @lezexploreinstaView More Arts and Culture ArticlesView More Gaycations ArticlesView More The Gay Travel Guru Articles