The Rainbow Flag flutters high above the Castro, a symbol of gay pride that this district, in the heart of San Francisco, is now known for.
Originally eight vibrant colours, the flag now comprises six strips: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, turquoise blue for art and violet for spirit. The original hot pink (for sexuality) wasn’t a commercially available flag colour, and indigo (for harmony) was removed to make an even six stripes.
Harvey Milk was the first openly gay person elected to public office in California, when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He served for nearly 11 months before being assassinated on 27 November 1978.
Milk’s legacy is visible throughout the Castro. The Rainbow Flag flies high above Harvey Milk Plaza and there are commemorative plaques in a number of locations.
My favourite piece of trivia regarding Harvey Milk is that he pushed through the pooper scooper legislation saying people have to pick up after their dogs. How cool is that??
If you are planning a visit to San Francisco allow at least a day to explore the Castro. It’s my favourite part of the city.
Along with a colourful history, and a strong sense of community apparent even to tourists, it has a vibrancy just makes you feel alive! Fabulous food, bars and shops. I’ve never seen more shops catering to pampered pooches in one street!
We happened to be staying there in 2008 when Proposition 22 (that forbade recognition or licensing of same-sex marriage in the State of California) was found to be unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court. I’ve never witnessed such a joyous outpouring of excitement, happiness and love!
The highlight of each of my two visits to the Castro has been the free walking tour led by the San Francisco City Guide volunteers (donations are requested but not mandatory). There are about 30 different tours a month, and run every week of the year, regardless of weather.
I’ve done about ten of their tours, and the Castro tour is a favourite. Except maybe for the time the tour guide told us how many earthquakes there are EVERY DAY in San Francisco. While we were about six floors up in a very rickety wooden building. I couldn’t get down fast enough! Regardless of that, definitely check them out if you visit San Francisco.
Regardless of whether you are planning on visiting the Castro, you simply must watch the truly superb movie Milk, about the life of Harvey Milk. Sean Penn plays Milk to perfection, and won a much deserved Academy Award for this role.
Have you been to San Francisco? Did you get to the Castro?? What did you think?
Note: This post is part of Tiffin Bite Sized Food Adventures’ A – Z Guidebook Travel Link Up, a monthly get together where bloggers get to navigate the alphabet, talking about the one special place and photo that best represents the nominated letter of the month. This month is C.