Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Castro: Diversity

By Daniela and Olivia (Ernesto and Amairani were absent)

Yesterday we went to San Francisco to visit The Castro Area. Most of us have never been there before, but we could definitely tell when we stepped into that area. There were many rainbow flags representing the homosexual community. The flags really added a sense of unity in that area, because there were flags everywhere, even at a local Walgreen’s. Before we went to The Castro, we watched a video about it, and we saw the same stores there (Cliff's Variety store). The reason why we feel like that community was united, besides sexual orientation, is because the stores that are located in that area have been there for a longtime. People become familiar with the stores and the people that are working there too, and people feel connected to people and placed they know.

When it comes to diversity, The Castro is not really very diverse -- after all, it is a homosexual community. Although there might be heterosexuals there, it is definitely not the majority of the population. We asked ourselves, “how did it become a homosexual community?” The only thing that came in our minds was that people unite with those that they can relate too, just like the Fruitvale Area, where the majority of the population is Latinos, and in Oakland Chinatown, the majority are Asians. In the Castro, they have established a safe community for homosexuals, so that as they walk down the street holding hands, and people don't look at them weird ot think it's odd. They can be who they are without being judged in this place.

Our group feels like this is not a diverse area, not only in sexual orientation but also in race and gender. While we were at Castro street in San Francisco, we we hardly saw any African Americans or Mexicans. The majority of the population there were white men. Although you did see other races it was not seen as frequently as whites.

When we interviewed people, some of them said that the Castro was diverse because of sexual orientation, and because the Castro was becoming more of a family community. But what we learned when we interviewed the people was that, in their perspective, the Castro is starting to change to have more diversity. By having a family community, they mention that homosexualf amilies with children were moving into that area, which created a better feel to the Castro. On theo ther hand, others claimed that the Castro is primarily an area of men whom are homosexuals.


patty said...

Great write-up of the area. I actually live in the castro with my wife (i.e. i'm a heterosexual male) which definitely puts me in the minority here :) I really enjoy living in the Castro, because it has a positive energy. The gay community seems very vibrant and I think that the gay people that live here feel comfortable and can be themselves. Its something heterosexual people take for granted, but for them, its very difficult to find a place where they will not feel judged and even in danger in certain parts of the country.

Rosaline said...

A great post. Diversity can cross many lines, while we often think of diversity in isolated categories of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, your post brings up an interesting point of intersectionalities between these categories. Why is racial diversity missing in the gay community in the Castro? Or what about the lesbian community - why is the Castro mostly made of gay men and not women?

John said...

Nice descriptive observations of that castro area in san francisco. Sounds like the community there is calm even though it gets negatively seen by other people for it being homosexual. They should not be judged and I bet they don't care about the bullshit haters give them becuase their happy for what they are which is all good.

sameersampat said...

Great post.

One of the groups (maybe yours) in your post about Walnut Creek commented that the place was not racially diverse and thus it felt as though the local residents were looking at you all funny. You mentioned that the Castro likewise lacks racially diversity - did you feel the same looks? Why / why not?