As we celebrate Pride Month in San Francisco and elsewhere, it’s equally important to know about the history of the movement, particularly the places that allowed freedom for it to succeed and thrive.
Pride Month is all about celebrating our LGBTQ+ loved ones and friends breaking free from the confinement of restricting boxes of self-expression. Beyond enjoying the revelries, it’s also important to acknowledge and give recognition to the physical spaces that have, in one way or another, helped crack the proverbial closet doors wide open and allow for some major fabulosity into our communities.
Here are some of these venues and locations in San Francisco that are historically considered pivotal and significant to the cause of the LGBTQ+ advocacy.
133 Turk St
Aunt Charlie’s has been synonymous to fine drag queen shows for the past three decades. Located in the heart of the Tenderloin, this gay dive bar continues to host troupes of queens such as the Hot Boxy Girls every weekend.
It remains to be one of the last venues of its kind in the city, which only adds to its appeal as a real treasure not only for the LGBTQ+ community, but the rest of San Francisco.
429 Castro St
The Castro District is a sight to behold all on its own, but one landmark that you simply cannot miss is the Castro Theatre. Literally. Its bright marquee lights proudly rise above the neighborhood streets, featuring film screenings and events.
More than this, however, the theatre has, time and again, proven itself to be an ally of the movement by supporting LGBTQ+ events and causes. In fact, Castro Theatre was the main venue for the 1981 gay film festival spearheaded by non-profit group Frameline.
Since then, the theatre continues to screen LGBTQ-themed films regularly throughout the years. The Times of Harvey Milk also premiered in 1984 at the Castro Theatre.
Gene Compton’s Cafeteria
In August 1966, the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot broke out in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. Technically speaking, this riot is the very first LGBT-related riot in the entire country, even earlier than the famous Stonewall Riot.
This event, which was sparked by protests from transgender women and gay men standing up against police brutality, oppression, discrimination, and poverty, is also considered to be the mark of the beginning of transgender activism in the city.
GLBT Historical Society Museum
4127 18th St
The GLBT Historical Society Museum is the first stand-alone museum showcasing a comprehensive history of the GLBT community in the country. Open since January 2011, this museum is home to various records, documents, artifacts, and memorabilia providing insights to the rise and development of LGBTQ+ community.
AIDS Memorial Grove
Nancy Pelosi Drive & Bowling Green Drive
Otherwise known as “The Grove,” this park located at the de Laveaga Dell in eastern Golden Gate Park is in remembrance of all those who fell ill to the victims of AIDS, as well as the families and other loved ones they left behind.
Pink Triangle Park
2454 Market St
Literally shaped like a triangle, this mini-park located in the Castro District is the first ever historical landmark dedicated to the memory of gays that were victimized and persecuted during the Holocaust in World War II under Nazi Germany.