SF: Once a Mecca, Now a Mirage

Kevin Quintero (left) and Carlos Bandera have spent months searching for a place they can afford. Photo by Andy Mannix.

Kevin Quintero (left) and Carlos Bandera have spent months searching for a place they can afford. Photo by Andy Mannix.

Part 1: Down and Out

It’s been weeks since Kevin Quintero saw a decent paycheck. Money is running out, but it’s a bright November afternoon in the Mission District and Dolores Park beckons. He spends most of his remaining funds on sandwiches for he and his boyfriend, Carlos Bandera, and the couple walks to the park to eat lunch and play a game of Magic the Gathering.

Quintero is 22 years old — 18 years younger than Bandera. He’s boyish and cool with olive skin, a black Mohawk and a ring through his septum. Bandera is wearing a black leather jacket and trucker hat cocked to the left side. Tattoos crawl up his collar. His face is hard with bony cheekbones, his brown beard fading gray. They look like any other hip, gay couple in the park, except, unlike most, they are homeless.

Like many without a place to live, homelessness sometimes drops down the list of immediate concerns. Today, Bandera’s withdrawal from methamphetamine tops the list.

They find a park bench and begin setting up the Magic board, and Bandera explains his plans to register for a rehab program run by the AIDS Foundation, called the Stonewall Project. If he passes three drug tests a week for 12 weeks, they will give him a $330 gift card. “It’s a way to stay off,” he says.

The story catches the ear of a man walking his bike through the park, who lingers conspicuously within earshot. Bandera stops his story cold. His eyes roll back toward the voyeur. Without taking his gaze off the cards he’s dealing, Quintero tries to diffuse the confrontation.

“It’s just a little awkward,” he says.

“For someone to stop and listen to what is going on in a park?” the man retorts. “No. It’s not awkward.”

“You want to start?” Bandera snaps with the sharpness of a man five days into withdrawal. “You want to start this right now?”

“Words are not hands,” says the stranger, now curiously overstaying his welcome. “Hands start things. Words are easily ignored.”

But Bandera isn’t ignoring them so easily. “I am so ready to beat the fuck out of you right now,” he says.

“Hey Carlos, Carlos,” Quintero says. “Honestly, it’s not worth it.”

Bandera restrains himself until the stranger finally leaves. They play a round of Magic, and, like any other denizens of Dolores Park, walk down to Bi-Rite to buy ice cream cones and lemonade.

This is the modern face of homelessness in San Francisco. Quintero and Bandera became vagrants for the first time in either of their lives last year. They both work part-time jobs, but don’t collectively earn enough money to afford rent in even San Francisco’s most reasonable studios. They have spent recent months crashing on the couches of friends and acquaintances while searching for a place to live. As of late, they have been staying in a small studio in Potrero Hill with two other men and three pitbulls. When there is no couch, they stay up all night walking the streets of San Francisco waiting for the sun to rise.

“It’s extremely stressful,” Bandera says. “I have a breakdown at least every couple days right now.”

Long known as a mecca of acceptance for all sexual and gender identities, San Francisco is earning a new reputation as one of the nation’s least affordable cities. According to Trulia, the median rental rate for a two-bedroom hit $3,250 in 2013 — the highest in the country — and eviction notices are up 40 percent from 2010.

In 2013, for the first time ever in its annual homelessness count, the city asked responders to identify their sexual orientation, and the results were staggering — even to some who have worked with the homeless for many years: 29 percent of homeless in San Francisco identified as LGBT, more than 2,100 people.

“You look at these numbers and you take a sense that a large portion of LGBT San Franciscans are a job loss or an eviction away from homelessness,” says Bevan Dufty, the mayor’s homeless czar. “That’s very tough.”

In the lives of Quintero and Bandera, tough is the operative word.

Bandera (left) and Quintero spend a sunny November afternoon eating lunch and playing Magic the Gathering in Dolores Park. Photo by Andy Mannix.

Bandera (left) and Quintero spend a sunny November afternoon eating lunch and playing Magic the Gathering in Dolores Park. Photo by Andy Mannix.

__________

It’s cold and damp on an early weekday morning in downtown San Francisco, still more than an hour before the sun will rise. On a block of Mission Street near the Civic Center, shopping carts and makeshift cardboard homes litter the sidewalk. A man wearing a spelunking light on his head peers into a garbage can.

Bandera sits on the pavement in front of a government building listening to Joy Divison through white earbuds and waiting for the General Assistance office to open. A half-dozen strangers have lined up behind him, all hoping to take a little something home today to help them get by.

“Worst case scenario, they give you $75,” Bandera says.

Bandera doesn’t have an appointment, so he and Quintero arrived at 5:45 a.m. hoping that someone who does have one won’t show. There’s no guarantee, but they need the money. Bandera spent the earnings from his last go-go dancing gig on food over the weekend, and now he’s flat broke.

Quintero, who is not quite flat broke, has gone to drop off a key at a house where he was previously squatting. The line grows deeper as the sun begins to rise. No one says much. One man spins a folder around on the tips of his fingers. Another plays with a yo-yo.

“Time?” asks a woman in line.

“6:42,” a man replies.

Quintero’s been gone for more than the 20 minutes he’d estimated, and Bandera is annoyed. I knew this would happen, he says. “He doesn’t listen.”

Bandera sighs. “I don’t mean to talk bad about Kevin,” he says. “I’m just tired and hungry and cold.”

He thinks about it. “If it wasn’t for him, I’d still be shooting up.”

Fifteen minutes later, Quintero returns. They kiss as Bandera’s partner hands him coffee and a donut. Quintero is limping, and he shows Bandera his bandaged-up knee — a mishap jumping a fence, he explains.

They wait in line for another two hours and fill out some paperwork. Around 9, an employee announces they are not taking any walk-in appointments today.

It turns out that worst case is leaving empty-handed.

“Every day is a shot in the dark,” Quintero says.

__________

Part 2: An Unaffordable Mecca

Bandera and Quintero don’t fit the common stereotype of homeless men, but their attraction to San Francisco does fit a profile of those ostracized elsewhere wanting to live openly gay here.

Three years ago, Bandera worked for the Snohomish County Sheriff’s office just outside of Seattle, Washington. He thought he’d landed his dream job, but instead found the law enforcement environment unwelcoming to a gay man, he says. He lived mostly in the closet, and didn’t tell anyone he’d contracted HIV two decades earlier in fear of being the butt of jokes around the station. In 2011, he got fed up, quit his job and moved to San Francisco to become a porn star.

He starred in a few movies, but it wasn’t the glamorous life he’d hoped for.

“I’m not very good, to be honest with you,” he says laughing.

He got a job as a personal trainer at a gym, but was eventually fired for not making his sales quota, he says. He found some work at bars, but nothing lasted. He and his live-in boyfriend broke up last year, and when Bandera had to move out in August, he couldn’t afford a place of his own. He’s been homeless ever since. He makes money by sporadic shifts of go-go dancing at bars, but those gigs have been scarce lately. He believes it’s because he’s been dancing too long, and the bar managers like to rotate talent.

“I haven’t had to sleep in a shelter yet, although if I don’t get more work by the end of this month I’m fucked,” he says.

Quintero works as a sound and lighting technician, but still doesn't earn enough to make rent. Photo by Andy Mannix.

Quintero works as a sound and lighting technician, but still doesn’t earn enough to make rent. Photo by Andy Mannix.

Quintero, who recently graduated from Saint Mary’s College of California, works freelance as a sound and lighting technician for clubs, theaters and various other events. A good gig can bring in $250, but the work is inconsistent, and he sometimes goes weeks with little income. Up until October, he was in a relationship with two other men — a “triad” — and lived with them in San Francisco. The relationship ended, and Quintero, too, became homeless.

He’d met Bandera earlier in the year while Bandera worked at Truck, a bar on Folsom Street. They reconnected through the social networking app Scruff after Bandera’s breakup. At first they hung out as friends, but within a few weeks they had fallen in love.

“We clicked so, so much that this relationship kind of started before we even realized it,” Quintero says. “And by the time we did realize it, it was just like ‘yeah, we’re together.’”

For his first month without a home, Quintero squatted and crashed anywhere he could. In November, he began staying in the studio with Bandera — a temporary arrangement while they look for a home they can afford together.

They have considered leaving San Francisco for the much cheaper East Bay, but feel stuck. They both work nights, and normally finish long after BART stops running. Quintero also dreams of making a career as a lighting and sound technician, and believes he’s well on his way, but must be persistent. For now, work mostly comes by way of recommendations, so moving to a new city would mean starting over again.

“Long term, I wouldn’t mind leaving if I had a reason to leave,” Quintero says. “But I do love the city. It’s San Francisco. It’s kind of like the gay Mecca.”

__________

San Francisco attracts a high volume of LGBT transplants who come here looking for a safe refuge. Many escape to the city from a hostile living environment, some from another country, only to find San Francisco isn’t so welcoming for those without the money and resources to make rent, says Jennifer Friedenbach, director of the Coalition for Homelessness.

“It’s not quite the Mecca they imagined,” she says.

Still, says Bobby Spencer, a newcomer, moving to San Francisco is “something that every queer thinks about.”

While working as an executive assistant at a drug regulatory company in Georgia, he daydreamed about romance and life in the Golden Gate city. In May, he left his job, packed up and moved.

Within weeks of arriving, his plans unraveled. His job working as a nanny for his former boss in Pacifica didn’t pan out, and he spent his savings on hostels in San Francisco while he searched for an apartment. Without insurance, he stopped taking medication for HIV and got so sick he ended up in San Francisco County’s Catastrophic Illness Program. Counselors found him a bed in a shelter — Multi-Service Center South — where he still resides.

His first night at the shelter, Spencer says, his bunkmate asked him how he got such a good bed. Spencer told him it was because he’s HIV positive, and the man immediately turned cold and stopped talking to him. He often endures threats, and is subject to menacing glares and homophobic epithets like “faggot” from others in the shelter. He’s still looking for an apartment, but has found it so far impossible to navigate San Francisco’s channels for affordable housing.

“I moved here to be queer,” he says. “It turns out in very many ways that my own community — the gay community — is very ostracizing, very intimidating and unwelcoming if they find out you’re homeless.”

Quintero and Bandera have also been discouraged in their efforts to get back on their feet. They recently got a lead on a small studio that rents for $1,300, but the landlord wanted bank statements verifying their annual income was three times the annual rent of the apartment, which they could not do. Neither makes steady, verifiable income. Bandera no longer even has a checking account.

“I don’t have an identity, basically,” he says.

__________

Part 3: Breaking Points

Tommi Avicolli Mecca protesting evictions outside City Hall. Photo by Andy Mannix. Housing advocate Tommi Avicolli Mecca helped found the city's first LGBT adult homeless shelter. Photo by Andy Mannix.

Housing advocate Tommi Avicolli Mecca helped found the city’s first LGBT adult homeless shelter. Photo by Andy Mannix.

Tommi Avicolli Mecca’s breaking point came about three years ago. A young Spanish-speaking man walked into his office at the Housing Rights Committee with fresh bruises all over face, and told Mecca he’d been brutally beaten at one of the shelters by a group of men shouting gay slurs. He was too afraid to go back, and wanted a safe place to stay.

“The reality was, at that moment, I had nowhere to send him,” says Mecca, a 62-year-old with long curly black hair.

The housing advocate could see the city changing. When he moved here in 1991, Mecca made enough money working for minimum wage at a bookstore to live with a roommate, and he still found time to be an activist. But as tech companies moved in and rent went up, those days slipped away. Gay men who could have once afforded a simple lifestyle in San Francisco were now living on the streets.

Brian Basinger was seeing much of the same. As director of the AIDS Housing Alliance, Basinger heard horror stories about abuse in the shelters all the time.

“There is bullying,” he says. “There is demeaning behavior. There is ganging up on folks. It’s everything we experience in high school, but take it to a prison level, and that’s what you got.”

At first, Basinger wondered why nothing was being done about it. “But then, almost in the same thought, I realized that I’m the one who’s supposed to be doing something about it,” he says.

Mecca and Basinger came up with the idea for an LGBT shelter in 2010. They were scouting locations to host sit-down vegan meals for homeless people in the Castro and Upper Market neighborhoods, a project Mecca had started years earlier. While touring an abandoned church downtown, they discovered the building’s cavernous basement. A switch flipped in Basinger’s mind.

“We could put a shelter down here,” he shouted to Mecca.

The costs to bring the church up to code would have been almost $1 million, so the plans fell through. That year, District Supervisor David Campos held a hearing on violence toward LGBT residents in shelters, which eventually led Dolores Street Community Services to take on the project. The shelter passed the city’s planning commission last year, and Dolores Street raised the remaining necessary funds to get it up and running. It will house 24 beds. It is expected to open this year. There are currently shelters for LGBT youth, but this will be the first such adult shelter in the country, Basinger says.

In the meantime, LGBT homeless people in San Francisco often avoid the shelters, instead preferring to sleep on the streets or in parks. On a recent afternoon, Andrea Suchyta, 19, and Bethany Haughton, 22, said they spent the previous night camping on a beach.

“I don’t feel safe in shelters,” Suchyta says. “I’ve been in two before. It made feel me really uncomfortable, especially being pretty young.”

The women were playing ukuleles on a sidewalk near the Castro Theater in front of a sign reading, “Help Hobo Queers — Spare Change 4 Beers.” They said they would be more likely to stay in a shelter that was created specifically for LGBT occupants.

“I think I’d check it out, definitely,” Suchyta says. “I’d give it a shot.”

__________

This isn’t the life that I want for us,” Bandera says. On a Tuesday afternoon, he sits across an uneven table in the waiting room at the AIDS Foundation, waiting for a Stonewall counselor named Chuck. “I don’t want to be walking around the Tenderloin at 3 or 4 in the morning looking for something.”

He produces his muscular, tattooed bicep to reveal track marks. He is bruised. His forearm has been numb for months. “For me, I don’t care. But I’m not going to drag him into it.”

He and Quintero know plenty of people in the gay community who have fallen in deep with meth and never climbed out. A report released by the Center of American Progress in 2012 indicates LGBT communities are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol than the rest of the population. In San Francisco, the Stonewall Project sees about 250 gay men annually through its outpatient substance abuse program, and 350 to 450 during walk-in services. Another 2,500 use the organization’s outreach or web services each month.

Bandera started on meth about a year ago. He smoked it in the beginning, but eventually that wasn’t enough. He started shooting up every day.

At first he started reducing his intake because he just didn’t have enough money to score. But after he began dating Quintero, he decided the time had come to begin weaning his body off the drug, even if the withdrawals made him tense and, at times, unpleasant to be around.

“I don’t want Kevin to be with a drug addict,” he says.

Bandera disappears into a room with Chuck, and Quintero takes the opportunity to run some errands. He likes to keep busy. He walks a few blocks down to Ruby Skye, where he was recently filling in for their regular light and sound technician. It was a good week — he picks up a check for $750. He runs into the normal technician, Allan, who says there might be more work in the near future.

“What’s going on with your living situation?” Allan asks.

Quintero shakes his head.

He leaves Ruby Skye for the bank to cash the check. Being homeless isn’t all bad, Quintero offers. He’s young and living a bohemian lifestyle, and enjoys the freedom each day brings. Spending most of his time traveling around the city running errands and wasting time doesn’t seem to affect his mood. That’s not to say he wants to be homeless. After months couch surfing and roaming the streets, he’s ready for something permanent. But being homeless also gets easier.

“It’s once you don’t have a house, and you don’t have to worry about that bill is when you start putting that bill way down on the list,” he says.

He heads back to the AIDS Foundation and spots Bandera walking toward him. Their eyes catch, and they run to each other to embrace.

“Did my first pee test,” Bandera says. “Made $2. Woo!”

__________

The city’s homelessness count this summer highlights the enormous challenge politicians and advocates face in housing its displaced LGBT residents.

“We tell kids it will get better,” says Kara Zordel, director of Project Homeless Connect. “But for 2000 San Franciscans, it hasn’t, and we really need to do something about that.”

Since the data came out, leaders and advocates have stepped up their efforts. In October, San Francisco held its first LGBTQ Connect event, a day of walk-in services for LGBT homeless people, offering everything from employment assistance to medical attention and haircuts.

“It was one of my favorite days of my career,” Zordel says. “We saw people who have never felt comfortable walking through the doors of the agencies.”

Other measures are in the works, Dufty says. He is working on a plan to identify people at risk of evictions so the city can intervene beforehand. The city is also working on educating staff at existing shelters on LGBT issues, and setting aside beds specifically for LGBT clients.

“Giving them housing is just part of the solution,” Campos says. “There have to be services that come with that, including substance abuse services [and] mental health — so we have to increase the availability of those programs.”

Housing advocates protest evictions outside City Hall. Photo by Andy Mannix.

Housing advocates protest evictions outside City Hall. Photo by Andy Mannix.

Though many in the city recognize a problem, finding a solution is another matter. Evictions and rising rents are heated political issues right now in San Francisco that go far beyond the LGBT community.

Basinger and Mecca believe the answers could lie in community land trust, a system in which tenants own a building and a nonprofit owns the land beneath. In exchange for low rent, the tenants agree to sell the property back at a restricted price when they move out, so the house or apartment will be off the market and immune to the city’s rising rent.

“The reality is we need to create housing, affordable housing,” Mecca says. “And affordable housing that’s going to be affordable forever.”

Even with the city’s efforts to curb the problem underway, Basinger says this is only the beginning. With 2,100 on the streets, a 24-bed shelter is just a drop in the bucket. And even a safe shelter is no substitute for a home.

“We need a Manhattan Project on homelessness,” he says.

__________

 Part 4: Moving on

On a Wednesday night, Quintero picks up a lighting gig for a DJ set at City Nights in downtown San Francisco. He’s still limping from jumping the fence earlier in the week.

“I banged it up pretty bad,” he says. “I don’t really have the money to go to the doctor right now, and my insurance is kind of in limbo.”

Bandera has come along to check out the rave. He’s wearing black leather pants with firefighter-yellow, zippered stripes, and a rosary around his neck. Asked if he’s religious, he shakes his head. He bought a few of these from a stand on 18th Street, he says. “I need to put a hole in the bottom so I can hang it upside down on the rosary.”

It’s festive around them, but Bandera and Quintero are feeling anything but. Homelessness has moved to the top of their list of immediate concerns. They fear they’re on the verge of overstaying their welcome with the friend whose couch they’re crashing on, so they spent the day checking out long-term hotels — a cheaper option than most apartments. There were no vacancies.

The party is about to start, and Bandera isn’t in the mood for dancing. He used to work at a place like this 20 years ago, but raves aren’t his scene anymore. It’s also been more than a week since he’s been completely clean from meth, and the withdrawals take their toll. “I’m tired,” he says. “Ever since I stopped doing crystal, all I want to do is sleep.”

The music begins, and the ravers file into the room with furry hats and boots, hoola-hoops, flashing lights, leather, glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bracelets, low-cut tops, nylons, panda bear ears, bleached hair, chains and neon. Three women climb up into a cage above the DJ and one lifts herself off the ground and twerks. A young man tears his shirt off and swings it above his head. The lights flash, and the young crowd shrieks in ecstasy.

Bandera looks down on them all from the raised sound booth across from the stage. He sits stone-faced and bobs his head to the beat.

__________

A week before Christmas Eve, Bandera and Quintero are still crashing at the Potrero Hill studio. They come down to San Francisco General Hospital’s Building 80 — where the AIDS Clinic is located — to meet with a social worker. Bandera isn’t feeling well, but he is hopeful today: He finally has an appointment with General Assistance set for the next morning, and the social worker is going to help him enroll in Healthy SF — San Francisco’s subsidized health insurance program — and navigate his other options. He hopes his HIV status will be enough to qualify for temporary disability, and regular income will help him get back on his feet.

As for a more permanent source of money, Bandera is at a loss. Dancing gigs have dropped down to once every three weeks, and he has no plans to go back to work as a personal trainer.

“I have no idea what I want to do,” he says. “I have no freaking clue.”

He stopped going to the Stonewall Project, in part because he grew tired of the long commute every other day. He explains he got angry in a meeting one day when he overheard two men talking disparagingly about a form of sexual role. That’s when he stopped going to the treatment project. Sitting on a bench outside Building 80, Quintero laughs as he turns to Bandera and caresses the back of his head.

“Have you noticed that I haven’t tried to start a fight in a long time?” he says.

His boyfriend smiles and concurs.

Despite quitting the rehab program, Bandera says he’s stayed clean this whole time — now going on a month.

Quintero is also feeling optimistic. His persistence in trying to find work is starting to pay off. Beginning Jan. 1, he’s going to be working regularly doing sound and lighting for an events company.

“It’s a couple events a week, plus the club events I do normally anyway,” he says.

Their days of crashing on couches appear to finally be over. They are in talks with a mutual friend who is looking at a two-bedroom, and needs someone to fill the second room. With a bump in regular income on its way, the couple believes they can finally afford a room in San Francisco.

It’s an encouraging development on this sunny December day, and they are looking forward to finally have space of their own, but nothing is certain yet, Quintero says. They have yet to sign a lease, and the apartment is only a sublet.

“It’s kind of semi-temporary, because I think it’s only for a month at a time,” he says. “It’s definitely not permanent.”

But on Jan. 6, the day before publication, Quintero says the prospective apartment didn’t work out after all. Once again, their search resumes.

91 Comments

  1. ThatGuy

    I cannot believe you turn everything into an anti-gentrification and anti-eviction article. This is an all time low for you guys. Seriously, shame on you.

    • Yes, you just sink lower and lower trying to justify “compassion” for Meth addicted losers. There are thousands of them in SF. I bang lots of the cute ones on A4A until they get too sketchy…..

      • Alex

        you’re a disgusting predatory sociopath. I hope you contract HIV from one of them…

        • steve

          Wow … Says the pot to the kettle….

          • Alex

            I wish evil upon people who prey on the weak. This guy clearly does. So you can call me a jerk for that comment but I’m not a predatory sociopath and therefore not a hypocrite.

          • Achilles

            I am neither EVIL nor WEAK .. but I do have HIV . And if you are going to serve sirloin to this douchebag try not to serve it on a garbage lid ..

    • K

      Believe it. If gentrifiers had not been so self-involved, they would have seen this coming.

      • John

        Seen what coming? An article in ML?

        I suspect that the gay white male tech workers who are gentrifying the Mission can live with that.

  2. poor.ass.millionaire

    John- forget tech workers, here are some choice tenants for you. Let us know if you have any vacancies. Thanks bro.

    • John

      There is money to be made from housing the homeless. The SRO’s can do quite well because it can cost $40-$60 a night to stay there if the residents cannot afford the weekly and monthly rates. And the residents get moved on every 30 days so that rent control doesn’t kick in.

      But of course the costs of running SRO’s is very high, made worse by countless city regulations that pile on the costs. The last straw for many was installing sprinkler systems. Many closed then.

      THC makes a nice bundle of scratch too, as evidenced by Randy Shaw’s 2 million dollar home in the Berkeley Hills.

      For all the criticism hinted at in this article about the homeless not getting enough help, the simple fact is that SF gives them lots of help. Perhaps too much, which is why they are here in the first place.

      We cannot save everyone, and some of these people really should consider other less expensive options for a place to live.

      • Ken

        For LGBT people, a “less expensive option” might be no option at all. Outside of SF it can be difficult to avoid anti-gay bias and hostility, making it hard to get a job, hard to find a place to live. And even if you happen to find work, secure a place to live, then what? LGBT people move to population-dense areas in order to connect with a community. What kind of love life would they have? Without that, without a community, and in the face of hostility, a “less expensive option” is worth nothing.

        • John

          That was much more true in the 1970’s and 1980’s than now. And while SF might be more fun for a young gay man than Peoria, should we really be setting our housing pollcies to favor people who are not straight?

        • Queer Midwesterner

          “outside of SF, it can be difficult to avoid anti-gay bias”…that’s just ridiculous. I grew up in Iowa. I currently live in Ohio. I’ve been out for half my life. The *only* time anti gay bias has been an issue was the four years I spent going to college in the south. There are certainly places in this country where anti-gay bias remains, but let’s not act like San Francisco is the sole oasis in a desert of homophobia. There are plenty of affordable, employable options for queers. Actually, I’d suggest that any city north of I-80 and west of I-25, excepting a certain location on a salty lake, is a safe bet.

          San Francisco isn’t a good option for most people, gay or straight. The prices are stratospheric and unless you hold certain key skills, the wages can’t keep pace with the cost of living. It’s actually a terrible choice for anyone who doesn’t arrive with connections, specific skills or a trust fund. You set young gay men up to fail when you tell them that it’s either San Francisco or grinding intolerance.

          Homelessness is a serious problem, no doubt about it, and I’m not blaming these people for the predicaments they’re in. It’s clear there are mental health issues, issues of social isolation and other health issues that have predisposed these the subjects to their circumstances. Let’s not pretend that Homelessness is the result of homophobia though. That’s every bit as questionable as saying it’s the result of laziness.

      • dude

        the corporatization and fascist state that America is now in dictates the complete and utter plutocracy of San Francisco. I went to school in the city i lived there for years. What people fail to mention is the middle class has been almost completely gotten rid of. The rationalization that people who are poor should find alternattive places to live is a load of crap. Some of these people were once able to live a somewhat lucrative life but things happen. There used to be signs on buses in the city that said “homelessness happens” meaning it can happen to anyone. So if anyone thinks they are exempt from homelessness or that they are so rich they are above it all. Look at what happened when the bubble popped in 2008.

  3. poor.ass.millionaire

    OK I read the entire story. These two guys are seriously on the margins. They can’t realistically expect to settle in SF. One guy has a serious drug problem. They can’t show steady income. They can probably find a flat in Oakland where the landlord will be less demanding of paperwork. Much cheaper too. It’s their best option to try and stabilize their life; otherwise they risk a much worse situation.

    They should get settled. The one guy needs to deal with his drug problem pronto. He can probably qualify for some disability benefits too. The other one is doing better, but may get dragged down with his partners problems. I understand they are in love, but they are flirting with disaster by screwing around in SF. They need to get settled into an affordable apartment soon, and a place like Oakland is where they can make it happen. I wish them luck, but they are testing their fate. Rainbows and unicorns are a rare find in SF now.

    • John

      Yes, they hardly dress and look as if theyw ant a job.

      Moral: You can choose to be and look “alternative”. but not if you want a job that will enable you to live in the most expensive city in the nation.

      Fairly simple choice. conform or move.

      • C. Russo

        “Conform or move.” You know, like Rosa Parks or Harvey Milk.

        The troll gets creepier by the day.

        • John

          Are you saying that when you go to a job interview, you don’t smarten yourself up because that would be “conforming”?

          Aren’t you the little rebel?

      • “conform or move”?

        This statement literally made my eyes bug! This is SAN FRANCISCO—the country’s long-standing stronghold for *nonconformity*! Why are you even here? You’re taking up a space from some Midwestern refugee who really needs it.

        I’ve lived here for join on 29 years and I am just sickened to see what is becoming of my City.

        • John

          Karlyn, you have a fantasy view of what this city is, or at least was.

          We all make compromizes to flourish or survive. Do you get dressed up for a job interview or court appearance? Then you are conforming in just the say way.

          Obstinately being a Peter Pan only gets you so far. The world has changed.

    • Dave

      I’m very glad that you at least mentioned the point that they are in love. Some people don’t realize how powerful an emotion it is. Those are the people who keep telling others who have lost loved ones to “just get over it”. Those are the people who have never really been in love. In cases of REAL love, moving on to another partner is as impossible as moving on from gay to straight. Don’t be so quick to dicount peoples’ relationships. I would rather be in love and homeless than wealthy and all alone.

  4. eddie

    High praise to Mission Local for this in depth article. Very moving and important to share the real life struggles that many people face, here and throughout the nation.

    The only practical assistance I can personally offer is food sharing with Food Not Bombs. We have a weekly sharing on Thursdays at 7 PM at 16th/Mission BART Plaza and on the last Saturday of the month at 5 PM at Haight and Stanyan.

    Everyone is welcome. More details here: http://sffnb.org/serving-schedule/.

    • John

      Eddie, it’s good to see someone here offering practical help rather than endlessly whining for policy changes.

      While I agree the article is “deep”, it isn’ty very broad. why feature only gays? Lots of straight people are homeless to. And women.

      Turning the homeless problem into an identity politics issue isn’t helpful.

      • David

        “There is bullying,” he says. “There is demeaning behavior. There is ganging up on folks. It’s everything we experience in high school, but take it to a prison level, and that’s what you got.”

        “A young Spanish-speaking man walked into his office at the Housing Rights Committee with fresh bruises all over face, and told Mecca he’d been brutally beaten at one of the shelters by a group of men shouting gay slurs. He was too afraid to go back, and wanted a safe place to stay.”

        Unless you believe that these are hyperbolae, I would ask you to consider that these might merely a small sampling of what occurs with some frequency within the shelters. I don’t know. I’m not homeless.
        But if I was, and I were gay, I would DEFINITELY appreciate a shelter for LGBT persons. Hell, I do appreciate that there is one.

        Additionally, there are plenty of stories to be found about homelessness in general, and I’ve seen stories that do focus on homeless women, homeless folks with children – Why not feature only gays? I presume you have read more than this one story. And I encourage you to keep reading.

        • John

          The point is more that introducing identity politics and stereotyping isn’t generally conducive to persuading people to join your cause.

          • Ken

            It isn’t stereotyping to say that LGBT people are at disproportionately higher risk for homelessness than other populations. It’s a factual statement. LGBT people frequently lack the social safety net and family support that keep other populations from becoming homeless in the first place. And the fact that LGBT people are exposed to harassment and abuse when trying to make use of available services is a problem that needs to be addressed. Problems are not addressed unless we hold them up to the light of day.

      • You mean enabled, so mass populations people who don’t even belong here can keep the city a toilet and the HOMELESS INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX funded and employed….

  5. racecar

    please proof read your work product before publishing. If you want to be taken seriously, take your work product seriously.

    For example, “Quintero is 22 years old – 18 years younger than Bandera.” Bandera would be 4 years old.

    • Seattlite

      No, if 22 is 18 years younger than x (Bandera’s age), then x = 40. Do the math! How good were you at solving story math problems in school?

  6. racecar

    “meth amphetamine” is one word. this is getting pretty bad.

  7. racecar

    stop spending your money at bi-rite if you are low on funds. seems so obvious, yet…

  8. ThatGuy

    FYI. This is not “the modern face of homelessness in San Francisco”.

    Drug addicts make up a large portion of the homeless population.

    • nutrisystem

      Did you read it? One of the 2 men IS a meth addict. This piece is certainly not whitewashing homelessness.

    • Meh

      These guys would be homeless in Topeka, KS. Since when are we responsible for housing the willful addicts?

  9. nutrisystem

    Thanks Mission Local and Andy Mannix for producing this piece. I find this sort of zoomed-in life study to be a great compliment to the more statistical sort of information we often get, and the antidote to the dismal trend towards sound bite and oversimplification.

  10. MissionBernal

    “Long known as a mecca of acceptance for all sexual and gender identities, San Francisco is earning a new reputation as one of the nation’s least affordable cities.”

    These two things are not directly related. San Francisco is still a place where people of all sexual and gender identities can be accepted, regardless of the problems it faces around affordable housing. Those problems face people of all backgrounds and are not directly linked in any way to gender or sexual identity. The two individuals in this article are facing a lot of hurdles. This article, while an interesting story about two guys facing obstacles, has no direction. Is it about drug addiction, homelessness, LGBTI issues, affordable housing, or just a narrative about two guys trying to survive? Perhaps it’s all of the above. There is definitely a story here…it’s just hard to find it when the article has such a lack of focus.

    • John

      Yes, I noted earlier in this thread that stereotyping people and identity politics does not help with whatever cause is being espoused.

      Moreover, this diffused lack of focus is exactly whay the Occupy movement failed so quickly and spectacularly.

      Focus, ML, focus.

    • Agreed. There are multiple issues addressed in the article, but there is no focus.

      • nutrisystem

        This is a depiction of reality, so we can’t expect it to have the dramatic arc of a TV show or novel that someone has written. Reality just happens the way it happens.

        And why would one think that such a piece is (or should be) espousing any cause? It’s not advertising, it’s straight documentary.

        • John

          Calling it a straight documentary would have more credibility if ML devoted equal time to, say, landlords who struggle with low-rent tenants who behave badly. Or focus on newly-arriving tech workers who struggle to find a place to live because all the cheap rentals are hoarded by existing residents.

          But ML really doesn’t reach out to give that side of the story, choosing to focus instead on the poorest and most deprived folks. and while that makes good copy, and might ring some populist bells, it does vacate any sense of neutrality and balance.

          What ML chooses to cover says as much as how they cover it. When will they produce some articles about capitalist and business successes and local residents making good?

          It’s not all bad in the Mission. Great restaurants, a booming economy, and many of us are making bankable scratch out of RE, tech and stocks.

          Let’s hear about the good times too!

          • poor.ass.millionaire

            Agreed. Missionlocal attempts to be a micro blog about the mission, and should cover a wider angle. They do cover some restaurants, etc., but they distinctivly stay away from anything (real or positive) related to,landlords and tech people (unless it’s some nonprofit or after school program.) my guess is that they are chicken shit of offending all the anti housing people and biased politicians like campos, etc.

            Backbone people! Missionlocal needs to get a backbone.

            No,wonder guys like John post a lot here. He’s trying to present a perspective that seldom gets attention here. Good for him.

          • ThatGuy

            Amen John. The reality is that the Mission is going through some very positive growth. Nothing’s ever reported about the local shop guy who’s making it big thanks to bigger spending. The restaurant owner who can now take a vacation. There’s got a be a love story in this neighborhood too!

            Of course, with change comes just that: change. A lot of people hate it but c’est la vie.

            Long live the Mission!

            ps. Been here for 20 years.

          • nutrisystem

            OK, fair enough. There should be some documentaries about the economic winners as well, since there is clearly a shortage of adoring stories about Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, The Twitter Miracle, etc.

            I propose a story about the guy who parks his new $200,000 Lamborghini on lower 24th, in front of a store where day laborers buy their groceries.

            Who is this douchebag showoff? How did he earn all this money? I would like to know more about this person.

          • John

            nutrisystem, those names you cited do not live in SF, let alone the Mission.

            I’m talking about some balance here. Let’s see some articles on those making it as well as those who are not.

            How about a “Millionaires of the Mission” series to inspire young people here to create and achieve?

        • MissionBernal

          Journalism usually has focus. This is High School English class lesson number one. What’s your theme? What message are you trying to impart to the reader. The author could have taken this one article and split it into 10 very interesting articles. Or better yet, a series! Combining it all into one just saturates it and all of the messages end up getting lost.

  11. sfreality

    Very interesting article and glad it was written. Like myself I could have ended up in this type of situation. I don’t see a link to gentrification, the housing issue started in 1979 and continues to today. Maybe the lesson is to make sure you know what you are getting into when you make the move to any major gay mecca like the cost of housing or with freedom to live a certain way or make a choice or to be peer pressured into doing drugs that this can be the result. I wish these guys the best and hope they can stay together and stay in the city.

    • John

      SF’s housing issue didn’t start in 1979. It started before then. But what happened in 1979 was that the housing problem was amde much worse, because that was when rent control was introduced.

      The effect, as by now we all know, is that landlords started a long process of avoiding long-term rentals, and either going for short-term lets, converting to TIC’s and condo’s, or even leaving their units empty.

  12. community

    If the current rate of housing construction can keep up for a sustained number of years, we will see the cost of living and housing start to drop, which will help everyone.

    I regret that when I was young and foolish, I supported the “progressive” anti-development agenda thinking that is was a battle between those with love and community versus greedy developers. I’ve come to realize that if you have love in your heart, and you want to support the communities of SF, you need to support the development of new housing, or you will price people out of homes — which is happening now as a results of such a long period of anti-development policies.

    Luckily the city has learned, and is correcting past wrongs, and is building housing as fast as possible — but it is going to take a while still before that translates into cheaper rents. Hang in there everyone!

    • John

      Yes, I agree, SF is finally getting serious about building new homes for the 200,000 more people who are estimated to be arriving in SF in the next decade or so.

      There really is no alternative to investing in progress for the future.

    • You are still foolish, if you buy your home, you do not get priced out! It is the ONLY way.

    • Ken

      Gosh, if only we built a ton of highrise apartment buildings and massively increased the number of units, ignoring the fact that we don’t have the actual infrastructure for it, then we could be jsut like New York City where the rest is dirt cheap…

      • John

        We do have the infrastructure for it if we build high in the right places,

        For instance, the most under-utilized part of the city is the south-east part, from Mission Bay all the way south.

        Yet that area has excellent infrastructure with a streetcar, CalTrain, 280 and 101, and so on.

        Meanwhile Market Street can take higher densities and we are seeing various mid-sized blocks going up there. But there are still quite a few one-floor structures there which makes little sense.

        And then there could be much higher densities by BART stations and there is already a promising project slated for 16th and Mission.

        So we can do a lot starting now. Those new workers are coming here whether we build or not.

  13. Mission1

    SF is still a gay mecca. There is tremendous opportunity and acceptance for gays here. But, gay or not, you still have to be responsible.

    Moving to SF to become a porn star–and then getting hooked on meth–shows bad judgement. Its not a question of rents at all. Could these guys afford an apartment even if rents were 1/3 less? I don’t think so.

    • John

      Another irony is that it is the gays who are major forces behind the gentrification of the Mission and elsewhere in the city.

      Close to me there are several gay couples who bought million dollar homes and spent a fortune doing them up to the point where they are now worth 2-3 million.

      Two jobs, no kids, can go a long way towards making homes unaffordable in SF.

      And of course nobody will criticize them for it because of fear of the gay card being played.

      What we are really seeing here is a dichotomy between the gays who arrived before 2000 and made serious bank in real estate, and those who arrived afterwards who cannot.

      • Yes is a crime to fix up and improve your home ! San Francisco needs to reject the politics of the HOMELESS INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX where losers are needed and celebrated to fund the overpaid government money wasting employees. . BRING ON MORE GENTRIFICATION !I

      • Wagnerian

        Oh yeah, blame Gay people for gentrification. They ruined San Francisco, cause they are so wealthy!

        Listen, there are more poor gay people than there are rich gay people. Studies prove this. Gay people suffer economically because of heterosexist society. Don’t even front.

        • John

          The Castro (gay) is gentrified. The Mission (straight) is not.

          The first sign that a neighborhood is gentrifying is when gays start buying up the homes and going all Martha Stewart on them.

          • MissionBernal

            Clearly you have never been to the Mission. San Francisco’s Mission District has more lesbians than any other part of San Francisco. What, are you only talking about gay men because all gay men are rich? There is so much idiocy in your argument that you should just stop talking before your ignorant stereotyping rhetoric completely defines you as a bigot.

          • John

            Yes, I was talking about gay men. I thought that was obvious from the context of the gentrification of the Castro.

          • John

            Except, of course, that that correlation has been widely noted and, in any event, isn’t prejudicial at all. If anything it is a compliment.

            But if you want to see hate everywhere, no doubt you will find it regardless.

          • J Mo

            Mission district is very gentrified, very hipster, and not very straight.

    • Freedom and responsibility go together, in fact need each other. Irresponsible people cannot be free nor do they deserve to be free.

  14. I love the idiots the the HOMES FOR PEOPLE, NOT FOR PROFIT banner… If it were not for profit , there would not be any apartments , condos or home in San Francisco They were ALL built for profit ! Talk about tilting at windmills !

    • steve

      You are right, they have no profit in homes in Cuba and none have been build for 55 years…The old ones they have, have not been maintained and are crumbling

  15. There are 7 billion people on the planet, if we assume 10 % are gay, does that mean if 700 millon people show up in SF and say we are gay, house us, it’s our right, we have to ? Shear lunacy is what this is.

  16. Alex

    I’m sorry but two meth-heads should not be the face of “gentrification” in SF. There are many families and long-time residents who are being pushed out. As someone who has worked with meth addicts, this i 1000,0000% their own doing. They aren’t being pushed out by yuppies, they are on the street because of the toxic effects of their addiction. I hope to god they get clean, but sadly its low probability.

  17. lehandro

    I don’t know what fantasy this guy is living in, but there is no way he was a porn actor or gogo dancer. He’s a middle-aged HIV+ guy with facial wasting… Pretty sure that’s the meth talking….

    Get real!

  18. Barney

    I know Kevin, and what I thought was very well. I am also very close friends with his former relationship. And while I do feel I got very close to Kevin. Hell I flew from Philadelphia to San Francisco to DJ his college graduation party as a gift. The rapid demise of his previous relationship and rapid spiral into what he is now after meeting Carlos, whom I never meet, made me think twice about his priorities. He basically started dating another man while still living with another couple who he broke up with and moved on instantly, makes me not have the most remorse for his current situation. He flat out choose this situation to be in. And if they are so broke, why are they out every Sunday at Beer Bust and how is Carlos able to afford and continue using Meth? This very story indicates that he is only days clean with having withdraw. Perhaps that drug money should have been used for other reasons.

    I don’t know Carlos, so not that concerned with his situation, however I did feel I loved the Kevin that I thought I knew, so I hope them the best. I just think this story portrays the truth slightly incorrectly.

  19. Durwood

    Kevin Quintero, you are NOT homeless. You have plenty of places to go, and friends that you can lean on that you have not treated kindly. You have had financial assistance to go to school (which friends have helped you with), two jobs with reputable companies that are ‘no longer’ (which friends helped you to get, including your current one). My partner and I have sent you information about places to stay, with no response. Mr. Quintero, you are no homeless person, and it’s disgraceful to everyone in this city that’s actually struggling and trying to make it work. By all accounts, your actions have been your own doing. There are people that I step around while going to work that have no loved ones, that are sick, that are addicted, and want one CRUMB of comfort in life. Could you imagine how they would feel if the only thing they had to do was to put in an application somewhere, and answer a text message? This is VERY disappointing, as is the misrepresentation of this article. San Francisco offers AMPLE opportunity to live any way you want to live. If you choose to be homeless, and addicted to drugs, there are plenty to choose from. If you want to get clean, then several of my friends have proven that the city offers extremely help programs to do this as well.

    Drug Rehab San Francisco
    http://www.drugrehabsfca.com
    San Francisco, CA
    (415) 692-4344

    Drug Rehab Consulting
    drugrehabconsulting.com
    601 Van Ness Ave
    San Francisco, CA
    (415) 666-2647
    Pacific Hills

    http://www.pachills.com
    715 Golden Gate Ave
    San Francisco, CA
    (866) 825-0730

    Alcohol Drug Abuse Rehab San Francisco
    sanfrancisco.thealcoholdrugrehab.com
    1610 Evans Ave
    San Francisco, CA
    (415) 524-0862

    Baart Programs
    http://www.baartprograms.com
    433 Turk St
    San Francisco, CA
    (415) 928-7800

    Bottom line: There is opportunity here. Opportunity to do your absolute best, or your absolute worst. There is no mirage, but a thriving mecca of people trying to make their own way, as my partner and I have been doing since we came here a few years ago.

    So Kevin & Carlos….how much do you want out of life? It’s all right here in this city if you choose it, but NO one can change your behavior but you.

    • Alex

      Don’t you get it? He’s a addicted to meth. No amount of referrals or links to community programs is going to help. Yes, his life’s destruction is 100% of his own making. But you know there are quite a few homeless people out there that are addicts. It is actually a leading cause of homelessness (along with mental illness).

      The blame should be placed on the authors of the article who seem to tout these two as victim gentrification rather than the obvious outcome of crystal meth use. There are a dozen books even biographies out there that chronicle this exact same story.

      Stonewall is the right place for him but obviously he is not ready yet.

      • Durwood

        My blame is not misplaced Alex, I wrote the “award winning author” before I wrote the comment. I insure you that I’m am no stranger to addictive patterns. The only way to break a mental cycle is to have the person realize what their options are. There are plenty of places in America where this article would be viable, but definitely not here in San Francisco. There is no ‘mirage’ here. Its what you make it. If someone wants a ‘mirage’, then I’ll give you a location; North Carolina. Go there and see if you can get drug rehab, HIV treatment, PREP, PEP, or any acceptance whatsoever. People do not realize what they have here, and the only thing I can do is to hand out a pamphlet, which was my comment.

      • poor.ass.millionaire

        “The blame should be placed on the authors of the article who seem to tout these two as victim gentrification rather than the obvious outcome of crystal meth use. ”

        +1

  20. GentrifySF

    Nobody cares about the homeless LGBT community, plain and simple. If they did, the gay “community” would be doing more to help them and forcing Mayor Lee to do something. The “A gays” and the young techies will move into all the new housing developments in the Castro and the lower-income/homeless LGBT will not be missed at all. Even the gays turn on their own after reaching a certain income level and social status. Who cares about your gay homeless brothers and sisters when you can walk around with your smartphone while logged into Grindr, Scruff, Adam4Adam and BarebackRT?

  21. 58Mike

    SF has just 30,000+/- more people today than it did in 1950… yet I would guess there are thousands of more living units, apartments, TICs, co-owners and joint tenants spaces to live and set up house ….. THERE SHOULDN’T BE A HOUSING SHORTAGE …… except for the fact that there are many 2nd home/ vacation units owned with part time occupancy’s taking up the space… those units are empty most of the time, seeing the occupants when they blow into the City for street fairs …. do something about that, and the housing shortage will disappear…

    • John

      Mike, you want to pass a law forcing me to have someone live in a home that I do not want to have anyone living in?

    • Ted

      40% of San Franciscans now live alone. Can we force the misanthropes to get a roommate?

  22. Want to know why I am not homeless? Because I put myself through college, got a job and don’t do Meth. I didn’t plan on Porn and go go dancing as a career and then get surprised when that didn’t pan out. When I get paid, I pay my rent and my bills and save for the future and THEN spend what’s left.

    Sure, I have been lucky in some ways, but get your shit together, people. No one owes you a job. No one owes you an aparetment. If you can’t cut it in the city, move back tot he crap town you came from and quit complaining that we owe your lazy, disease-ridden, drug-adled bodies something. The rest of us work for our keep. You should try it.

  23. derek

    i keep reading people on here trying to dodge or justify the gentrification issue and just blame the drugs.
    yes drugs may hurt your life if you do not have enough money to hide, manage, or ignore your habits.

    But don’t for a second ignore that gentrification is the major problem.

    also the fools that talk down to others or about others may one day be in the exact same place.

  24. GentrifySF

    As if anyone in their right minds would believe that some middle-aged gay meth user with facial wasting and a bitchy attitude would be highly sought-after to be dancing in the Castro or SOMA gay bars or joining the ranks of male porn models @ Treasure Island Media. HA! Being gay in SF is expensive if you wish to mingle with the “A-gays”: either make $50K/year or get a sugar daddy who lives in Upper Market, Twin Peaks, Diamond Heights or Noe Valley. Other than that, good luck!

  25. No Time For Games

    This article should be about how people should be more careful about their choices and actions…and that we need to own up to the consequences of the bad choices we make.

    It feels like they’re placing blame on the community and society for putting them in their current situation, but it all comes down to the choices that dictate which direction you want your life to go.

    If you cheat on your partners who helped you get through college and they kick you out, you have no right to call foul. If you’re a 40 year old go go dancer and you’re wondering why you’re stuck in a rut, it’s time to reevaluate your priorities and start building YOUR life back, not worrying about where you and your bf live.

    Life’s not always rainbows and unicorns. Everyone makes sacrifices. If you have to live outside of SF to live within your means, grin and bear it. If you work at it, then you’ll get back to where you used to be.

  26. The fact I know one of the individuals involved and that there is much more to this story is completely irrelevant to the author’s rather sad attempt to find a booger man where none exists.

    Ignoring the expected bias here, the problem is not as everyone so loves to tout, gentrification. Gentrification is a given no matter where you live. The idea that it can be stopped is silly. However, that is not to say it isn’t a symptom of a bigger problem.

    We’ve allowed the homeless problem here to grow and flourish for over a decade by a board of sups who led with personal agendas and ideology over thoughtful balanced attempts to manage the problem. We continue to make it easier to be homeless in the city vs discouraging it.

    We have homeless outreach programs, due to how they get funded, that actually fight against real attempts to reduce the homeless in this city.

    Our city is out of rental units. Too many have been converted to condos and with ridiculous height restrictions in SF, it is very hard to build replacements. Bringing back a required percentage ration between sales and rentals would go along way to help reduce the extreme demand. At current, there is simply no supply to meet the demand. The fact those who work in tech can afford to pay higher doesn’t make them the enemy, it makes them fortunate. (And no I don’t work in tech.)

    Just yesterday at Safeway, a resident was gathering signatures for a petition to prevent any new height relaxations AND a petition to tell the city to improve middle income housing. When asked how he expected the city to do that with both petitions, he just shrugged. He had no solution but his ideology clearly was more important.

    SF is not a town, it is a city. And anytime you have a city as desirable to live as SF has been, there will always be a demand. You can slow the growth, and therefore gentrification, without trying to stop it completely.

    For the homeless, we need to take an active approach vs trying to just push the problem around and blaming everyone else. Converting cash payment to vouchers alone would reduce the abuse. Add in a unified homeless outreach network, escalating mandatory drug and alcohol rehab programs, and less tolerance of loitering/camping/defecating on public property all would help reduce our homeless population drastically.

    Writing an article full of half truths and bias only serves to increase the frustration and does nothing to help the problems.

    • they claim to be all loving, all accepting, and all benevolent; but in reality they are self-righteous, self-serving, hypocrites perpetuating a status quo that only serves upper-class, white, hetero-normative, middle-aged, males.

      • John

        Is your name Ruben or Mark?

        It’s hard to tell.

        Hetero-normative? Huh? Really? you missed a cliche – you didn’t slip a CIS-gendered in there.

  27. Ralf

    Sad to see how many gay people choose to move to a bigger city for usually the wrong reason.Very often, in the US especially I guess, I’m from Europe, for just the sole reason of starting a so called “gay lifestyle” and being able to be themselves and not checking that the foundation, a steady income is present. Understandable,certainly, I did the same thing, it was a career move in my case and my newly adopted city happened to have a large gay scene, but they do tend to forget that big cities are extremely expensive to live and it might be hard to keep your head above water. And a lot of them feel peer pressure or obliged to live to, what they think, is expected of you in a gay scene and don’t want to be left out and therefor start using drugs. I wish some guys would prefer to be an individual and stay true to themselves instead of joining the masses, the losers who cannot stand the luring of meth and all other shit that wil ultimately destroy your boyish good looks and empty your wallet

  28. Mark

    If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that the Mainstream Gay Community is no different than the Mainstream Christian Community in that they claim to be all loving, all accepting, and all benevolent; but in reality they are self-righteous, self-serving, hypocrites perpetuating a status quo that only serves upper-class, white, hetero-normative, middle-aged, males.

  29. Carlos Morales

    Its unfortunate that this piece focussed so much on the wrong issue, addictions of all kinds have always existed in San Francisco and they have been addressed and dealt with and we will continue to survive as a city which prides it self in diversity and non-judgement. I wished the focus had stayed on the REAL problem. The out of control allocation of funds to cater to the ultra rich diaper wearing techies who have no concept of the importance of a robust middle class in any growing economy. When the middle classworker in our city has been eradicated, as its at this very second happenning, whos going to be left to teach our kids in schools, to manage the Dry Cleaning and convenience corner shops? whos going to be left doing the barista jobs at your high end corporat coffee boutiques or washing your Teslas, BMW, Benzes and Lotus’s at the cornercar wash?When all theres is left is chaos and anarchy and a new highon the cities crime rates, what are the tech-toddlers going to do? Hope that mommy or dadda can fix their booboo? Or move to the next city takeover? This is a wake up call to city officials and city planners single handedly you are destroying the landscape of San Francisco by not allocating equal resources to empower and maintain your middle class thriving.

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