Seeing San Francisco through the eyes of visitors is always an eye-opening experience. It’s great to be reminded of all the things we can take for granted here in Oz.
When a pair of dear friends arrived from Minneapolis to see “how real San Franciscans live” over the holidays, I was skeptical at first. Why not come for Pride or Folsom or something else uniquely San Franciscan in scale and scope?
But going out with them on what was supposedly “an off weekend” made me realize that there’s no such thing as an off weekend when you live over the rainbow. It’s a real gift. Even when half the city is out of town and the other half is staying home overeating and being underactive in a way that San Franciscans normally try to avoid, we still do things our own glittery way.
In the Midwest, the holidays probably aren’t celebrated with a leather-bar crawl or with big gay singalongs. Family feasts probably aren’t punctuated with nitrous charges and marijuana desserts. The seasonal soundtrack probably isn’t songs from the circuit or showtunes sung by drag queens.
Ritual and tradition are no less meaningful among San Framily than they are among our “real” families back at home. Getting to see that from the perspective of extended family visiting from the gay hinterlands makes me feel both blessed and blissed, the way holidays are supposed to make you feel but rarely actually do.
I was worried that my visitors wouldn’t see enough of “the real San Francisco,” but realness is exactly what’s worth celebrating in the city that sets the standard for how to do everything the gay way, and for how to add a little more gay to every day.