Sunday, August 7, 2011

New Horizons

"Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world."
--
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW


Hey there people! This is Willow, back from stasis. Well, some cool updates: first, the 23rd was my birthday! Yay me! I'm 22 now, and fully annoyed with all the teenagers in my life. Laughs. But anyways, secondly, this coming week I get to go shopping! YAYS! It will be my first time shopping for female clothes, and Jennifer, my case manager from an awesome program called OusideIn, is going to take me to get fitted for a brassiere. I'm a little nervous about that, seeing as I've never done it before. Some of my female friends tell me that it's super uncomfortable until you get used to wearing them, but my back will apparently feel better for having done it. Meh, I'm not sure, but it's another step on the road! Hopefully I'll find some super cute clothes that'll actually fit me. But thirdly, and most importantly, I have an appointment set with the Trans Clinic here in Portland for December 6th. It's official and nothing short of death or disfigurement is going to stop me from attending, damnit.

On a completely different note, my surrogate sister from Roseburg is coming up to take me to the Vans Warped Tour. The tickets are like $32, and I get to go with her after not seeing her for like 6 months. I'm so excited I could bounce around crazily, fluttering my arms like a high school girl thinking about her long-time crush. But I won't, mostly because it would make me feel like an idiot. Anyway. Super excited about that.

Now, oddly enough in my opinion, I was asked out last night by a boy. I say oddly enough, because I don't very well see myself as dating material. He's kinda cute, but in a really, REALLY nerdy way, and he's Wiccan, which while it doesn't bother me, doesn't set me at ease either. He's kind of annoying, but has a sweet innocence around him that kind of endears him to me. I'm not sure what I should do about it, but I don't just want to deny him. He was super sweet about asking, and even though he couldn't stop laughing, I'm considering his proposition. It was really great though, I was sitting there with a serious look on my face telling him to stop laughing, because I knew exactly what he was trying to ask me. He was too nervous sounding to be trying to ask anything else. I told him that I wasn't going to make it easy for him to ask, because, well, it's a damn serious question to ask. Honestly, do you want a guy coming up to you and cracking up while he's asking you to be his girlfriend? No, you wouldn't. It's demeaning, and it seems like they aren't taking it seriously. But anyway, I'm thinking about it, and I'm thinking about saying yes. Please leave a comment with your opinion. Not that your opinions will be the deciding factors, but it'd be nice to hear from at least a person or two who've been in maybe a similar situation. But I digress.

I picked today's quote because it's great. It's just telling you in a roundabout way that if you take care of yourself, you'll see the world better. It's true, at least from what I've seen so far. As soon as I took the time to get myself taken care of, I became happier and less hopeless about my situations. Just remember that you are the world's representative to yourself, and if you make a bad impression, things could go horribly horribly wrong for you.

Sincerely until next time,

Willow D. Frost

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Check-in Time

Quote of the day: "Focus on the journey, not the destination; for joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in doing it." - Greg Anderson

07.05.2011

Hello again Vanguard, this is my second attempt at a blog, and hopefully I'll do some good. Now, some exciting news, I have officially changed my name to Willow Danielle Frost, and am getting some momentum on the ball I've already set in motion.

Now on to less exciting news. Yesterday was Independance Day. I decided I was ging to tell my mother about my transition and my name change over dinner, because it's an important thing that the woman who gave birth to me should know about. It was a perfect setting, we were all laughing and talking while setting off fireworks, and were generally having a good time. I took my mother to the side and told her I had something really important to talk to her about, and it was very exciting for me. I then proceeded to tell her about everything.

It was the longest, saddest minute of my life while my mother stood there and looked at me like I was the most disgusting thing she'd ever seen. When she finally spoke, she said "Leave here now, you are no son of mine. It'll be a cold day in Hell when my family will ever accept this, or you. Now go." She then escorted me off her property roughly, and plastered a smile on her face when another guest that I didn't know came up. "Sorry, I was just getting rid of an unwelcome visitor." My mother said to the guest.

I left. It was the only thing I could do. My family didn't want me, none of them have called to comfort me or say they didn't agree with my mom. I'm holding out hope, but I have to expect the worst.

In a way though, I'm kind of happy this happened. Because now I can say with complete confidence - even though my family, those who I considered my closest supporters, don't agree with my decisions, and would stop me if they could - I am a woman. I no longer have to act like a man around my family, or speak in masculine tones on the phone, or hurriedly clean off my nail polish before going to brunch. I am completely unfettered.

I picked the quote of the day, not only because it's true, but because it applies to my last two weeks. To my who transition, really. I am very happy with my choice of name now (I'd have to be, or I wouldn't have chosen it.), but the funnest thing wasn't going to the DMV to get my ID changed, it was sitting down with my closest girl friends and choosing the names from the baby books. The pure sense of joy, it was the closest I'm going to be able to get to giving birth to a new life. In a way I did. Shawn Michael Bean has ceased to exist, and in his place, is this new woman: Willow Danielle Frost.

This last couple of weeks has been very emotional for me, but I'm looking forward to the journey ahead. Please, feel free to take your own journeys; be it just outside to get the mail, to the peak of Mount Everest, or to becoming the gender, race, or species you believe yourself to be. Don't let anyone get in the way of your dreams, and enjoy the journey you set yourself on, because like Mr. Anderson said: the joy is not in finishing an activity, but in doing it.

Sincerely,

Willow D. Frost

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Introductions

Quote of the Day: "Light thinks it travels faster than anything, but it is wrong. No matter how fast the Light travels, it finds that Darkness has always gotten there first, and is waiting for it." - Terry Pratchett

Hello, my name is Shawn Bean. I am 21 and hail from the streets of Portland, Oregon, and I am a pre-op transgender who prefers female pronouns. I'm also new at blogging, so bear with me. My general blog topic is going to be about my transition from male to female, and how I'm affected by it. The posts won't be pretty (I see no real reason for it), but they might be informative and (I hope) useful for anyone here who decides they want to undergo this transition. I hope to get a few responses, maybe some input, and at least a little support, so I guess that's it. Now, onto the actual blogging.

06/22/2011 -
Ever since I started dressing in skirts and taking the time for the daily ritual that is makeup application, I've started feeling better about myself. Kind of like I'm bringing out a side of myself that allows me to be gentle and bitchy at the same time and have people look at me and think "Oh. that's just normal girl behavior."
You see, being a transgender on the streets of Portland, I'm something of an anomaly. There are Queers, Lesbians, Flamers, and Bisexuals everywhere, but noone really seems to know how to deal with me.

Males, even gay ones, on the streets here in P-town are expected to be harsh, brazen perverts, and are expected to have violent tendancies. When I dress in my comfortable male clothes, I am expected to do the same. But that's not me. When I dress as a male, everyone just assumes I'm gay from my voice and actions. That's not me. I am a female in mind and spirit, and I am kinder, and gentler than that. I can't bring myself to do violence unless there's no other option.

Well, back to the subject. When I dress as a female, it feels so liberating. I can walk up to my friends, and they don't expect me to act as a male does.

The only drawback I experience is pretty severe. When I walk down the street, people look at me like some kind of freak, or a carnival sideshow attraction. I hear mutters of 'faggot', 'creeper', and 'freak,' and it hurts. It really hurts me. So much that I just want to go hide and not come out again.

I've read the stories of people like Kate Bornstein, and they gave me hope that I'd be accepted in a time such as this, and in a place so liberal as Portland. Then Vanguard came to Portland, and I heard the struggles that transgenders go through on a daily basis in San Fransisco. A 12% employment rate? Having to do sex work just to scrape out a living? If that's how transgenders are doing employment-wise in the LGBT mecca of the US, how is a homeless girl like me supposed to even do that well up here?

I make no illusions toward myself; I'm not pretty, I'm not healthy. I am slightly feminine looking, and I and 100lbs overweight. Sex work would be a waste of time for me. I've found a couple of places that might hire me and be accepting of my transition, but I have to hope and pray that they'll even give me an interview first.

Now that my ranting is done, here are some fun things. As of Monday this last week, I have found a clinic that will put me on a waiting list for female hormones. The waiting list is about 4 months long, so that's a downer, but with patience and dedication to my goal, I will wait it out and get that ball rolling.

I have also gotten my first appointment with a gender therapist, set for July 15th, and because of Oregon's stupid law, I will have to see her for 2-4 months to detemine whether or not I will be allowed to go through with the gender reassignment surgery.

I hope this hasn't sounded like too much complaining, and I would love some feedback from anyone who wants to do so. Thank you for bearing with me, and I will be here again in 2 weeks time.

With all respect,

Shawn Michael Bean.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lessons Learned in Holywood

This weekend Joey, Mia and I travelled to Los Angeles to speak with the LGBT young adults staying in the LA Gay and Lesbian Center's shelter.


The facilities are very beautiful, house 24 youth for up to 16 months and an additional 7 emergency beds. Styled a bit like college dorms and following the basic model created by psychologists and social workers (as opposed to Larkin Street Youth Services that operates off the pastoral model of ethics for working with youth) to create a safe, space for a group that seems to be very different from the youth we've meet with in New York and San Francisco.

While they struggle with the same loss of family and issues and hate crimes, these youth seem to also wrestle with the rarely realized dream of making it big as a star in Hollywood.


While the center has some amazing programming and has been able to create some amazing opportunities for individuals to go after their dreams, my favorite example is the trans women from the shelter who were able to become interns on the set of America's Next Top Model. The staff clearly goes above and beyond their job duties in providing support and trauma aware care for these young adults.

My gratitude or these programs means I will refrain from talking about the growth areas I saw her, for fear that it will damage relationships I'm building with these programs or discourage folk from supporting this amazingly vital work.


The lesson I'm left with from Hollywood is the exuding cost of chasing your dreams. The ways bullying of trans individuals continues to be a pervasive part of gay culture, and the damage that secrets and the need to perform straight in order to get work affects lives of the most vulnerable the most of all.


While we were in town, we were able to visit the ONE archive and learn more about Bishop Mikael Itkin. Thanks to everyone at ONE for your help!


Join us next week in Portland!

Location:Hollywood, CA

Friday, June 3, 2011

Traveling Exhibit: Feedback

The first Vanguard handout read:

The time is here to bring together the youth of the TENDERLOIN to form a more unified community among ourselves. We find that no one has room for us in their society, therefore we must work together to form our own society to meet our OWN needs. Our needs and goals are:

1) Coffee House and meeting center

2) Emergency Housing

3) Medical aid, area VD clinic, etc.

4) Employment counseling.

5) Police cooperation

6) Financial aid (if possible)

We are willing to work with interested groups, but, who can be more trusted and relied upon than ourselves. To find satisfaction we found one another. [1]


Which of these causes that the Vanguard youth of the 60's were fighting for do you think are still needed today? The youth in San Francisco think they're all needed. Publish your comments below to let us know what you think.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lessons Learned in New York


The first leg of the Vanguard Speaking tour kicked off in New York City this weekend. Mia Tu Mutch, Joey Plaster and myself (Pastor Megan Rohrer) shared stories, video and experiences from more than two years of research about the Vanguard youth of the 60's and a year of working with and listening to the queer homeless young adults in San Francisco.


Our first presentation kicked off at Trinity Lutheran Church in Manhattan. Home of Trinity Place a shelter for queer youth, despite the locale the audience was almost entirely young adults.


Honoring the sacredness of the stories shared through the multimedia presentation, images were projected onto the altar. See the video being projected here.

Following the talk we celebrated with a Lady Gaga Mass , whose offering went to benefit Trinity Place.
On Sunday morning, I preached at Trinity and learned more from the church members about the origin of their shelter and their commitment to serve vulnerable youth and provide a much needed transition space from the streets to a real home and stable life.
The congregation shared that they would soon be renovating their bathrooms because of a fundraiser that raised $25,000 and was sponsored by the Emperors. Though much of the conversations that I heard from the young adults on this trip is that they felt disconnected to the middle class, mostly white gay community whose primary focus was on spending millions and putting energy into issues they felt were less important than their emergent needs for food, shelter and safety from hate crimes, it was great to hear that the drag and camp that helped a generation live through the darkest moments of the AIDS crisis were still working for justice and raising funds for those most in need.
Our third talk was a youth only event at Sylvia's Place at MCCNY. Here our talk was more of a conversation that compared and contrasted the situation for queer homeless youth in New York and San Francisco.
Given copies of The latest edition of Vanguard Magazine that puts the Vanguard youth of the 60's and today in conversation, we hope to begin the conversation with the youth in New York about how they can identify themselves, their needs and begin to claim their own safe spaces. (see video of Mia reading an excerpt from the magazine)

As young adults connected to Sylvia's Place it wasn't surprising that the New York youth expressed that they felt connected to health services and drop in centers. Yet, one of the biggest concerns they raised was their need for safety in the streets, protection from hate crimes and to feel like they could be welcome somewhere. Just as the youth in San Francisco felt there was no place for them in the Castro, the youth in New York expressed feeling disconnected from a rapidly gentrifying Village.

Kristine and Mia shared some additional thoughts about the difference between trans experiences in New York and San Francisco. Check out the video here.
After the talk we went to have dinner near Times Square and I was struck by the consumeristic culture, the vanity and over the top campiness. It reminded me of all the romantic ideals that cause young adults to flee to the cities after running away or getting thrownaway from their homes. Just one of the stops on our journey through the cities of what the youth describe as the underground queer railroad where they search for acceptance and a sense of home, I learned a lot from this city and the fabulous youth.
One that may last the longest are the ways the caricatures of homeless queer youth, transfolk, and the big city can be all at once beautiful and like the piles and piles of hot smelly trash found in even the ritziest districts of New York. The problems and stories seem so similar in cities so far away and of those who are being remembered from nearly fifty years ago. In this world of social connectedness and through this journey, I sincerely hope that sharing stories and encouraging young adults to speak out, sleep out and act up can rewrite this story.
Location:Times Square, New York

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

In the News: Bay Area Reporter

'Encampment' brings attention to homeless LGBT youth

NEWS


Homeless youth and their allies staged a "street sweep" in the Castro last Saturday to bring attention to budget cuts for social service programs. Photo: Matt Baume

The May 14 encampment was part of a nationwide demonstration to raise awareness of homelessness among a demographic known as transition-age youth. Homeless and foster youth between 16 and 24 years old can face unique housing challenges, particularly as they age out of the foster care system and learn to navigate services for adults.

"We're here to engage the community on homelessness, and specifically queer homeless youth issues," said organizer Beck, who uses only one name. "We're in kind of a state of emergency, saying, 'hey community, wake up.'"

Saturday's action started at Civic Center with games, an unveiling of protest banners, and hot meals served by Food Not Bombs. A march proceeded to Harvey Milk Plaza, where speakers read poetry and called for improved access to services to get off the street.

Their requests included housing with kitchens, rather than single room occupancy hotels with no facilities for food preparation; employment opportunities for youth who are unable to complete school; and an end to the sit-lie ordinance.

According to local organizers Trans Youth Rise Above, there are 5,700 homeless youth in San Francisco, of which at least 1,000 are queer.

Operation Shine America, which coordinated similar rallies in other cities, estimates that there are 2 million homeless youth in the country. Queers for Economic Equality Now also organized the San Francisco event.

Beck explained that organizations like the Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center and Larkin Street Youth Services' Castro Youth Housing Initiative have faced repeated budget cuts, reducing services that can prevent youth from living on the street.

Jodi Schwartz, executive director of LYRIC, agreed that times are tight. "There has been a sizable decrease in investments in LGBTQ youth services," she told the Bay Area Reporter. "Just for LYRIC, if we were to lose the last piece of dollars for transition-age youth workforce, our decrease in funding would be 72 percent over the last four years."

Larkin Street Executive Director Sherilyn Adams told the B.A.R. that the extent of cuts won't be known until Mayor Ed Lee releases a budget later this month.

"There's no proposed cuts to the Castro Youth program," she said, but added, "it does not begin to meet the need."

To address the potential consequences of such cuts, Lee recently convened a stakeholder group consisting of representatives from organizations that advocate for homeless youth. Based on feedback from that group, the mayor asked that the Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families prioritize funding for LGBT and undocumented youth.

While organizations hope to turn around the recent budget cuts, local organizers are seeking ways to demonstrate how the city's rate of youth homelessness could worsen.

After Saturday's protest concluded, about three dozen homeless youth spent parts of the night camped out around the Muni station, according to organizer the Reverend Megan Rohrer, director of the Welcome Ministry, a coalition of 12 churches that seek to provide a faithful response to poverty.

Rohrer is currently working with the GLBT Historical Society to raise visibility by drawing inspiration from past struggles. She incorporated a "street sweep" into Saturday's protest, in which participants swept Castro Street sidewalks with brooms to evoke a similar 1960s-era protest.

In that action, LGBTs protested the city's negligent sanitation and police roundups by pushing brooms through the Tenderloin.



Thursday, May 12, 2011

In the News: Bay Area Reporter

Shining a light on homeless LGBTQ youth

Guest Opinion


ADVERTISMENT

It is estimated that nearly 2,300 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in San Francisco are homeless.

In 2007, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Coalition on Homelessness concluded in their joint study, "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness," that 40 percent of homeless youth in this country identify as LGBT. One would have expected a tremendous outcry in the queer community when that study was released. Especially here in San Francisco.

Where was that outcry?

You'd think that a community such as ours, which is capable of raising millions to promote gay marriage and to fight "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," would have poured a lot of effort and money into housing young people by now. But, where are those resources?

Programs that support transitional age homeless youth are usually left out of local and national fundraising strategies that allocate millions of dollars for lobbying efforts in the name of our families and the safety of our community. What about the homeless queer youth who reside on the streets and who are looking for family and safety, but instead often encounter exploitation, violence, and criminalization under laws which make it illegal to sit or lie in public?

They need services, but where are the queer youth services in San Francisco?

An activist group spearheaded three emergency winter shelters, a food program, and a shower project for homeless youth and others in the Castro in the late 1990s after the dot-com boom caused a sharp spike in rents throughout the city, making it impossible to afford an apartment. Those services opened despite unbelievable opposition from merchants, landlords, and residents. When the last of the shelters folded, the Youth Empowerment Team secured $750,000 in city funds for 29 beds for LGBT homeless youth under Larkin Street's Castro Youth program. That program is now down to 22 beds and looking at more cuts this year. Not to mention the devastating cuts to the LGBT Community Center's Transitional Youth program, which packs in over 300 youth a year for food and resources.

Meanwhile, the LGBTQ youth space at the Eureka Valley Recreation Center was shut down in 2010. Advocates have been negotiating with the Recreation and Park Department for nearly a year to have it re-opened, but it is clear that consistent staffing, hours, and overall youth access to the space, will continue to be compromised. The Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center has been forced to reduce its open-door programming for transitional age youth due to lack of city support, and its internship program, which was cut last year, is facing a possible total elimination in the budget of the Department of Children, Youth and Families.

The closure of New Leaf: Services for Our Community's youth substance abuse treatment program was a hard hit for those attempting to access LGBTQ friendly substance abuse counseling and mental health treatment. While the clinicians at Dimensions Clinic do an excellent job, services meant to engage youth in treatment have not been fully restored.

Clearly, the community needs to speak out.

This Saturday, May 14, queer youth and allies are taking part in a national effort to shine a light on homelessness among queer youth. Hosted by Operation Shine America and the AJ Fund, youth organizers will provide makeovers, video and photo booths, art workshops, freeze tag, and a free dinner donated by Food not Bombs. This begins at 6 p.m. at the Civic Center. At 7:30 p.m., youth art from the AJ Fund will be used to decorate a march that will make its way toward Harvey Milk Plaza. Marchers will remember AJ Trasvina, a local youth who spent his last years providing support to homeless queer youth.

At Harvey Milk Plaza, we will illuminate our lanterns and shine a light for a homeless youth open mic. Participants are encouraged to wear purple and bring candles. The event will culminate with a sleep-in at the plaza that is a separate event organized by Welcome Ministry. Later, some plan to perform a peaceful street sweep with handmade brooms and signs, symbolizing the poor being displaced by lack of access to space and support.

Through stories and information, we will illuminate the local and national issues of homelessness among queer youth, much of which is caused by rejection by family and community, the high cost of rent, criminalization, and a lack of employment opportunities and training.

It's time for all LGBT organizations and our community to make homeless queer youth a priority by allocating resources to these vital services. Not from year to year, but for many years to come.

Beck, Adele Carpenter, and Tommi Avicolli Mecca are all members of the newly formed coalition, QUEEN, or Queers for Economic Equality Now.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gaga Mass & Vanguard Tour




I'm excited to announce that the Lady Gaga Mass will be traveling to select locations along with the Vanguard Traveling Exhibit and Speaking Tour. With the Vanguard Talk at 7pm (featuring Joey Plaster Oral History Chair at the GLBT Historical Society and Mia Tu Mutch trans youth activist) and the Gaga Mass, arranged by Pastor Megan Rohrer (Executive Director of Welcome and co-pastor of the Community of Travelers) at 8 pm. The Gaga Mass offering will raise money for local LGBTQ youth ministries and shelters in the area of our tour.

We'll be adding tour dates, times and locations to this site soon. Start getting excited!



Copyright permission for the Lady Gaga Mass obtained through PERFORMmusic License#6400
Mad love to the Gaga!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tour: The El Rosa Hotel

Home of the Screaming Queens who create the Compton's Cafeteria riot and one of the locations reported to be the origin of Vanguard.


Oral History Excerpt from the Original Vanguard, Adrian Ravarou. Interview by Joey Plaster 2010:
“Billy Garrison described himself as a hair fairy—which meant that the clothing he wore was heterosexual, you know, guys clothes—jeans and a shirt—but then he had his hair ratted up and hair sprayed so it was stacked like a beehive almost. And he then had on make-up eye, brow pencil, rouge, some lipstick, foundation, he did his nails. And one of the things that happened in the community was that, because people were looking different and didn’t pass as women, they would often get snide and rude comments, being called names and so-forth— and so Billy was talking about well—how can we overcome this? And I think it was over a period of about a couple weeks that we were talking [in the El Rosa hotel] that he pointed out that he had come from Seattle, and when he had been in Seattle he said he was a straight male—he was heterosexual—and he had been a member of a gang, he said he had been a leader in a gang. He said there were problems within a particular Seattle neighborhood between the community and the gang and that a particular minister had reached out to both communities, brought them together and created a dialogue and actually had some of the members helping each other so that it mitigated the friction and people began to understand one another and create tolerance, and to—programs around that. And Billy was wondering, is this something that we could do in the Tenderloin?”


Vanguard Magazine Reading: Vol. 1, Issue 9, 1967 [reading from video #2] This document was republished in our Vanguard Revisited Magazine in 2011. (click on the image to see it in a larger size)

Contemporary Question:

How do we have systems of support and community like at the El Rosa hotel today?


The answers of the young adults participating on 2/21/2011on were intentionally left out of the online tour, in order to protect their confidentiality. We encourage virtual participants of the Vanguard Tour to answer the contemporary questions in the comment section. You can post anonymously if you would like to protect your confidentiality.


[continue to the next stop in the tour: The Compton's Cafeteria Riot]


* Tour materials collected by Joey Plaster with Mia Tu Mutch, Completed 2/21/2011 with the new Vanguard as a part of the LGBT Center's Youth Program. Vanguard Magazine appears here courtesy of the GLBT Historical Society.

Tour: The Central City Hospitality House

The first Vanguard handout read:

The time is here to bring together the youth of the TENDERLOIN to form a more unified community among ourselves. We find that no one has room for us in their society, therefore we must work together to form our own society to meet our OWN needs. Our needs and goals are:

1) Coffee House and meeting center

2) Emergency Housing

3) Medical aid, area VD clinic, etc.

4) Employment counseling.

5) Police cooperation

6) Financial aid (if possible)

We are willing to work with interested groups, but, who can be more trusted and relied upon than ourselves. To find satisfaction we found one another. [1]

Citizens News Volume 3 #9 (2/10/1964) The Undesirables -- calls Jesus the ultimate undesirable. Talks about a move to enforce vice laws. “VICE should be defined as anything that does not fit into the picture of those that are too old to engage in such things; or activities that seem to be too much fun for those who in engage in them; or anything that does not add to the economic wealth of the ‘civic-minded citizens.’” “There is always a group of persons who have undesirable practices, beliefs or traits. These are the people who indulge in VICE. Now those in the Establishment may do the same things as the undesirables, but since they are responsible members of the Community it is never thought of as VICE. There is a difference.” He goes on to call Jesus, Ben Franklin, and others undesirables. “We, the undesirables of 1964, are prone to forgive the people who would deprive us of our freedom. We remember that the most famous undesirable of all time also had forgiveness in his heart, for did He not say: ‘Forgive them for they know not what they do.’”

Citizen News Volume 4, #4 (Jan 1965???)

You Fellahs Should be Discreet

San Francisco News Call-Bulletin, Guy Wright, article on hair faeries. Quoting from article: “Today’s column is addressed to the homosexuals of our city. Its message is simple: Please, gentlemen, try to be a bit more discreet. The other day at a magazine stand on Market Street I encountered a young male wearing women’s ski pants and a woman’s car coat. His hair was tinted a pinkish blonde unknown to nature….it seems to be that this unfortunate was taking a delicious pleasure in the distaste which he caused among the other customers.” “It has become almost common-place to see young men holding hands as they stroll down the street. One section of the Tenderloin has been taken over by homosexuals.”

* Tour materials collected by Joey Plaster with Mia Tu Much, Completed 2/21/2011 with the new Vanguard as a part of the LGBT Center's Youth Program.


[1] “Exiles of Sin, Incorporated,” By Laurence Tate, Berkeley Barb, November 11, 1966

Tour: Compton's Cafeteria

Rev. Ray Broshears text

Young homos Picket Compton’s Restaurant

VANGUARD, the organization whose membership is drawn from ‘kids on the street,’ tested out its muscle on one of the worst offenders against human dignity in the Tenderloin area of San Francisco.
Compton’s at Turk and Taylor has long treated the younger residents as if they were not at all human.

On various occasions, according to spokesmen of VANGUARD, the Rent-A-Cop (Pinkerton Men) have manhandled innocent customers because they did not drink their coffee fast enough to suit the Rent-A-Cop.

On the 18th of July VANGUARD had bout 25 persons carrying picket signs from 10 pm til 12 pm. The action was televised by ABC and a fair presentation of the cause of VANGUARD was telecast.

Specifically VANGUARD was protesting:
We of the Tenderloin are picketing and boycotting this Gene Compton Restaurant for the following reasons:

1. We of the Tenderloin are continuously subjected to physical and verbal abuse by both the management and the Pinkerton Special Officers assigned there.

2. We feel that the 25 cent “Service” charge was put into effect to keep out those of us who have little or no money.
THEREFORE:

Until the management of this restaurant changes its policies of harassment and discrimination of the homosexuals, hustlers, etc., of the Tenderloin Area, we will boycott and picket this restaurant.”

Tour: Chuckers Coffee House

In March of 1965, The Chuckkers coffeehouse was raided, charged with municipal ordinance 440 (wearing apparel of opposite sex with intent to deceive) and California penal code 650 (openly outrages public decency). …..”[1]

Citizen News Volume 4 No. 12 " And then Sgt Ludlow, of past fame decided the cut of the hair was still not sufficient at the Chukker. The Chukker is an after hours coffee shop in San Francisco's infamous Tenderloin operated by on of San Francisco's most colorful characters, Carlo. Carlo was one of the participants in the recent Chanel 4 film on homosexuality. Anyhow Sgt. Ludlow let the word drift down that if the hair faeries did not cut their hair by Good Friday that they would be hauled in for impersonation. Promplty at 3:30AM, the good sergeant with banners flying arrived at the Chukker to check out the hair-do's. He arrested about 19 people for various sundry things, all as valid as a LBJ half-dollar, and took them to the Jail.... This raid apparently is tied into the current police drive to gain control of the after-hours places and the statistics of this raid will be apart of the reasons cited for such control."

The owner, Carlos Lara, or Carlo, Raids had become so commonplace by early 1966 that in February of 1966 Carlos posted a signs in the over-the-top style of carnie show announcements in front of the business[2] In 1965, a letter about SIR activities mentions the The Chuckkers, likely written by Forrester. A SIR document, likely from 1965, read:

“I suspect that the element represented by C. Laura represents an element from which we can learn much and for which we can do much. After all, in truth, they are free to fight through the courts and do, while so many of the other more respectable people, can’t or won’t. Mr. Laura is much freerer [sic] than most of us and can indeed show some the example of courage in living up to and being true to ‘his nature.’ Carlos Laura is responsible. He is also free, brave, and true to what he feels he is. And he is willing to fight to prove it.”[3]

Forrester gave the talk on the immediate eve of the sensational press coverage that followed the release of the Tenderloin Report and noted that the publicity and campaign “has become a matter of some controversy in the homophile movement.” Many felt it was an “undesirable image,” he said. He said that the publicity decisions were his, in consultation with Ed Hansen, because it “cannot be swept under the rug.” At a March 1966 CRH meeting, “Mr. Forrester announced that in the future it was likely that homosexuals from the Tenderloin would be publicly demonstrating for their rights under the law and that unfortunately that might undermine the image of the so-called respectable homosexual the organizations are trying so fervently to propagandize.”[4]

Oral History Excerpt of original Vanguard Member Joel Roberts:

by Joey Plaster, 2010

JOEL: You had the butches and the femmes, [00:33:57] and the queens like Dixie and you had the butch ones and then you had the rough trade, those kids were probably juvenile delinquents or just young criminals and they were hot, I mean no doubt about it and [00:34:15] you had to be a little bit S&M to make it with them you had to understand that when you’re giving a rough trade guy a blowjob, he’s using a little verbal abuse but which is music to your ears, he’s going, suck it really good whatever [00:34:23] you little bastard, and so it’s wow, as far as the fairies, and that is one of the words people used for us, chuckers were fairies, [00:35:07] but there, mostly were service, soldiers and sailors going there to make it with the queens. [00:35:11] So you definitely had a butch femme thing


* Tour materials collected by Joey Plaster with Mia Tu Much, Completed 2/21/2011 with the new Vanguard as a part of the LGBT Center's Youth Program.



[1] Citizen News Volume 4 No. 12

[2] Citizen News Volume V No. 4 (Feb 1966). We had heard of the raids that have become commonplace there and that Carlos intended to supplement his signs ibn front. So we went over with camera and flash unit to get pictures for our readers.

[3] Report to the President and Board of SIR. [date unknown, before community house opens] -- 1965?

[4] Don Lucas papers, Box 9 of 21, Folder 9/10, Minutes of Board of meeting of CRH held on March 29, 1966 at 870 Market Street