Residents of the Castro are getting annoyed with the increasing number of tour buses bringing gawking tourists in to see homos in their native habitat.
In the last three months, large tour buses have begun to park in the area on Thursday and Sunday afternoons, opening their doors and sending hundreds of tourists out to gawk and snap photos of the exotic sight of two men holding hands.
For gay and lesbian residents, who are doing nothing more remarkable than, say, walking over to Cliff’s Hardware Store, the idea that as many as six tour buses could turn up at once seems bizarre. They also worry that the upcoming release of the movie “Milk,” based on the life story of Castro Street politician Harvey Milk, will just be another step toward turning the Castro into a kind of urban theme park for looky-loos.
“It is the spectacle of people who might be different. That’s all it is,” said attorney Rob Guite, a Castro resident. “The tourists appear to have little regard for the neighborhood and its residents and view the stop as akin to visiting a zoo or other attraction where they are entertained by exhibits or animals.”
Castro residents long ago grew accustomed to visitors strolling down the streets in ones and twos, snapping photos of the rainbow flag over Harvey Milk Plaza. There’s even a thriving business providing tours for gay and lesbian vacationers from all over the world. “God knows we love tourists,” said Patrick Batt, who has owned the Auto Erotica vintage gay porn shop for 28 years. “But these people are a bunch of gawkers.”
Straight tourists have visited the Castro for many years, of course, but it appears this latest onslaught is coming from an Asian tour company, perhaps because open homosexuality is less seen at home, making it more of a curiosity. Locals are petitioning the city to stop letting the buses park right on Market Street near Castro.
Freepers react to this story:
– “The tour bus drivers should sell little bags of Godiva chocolates that the tourist can use to entice the locals closer for better pictures…”
– “Please Don’t Feed The Fags.”
– “They seem to have no problems sucking, jacking and screwing their partners in full view and with total disregard for decency, but get offended because normal people want to go to see the freak show.”
– “AIDS and associated STDs – plus Meth – have devastated gay San Francisco. In fact, the Castro is more similar to the archaeological dig of some dead civilization than to a living and functioning community. If tourists are going the visit the Castro, they should be told that what they are about to see are the consequences for individuals who believe they can live in defiance of God’s laws.”
-“They are antibreeder and heterophobic.”