Sunday, October 1, 2017

In Search of Sand, Salt Water, Rainbow Flags and Linguini With Clam Sauce - Part Four: Rainbow Flags

Part Four: Rainbow Flags and Equal Rights

Sand, salt water and beaches almost filled the bill, but it seemed there was always something missing.

The nude beach at Pirates Cove was very "straight" and there definitely seemed like something missing.

The Pismo Beach ATV beach definitely didn't do it for me.

The campground was functional but one conversed beyond a "good morning" and most appeared to stay inside their $200,000 RVs where they could be spared rubbing shoulders with the rest of humanity. Provincetown, I wasn't feeling it.

We went to San Luis Obispo and walked around the Mission and down by the river walk. Something missing.

We stumbled upon a “grinder shop” where the owner, a guy from Connecticut who moved to California in the 70s and felt something was missing too: Italian sandwiches called grinders.

He served up East coast style “grinders” of capicollo, prosciutto, mortadella and provolone. (He also had the more American ham and cheese and roast beef and pastrami.) But even after lunch, it seemed there was something missing.

On another day we walked the shopping and restaurant district of Pismo Beach, ate lunch, bought a sweatshirt and got together with Leon’s mother’s cousin (Leon’s second cousin) who just happened to be spending the week at a time share there. We had a very nice afternoon, but despite pretty flowers here and there, there was still something missing.

We went to Morro Bay and walked down by the touristy shops, people strolling up and down, but something was missing. It was so boring.

Back in Los Osos, a cozy community just south of Morro Bay we walked the neighborhood around the cliffs. Nice, but boring.

Leon was looking at the ads in the window of a real estate office and laughing (if you don't understand why, go to Realtor dot com).

I was being gently pulled forward by Benni, our Weimador, when two women spotted the dog and one asked if he was friendly and could she pet him.

“Oh, yes, of course, feel free.”

Benni loved the attention. We exchanged introductions.

Leon was walking toward us and I introduced him as my husband.

The two women lit up when I said “husband” and the four of us instantly hit it off. 

We had a very nice conversation and probably chatted for a half hour standing there on the sidewalk. In the entire week we spent in California, and the more than two weeks of our entire vacation, they were the only strangers we conversed with other than those with whom we only exchanged pleasantries.

The women were from Long Beach, CA near L A.

We talked about dogs, California, the East Coast, New Mexico, politics, beaches, the state of the union and LGBT rights.

“You know, I haven’t seen a single Rainbow Flag or Equal Rights Campaign sticker in all of our travels through Arizona or California,” I said. “That’s what’s missing. There is no gaiety here.”

If there were, in fact, LGBT folks living in Central Coast California, they must be very closeted. Even an internet search turned up only an LGBT organization whose last update was in 2006. 

The gayest thing we saw on our trip, was the Madonna Inn, in San Luis Obispo. But even that wasn't really gay.

Men's Room - Urinal
Men's Room - Sink 

Leon liked this shirt. Yeah, right!

At least in Santa Fe there are lots of artistic and intellectual types and one sees all kinds of liberal and progressive sentiments expressed on car bumpers and rear windows. As a gay man I do not feel uncomfortable in Santa Fe or Albuquerque or the rest of New Mexico, which is, for the most part, a very “live and let live” kind of place. But I felt uncomfortable to some degree in Arizona and California. Just a feeling. Guarded. Like we accidentally wandered in unaware that we would be amongst the wrong tribe and there was no one else from our tribe anywhere around.

Not a rainbow flag anywhere. Definitely an indication that something was missing.
Even The Farms Seemed Straight
Looking around, I got the impression that the beaches with their All-Terrain-Vehicles, the gift shops, the restaurants, the t-shirts, the parks and playgrounds, the neighborhoods and many RV resorts, the wineries and farms - all seemed like Monuments to Heterosexism (and ultra-conservatism).

I am not exaggerating. 

 LGBTs are still either absent or invisible in 90% of this country.

We are out of sight and out of mind.

We do not exist, and if we do, we are somewhere else, and we are insignificant. Not just in numbers, but in terms of significance itself. We are nothing but an occasionally annoying fly, or an ant on the sidewalk.

How sad for the 90%. How boring. Provincetown... I was just not feeling it in California.

Now, as a refresher, compare all that lack of gaiety with the fun and frivolity that is Provincetown, Massachusetts. I’ll assist with a few photos:

Even the Schooner Flies Rainbow Colors

The Big Equal Sign


Russ Manley said...

You mean everybody in California *isn't* gay? I thought I read that on the intertubes a long while back. My, my.

Now I hope Part 5 will show where the real gay beaches are out there. Must be some - somewhere? No?

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Well, at least you're seeing how the "other 90%" live, so to speak!

Moving with Mitchell said...

I have to admit, my experience of California was the same. We loved living in San Diego, Palm Springs, and San Francisco. But when traveling we still felt like we were leaving the gay ghettos and were on our own.


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