Is the gay high holy day still sacred?
But none of my young gay friends like to party in the Castro, and not just because they fear getting bashed by out-of-towners. "There's no inspiration to be found there. Everyone just wants to dress up as celebrities and stand around. Or else it's for more uptight gay men to do drag and feel 'wild,’” says fashion designer Allán Herrera, 23. "Private parties are more fun, but everyone just ends up in the Castro because the alternatives cost $50."
Hunter Hargraves, 23, a drag performer, agrees. "You can dress up anytime you want in San Francisco, so I think the feeling of Halloween as a gay freedom day no longer applies," he explains. "I have a lot of respect for what it was, but now it's just one day among many." Another friend, Brion, 17, says, "Halloween is for getting fucked up and checking out other high schools."
So maybe the venerated spirit of Homoween has moved on from the Castro, just like it took flight from Polk Street two decades ago. The question, of course, is "to where"? In an age of gay mainstreaming, when the notion of community has been rapidly decentralized, diffused across a spectrum of tastes and miniagendas, maybe the purpose of a gay high holy day has evaporated into the ethosphere, like real-time cruising or leather bars.
Or maybe it's just been mischievously internalized. As my 25-year-old roommate said the other day, trying on plaid hot pants and naughty-schoolboy accessories, "For Halloween, I just want to dress like a slut and get laid."
That sounds plenty gay to me.