J. Plaster

The original queer district

A brief history of the Polk's queer cred

The Tenderloin and its more settled fringe, Polk Gulch, have a long history in queer San Francisco.

The city's street prostitutes were pushed into the Tenderloin after the 1914 Red-Light Abatement Law led to a crackdown on the Barbary Coast. Police crackdowns on gay bars in North Beach in the early 1960s led to the ascendance of Polk Gulch as the city's gay center.

In the 1960s, a vibrant queer culture consisting of young butch hustlers, drag queens, transgendered sex workers, and older men spanned lower Polk and the adjacent Tenderloin. Read more »