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K.M. Soehnlein

Two Generations of Gay Men Collide in SF

For the first time in decades, two generations of gay men are alive and kicking—together.

I’m in a popular weeknight club in the Castro. A glittery girl in her mid-20s passes by with a boy wearing a costumey hat, flouncy tie and black vest. The girl points to a nearby man, mid-40s, sporting more or less the same look: same hairstyle, same brimmed hat, same vest. “Look,” she says, “it’s your dad!”

This is the job of youth culture, to draw these kinds of lines: on one side, kids who get to have fun; on the other, their elders, who should be at home in bed. But as a 44-year-old, now on the latter side of that dividing line, I’m struck by something else: how rarely I hear comments like this in the city’s gay community.

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