My Gay Midlife Crisis

The Up Your Alley street fair is one of my favorite San Francisco holigays, and my best test for the current boundaries of the straight comfort zone.

If Dore Alley is the new Folsom Street Fair, very few things about loving my gays are truly edgy or underground anymore.

Once upon a time, only the nerviest fag hag would make an appearance at Dore. But these days, with the Folsom Street Fair turning SOMA into an S&M amusement park for tourists, Dore Alley is no longer something the curious would visit only on a dare.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, right? This is what progress and acceptance look like, and as a gay activist of a certain age (I’m celebrating my 40th at the San Diego Zoo Party this year – and what!), I have no room to complain.

But still, enjoying Dore Alley brings with it a soul-searching struggle. Getting to be “the only girl in the world” has always been my reason for living, but now those places are few and far between. Is this my gay midlife crisis?

It crushes me when boys half my age balk at buying tickets for circuit parties, preferring instead to hang at bars – gay or straight – where the drinks are cheap and the “headlining” DJs merely provide background music. And I get cranky when huge circuit parties with even huger price tags don’t give some portion of the ticket price back to the community, which is what Folsom Street Events still does best. There’s an aging gay man inside me screaming, “Back in my day…we saved lives under the disco ball!”

But I wouldn’t be gay if I didn’t take a stand and learn how to adapt, which is why you’ll find me applying temporary tattoos and preaching the gospel of “being bad and doing good” at Up Your Alley, working a booth for REAL BAD, a 23-year-old party that closes the Folsom Street Fair each year, and that has donated over $1.25 million to community beneficiary organizations (www.realbad.org).

It’s philanthropic events like REAL BAD, the San Diego Pride Parties (producer Bill Hardt has donated over $450K to LGBT charities since 1997), and Nasty, my “filthy fun-raiser” on first Fridays at The Powerhouse, that provide the old-school inspiration behind my Love My Gays mouthpiece.

I call it “partying with purpose,” and whether you do it in leather, dressed as a zookeeper, or even as a girl trying to run the (gay) world, please do it often, and when you do, BRING IT!


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