We started with a stroll down Macondry Lane, the inspiration for Barbary Lane in my best friend Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City novels.

Then we hauled ourselves to the Tenderloin to the site of the Compton’s Cafeteria riots, one of the first recorded LGBT-related riots in United States history and the beginning of transgender activism in San Francisco.

And finally, after a pit stop at the new beer hall on Market (for sustenance), we posted up in front of Gilbert Baker’s glorious rainbow flag for a photo.

Thank you, Judy, for indulging me my big queer tour of San Francisco.

All eight miles of it.

The Gilsey House

While it’s a nifty thing that I can see the top of the Empire State Building from the bed in my hotel room, the building below it in the photo above is actually pretty noteworthy in its own right. Today it’s an pricey 40-unit co-op called the Gilsey House but according to Google it opened its doors in 1872 as a 300-room hotel. Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde stayed there. Also, it was the first hotel in New York City to offer telephone use to its guests.

As I lie here attempting to fall asleep amid the noise and the haste of this great city, I can’t help but feel a bit tickled at the thought that some years ago writers whose words I admire very much may have been doing the same thing on the other side of one of those windows just across the street.

A Visit with My Great Aunt Lila

My dad and I paid a visit to my great aunt Lila after lunch this afternoon and the picture above these words hangs on the wall in her dining room even though it should probably exist on the cover of, like, Glamour or Vogue or some other famous magazine that features very stylish women.

I asked her to tell me the story of the aforementioned photo today and my Great Aunt Lila sheepishly said that "A very long time ago..." Jean, her late husband, told her that they were going to get their photo taken together but when they showed up at the photo studio he was like, "LOL JK! You're getting your photo taken solo, queen!" So my Great Aunt Lila got to have a mini photo shoot by herself and this beautiful image resulted. It makes me extra large happy to think that my Great Uncle Jean thought that his wife was so beautiful that he would trick her into having her photo taken just so he could have something like this to hang on his dining room wall.

My Great Aunt Lila will turn ninety-five years old on the tenth of March and she's still as sharp as something that's, like, super sharp (simile game on fleek). I wanted to stay at her house all day and ask her a bazillion and one questions about her baby sister who happens to be my late grandmother. In fact, on the way to the car afterward I told my dad that she reminds me a lot of my late grandmother and without pausing he said, "It's the way she holds her hands, with her pinkies cocked just so." He's absolutely right.