Uncle Donald's Castro Street

Gay Pride Parade Photos

When I was out in the street taking pictures of the parade floats, the outrageous costumes, and the beautiful people, other photographers were doing the same thing. One of them was a handsome young blonde, just out of the Navy. His name is Steve. He's from South Carolina. We photographed the same parades and perhaps we occasionally stood next to each other, but our perspective was completely different. A few of our pictures are similar but he saw different people than I did. He saw different activities. He saw different costumes.

Steve is now back in South Carolina but through the magic of the internet we recently became friends and he has agreed to let me post some of his photos from the 1970's and 1980's.

Now I'll let Steve tell his story.
- Uncle Donald -

Living Life and Loving it!
Politically correct? Whats that?

Welcome to the 1970's!
Gay and Proud of it!

We are busy celebrating US! We are all as cute as we want to be, we are so witty we have a difficult time NOT laughing, and there are so many handsome willing men just wanting to have sex at the drop of a pair of pants.

Imagine the joyful celebration of sex, the enjoyment and glory of the human body. Imagine swimming in an endless sea of testosterone. The aroma of man is a wonderful thing. Cops, construction workers, firemen, businessmen in three piece suits.... all wanting to share a wonderful comraderie. It was a wonderful time in a wonderful place. History was happening all around us and we didn't know the overall impact of it. We knew it was important to us but we were also busy just dealing with it. Angela Davis, Anita Bryant, Patty Hearst, Harvey Milk, George Moscone, Dan White.... the good the bad the ugly all rolled into one. We fought and protested with as much enthusiasm as we loved each other. We got mad and we did something about it. Pitch a fit in Public and you will sure get noticed and in those days we wanted to be noticed. We didn't like something and we let the powers that be know it. We hit the floor running early in the morning, worked when we had to, fought our fights and danced the night away. We packed as much life into every day as possible. ...fall in and out of love, get your heart broken a couple of times a week, go protest a noble injustice maybe stand beside someone cute in the process and along the way manage to take a few photos. I didnt really think about it at the time. I figured I would go back to the South after getting out of the military and wanted photos of my friends and something to jog my memories later on. I was rarely without my camera. Some of my friends thought I was a party pooper bringing a camera along but later they were the first ones who wanted copies of the photos I took.

My first pride parade was in San Francisco and it went down Polk Street, the gayest street in the city at that time. I was taking a big chance because I was in my teens and in the military but I didnt care, I had to go. For the first time in my life I was not alone. I was surrounded by my people, people who were just like me and I was overwhelmed by the freedom and the joy of knowing I didnt have to wear any kind of a mask. They were just like me.

I was home!

It was the opposite of Dorothy going to Kansas. I didn't want to go anywhere else. I was in the Wonderful Land of Oz and it was where I was supposed to be. I always wanted to go home but I never knew how to get there. It sure wasn't the place I grew up....then even though I had never been there before, I knew I was home.

The parade ended and the people on the sidewalks filled the street and followed the parade. I stood in the middle of the crowd, in the middle of the street and cried.....then I laughed until I cried some more.... then I marched along with everyone else to the celebration at the end of the parade at some fairground. I remember walking forever in my combat boots, not a bright idea wearing those but like I said, I was 18. We got to some fairground where there were booths selling food and stuff. I remember eating something, being tired and laying on the grass with some guys and we took a nap together. As innocent as puppies, we curled up together and no one bothered us as we slept in a shady spot. I thought it was a perfect day myself. Later I thanked the nice fellow for holding me while I slept and looking out for I said, I was 18 and very very naive.

I love us for how funny we are, when we are just being ourselves more than anything else. Look at the pictures and I hope at least some of that comes through. We are.....

Handsome...of course.

Hot.......enuff to make ice melt in the Arctic.

Funny......especially when we aren't trying to be.

Wonderful.....not always but we try and sometimes we succeed.

These are photos of the great life I had living in the Bay Area in the 70's. I like to think they show us not only as nice as we could be but more importantly exactly as we were, and exactly as it was then. What I remember most is not the sex, drugs, rock and roll or was the laughter. There was so much laughter. Remember the two little chipmunks Chip and Dale from the Disney cartoons? I remember being with my friends and we literally rolled on the floor laughing like those two little cartoon fellows do....practically all of the time, things were so funny.

If you were not there, I dont know what to say. I am just glad that my karma was good enough to let me live there, in a very interesting time surrounded by very interesting people.

To those who weren't there and wish they had been. Email me, I will be glad to share memories.

To those who were there and have similar memories..... like I said, email me, I will be glad to share memories.

To those who were there and are no longer here. Beloved comrades, one day we will laugh together again.

-Steve of SC

Thank you, Steve, for sharing your images and your memories
of this important piece of our history.



This page created June 18, 2004 and modified June 28, 2004
All the pictures on this page are the property of Steve of SC
Permission to copy images is granted only for non-commercial, non-profit use.