'Wide Open Town': Professor Boyd Discusses San Francisco's LGBT History

Monday, April 13, 2015
KALW-FM (SAN FRANCISCO) -- How did San Francisco become a gay mecca? Was it the Gold Rush? Post-prohibition liquor laws? The bar scene? Marilyn Pittman talks with Nan Alamilla Boyd, professor of Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University and the author of “Wide Open Town: A History of Queer San Francisco to 1965.” A special rebroadcast from 2008 in celebration of the 10th anniversary of KALW’s “Out In The Bay.” “I use the term queer because what you find in this immediate post-Prohibition era is a kind of a gender-transgressive society that evolves in bars and nightclubs,” Boyd says. “You have men and women engaging in gender-transgressive acts that sometimes are sexual and sometimes are not. It also tended to be more permissive around mixed-race pairings. So there are a variety of different ways that people are coming together in taboo and socially unconventional ways that manifested into this ‘queer’ life.”