The Castro Primary On-Screen Participants

(in alphabetical order)

Allan Bérubé is best known for his book Coming Out Under Fire about gay men in the military during WWII. He is also the founder of the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay History Project. Allan Bérubé passed away in 2007 following complications from stomach ulcers.

"There was a horrible crackdown in '54-55 against all the gay bars and street cruising. And parks. There were lots of arrests. Front-page headlines in the newspapers to get the 'homos' out of San Francisco. To send them back to where they came from."

Speaking on the Castro of the early 1970s: "What we were doing was creating our own gay versions of the entire world, but in a much more fabulous way."
NPR story about Allan Bérubé's life and death: Historian, Gay Activist Alan Bérubé Dies
New York Times Obituary: Allan Bérubé Is Dead at 61
Wikipedia Entry on Allan Bérubé: Allan Bérubé
Coming Out Under Fire on Amazon

Phyllis Burke is the author of Gender Shock and Family Values and is a former Castro resident.

"Lesbian and gay people are the only people on Earth who have to find their tribe. We aren't born into it. You have to have a place to go to find the tribe. And so you will start with the most obvious place. Now you may not end up living in the Castro forever, but you will go to the Castro at one point or another."
Gender Shock on Amazon
Family Values on Amazon

Brian Freeman is a founding member of the theatre group Pomo Afro Homos, and has been a Castro resident since 1982.

"So I got off the bus and I looked around and I said, `so this must be the gay neighborhood. But it sure is a vanilla neighborhood -- there aren't many people who look like me.'"

Marga Gomez is a performer, comedian and former Castro resident.

Speaking on the atmosphere in the Castro during the darkest days of the AIDS epidemic: "We needed a comedy club. With our community going through AIDS, we needed some sustenance."
Visit the Marga Gomez website: Marga Gomez
Spark Profile: Marga Gomez on Spark

Sharon Johnson was raised in Eureka Valley, where her family still lives. She works on behalf of gay-rights causes and political candidates.

Speaking on her parents' reaction to the sudden changes in the neighborhood in the 1970s: "I remember my father being horrified. They came from this very rigid, Catholic, straight upbringing. And the very idea that homosexuals were moving into the neighborhood was scary to them. They didn't know what that meant for them."

Cleve Jones is a political activist and founder of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Recalling his reaction upon arriving in San Francisco in 1973: "This was a different planet. Everything about San Francisco was different from the glitter in the sidewalks to the way the fog rolled in to the fact that you could see other people on the street that you knew were gay. It was amazing to me."
Visit the Cleve Jones website: Cleve Jones
Cleve Jones Wikipedia entry: Cleve Jones

Dorrwin Jones is the former president of the Mattachine Society, an early gay-rights organization. He was also the Executive Director of FamilyLink, which provides support services for families of people with AIDS. Dorrwin Jones died of heart failure in 2000.

Speaking on the situation of homosexuals in the 1950's: "I often tell young people that we weren't just in closets. We were under rocks. It was that bad. You were really like a non-person in the sense, or you had to pretend to be in spite of your own personality, your own intelligence. It was an undercover thing."
San Francisco Chronicle Obituary: Gay-Rights Activist D.B. Jones, 66, Dies

Stuart Loomis was a World War II veteran and long-time San Francisco resident. He has lived in the Castro resident since 1973.

"When I first came here in the late 1940s I was in the service. I had heard even before I came here that San Francisco was a very diverse population, that it was friendly to a lot of different kinds of people, including gay people."

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin founded the Daughters of Bilitis, the first national lesbian organization. They were married in 2008, two months before the death of Del Martin.

"We certainly were in the closet to begin with. It wasn't a good time to be out [in the 1950s]."
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon Wikipedia entry: Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon
San Francisco Chronicle Del Martin Obituary: Lesbian Rights Pioneer Del Martin Dies at 87

Mary Ragusin O'Shea spent her childhood in Eureka Valley, as the Castro used to be known.

Speaking on what had changed Eureka Valley long before gays and lesbians discovered it: "The GI Bill and automobiles. Because people moved away. Families weren't staying any longer. They were moving out."

Walter Park is a housing activist and former Castro resident.

"When I was 25, the Castro meant 'gay men in an island' and we really needed that."

Felicia Park-Rogers is an activist and Castro resident.

Recalling the impact of AIDS on the neighborhood where she grew up: "There were times in the late '80s, early '90s, where I would be standing on a street corner in the Castro, and realize that there was almost no man there between the age of 35 and 45. Everybody was younger or older. And there was this whole missing segment of people."

Rachel Timoner is an activist and Castro resident.

"The Castro is like a mirage. On the surface it's supposed to be one thing, but in reality it's something else. It's supposed to be a Gay Mecca, but when you get there it's a commercial strip and houses."

Thomas Van Etten is a Castro resident and homeowner since the late 1970s. He married his long time companion Robert in 2008.

Recalling the assassinations of Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone on November 27, 1978: "I will never forget that day, for as long as I live. I just thought, 'Well it'll all end. Somebody has killed them so that our life as we know it is going to end in San Francisco.'"

San Francisco Chronicle article about his marriage: Thomas and Robert Van Etten