Badlands and the Pendulum are almost directly across the street from each other. They both stink, as do all gay bars. Substance abuse (whether legal or not; for they have BOTH) and Gay Rights just don't mix.
There is definitely a SERIOUS problem with racism by many of our Caucasian brothers. I myself have WITNESSED a white leather daddy step out of a bar in the Castro, and holler down the street with a booming voice: "I'm sure GLAD I'm not a Nigger." (That was three months ago.) The constant influx of queer refugees from the deep south and midwest effectively GUARANTEES a continued problem with racism (as well as internalized homophobia and misogyny).
He was a rather LARGE man, as was his companion (I think they were "bears")...but that did not stop me from speaking out. I hollered back:
"Aren't YOU a sorry soul! I'M glad I don't KNOW you."
As expected, he snarled and hurled cuss words at me.
(Who am I by the way? I'm a resident and gay activist of San Francisco since 1973. I've WITNESSED a lot staying in the same place--Gay Mecca--for so many years. I'm also a "Caucasian vegan who did NOT vote for RayGun"; and 54 years young.)
Considering the issue of racism at The Badlands Bar, I decided to return to hanging out at the Pendulum, to support our ONLY real African-American gay bar in all of Gay Mecca. However, I was threatened with IMMINENT and BRUTAL violence by a new patron...right in front of the bartender Barren, and just a few feet away from the other bartender on shift, Muggereet (no apologies if I did not spell either name correctly.)
When Barren did NOTHING but smile dumbly, I told him to kick him out. He did NOT, and it was only after the threatening patron left, that I felt safe enough to grab my jacket and LEAVE the Pendulum, never to return. (Said dangerous patron is Caucasian, and a danger to all good folks who care to hang out in the Castro. He is a hair trigger maniac, who may be the next homophobic killer to find temporary REFUGE at the Pendulum.)
There are at lease FIVE witnesses to this imminent threat on my existence...who ALSO saw that the bartender did NOT kick out a dangerous patron. Sad to say, I can NOT support the Pendulum as part of my boycott against racism in the Castro. As I see it, BOTH bars should be shut down...if ALL the long term employees at the Pendulum are NOT fired and immediately replaced with true friends (not enemies) of the black and queer community. At least THREE of the present employees at the Pendulum are SABOTAGING real efforts to unite our community, by participating in vicious back stabbing and manipulation of the patrons. This also makes that bar a most DANGEROUS place for anyone to hang out. (One could say as much for ANY of our bars, due to the violent nature of many alcohol addicts...so let's just consider the Pendulum and Badlands as textbook examples of what's so WRONG with gay bars these days.)
Barren isn't the ONLY bartender there, who has either ALLOWED or ENCOURAGED a seriously deranged person to threaten me with violence and death...and done NOTHING about it. (Butty is another; Henry also; and FrankyBoy who's no longer working there thank gawd ('cause he grew CHUMMY with a patron who turned out to have MURDERED a regular patron, and was selling illegal substances via his work place). This effectively puts my life at great risk simply for hanging out in a gay bar, and even in the Castro, which is MY neighborhood, too. To REFUSE to protect a patron from violence--when such protection could swiftly and easily be achieved--is to PARTICIPATE with WILLFUL INTENT to commit serious bodily harm (even death) to another patron; simply because he or she is NOT part of this or that Castro-clone clique!
There is also the matter of BULLYING and INTIMIDATION that goes on at the Pendulum, by certain regulars against newer patrons. This does NOT a welcoming atmosphere make! But in all fairness, I can't say that the Pendulum has a problem with racism (in either direction). But the problem they DO have is as EQUALLY abhorrent as racism...and for that reason, does not bode well for that bar, regardless of the terrible anti-black prejudice so prevalent in our Gay Mecca. The Pendulum is an important landmark and symbol of LGBT black pride...and those who now run it are taking advantage of that fact, in order to ply their OWN selfish interests that continue to cause GREAT DAMAGE and HOSTILITY within our long suffering community. (The new owner included, no doubt. He knows where the cash registers ring!)
Along with racism and alcoholism, the problems are: elitism, misogyny, internalized homophobia, and (probably the MOST terrible): hard drug abuse. And they ALL need to be addressed and resolved NOW, if we ever hope to beat down the beast of homophobia, and turn our community into the shining vanguard of a New and Peaceful Epoch. It will happen.
Unfortunately, in order to GET from point A (anti-gay worldwide terrorism and holocaust) to point Z (global queer liberation)...we must not only declare war against a vast majority; we must also do same for a significant SEGMENT of our own queer population. We can NO LONGER afford such promoters of divisiveness and grief in our own ranks. They are NOT allies; not even NEUTRAL powers. They are WILFUL SABOTEURS who pretend a gay presence in order to PREVENT us from ever uniting at all. MANY are actually bisexual, thus excellent fence jumpers and back stabbers. They get to have their cocks sucked and asses licked while ALSO stabbing our good gay brothers and sisters in the back. What a pathetically SORDID bunch of dysfunctional goons!
We need NEW, non-alcoholic venues to form a cohesive network of true liberators. It is through THAT option we will successfully dismantle the demons of racism, addiction, etc....including the MOST evil one of all: homophobia. Do it now, or perish. Just remember one thing above all else:
Many are called, but few are chosen...so step right up for your lederhosen!