Misconceptions about San Francisco:
1. That boys frequently dress as girls.
Its not that kind of town. I have lived other places, even in the south, where gay boys frequently dressed up whether they were performing or not. Professional drag performances here are just another aspect of entertainment night life. Transgender is NOT equal to a gay boy in a dress.
(hint: it NEVER has been.)
2. It is a Trans-friendly town.
In my experience, if you are riding in an automobile, then you are free of groups of people yelling or harassing you with what they “perceive” about you. But wait? That is also true about any other state if you are trans, even in the south. Riding in a car keeps interaction to a minimum in any state and so North Carolina is just as “trans-friendly” in that sense. Job wise, there are more opportunities because of California state laws. Much progress in trans-legislature is a result of the Transgender Law Center
3. The Tenderloin is a great destination for European tourists.
I really lost count of shootings and altercations published about tourists from Europe having problems. Apparently there is some kind of advertisement abroad about why The Tenderloin area is such a great cheap place to stay. The Tenderloin is a festering ghetto, filled with methadone clinics, crack-heads, meth-heads, homeless…the list could go on…
Its also a stupid web rumor that it is the most “trans-friendly” area of town. Wrong! Try North Beach instead. Try North Beach if you are a European tourist also.
But I will say that there are some really rare great places to eat there, especially if you like Thai or Vietnamese or even Indian. Word of caution: do not go by yourself and stay in well lit places while traveling in numbers.
4. Housing is affordable.
Housing is far above the 30% of your income balance that the basic national rates hover near. Sure life in big cities can be expensive but property owners here have no problem extorting a large sum simply because “they can.” Plan on having roommates or living in an SRO. Plan on getting turned away based on judgement rather than income and a clean police record.
5. Haight-Ashbury is all about Peace, Hope and Love.
Jerry, Janice, Jim and Jimi are all dead and gone away for quite some time. If they had a spirit, it does not live here. This area of town has the most aggressive panhandlers and its a really stinky part of town. There is no love when you are getting yelled at simply because you are walking. Lots of people who haven’t bathed in like a decade laying in along the street and laying around in the adjacent parks. The streets that run parallel to either side of Haight (Paige & Waller) are pretty free of bums in the doorways. This is also the largest trust fund hybrid driving Hipster population and their pretentious ideals live, eat, play.
There are some great eats to be found at restaurants along Haight but like the clothing shops dotted along the street-higher prices only reflect higher rent and not necessarily “more for your value.”
The facts are simply that in the 2 1/2 years I have been here and traveled around the city, its not what the common rumor has painted it to be. Arriving here as a place to live, you had better plan to physically carve out your life to establish one. If you are from one of the Dot-com industries, you people can just bite my ass for causing all the rent to rise-and the neighborhoods loosing their cultural flavor through gentrification
Will I continue to live here? For a while. Though Muni feels horrendous when you ride it, this city has one of the largest network of public transit. The local Veterans Administration has great medical service to its community of those who served. There is my favorite tattoo shop here, Tattoo Boogaloo, that affords me to get some really sweet ink. North Beach isn’t Italy, but there are places all around there that make my Italiana Cuore sing with delight and feel a little better in my City by the Bay.