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Growing Pains
Remembering the taunts of teenage life: Lauren Smiley's article on LGBTQ teens in San Francisco was an excellent piece ["Wounded Pride," Feature, 11/3]. It's something everyone needs to be continually made aware of or reminded about, because it is so easy in San Francisco for those who aren't in the LGBTQ teen demographic to just fall into the Castro "tour guide" mindset and assume all of San Francisco, all seven square miles of it, is open-arms friendly and receptive to LGBTQ culture.

I grew up in Pacifica in the early 1980s, before dot-bomb gentrification came along and made it the (somewhat) more tolerant place it is today, and every day for six years I was called "fairy," "faggot," "pervert," and other choice names, at least five times a day, usually several times more, at Ortega Elementary & Middle School. I was lucky enough in 1987 to secure an interdistrict transfer and escape to School of the Arts. Even there, the taunts continued, thankfully however not with the same viciousness.

And although I was enormously grateful to escape the everyday barrage in Pacifica, such comfort was bittersweet because I feel it came at the expense of the pain experienced by others. Although I came out late in sophomore year and remained openly gay through graduation — with surprisingly overwhelming support from the majority of my classmates and all faculty — I imagine I escaped brutal torment because there were much more visible, easier targets.

Thanks to Smiley for taking the time to write such an important article.

Tom Burns

San Francisco

Happy Hour Evolves
Connecting to fellow bar patrons through meditation: I'm glad that Bourbon and Branch has rules about cellphones ["Meditate, But Only in Moderation," Katy St. Clair, Bouncer, 11/3]. I would frequent such a place for that alone. I've studied spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle off and on for a couple of years. He's the best. I think I've had more beneficial changes of viewpoint behind him than anyone. I would not have expected a drinking-tolerant Tolle. I like to have a drink or two every week or so. Now I'm vindicated.

Curt Newbury

Web Comment

Writer Declares War
Putting on the brakes: Keith Bowers acts like he knows every cyclist in San Francisco, and how they feel about other cyclists ["War on Wheels," Night and Day, 11/3]. Stupid, biased, and unreal. How many cyclists does he actually know? Who is he to say that all of these various people hate each other? Just another arrogant know-it-all ratcheting up the corrosive anxiety already felt by cyclists trying to get through their day. I can't believe he gets paid to write this nonsense.

Richard Byrd

Web Comment

Blog Comment of the Week
In response to post about S.F. giving the heave-ho to toys in Happy Meals: In a way, I think this is great ["San Francisco Bans the Happy Meal — With Veto-Proof Majority," Joe Eskenazi, The Snitch, 11/2]. I wish they would do something like that in Mississippi. Our children are getting fatter by the day. It is us, the parents, who are responsible for that, not the restaurant. But if parents are not going to step in and take control of their children's eating habits, someone else needs to. Overeating and eating unhealthily is an abuse to the body. I'm not saying someone can't eat a chicken nugget once in awhile, but we do need to start eating healthier — myself included.

Natalie South

Web Comment


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