Best San Francisco Values - 2007
The Castro Lions
Here are the unpoetic but inspiring words that must have inspired the 1985 founding of the Castro Lions: "Is there a need in your community that is not being met? Consider forming a Lions Club to bring together community service-minded individuals ... " In the mid-1980s, there was indeed a need in San Francisco that was not being met: People, mostly gay men, were sick and dying, and near-universal ignorance and bigotry kept many of them from getting the care they deserved. So ever since '85, the leather-oriented gang of mostly guys throws beer bashes, attends the Folsom Street Fair, and meets twice monthly at the Sausage Factory. In so doing, they've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to give to organizations like the AIDS Emergency Fund and Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere. The Lions Club motto is "We Serve," and while the average out-and-proud Castro Lion may surprise some folks, boy is he meeting a need. If this club is San Francisco Values in action, it's kinda funny how much it has in common with the typical Lion except for the chaps.