A Tale of Two LGBT Murals

Miguel Paul

The Supreme Court agreed on Friday with a proposition that has long been axiomatic in San Francisco: that LGBT people deserve equality. However, a gay-and-trans mural outside Galeria de La Raza at 2857 24th Street, Miguel Paul’s “Por Vida,” has now been vandalized for the fourth time.

In first three incidents, it was spraypainted over, but now it’s been set on fire. According to Mission Local, “Por Vida” cost $3,000.

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As the Examiner’s Joe Fitz reports, opposition to the mural is hardly an outlier in the neighborhood, where comments on Instagram defend the defacement by implicitly regarding LGBT as outsiders and gentrifiers taking over a fragmented and besieged community. With all due respect to the raw feelings over rampant displacement of longtime Mission residents, that is simply not true (as any queer Latino/a will tell you, from District 9 Supervisor David Campos on down), nor is the fight for equality in any way incompatible with the preservation of the Mission’s cultural heritage.

So tonight, Wednesday, July 1 at 6 p.m., there will be a Unity Rally for the Chicano LGBT Mural outside Galeria de La Raza, because the gallery cannot continue replacing it ad infinitum. As the Facebook invite notes, “the actions of the individual or individuals who perpetrated this hate crime to not reflect the values of the Mission or San Francisco … Through our peaceful assembly let’s send a loud and clear message of unity and acceptance.”

Meanwhile, a mile or so away, another pro-LGBT mural, “Love Is Law,” went up over the weekend in a prominent location, on the east-facing wall of 1AM Gallery on Sixth and Howard. Primarily text, with no image of two men kissing, it’s considerably less provocative, which may have shielded it from nocturnal desecration, but it’s certainly bold.

SF Weekly reached out to the artists. A statement from one of them, Robert Gonzalez is included here, in full.

We collectively decided that we want to show our support for equal rights, and our walls are a very important way of communicating our political stance, especially considering our location and the size of our walls. Love shouldn't have restrictions according to social status, race, financial status, or even “political correctness,” according to outdated conservative laws. LOVE IS LOVE, no matter what political restrictions they attempt to make. Love will always win, love will always prevail, love is law. Graffiti has always had a political inclination, and is usually how the voiceless make themselves heard. Whether the message is mainstream or not. We felt this message has always been important in our brand identity, witch is apparent considering our name, “First Amendment Gallery.” Whenever there's a social issue that involves our future and our community, you'll hear us speak on it, and almost always you'll see how we feel if you pay attention to our Walls. Hope you have a great day! From me and everyone here at 1am , stay up and speak up.

If nothing else, that is encouraging.

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