The city of Yerba Buena, California is renamed SAN FRANCISCO a place that still holds a magical aura for Gay people everywhere. Also known as Baghdad by the Bay coined in the late 1940s by columnist and mainstay of San Francisco culture Herb Caen, likely reflecting the multiculturalism and exotic character of the city, while also identifying the city with a great historical cultural and intellectual center, as well as possibly implying a moral association with Babylon.
The Lesbian, Gay, bisexual, queer and transgender (LGBTQ) community in San Francisco is one of the largest and most prominent LGBT communities in the world, and is one of the most important in the history of LGBT Rights and activism. The city itself has, among its many nicknames, the nickname “Gay capital of the world”, and has been described as “the original ‘Gay-friendly city'”. LGBT culture is also active within companies that are based in Silicon Valley, which is located within the San Francisco bay area.
San Francisco’s LGBT culture has it roots in the city’s own origin as a frontier-town, what SF State University professor Alamilla Boyd characterizes as “San Francisco’s history of sexual permissiveness and its function as a wide-open town – a town where anything goes”. The discovery of gold saw a boom in population from 800 to 35,000 residents between 1848 and 1850. These immigrants were composed of miners and fortune seekers from a variety of nationalities and cultures, although over 95% were young men.
These transient and diverse populations thrust into a relatively anarchic environment were less likely to conform to social conventions. For example, with an unbalanced gender ratio, men often assumed roles conventionally assigned to women in social and domestic settings. Cross-gender dress and same-sex dancing where prevalent at city masquerade balls where some men would assume the traditional role of women going so far as to wear female attire.