Gay Style & Expression In 1970s San Francisco

Unlike today, where you can disclose exactly what you’re looking for on social networks, such as Daddyhunt, gay men in the 1970s didn’t have that option. So, they used fashion and a code to let their admirers know that they were gay and what they were into sexually.

In the Castro, the answer was often sticking out of gay men’s back pockets – the ubiquitous handkerchief. For example, a orange handkerchief signaled that “Anything Goes”; whereas, the black handkerchief let other men know that you were into S&M. Hal Fischer’s book, Gay Semiotics, perfectly captures gay style and expression through the many photographs of gay men living in San Francisco during this period.

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