SF LGBTQ bar vandalized with anti-trans slur

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday September 27, 2023
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Anti-trans graffiti was sprayed on the front of the Cinch LGBTQ bar four days ago. Photo: From Cinch's Instagram page
Anti-trans graffiti was sprayed on the front of the Cinch LGBTQ bar four days ago. Photo: From Cinch's Instagram page

The Cinch Saloon, the last LGBTQ bar on Polk Street in downtown San Francisco, was vandalized with graffiti containing an anti-trans slur.

"This happened yesterday morning, sometime between 4:30 a.m. and 7 a.m.," the bar posted to Instagram four days ago, which puts the date of the incident at September 22. "The police have been notified, reports are being filed, and camera footage is being accessed to get to the bottom of this. Charges will be pressed."

The graffiti in question states "We H8 TRANNIES."

San Francisco Police Department Sergeant Kathryn Winters, a trans woman, told the B.A.R. that police were notified Friday, September 22, "around 4:30 p.m." but stated that she's "having a hard time finding the report," which would yield more information.

But the watering hole has an idea of who did it.

"To be clear, this was intended to be a slander against the Cinch, as in 'the Cinch hates trans people,'" the post continued. "This is the work of one disgruntled individual who was probably 86'd."

(86'd is a slang term referring to banning someone from entry to a private premises, such as a bar or restaurant.)

The Cinch, located at 1723 Polk Street, denies there's any truth to the alleged accusation — but did not give a reason why the alleged assailant may have felt like that.

"We are the neighborhood's living room and everyone knows that," the post continued. "It doesn't matter who or what you are or the color of your skin, you are appreciated and welcomed and taken care of there — until you mess up, and we have to be a business, and we have to abide by the laws of the state of California. Your bad behavior can get you 86'd. It does happen. That doesn't make you a victim. And this vandalism of an age-old historic safe space for the LGBTQ community just shows what you really are."

The post concluded that the vandalism has since been "cleaned up."

A bartender at The Cinch told the B.A.R. he would pass on a message seeking comment to the owner or manager Wednesday.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, who represents District 3, where the Cinch is located, told the B.A.R. that it is "abhorrent."

"I can say as a longtime patron, particularly back in my drinking days, it is one of the most welcoming saloons in all of the City and County of San Francisco," Peskin said. "There's not an anti-anyone vibe in that place. It is truly one of the most welcoming, happy spots in all of San Francisco."

Peskin likened the graffiti incident to the September 26 meeting of the board, when antisemitic and racist remarks were made during remote public comment. Peskin said the board will be doing away with remote public comment as a consequence.

"It really makes you wonder what the hell is happening in our world these days, but I do think it has to do with four years of hate spewing from Donald Trump," Peskin said. "I was living in a bubble, thinking that this doesn't happen in San Francisco, but my bubble has been burst. ... All these hateful people are cowards. They do it anonymously in the night, or in remote public comment, because they know what they're saying is unacceptable."

Updated, 9/27/23: This article has been updated with information from SFPD and comments from Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin.

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