SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The San Francisco LGBTQ community and city leaders are speaking out after the city’s oldest gay bar was painted over ahead of Pride weekend.
“The Stud,” known for its vibrant murals and history permanently closed in May after financial struggles from the coronavirus.
Since then, it’s remained a staple for the LGBTQ community but was destroyed on Sunday by the owner of the building.
People have since returned to the building to reclaim it within the community.
On Wednesday, new messages were found on the building – One of them reading “We will not be erased.”
It was one of the first things you noticed heading down 9th and Harrison Streets in San Francisco, The Stud’s vibrant murals lit up this SoMa neighborhood.
Now, a beige color mutes the messages written on the walls before.
“Everybody’s really hurt by it. They could’ve done it July 1st. They could’ve notified the community. The flippant energy around erasing the historical queer mural that was so beloved by this city a week before Pride, it just shows such an incredible insensitive nature to these people,” Xara Thustra said.
Xara Thustra is one of the artists who contributed to The Stud’s mural that read “Queer, Trans Spaces.”
That’s until the building’s owner decided to repaint the space on the week of Pride.
Just a month ago, the bar owners announced The Stud would permanently close because of financial struggles from the coronavirus, part of it having to do with high rents from the building owner.
Since then, it’s remained a shrine for the LGBTQ community, including people like Peter Lawrence Kane, who works with San Francisco Pride.
“They couldn’t have picked a rougher time to do it. That mural was beautiful. I mean everybody takes pictures of themselves in front of it and for it to happen today in the middle of Pride week, on the same day that we found out former gay Supervisor Harry Britt had passed away was just like a dagger to the heart of the queer community,” Kane said.
Supervisor Matt Haney agrees saying the decision from the building owner was insensitive.
“First The Stud closing was such a huge hit to the community, the oldest LGBT bar in the city and then to see it visibly taken down almost like it was a punitive thing. There was really no reason for them to paint over it. They don’t have any plans in the short term to build there,” Haney said.
Others also voiced their frustrations on the newly painted walls. Messages like “We Will Not Be Silenced” and “Black Lives Matter” appeared overnight.
As bar owners work on finding a new safe space for The Stud in the city, the community says they won’t be silenced.
“We need safe spaces. We need to be treated as legitimate humans and we’re going to continue to fight back and it’s going to get worse if they don’t start taking responsibility for their actions,” Thustra said.
KRON4 spoke to the bar owners of The Stud who say they can’t comment right now.
Meanwhile, the artists of that mural are now seeking retributions from the building owner with hopes to contribute money towards trans and gay causes across the city.