Controversy as San Francisco Bank of America Branch Attempts to Discourage Longstanding LGBTQ Memorial Practice

This article by the independent San Franciscan community website describes a recent controversy when the Castro branch of the Bank of America – whose facade has been used in memorializing local, national and international figures of import in the LGBTQ+ community since the 1980s AIDS crisis – erected signs that seemed to discourage the practice:

“This has been a tradition for many decades, a place where we came together to mark the passing of people who mattered to us. It’s where we remembers the victims of the Pulse massacre. It was a place to remember everyone, from our favorite bartenders to the most famous celebrities among us. For anyone to even think about taking that away is a grievous insult and must be reconsidered.”

Ammiano shared a funny memory of the Hibernia Beach area in the 1970s. “Every Friday, the line outside the bank would stretch down the block. We all wanted to cash our paychecks and go out drinking. This was during the time of the Symbionese Liberation Army, when Patty Hearst held up a Hibernia Bank branch. Well, we were all waiting in this humongous line and one queen yelled, ‘Patty Hearst didn’t have to wait!’ The whole place burst into hysterics.”

Ammiano’s mood turned dark at the thought of losing the space. “This is non-negotiable. We will protest, we will organize, I will pull out some nellie ninja shit. Nobody takes that space away from us. Nobody.”

In response to local outcry, the Bank removed the signs prohibiting the “posting or affixing of materials to the fence or building surface”. According to State Senator Scott Weiner:

The bank branch will be putting up different signs eventually that will discourage people from posting things other than in that area, which they are reserving for the community. We are working on activating community groups to take over the maintenance.

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