Gay Slurs | Mark Doty | News | San Francisco

SF North Beach Cafe Owner Tells Poet Mark Doty: Get Lost, Faggot

Poet Mark Doty describes an incident over the weekend in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood in which he and his partner, the writer Paul Lisicky, were taking an after-dinner stroll when Doty involved himself in an altercation between two drivers on the street. The woman he had scolded parked her car, came after him, and then crossed the street into a business  to emerge with a group of four big men who began pursuing them. Doty and Lisicky took refuge in a restaurant that to their misfortune happened to be owned by one of the thugs coming after them.

Macaroni  Doty writes: "And suddenly, as if a trapdoor has opened in the evening and we've landed in a scene from The Sopranos, two guys enter the restaurant, two more are posted just outside the door, and I've got an angry middle-aged guy in a black shirt with flowers on it standing in front of me and he's not happy. I cannot narrate our conversation here, as it's all a jumble in my head. He's threatening (not necessarily in his words but his stance and tone), he's telling me to get out, but I'm not about to walk out onto that sidewalk with these weird entourage bodyguard types standing there, I'm saying I'm going to call the police. Then the strangest thing: he takes my arms and he says, 'Even though you are who you are, you gotta think twice before you talk to somebody.' I have no idea what this means. Does 'who you are' mean gay man, middle-class man, entitled person? No idea. The guy's telling me to get out of his restaurant, and somehow I make it clear that I will not leave with those men at the door, and they move over, and out we go, with a barrage of insults behind us -- 'The Castro's on the east side of town, get out of the neighborhood, twinkletoes, get lost faggot' and so on."

Even Though You Are Who you Are [mark doty]

Previously...
Seattle Ricin Gay Bar Terrorist Also a Plagiarist [tr]
Mark Doty wins National Book Award for Poetry [tr]

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Comments

  1. Is this really true or is this another example of "armchair activists" after all it's his side of the story...and maybe he needs publicity for his poetry??...

    Posted by: alan brickma | Mar 17, 2009 9:37:09 AM


  2. Fuck you, Brickma!

    Threats against us are real and growing.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Mar 17, 2009 9:49:18 AM


  3. So it's OK for the 2 men in question to attack a lone women on the street in a matter that didn't involve them. Then they're racist by saying the big men that were after them were from the Sopranos because they're big and thuggish, they must be Italians. They can't describe everything, even though they're both writers. Some people should mind their own business.

    Posted by: Anon | Mar 17, 2009 9:50:28 AM


  4. "Even though you are who you are, you gotta think twice before you talk to somebody.' - TOTALLY TRUE - At least he recalled those words.

    Sounds like Doty is a bully, I am sure that he would never has said anything had the woman in the car been a 6'4" 240 lbs african american male. Seems like the universe snapped back.

    ...and now he wants to turn it into a hate crime?

    during these challenging times we all need to be more civil. People are on edge.

    Posted by: fred | Mar 17, 2009 9:56:34 AM


  5. What an asinine thing to say, Alan.

    I'm glad it ended w/out injury. What an awful experience for anyone! Andy, I assume the picture is the cafe in question?

    Posted by: JohnnyP | Mar 17, 2009 9:56:39 AM


  6. Alan, that's quite a presumption: Mark Doty doesn't need publicity for his poetry, particularly publicity that has nothing to do with poetry. He's doing quite well without creating false dramas. Though I don't know him well--we've chatted and I've heard him read on various occasions--he hardly comes across as any "armchair activist," quite the contrary. I'm sure there's another side of the story--isn't there always?--but I think it's safe to say that gay-friendly cities aren't immune from Neanderthal homophobes.

    Posted by: Ernie | Mar 17, 2009 10:03:48 AM


  7. Doty and Lisicky are obviously obnoxious gays promoting the homosexual agenda in San Francisco via books, poetry, and yelling at normal straight people.

    (Did I win "Troll of the Day"?)

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Mar 17, 2009 10:12:04 AM


  8. From me being smug in Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland; Oh, how I miss the excitement of it all !

    Posted by: Hephaistion | Mar 17, 2009 10:26:57 AM


  9. My, my, my. How quickly the self-loathing, cocksucking cockroaches crawl out of their smelly holes.

    It seems every time that Andy posts about an incident of blatant homohate, these invertebrates rise up to blame the victim. Remember the story about the religious nut bleating his bigotry on the PA system at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, and those who said THAT couple made the story up, were overreacting, blah blah blah.

    And, oh, yes, yes, Wrongsaid Fred, the solution for uncivil people is to ignore them. Why stop there? Let's supersize your magical thinking. Stupid Matthew Shepard! If he'd only ignored those 18 blows to his head while he was tied up that the coroner identified, those repeated kicks to his groin, he'd be alive today. And Gwen Araujo! Girlfriend, they only hit you with a frying pan! Oops, I forgot the shovel, too.

    And, "ANON," the grammatical and semantic ignorance alone in your hissy fit could fuel an essay. BTW, how hard is it to come up with your own pen name?

    And how many minutes has it been since I said we have among us our own worst enemies?

    Everyone else: when it comes to being gay in a straight-dominated world, we ALL live in Croatia. You don't have to stumble into the wrong place in North Beach, there are attacks in the Castro!

    Gay hate crimes in the county directly south of SF have TRIPLED in the last year—attributed to the Prop H8TE wars. [Other counties are yet to be released.]

    If you can: take self-defense courses, as potentially lethal as possible. Purchase pocket pepper spray where legal. Never hesitate to call the police; file charges; sue.

    And do exactly what Doty's done:

    TELL THE WORLD!!!

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Mar 17, 2009 10:38:58 AM


  10. "Even though you are who you are, obviously indicates that the "thug" is a fan of Doty's poetry, and recognized him as somewhat famous!

    Posted by: Tom A | Mar 17, 2009 10:46:53 AM


  11. Yeah, the first paragraph of this story is missing something.

    As far as I read it, thoses two queens got into the middle of an arguement that didn't involved them and "scolded" or most likely "cussed out" a woman.

    She ran inside and got her big friends, they went into the bar and got into a fight.
    And were called "fags". During a fight. That they started?

    Yeah, we prolly won't see these men at any gay pride parades but--i don't think there is any need to call GLAAD on this one.

    Posted by: Mamma Rice | Mar 17, 2009 10:48:13 AM


  12. RE: "And, oh, yes, yes, Wrongsaid Fred" - they involved themselves in a traffic altercation. They would not have become involved if the woman had been a 6'4" 240 lbs african american male. PERIOD - think about it - thats what makes these guys bullies -

    Invoking victims of hate crimes is totally inappropriate. "...he'd only ignored those 18 blows..." They interjected themselves into a traffic altercation that did not involve them -

    "...take self-defense courses..." absolutely - I agree with you on that point -

    Posted by: fred | Mar 17, 2009 10:50:30 AM


  13. Ooohhh the North end of San Francisco is so rough these days, so tough. What's a guy to do? Honey, here in the Mission we have beer bottles thrown at us by gang-bangers and 12 year old black kids calling us "faggits" from sunrise to sunset. And we still prefer it to North beach because North Beach is b-o-r-i-n-g...

    Posted by: Mission Poet | Mar 17, 2009 11:15:40 AM


  14. I'm sorry, but telling a beyotch off (because this woman was OBVIOUSLY one honking at an elderly couple trying to get into a car) no matter how potentially rude does not in any way JUSTIFY this woman driving alongside these guys, taunting them and them grabbing four homophobic thugs to threaten them with violence.

    But I'm sure you're the types to say a woman wearing a miniskirt deserved to be raped.

    *massive eyeroll*

    Posted by: Alex | Mar 17, 2009 11:18:55 AM


  15. Sounds like two entitled guys got themselves in some street shit and didn't have the cojones to finish up what they started.

    Furthermore, why is ok for them to call the "thugs" in question "Entourage types" and refer to the scene as "something out of The Sopranos" but it's not okay for those "thugs" to call them derogatory names?

    It was a fight. What should the "thugs" have called them? "You really obnoxious men who came around our neighborhood and ganged up on our friend and then wussed out when it came time have your ass pay the check your mouth wrote"? I would've shorthanded it to fag too.

    And no, I am not a self hating homo. I'm actually rather bored and bothered by Queens like this screaming "poor me" over every exchange with the world outside of their comfort zone. Sometimes it's not a hate crime. Sometimes you talked too much shit and got your ass kicked.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Mar 17, 2009 11:20:42 AM


  16. I honestly can't believe what I'm reading in this thread.

    Next time someone says something to me I don't like, I'll sic rabid dogs on them because oh, well, you know we're in a fight or something.

    Posted by: Alex | Mar 17, 2009 11:34:31 AM


  17. Wow, this is amazing, I have dined there a few times with my partner and have never once had any problems. And, for those who do think SF is so tolerant, get on a train or bus after school, the gay slurs flow in this city worse than they do in the hick parts of this country and it shows, we still have a lot of work to do.

    Posted by: Sebastian | Mar 17, 2009 11:35:02 AM


  18. "But you are, DEREK, you are a self-hating homo!"

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Mar 17, 2009 11:42:21 AM


  19. You're right, mission poet.
    North Beach is boring! It's full of bridge and tunnel people

    Posted by: will | Mar 17, 2009 11:45:44 AM


  20. Derek, you're certainly a self hating homosexual, if you are a homosexual at all. Get help.

    Posted by: Bobby | Mar 17, 2009 11:48:50 AM


  21. something is missing from this story...

    Posted by: NewEng | Mar 17, 2009 11:50:53 AM


  22. Question: Do we support Mr. Doty because of his story, or because he's gay?

    And to the comment that "Threats against us are real and growing." No. You are wrong. They are more reported now. Not growing. It's amazing how the sacrifices of the older gays are so easily dismissed for hyperbolic sensitivity over a story with only one side.

    Posted by: taodon | Mar 17, 2009 12:01:07 PM


  23. We don't know what went on with that traffic altercation except that it didn't involve Doty and he involved himself. Yes the rest is unfortunate but he needs to own up to some responsibility for creating the situation. And the "Soprano's" remark that Doty should think twice before inserting himself into someone else's affairs seems like good advice to me.

    That said, if I had been involved in this incident as described I would have left feeling exactly as Doty did. Pretty hard to think clearly when you feel threatened and insulted.

    Posted by: CHRISTOPHER | Mar 17, 2009 12:01:45 PM


  24. "But I'm sure you're the types to say a woman wearing a miniskirt deserved to be raped. "

    Woah! Why did you go there? Totally different situation. Totally different act of violence.

    I'm simply saying we don't have all the information-homophobia is awful and should never be tolerated. However, these weren't two men walking down the street minding their own business, where they?

    Or did they start something with someone? Did they get into someone else's face and have their negativitiy returned to them ten-fold. If so-then, that's what happens.

    If we are to take "hate-crimes" seriously. If we are to take these attacks as something that can never be tolerated on any count then we must be particular and honest when we use them.

    Alex is right--sometimes it's a hate time, and sometimes, you've been talking shit and shit gets talked back to ya.

    Posted by: Mamma Rice | Mar 17, 2009 12:06:01 PM


  25. Can someone please point out why there's a question about the validity to this story?

    What in your mind justifies the behavior of this woman and these four guys?

    Is it because of that Corner Bistro story we had in NYC a while ago? I don't know San Francisco, but the Corner Bistro story was so obviously bogus to me because I've been there and I cannot imagine anyone on staff there being so stupid as to harass a gay person on the premises. North Beach sounds like a rougher, more working class neighborhood. And there have been many times I've been followed by people in cars here in NYC while walking home from the subway in both Queens and Brooklyn.

    Posted by: Alex | Mar 17, 2009 12:06:16 PM


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