Polk Street: Lives In Transition      
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Completed in 2010, "Polk Street: Lives in Transition" interpreted more than 70 original oral histories in relation to contemporary neighborhood change and conflict. The recipient of the 2010 Allan Bérubé Prize for outstanding work in public GLBT history, the project culminated in:

  • a traveling multimedia exhibit
  • an hour-long radio documentary at transom.org
  • 70+ oral histories archived at the GLBTHS
  • a historical narrative with OutHistory
  • a series of neighborhood dialogues and events
This project is funded in part from a grant from the California Council for the Humanities, a fellowship from the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York, individual donations, and in collaboration with Polk Street community members.
Polk Cover
Alexis Miranda
Myles O'Reilly
River Sims
Deeth and Ian
Sample Audio Pieces

LISTEN: Alexis Miranda, Bar Manager

LISTEN: River Sims, Street Priest

LISTEN: Cecilia Chung, Activist

Media Coverage

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Polk Street Exhibit Curatorial Statement
“Polk Street: Lives in Transition” examines Polk Street’s history through the lens of current neighborhood change, focusing on the 1980s to the present. We ask: what does it mean for San Francisco’s identity as a “safe haven,” and for its queer sociability and politics, that Polk Street’s economy and culture is changing so dramatically? >> Read More
Exhibit Guestbook Comments

"Polk Str. has been a place where I had to survive the last 6 yrs and this exhibition captures it all. It brings tears in my eyes to see the invisible struggle be visible and that this allows to share the strength we bring in this harsh environment. T.J.T." >> Read More

About the Team
Gabriela Hasbun
Martin Meeker
"Polk Street: A Study of Transitions"
Narrative created by Joey Plaster as a fellow with the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at City College of New York. >> Read it here.
Polk Street: Community Dialogues

On Polk Street, the new and old continually collide during a time of radical cultural and economic transition, and tensions can run high. But I found surprising connections between disparate users of the street and the vestiges of a vibrant queer “family” that once spanned the Tenderloin and Polk Gulch. I also found that the presenting these findings had surprising reverberations as a new Polk community coalesces. >> Read More