After 16 years of pounding San Francisco’s Castro pavements, local historian and icon Trevor Hailey will hang up her rainbow-coloured walking shoes when she retires from her Cruisin’ the Castro walking tour.

Cruisin’ the Castro, one of the Californian city’s unique tourist attractions, is a walking tour detailing the gay history of the most famous gay neighbourhood in the United States.

But 65-year-old Hailey announced last week she was retiring from the Tour, which she has conducted over 4,000 times to an estimated 40,000 visitors since 1989.

It is time to pass the torch and move on, she told the Star this week. This is the nicest job and it has given me so much joy, but a while ago the idea just washed over me that it was time to move on.

But people will still want to come and cruise the Castro, and so the Tour will continue. There are three or four people very keen at the moment to continue it, and so I am working out who is most suited to do so.

Cruisin’ the Castro is a four-hour tour, detailing such gay history as the birthplace of the AIDS quilt, the first gay bar in the world with windows onto the street, the history of the rainbow flag, and the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay US politician, who was assassinated in 1978 in San Francisco’s City Hall.

Hailey will continue to conduct the Tour until the end of August. She then plans to move with her partner Norma to a new home in San Diego.

It’s important for people to know their history and to know what went before -“ that’s why I think Cruisin’ the Castro has been so popular. The gay story of this city is an important tale to tell.

For more information visit the Cruisin’ the Castro website

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