In 1981, a huge fire broke out on Folsom Street. It destroyed 25 buildings, partially fed by broken gas lines. 120 people were left homeless. Radical sex photographer Mark I Chester had a lot of his work stolen or vandalized. A bit about it is here, though it's not entirely safe for work. Mark wound up suing the city over the work that they'd destroyed.
I was describing this to my coworkers, and one of them gave me a puzzled work. "Why would the city do that?"
The question threw me for a loop, and then it made me feel old. It hadn't occurred to me until now that there was such a huge generation gap between us-- they hadn't lived through the AIDS crisis, Anita Bryant was a quaint historical footnote for them, and they'd never really known discrimination based on their sexual orientation. "If you were gay in the 70s, the police weren't there to protect you." A look of dawning awareness told me that I'd hit my mark, but I think it was at an intellectual level rather than an emotional one.
From there we went to see the new Tales of the City musical. (Review: mixed bag, has potential, needs work.) Afterward, I found myself explaining a few of the cultural references.
The world is definitely a better place now, but it makes me sad that so much recent history is being forgotten.