Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Castro icon Trevor Hailey dies


Trevor Hailey in front of the Castro Theatre in 2002. Photo: Rick Gerharter
Print this Page
Send to a Friend
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on MySpace!

Former Castro resident Trevor Hailey, who became a local icon with her popular "Cruisin' the Castro" walking tours, died in a San Diego-area hospital Wednesday, June 13 following an apparent subarachnoid hemorrhage Sunday night. She was 66.

Ms. Hailey's longtime friend, city resident Lynn Haley, told the Bay Area Reporter Wednesday that at press time, hospital personnel were removing some of Ms. Hailey's organs for donation. A call to Ms. Hailey's longtime partner, Norma Sue Griffin, was not returned by press time, though Haley said that Griffin had given her permission to inform the paper of the developments.

The news saddened many in the community, as Ms. Hailey had planned to return to the city this weekend for the premiere of the short film Only in the Castro with Trevor Hailey Saturday, June 16 as part of the Frameline International LGBT Film Festival.

Patrick Batt, the former president of Merchants of Upper Market and Castro, told the B.A.R. that Ms. Hailey will be greatly missed.

"This is sad news," Batt said.

Batt recounted that when he was MUMC president and encountered Ms. Hailey giving one of her walking tours, "she always stopped and pointed me out and pointed to the Pride banners on the lamp posts and that I was the one who got the banners up."

"She never didn't have a smile on her face," Batt said.

Ms. Hailey started the walking tours in 1989 and it became very popular among tourists and local merchants. She retired in 2005 and Kathy Amendola took over the tours.

Rick Bacigalupi, producer and director, told the B.A.R. this week that he plans to show his film, and that either he or Marga Gomez, who is its narrator, would likely give an introduction to make audience members aware of the situation.

"It's a very light-hearted piece." Bacigalupi said. "Obviously, this is a serious development."

Ms. Hailey, a Mississippi native and ex-Navy nurse, came to San Francisco in 1972. By the late 1980s, she had started the walking tours that led tourists visiting San Francisco's Castro District on an amazing trek through gay history, pointing out landmarks such as the late Supervisor Harvey Milk's camera shop and of course, the Castro Theatre.

Bacigalupi said he started making the film 10 years ago, and he and Hailey decided to finish it once she announced her retirement.

"It became a retrospective of her tours," he said.

In a 2005 interview with the B.A.R. shortly before her retirement, Ms. Hailey said her business was "rewarding."

"Gay people leave with their self-image improved. And those from the alternative lifestyle – or what I call my straight clients – leave far better educated; bless their hearts they have not been given the respect of getting the right information about our community."

Only in the Castro with Trevor Hailey will be screened as part of the "Look Us in the Eye" documentary program Saturday, June 16 at 11 a.m. at the Victoria Theatre.

Follow The Bay Area Reporter
facebook logo
facebook logo
Newsletter logo
Newsletter logo
ISSUU logo