Typos Spotted in San Francisco Rainbow Honor Walk Tribute to LGBT Heroes

The misspelled plaques will be auctioned off

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Too bad there's no such thing as White Out for sidewalks.

    Turns out, after the organizers of the Rainbow Honor Walk unveiled 20 "heroines and heroes" of the LGBT communities in San Francisco's Castro District on Tuesday, several eagle-eyed copy editor types spotted two glaring typos cemented in the sidewalk.

    Playwright Oscar Wilde’s plate, for example, says the writer was “known for his bitting wit.” A plaque honoring Oscar Wilde misspelled the word “biting.” The plaque will be removed and replaced. The plaque with the typo will be auctioned off to benefit LGBT non-profits.
    Photo credit: NBC Bay Area

    And Christine Jorgensen, the first widely known person to have sex reassignment surgery, is called the “first trangendered American” rather than “transgendered.”

    The CastroBubble blog was the first online site to point out the mistakes, and then several people began tweeting and posting snarky comments on Facebook.

    Rainbow Honor Walk Treasurer Kathy Amendola told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday that the problem will be corrected.

    "This is obviously an important issue," she said. "And you know how politically correct we must be. We're very conscious of it."

    The nonprofit organization that raised $100,000 for the plaques said the foundry in Berkeley is working hard to fix the error, and will replace the two plaques by early October. Amendola said each plaque cost $6,000.

    Rainbow Honor Walk Board President David Perry said he honestly doesn't know how the mistake was made, but no one is angry or pointing fingers.

    In fact, he said his group is now making "lemonade out of lemons." There are plans to auction off the misspelled Wilde plaque and give that money back to the Rainbow Honor Walk group, and auction off the Jorgensen plaque, with the money to go to the Transgender Law Center.

    The other 18 honorees on the sidewalk all spelled correctly, and in the organizers' eyes, deserve just as much attention as the two who suffered typos.

    They are: The first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Jane Addams; Novelist James Baldwin, AIDS activist George Choy; Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca; artist Keith Haring; Beat poet Allen Ginsberg; writer Harry Hay; disco star Sylvester James; feminist Del Martin; Japanese playwright Yukio Mishima; Mexican artist Frida Kahlo; civil rights activist Bayard Rustin; journalist and author Randy Shilts; writer Gertrude Stein; scientist Alan Turing; Gay Games founder Tom Waddell; dramatist Tennessee Williams and novelist Virginia Woolf.

    Amendola's day job is giving tours of the Castro, and she said when the plaques are finished, she'll be giving specific walks by the special sidewalk.

    When that happens, she'll be able to point out where the spelling errors used to be.