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Home is Where the Hjerte Is

Kelly Salance

You can never run out of things to do in San Francisco.

While there are many things I could do with my children to give them a taste of why this city is so special, one of the best examples so far has been the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. It’s festive, uplifting, and at the same time, provides tremendous perspective on the gay history of San Francisco and the Castro. It’s all-embracing and sometimes sad. For me, it’s completely San Francisco.

The Gay Men’s Chorus provides the kind of history and perspective that has made SF what it is today: a welcoming, open place that made it possible for my two friends and I to come from Copenhagen nine years ago and find everything we were looking for.

Despite all the things that San Francisco sometimes fails at, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is a great example of what it is very good at: conveying the message of love and inclusion.

This month, this special group of men from the chorus will be traveling to the Southern US to spread compassion, activism, and acceptance through music, at a particularly important time in this country when these messages needs to be heard and amplified.

The tour is called the Lavender Pen Tour, named after a purple pen Harvey Milk gifted to George Moscone when he signed a landmark gay civil rights bill into action.

I’m so moved by the mission of the tour that I’ll be joining them at certain stops along the way. After all, it is this spirit of courage, openness, and heart (or “hjerte” in Danish), that reminds me why SF will always be my home.

When I moved here, I didn’t know how my future would play out. All I knew was that when I was in SF, I felt a strong sense that this city was perpetually on the cusp of something beautiful and big. Something larger than myself, or even the company we were building. Ten years later, I still feel that sense of wonder, thanks in part to these beautiful people spreading the message of equality and love.  

-Mikkel Svane, CEO of Zendesk