San Francisco Pride turns forty
San Francisco’s two-day Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender Pride Parade and Celebration officially became middle-aged this year, turning “Forty and Fabulous” on Sunday, June 27.
Billed as the largest Pride gathering in the U.S., the two-day festival hosted 300 exhibitors, 200 parade contingents, and performers including the Backstreet Boys, the drag-queen dance group Cockatelia, and a pre-filmed speech by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
The parade marched, danced, and spun along Market Street, from the Financial District to the Civic Center in Downtown San Francisco, and spectators braved the unusual heat, crowding 10-deep along the route. Parade contingents ranged from the whimsical—giant cupcakes on wheels spinning like Alice in Wonderland’s teacups at Disneyland—to more serious protests against Proposition 8, which prohibits same-sex couples from marrying. “We must also end discrimination as it relates to the right to marry. We will continue to fight until all loving couples can get married,” said Nancy Pelosi in her pre-recorded speech, which was broadcast after the parade at the Civic Center.
Though flamboyant as ever, the parade was just as much about the outrageous outfits (or lack thereof, in the case of a few exhibitionists) as the jeans and t-shirts crowd who strolled along the parade route and gathered at the Civic Center. While in 1970, when the parade consisted of a few hundred people in the LGBT marching down Polk Street, forty years later, on the main thoroughfare through the city, San Francisco Pride has become an area-wide celebration, attended by gay and straight, young and old.
[note: originally written for LAT travel blog, but, alas, did not make it up… so, here it is! Accompanied by my first picture slideshow!]