San Francisco Pride

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The 2012 San Francisco Pride Festival
The 2012 San Francisco Pride Festival

The San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Celebration, usually known as San Francisco Pride, is a parade and festival held at the end of June each year in San Francisco, California to celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their allies. The 40th anniversary parade in 2011 included over 200 parade contingents, and is described on the official website as "the largest gathering of LGBT people and allies in the nation."[1]

Parade[edit]

Attendees of Pride 2012

The San Francisco Pride parade is a world-renowned LGBT pride parade. It is held on Sunday morning of the Festival. The route is usually along San Francisco's Market Street, from Beale Street to 8th Street.[2] The parade starts at 10:30 am, although contingents begin to line up a couple of hours before all they get onto the parade route, and the last contingent doesn't turn off the parade route until almost 2:00 pm.

Contingents[edit]

The parade consists of hundreds of contingents from various groups and organizations. Some of the more well-known contingents are:

Dykes on Bikes lead the 2005 San Francisco Pride parade, the contingent has hundreds of motorized bikes, many of which are decorated for the event.
  • Dykes on Bikes, formerly known as Women's Motorcycle Contingent (WMC) for legal purposes, has several hundred motorcycle riders, almost all women-identified although they welcome all gender-variant people.[3] Some of the women are topless, some wear leather or fanciful costumes. The sound of hundreds of motorcycle engines gives this contingent a big impact. They are traditionally the first contingent in the parade; one reason for this is that it's difficult for motorcycles to run reliably at the walking pace of the rest of the parade, so as the first contingent they can move at an easier pace. On November 13, 2006, they won a battle to trademark the name "Dykes on Bikes", having struggled since 2003 to persuade the United States Patent and Trademark Office that "dyke" was not an offensive word.[4][5]


PFLAG contingent at San Francisco Pride 2004
  • Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), is usually one of the largest contingents, featuring several hundred people. These are typically the (straight) parents or family members of LGBT people, sometimes marching together with their LGBT relatives. Many carry signs indicating where their PFLAG chapter comes from. It's common to see signs from all over Northern California. This contingent is notable for the swell in cheers (and some tears) that follow it along the route.
  • Politicians frequently participate in the parade, as a way of making themselves visible to LGBT prospective voters.
  • LGBT-affirming religious groups of many denominations contribute several dozen contingents.
  • Nonprofit community groups and LGBT-oriented local businesses contribute more than half of the contingents. It's common for them to decorate a flatbed truck or float, along with loud dance music, or create a colorful contingent that carries a visual message out to the bystanders.


Leather contingent
  • The leather contingent consists of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and pansexual leather and BDSM groups.

Groups which are anti-gay typically do not have contingents. During the 1990s it was common to see anti-gay protestors in the spectator area along the parade route, holding large signs condemning homosexuality, often with biblical passages. In the 2000s such protestors have become less common.

Drag queens on a float at San Francisco Pride 2005

Hundreds of thousands of spectators line the parade route along Market Street. Some arrive hours in advance to claim a prime spot on the curb with a clear view of the street. Others climb onto bus shelters, the walls of subway station stairs, or scaffolding on buildings to get a clear view. As the parade ends, the spectators are able to pass through the barriers and march down Market street behind the parade. The end of the parade route is near the Festival location at the Civic Center.

Festival[edit]

San Francisco Pride

A two-day (Saturday and Sunday) festival has grown up around the Sunday morning parade. It is a collection of booths, dance stages, and vendors around the Civic Center area near San Francisco City Hall. On the Sunday of the parade, an area of the festival called Leather Alley features fetish and BDSM oriented booths and demonstrations.

The festival is traditionally held in the last full weekend in June. This commemorates the Stonewall riots. There have been proposals to move it to different dates, for instance to July 4 in 2004.

The independently organized Trans March is held on the Friday before the parade while the Dyke March and Pink Saturday events are held the Saturday night of the festival in The Castro.

Administration[edit]

The festival is run by a non-profit organization, the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee. According to their web site, their mission is "to educate the World, commemorate our heritage, celebrate our culture, and liberate our people."[6]

The event is funded by a combination of community fundraising both by the pride committee and on their behalf, corporate sponsorships, San Francisco city grants, and donations collected from the participants at the festival.

Several veteran contractors are employed to take on specific roles for the event.

Also involved in the running of the festival and parade are hundreds of volunteers. Of particular note are:

  • Safety monitors, crews of volunteers who help maintain order on the parade route and in the festival, particularly with respect to crowd control, and participant actions that might be harmful to themselves or others. Created in 1982, the Safety Committee philosophy and training has served as the model for many other LGBT events both local and international.
  • Hospitality, a team of volunteers led annually by Davace Chin and Michael Fullam and charged with feeding the other volunteers, keeps hundreds coming back year after year.
  • Medical volunteers, who provide first aid and medical assistance to participants. These volunteers are typically doctors, nurses, or other trained emergency response staff.
  • Contingent monitors, members of the various contingents who maintain cohesion and safety in a their contingent. They are recruited and trained by the Safety Committee.
Transgender activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy at SF Pride 2014

History[edit]

Pioneering LGBT activist Harvey Milk took this image on Gay Freedom Day in 1976.

The first event resembling the modern San Francisco Pride celebration was held in 1970—a small "gay-in" in Golden Gate Park. Since 1972, the event has been held each year. The name of the festival has changed over the years. The event organizers each year select a theme for the event, which is reflected in the logo and the event’s publicity.

The Rainbow Flag identified with the LGBT community was originally created by Gilbert Baker for the 1978 San Francisco Pride Parade. It originally had eight stripes, but was later simplified to the current six stripes. A six-stripe Rainbow Flag flies over Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro, arguably the best known LGBT village in the world.

On August 3, 1997, Teddy Witherington (who previously organized the London LGBT Pride Event 1991-1997, including the first EuroPride Festival in 1992) was hired as the organization's first Executive Director. During his tenure, the celebration evolved into a multi-cultural festival and attracted support from high-profile celebrities and sponsors, including the B52s as Main Stage headliners in 2001 and Sir Ian McKellen as Grand Marshal in 2002. Witherington formally stepped down on January 6, 2006 and was succeeded by Lindsey Jones who had joined the staff in 2004. Jones served as executive director through the 2009 event.[citation needed]

In October 2009, LGBT activist Amy Andre[7] was appointed as executive director of the San Francisco Pride Celebration Committee, making her San Francisco Pride's first openly bisexual woman of color executive director.[8][9]

Also in 2009, Asexual Visibility and Education Network members participated in the first asexual entry into an American pride parade when they walked in the San Francisco Pride Parade.[10] They also entered the 2010 and 2011 parades.

Andre resigned a year later in October 2010 and was succeeded by former deputy executive director, Brendan Beehan. Beehan served as Executive Director April 2011 through December 2012 when Earl Plante was hired as CEO. Plante resigned September 6, 2013.[citation needed]

George Ridgely was hired to the position of Executive Director January 7, 2014 and currently serves in that position.[citation needed]


San Francisco Pride History
Year Dates Festival name Theme Estimated attendance Notes
1970 June 28 Christopher Street Liberation Day Gay-in at Speedway Meadows Golden Gate Park Freedom Day Revolution Thirty hair fairies (what transsexuals were then called) marched down Polk Street, then San Francisco's primary gay neighborhood, in the morning. Afterward, several hundred people attended the "Gay-in", which began at 1PM.
1971 No Pride festival Although there was no gay parade per se in 1971, there was a one time event called the Age of Aquarius Parade on a Sunday in August 1971 that marched down Folsom Street from the Embarcadero to 11th St. that functioned very much like a gay parade and was attended by many gay people and had some gay floats. There were mostly floats from spiritual groups and yoga groups. The parade had several thousand attendees.
1972 June 25 Christopher Street West[11] 54,000
1973 June 24 Gay Freedom Day[12] A Celebration of the Gay Experience 42,000
1974 June 30 Gay Freedom Day[13] Gay Freedom by ’76 60,000
1975 June 29 Gay Freedom Day[14] Join Us, The More Visible We Are, The Stronger We Become 82,000
1976 June 27 Gay Freedom Day[15] United for Freedom, Diversity is our Strength 120,000
1977 June 26 Gay Freedom Day[16] Gay Frontiers: Past Present, Future 250,000
1978 June 25 Gay Freedom Day Come Out with Joy, Speak out for Justice 240,000
1979 June 24 Gay Freedom Day Our Time has Come 200,000
1980 June 29 Gay Freedom Day Liberty and Justice for All 250,000
1981 June 28 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade Front Line of Freedom 250,000
1982 June 27 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade Out of Many...One 200,000
1983 June 26 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade Strengthen the Ties, Break the Chains 200,000
1984 June 24 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade Unity & More in ’84 300,000[17]
1985 June 15 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade Honor our Past, Secure our Future 350,000
1986 June 29 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade Forward Together, No Turning Back 100,000
1987 June 28 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade Proud, Strong, United 275,000
1988 June 26 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade Rightfully Proud
1989 June 25 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade Stonewall 20: A Generation of Pride
1990 June 24 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade The Future Is Ours
1991 June 30 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade Hand In Hand Together
1992 June 28 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade A Simple Matter of Justice
1993 June 27 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade Year of the Queer 400,000 - 500,000
1994 June 19 International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade San Francisco to Stonewall: Pride & Protest
1995 June 18 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration A World Without Borders
1996 June 29–30 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Equality & Justice For All
1997 June 28–29 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration One Community Many Faces
1998 June 27–28 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Shakin' It Up
1999 June 26–27 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Proud Heritage, Powerful Future 700,000
2000 June 24–25 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration It's About Freedom 750,000
2001 June 23–24 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Queerific[18] 850,000[18]
2002 June 29–30 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Be Yourself, Change the World[19] 850,000[19]
2003 June 28–29 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration You’ve Gotta Give Them Hope[20] 850,000[20]
2004 June 26–27 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Out 4 Justice[21] 850,000[21]
2005 June 25–26 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Stand Up, Stand Out, Stand Proud[22] 850,000[22]
2006 June 24–25 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Commemorate, Educate, Liberate — Celebrate![23] 850,000[23]
2007 June 23–24 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Pride Not Prejudice[24] 1 million[24]
2008 June 28–29 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration United by Pride, Bound for Equality[25] 1.2 million[25]
2009 June 27–28 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration In Order to Form a More Perfect Union...[26] 1.2 million[26]
2010 June 26–27 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Forty and Fabulous[27] 1.2 million[27]
2011 June 25–26 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration In Pride We Trust[28] 1 million[28]
2012 June 23–24 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Global Equality[29]
2013 June 29–30 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Embrace, Encourage, Empower[30] 1.5 Million
2014 June 28-29 San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade and Celebration Color Our World With Pride[31] 1.7 million

Note: Several facts in this section are taken from KQED’s LGBT timeline.[32] Logos of the various festivals may be seen at SF Pride’s website.[33]

2013 Private Manning controversy[edit]

On April 24, 2013, Pride announced that its electoral college had chosen U.S. Army Private First Class Chelsea (then known as Bradley) Manning as Community Grand Marshal in absentia for the 43rd annual Gay Pride Parade. Two days later, Pride's board president vetoed the election, declaring it "an error" due to a "systemic failure that now has become apparent and will be rectified."[34] The board subsequently explained that the category in which Manning was elected is restricted to "a local hero (individual) not being a celebrity"—neither of which befit Manning.[35]

Both the election and its nullification proved contentious.[36] On April 29, an estimated 200 protesters disrupted the board's meeting, demanding that PFC Manning be reinstated.[37] On May 7,[38] 21 individual Manning supporters and 5 organizational signatories filed a formal Complaint of Unlawful Discrimination with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, noting that SF Pride received $58,400 from the City and County of San Francisco's Grants for the Arts Program in fiscal year 2012–2013.[39] On May 12, the board said it would meet "in a larger venue after the 2013 Celebration and Parade [to] allow people from all sides of that issue and others to fully air and hear one another's viewpoints, without jeopardizing the production of this year's event and the safety and security of the attendees." Standing firm by its decision, the board said it would not "let one issue, as important as it is to some, overshadow the concerns and interests of the hundreds of thousands who attend SF Pride."[40] On June 7, 2013, the board announced that since none of the alternatives submitted at a May 31 community forum garnered a consensus majority, the board's decision to rescind PFC Manning's grand marshalship would stand. The board also reported that the San Francisco Human Rights Commission had declined to investigate the discrimination claims filed against SF Pride.[41]

Notable performers[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ sfpride.org/aboutus
  2. ^ "2005 parade route map". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2006-01-13. 
  3. ^ "Dykes on Bikes". SF Women's Motorcycle Contingent website. Retrieved 2006-01-13. 
  4. ^ Raab, Barbara (2006-04-20). "Dyke Drama: A not-so-excellent adventure through U.S. trademark law". American Sexuality magazine (National Sexuality Resource Center). Retrieved 2007-03-17. 
  5. ^ National Center for Lesbian Rights (2006). "What's in a Name?". NCLR Newsletter 2006 (Winter): 1. "'On November 13th, the Women's Motorcycle Contingent formally won the legal right to trademark "DYKES ON BIKES."" 
  6. ^ "About Us: Mission Statement". SFPride.org website. Retrieved 2006-01-13. 
  7. ^ "Amy Andre to head San Francisco Pride". 
  8. ^ http://archive.oaklandlocal.com/article/sf-pride-40
  9. ^ Adrienne Williams, October 19, 2009. Interview with Amy Andre: New Bisexual Executive Director of SF Pride, BiSocial Network.
  10. ^ Rufus, A. (June 22, 2009). Asexuals at the Pride Parade. Psychology Today: Stuck. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stuck/200906/asexuals-the-pride-parade
  11. ^ The 1972 gay parade started from Montgomery and Pine down Montgomery to Post, then up Post to Polk Street. There was a celebration afterward at the Civic Center.
  12. ^ The 1973 gay parade started from Montgomery and Post, down Post to Larkin, up Larkin to Sacramento, and west on Sacramento to Lafayette Park, then a major cruising area, where Mr. Marcus, the first gay emperor of the Imperial Court, presided over a preliminary celebration prior to the main celebration afterward at Marx Meadow in Golden Gate Park.
  13. ^ The 1974 gay parade started from Grant and Bush, down Grant to O'Farrell, then down O'Farrell to Polk Street. There was a celebration afterward at the Civic Center.
  14. ^ The 1975 gay parade started at Pine and Montgomery, went down Montgomery to Post, then down Post to Polk Street. There was a celebration afterward at the Civic Center.
  15. ^ The 1976 gay parade started at Pine and Montgomery, down Montgomery to Market, then down Market to Noe, then up Noe to Duboce Park. There was a celebration afterward at Marx Meadows in Golden Gate Park--since the temperature was 94 F. that day, there was a lot of nudity at this celebration, which was filmed by agents of Anita Bryant to use in her anti-gay campaign.
  16. ^ In 1977 the gay parade for the first time adopted its present route from Spear Street near the Ferry Building down Market Street to City Hall, with a celebration afterward at the Civic Center.
  17. ^ "Gay Parade draws 300,000:1984" Johnny Miller, 21 June 2009, Sunday Datebook (San Francisco Chronicle).
  18. ^ a b San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2001). "SF Pride 2001". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  19. ^ a b San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2002). "SF Pride 2002". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  20. ^ a b San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2003). "SF Pride 2003". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  21. ^ a b San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2004). "SF Pride 2004". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  22. ^ a b San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2005). "SF Pride 2005". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  23. ^ a b San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2006). "SF Pride 2006". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  24. ^ a b San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2007). "SF Pride 2007". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  25. ^ a b San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2008). "SF Pride 2008". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  26. ^ a b San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2009). "SF Pride 2009". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  27. ^ a b San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2010). "SF Pride 2010". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  28. ^ a b San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2011). "SF Pride 2011". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2011-06-17. 
  29. ^ San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2012). "SF Pride 2012". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  30. ^ San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2013). "SF Pride 2013". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  31. ^ San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee (2014). "San Francisco Pride". San Francisco Pride website. Retrieved 2014-08-30. 
  32. ^ "LGBT Pride: SF Historical Timeline". KQED.org website. Retrieved 2006-01-13. 
  33. ^ "Our heritage". SF Pride Committee website. Retrieved 2006-01-13. 
  34. ^ "SF Pride Statement about Bradley Manning". Facebook. 2013-04-26. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  35. ^ "Statement from the SF Pride Board of Directors". Facebook. 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  36. ^ Elle, Jean (2013-05-15). "SF Pride Controversy Over Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved 2013-05-15. 
  37. ^ Patterson, James (2013-05-02). "Manning nixed by Pride board". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  38. ^ Snow, Justin (2013-05-16). "San Francisco Pride and the LGBT divide over Bradley Manning". Metro Weekly. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  39. ^ "Complaint of Unlawful Discrimination". 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  40. ^ "San Francisco Pride May Membership Meeting Update". Facebook. 2013-05-12. Retrieved 2013-05-13. 
  41. ^ "SF Pride Responds to May 31 Community Forum". 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 

External links[edit]