It’s difficult to imagine that San Francisco Pride began 41 years ago as a small gathering of 30 people in Golden Gate Park. Today, the world’s largest gathering of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and their supporters draws over 1.2 million attendees for two days of parades, performances, and revelry.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
This year’s party kicks off on June 25th with the Pride Parade at 10:30 a.m. The procession starts at Beale Street and follows Market Street up to historic City Hall and Civic Center, where pioneering gay activist Harvey Milk once stood and addressed Pride participants three decades ago. Over 200 parade floats, 300 exhibitors, and 19 stages will give Pride-goers a sensory explosion of art, music, dance, and live performances.
As colorful and spectacular as the parade may be, you don’t have to just stand on the sidelines as a quiet observer. There are dozens of ways onlookers can participate in Pride festivities all over San Francisco.
Families may want to stop by for some socializing at the annual Mamas & Papas Pride Potluck Brunch; it meets at the Civic Center playground on June 25 and welcomes all – just be sure to bring a dish to share.
A distinctive event is the Pink Triangle Installation and Commemoration Ceremony up on the beautiful Twin Peaks overlook. The pink triangle, once used in Nazi concentration camps to mark and disgrace homosexuals, is now a symbol of pride for the gay community. The installation has occurred every year since 1995 and is meant as a reminder of the consequences of hatred; it’s also intended to initiate dialogue about hate crimes. The tradition starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning 6/25.
Photo courtesy of pbase
If you’re seeking something a little saucier, men can join the San Francisco Men’s Spanking Party at the Power Exchange for all of the spanking and paddling they can handle for $20. For the ladies, San Francisco’s classiest sex shop, Good Vibrations, encourages you to “dyke out” Saturday night at its Pink Pleasure Party, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
If you’re a country boy or girl (or neither… or both) at heart, check out the action at the Sundance Saloon for a country western-themed night of two-stepping, waltz, swing, and line dancing the Saturday night before Pride and Sunday night after.
And don’t forget the endless options to shake your booty at loads of electronica dance parties. Some of the world’s hottest DJ’s will be spinning at clubs all over town. Check out U*NI*TY at 111 Minna 6/24, renowned DJ Junior Vasquez spinning at GhettoDisco at the EndUp (late night 6/24), or head to Deco Lounge in the Tenderloin on 6/25 for “Authentic San Francisco Disco.”
Check out Pride’s website for a complete list of official events. Whether you’re young or old, gay or straight, local or stranger, male, female, or something in between, Pride promises to exceed expectations and provide a rollicking good time for all who choose to partake.
1976 Gay Freedom Day - Photo courtesy of Wikipedia