Proud to live in San Francisco

This past weekend was San Francisco Pride 2010. It was my first Pride experience in San Francisco. It was amazing.

As listed on sfpride.org, “The mission of the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Committee is to educate the world, commemorate our heritage, celebrate our culture, and liberate our people.”

And that isĀ exactly what it was — a celebration of unique and different cultures in an incredibly liberated manner.

My Pride festivities began at Dolores Park on Saturday.

The park was totally packed — the most crowded I’ve ever seen Dolores Park. There were costumes and kissing and the feeling of sheer freedom emanating from the crowd.

Next was the Dykes on Bikes parade. The parade itself was much like any other parade except it was kicked off by a group of women on motorcycles. The streets of the Mission were crowded with spectators. Even the homes along the route celebrated with funny signs.

After the parade, we made our way down to Pink Saturday. Pink Saturday takes place in the Castro (it’s where the Dyke March ends). Basically, it’s about 10 blocks of Market Street are shut down and are turned into a block party housing more than half a million people. It. Was. Insane.

From Pink Saturday in the Castro, you can see the tippy top of Twin Peaks where there is a brightly lit Pink Triangle. The Pink Triangle is the annual commemoration of the gay victims of the Holocaust and a reminder of the on-going inhumanity to repressed minorities going on now around the world. The Twin Peaks, in San Francisco, are transformed into a memorial that can be seen from miles away.

We managed to leave before the shooting (Mom, don’t worry, I’m fine).

On our walk back to our side of town, we stumbled upon some truly beautiful window art in the Castro. Pride is bigger than just this weekend — it’s displayed for weeks in advance.

And these are 100 percent made of chocolate. Yum.

The San Francisco Gay Pride Parade began at 10:30 Sunday morning. Casi, Greg and I began our journey to Market Street around 11.

It was hard to get a good spot to see the parade so we walked down to Civic Center to camp out for the Backstreet Boys. Turns out, the Backstreet Boys weren’t playing until after 4 p.m. and we were in the smoldering heat waiting for about three hours. I managed to finally meet Geoff despite the AT&T reception in large crowds.

And then, beneath the beaming sun rays and amidst the clouds of cigarette smoke, the Backstreet Boys made their grand entrance onstage. We couldn’t really see them, but we were able to sing along to “I Want It That Way” (I won’t torture you with the video). And yes, they still performed their incredibly cheesy choreography and horribly awesome songs that bring me back to adolescence. Fact of the matter is, they’re actually getting old!

Overall, Pride was a very fun experience. It’s a great way to celebrate diversity and it’s amazing that San Francisco cultivates all diversity and encourages its celebration.

Did you go to Pride in San Francisco this year? Have you been to other Pride celebrations? What do you think?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Stevie June 28, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Seattle’s Pride was this weekend, too. I didn’t attend the festivities this year because I had other things going on, but I lived in the neighborhood where the parade and festivities happen for 4 years and always participated. It’s SO much fun! I love seeing everyone be able to express themselves freely and it’s SO cool to see so many people gather together to show their support.

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Lauren June 28, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Exactly! That’s what I love about it — the sheer freedom people express. It’s awesome to see so much support. I’ve never seen anything like Pride in San Francisco. Remarkable!

Thanks for the comment!

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Pyro Orr June 28, 2010 at 6:51 pm

It was great to finally meet you! AT&T sucks at large events.
The Gay civil rights movement in the US is largely stalled because we are unable to show the world, the heterosexual community, why it is important that we have the same protections under the law. Many feel that we don’t need marriage, and should be happy with Civil Unions, while CU’s don’t allow us the same tax benefits, hospital visits or protections under the law. If we are fired from our jobs for being gay, (Congress has still not passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act… ENDA) we should just go work for Gay companies, or ones that are more tolerant. People feel that unit cohesion amongst our troops is more important than allowing the openly gay access to the G.I Bill, training, opportunities and better life that having the military on your resume provides. Pride celebrations allow the rest of the world to see us as real people and a diverse community. The more folks we get into our “straight, but not narrow” club, the greater the understanding spreads and causes are understood.

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Lauren June 29, 2010 at 6:30 pm

You’re absolutely right, Geoff. It was so great to see so many people just there supporting. Thanks for sharing more of the story — sometimes, if you’re not immersed in the world, you aren’t as in touch with the realities.

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