San Fran and San Jose Celebrate Gay Pride
June is bustin’ out all over, and so are Gay Pride activities around Northern California’s Bay Area. San Francisco is the nexus of activities over the June 23-24 weekend, at the downtown Civic Center Plaza with more than 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors and 20 community-run stages and venues operating under the umbrella theme of "Global Equality."
Now in its 42nd year and the largest annual gathering of LGBT people and allies in the nation, the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade is free and open to all. The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. on June 24, and goes down Market Street from Beale Street to 8th Street. This year’s parade will be led by Grand Marshal, Emmy Award-winning comedian Sarah Silverman, along with Dot Jones of "Glee," "RuPaul’s Drag Race" queen Carmen Carrera, and rainbow flag-creator Gilbert Baker.
A public poll elected the Northern California ACLU as the Organizational Community Grand Marshal. Other emissaries of Pride include former mayor, the Honorable Willie L. Brown, Jr., recognized for Lifetime Achievement; and Bishop Disani Christopher Senyonjo as Global Grand Marshal for his LGBT advocacy in Uganda.
Individual Community Grand Marshals include artist Edaj; Community Outreach Director for the District Attorney’s Office Rebecca Prozan; Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’s Sister Roma; Executive Director of the Chicana/Latina Foundation Olga Talamante; folk-artist, veteran, and community builder Morningstar Vancil; and fundraiser, activist and 24-year HIV/AIDS survivor Gary Virginia.
The March voting process, which set a record for public participation with 3,751 votes from community members, also bestowed a "Pink Brick" to Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. Representing the first brick thrown at the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969, this faux award shines a light on those that cause significant harm to the LGBT community; in this case, AFTAH’s mission to oppose "the radical homosexual agenda."
Saturday San Francisco Pride events include the Pink Triangle Installation and Commemoration Ceremony, the SF Men’s Spanking Party, the 14th Annual Pride Brunch, the EDEN/HRC Brunch, the SF Dyke March and Atomic Dancefloor DISCO Action.
In addition to the Parade, Sunday events include the REACH Pride T-Dance, Sundance Saloon After-Pride Country-Western Dance, Hero Tea Dance and Club Papi SF Latin Stage After Party.
Electronic Parade coverage, hosted by Donna Sachet with Michelle Meow and Sebastian Kunz, will be broadcast live on June 24 on Comcast Hometown Network Channel 104, and as a live and uncensored webcast on www.SFPrideLive.com KOFY TV20-Cable 13 will recap full parade coverage starting at 7 p.m. XFINITY TV will offer On Demand video streaming starting June 26 at 7 p.m.
The San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center kicked off their Pride celebration on June 9, with a 10th anniversary celebration at their 1800 Market Street location. The event featured four floors of art and entertainment, including a visual arts lounge, family and children activities and a silent auction to raise funds for their services and programs.
For more info on San Francisco Pride, visit http://www.sfpride.org/
San Jose Pride Brings Fun to the South Bay’s Silicon Valley
In the South Bay’s Silicon Valley, the San José Gay Pride Celebration Committee is planning their downtown event for August 18 and 19 at Discovery Meadow in Guadalupe River Park, at West San Carlos and Woz Way. They are partnering with EDEN Pride Events under the theme of "Equality for Everyone." There won’t be a parade, but the weekend celebration will feature various celebrations and vendors.
The first gay rights rally in San José was in 1971, and the first official Gay Pride Festival was held at St. James Park in 1976. The following year, an annual event started. In the ’80s, Stockton Street attracted gay-owned businesses and became of the first LGBT communities in Santa Clara County. In 1995, the Pride Parade and Festival moved back downtown to its current location.
In February, a San Francisco federal appeals court found that California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Prop 8, was unconstitutional. A month ago, President Barack Obama went on record endorsing gay marriage. And on June 2, California Governor Jerry Brown proclaimed June 2012 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. He said that, "California has been a leader in advancing the rights of its LGBT citizens [and] while further progress is needed, it is proper and important to recognize and celebrate the substantial and important gains that have been achieved."
For more information on San Jose Pride, visit www.sanjosepride.com/