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    Even Without a Parade, the Spirit of Pride Lives On

    On June 11 and 12, the Board and Staff of San Francisco Pride partnered with Frameline45 and Giants Enterprises at the baseball stadium for back-to-back evenings of films, drag, voguing, fireworks, and music. Pride Movie Nights at Oracle Park was a massive success, full of local talent and celebrity appearances, and we were honored to be joined by thousands of LGBTQ+ friends, family members, and allies.  

    The Movie Nights were a great opportunity to build on our longstanding friendship with Frameline, the nation’s longest-running LGBTQ+ film festival, and it was as entertaining as it was cathartic. It was, for many folks, the first time they’d been out at a public gathering that large in months. The sight of thousands of LGBTQ+ people and allies having a good time, sharing greetings of “Happy Pride!” was such a welcome reminder of our city’s optimism. 

    Through all the uncertainty and challenge that we have faced as a community, we have stepped up to display incredible creativity and resilience. Still, we know it is hard to envision Market Street without a Parade and Civic Center without a Celebration, when California reopened almost completely just days ago. We know how disappointing it might feel for life to return almost to normal yet lack the annual tradition of queer visibility and togetherness that is Pride. We know it because we miss it as well, deeply. 

    At the same time, for some of us, it still feels a little strange to pass someone on the street without wearing a mask. “Normal” is not here just yet. I encourage everyone to be compassionate to friends and family who may be taking a while to feel their usual selves.  

    But when we think about the sacrifices it took to get to this point, we know they were worth it. For the past 16 months, from the Queer Nightlife Fund to the Oasis telethon to the simple act of connecting online with friends, we have consistently looked out for one another. Nearly three-quarters of eligible adults in our city are fully vaccinated—and if that’s not the spirit of “All in This Together,” then I don’t know what is. 

    We must also pause to acknowledge another of the most important reasons San Francisco weathered COVID-19 so well. Pride isn’t merely a Celebration or a Parade, but a remembrance of the two entire generations sadly lost to an earlier plague. HIV/AIDS took tens of thousands of American lives from us—and is still a threat to the well-being of our communities—so as we honor their memory, we must also recognize the herculean efforts of doctors, nurses, volunteers, and advocates who fought hard to create an infrastructure of care that’s still in place today. These healthcare heroes, too, are part of the fabric of San Francisco Pride. 

    Now, the symbols of LGBTQ+ Pride are all around San Francisco. Over 300 rainbow flags have been installed on Market Street, and a segment of the very first eight-color flag from 1978 is on display at the GLBT History Museum in the Castro. The Pink Triangle will be illuminated every night this month. We were thrilled to partner with the African American Art & Culture Complex on a Black LGBTQ+ Liberation Event on the eve of Juneteenth. Increasingly, we can be with our friends again, and even without a Parade, the spirit of Pride lives on.  

    While the summer is already upon us, we are finding ways to look ahead. We at SF Pride are excited to announce an inaugural Coming Out Day festival, a street fair we’re producing this October. (Keep an eye out for more details in the months to come.) We are looking forward to being in the streets again with all of you, sharing our collective joy and visibility. Until then, stay safe and be well.  

    In solidarity and with Pride, 

    Fred Lopez 
    Executive Director 
    San Francisco Pride 

    Published on June 24, 2021