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    Pride 50 Is Not What We’d Hoped For, But It Gives Us Hope

    By Fred Lopez–

    This was supposed to be a full-on celebratory Pride month, but 2020 had other plans. 

    While SF Pride had to cancel our in-person events in the wake of the ongoing pandemic—including the Parade and Celebration that were set to commemorate a five-decade struggle for LGBTQ+ equality—Pride 50 is anything but canceled. We’re charging ahead with a full slate of events online: 13 hours of programming all weekend, headlined by none other than Big Freedia and Thelma Houston. 

    After months of shelter-in-place, I get it; all we want to do is to embrace our friends and be in community, but public health remains our paramount concern. So, the Pride team has worked hard these past few months to provide San Francisco and the wider Bay Area with opportunities to see some incredible performances, hear some defiant and uplifting speeches, and to generally experience a rewarding #PrideAtHome beneath the mesmerizing glow of a Pink Triangle, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary on Twin Peaks with 2,700 LED lights in lieu of an acre of hot-pink canvas.

    Still, it has been difficult at times to say that we are “celebrating” Pride 50. 

    Granted, we certainly have reasons to do so. On June 15, the Supreme Court issued a ruling with effects that may be even more widely felt than the 2015 decision that legalized same-sex marriage. We can no longer be fired for being gay, or lesbian, or transgender. 

    And after the heartbreaking, but hopefully temporary, closure of The Stud, which opened during the same year as the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot (1966), the community rallied to raise $100,000 for Aunt Charlie’s, the last remaining queer bar in the Tenderloin. That speedy (in only a few days) act of salvation was heartwarming like few other things this year have been.

    But we cannot ignore the wider context—or, rather, the strong connections between the very first Pride and the anti-racism protests and street actions of now. The entire Pride movement was born from a moment in which Black and Brown trans folks had had enough and pushed back against a system that oppressed them. Pride, as we are all reminded today, began as an expression of anger, of frustration, of rage. Half a century later, we are seeing that outrage on the streets of our nation—and we feel it, too.

    Our goal at SF Pride has always been to address the needs of everyone under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. While we don’t get to feature 20 community-programmed stages in Civic Center this year, we’re putting even more focus on lifting up the voices of Black Queer people who have struggled to be seen and heard since the first brick was thrown at Stonewall.

    Our online programming will showcase exciting performances by Brazilian transgender artist Urias, the genre-spanning indie musician Krystle Warren, and budding pop star VINCINT. Our hosts for the weekend’s celebrations are returning local favorites Honey Mahogany and Sister Roma. Imani Rupert-Gordon, the Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, will discuss Black Lives Justice, while Dear White People creator Justin Simien and cast member Griffin Matthews will be in conversation on the intersection of Black and gay issues.

    Let’s be honest: none of us expected a global health emergency, a struggling economy, and nationwide protests against racism and police violence in 2020. But as LGBTQ+ history teaches us, it is these surges of unrest and demonstrations of resilience that always are what create lasting change. They are what give me hope, and I hope you find hope in them as well.

    We stand with you in solidarity, and we wish you a very happy Pride 50.

    Fred Lopez is the Executive Director of San Francisco Pride.

    On the 50th Anniversary of SF Pride

    By Senator Kamala Harris–

    More than 50 years ago, the movement for LGBTQ+ equality was born out of protest and Black trans women standing up to police brutality. Recently, that same movement secured a victory at the Supreme Court protecting LGBTQ+ people from workplace discrimination.

    But that landmark victory was won against a backdrop of violence targeting Black trans women and trans women of color. On the 50th anniversary of Pride, we recognize and honor their contributions to the movement for LGBTQ+ equality by speaking the truth that Black Trans Lives Matter.

    As we celebrate the LGBTQ+ community’s hard-fought progress, we must rededicate ourselves to building a world in which all members of the LGBTQ+ community can live without fear. Our country has made incredible progress in the fight for full equality, but our fight remains until every American is treated with equal dignity, no matter who they love or how they identify.

    Kamala Harris is the junior Senator from California since 2017. Previously she served as the 32nd Attorney General of California (2011–2017) and the 27th District Attorney of San Francisco (2004–2011).

    Unofficial Gatherings + Guide to Virtual Pride 2020

    A People’s March & Rally, “Unite to Fight!,” will take place on Sunday, June 28, after a call to action was made by Juanita MORE! and Alex U. Inn. Participants will gather at 1800 Polk Street at 10:30 am before a march to the Civic Center at 11 am. The event will be “at the site of the very first Pride March, 50 years ago” where participants “will roar our voices in solidarity with our Black, Brown, Indigenous Trans and Queer family, friends, lovers, and neighbors,” the organizers write. “We stand in protest of racial injustice, police violence, unjust healthcare, and inadequate unemployment relief. We demand changes!” There will be numerous speakers and entertainers.

    Another unofficial event has also been scheduled for June 28. There will be a “Pride Is a Riot” gathering at Dolores Park, with participants asked to arrive at noon and then march at 2 pm. The organizers write: “Wear a mask. No collaboration with the police.”

    And here are just some of the many virtual Pride events taking place this month:

    Frameline44 Pride Showcase – June 25–28

    Trans March 2020 – June 26, 11 am–7 pm

    Pride Brunch 2020 – June 27, Noon

    Tim Seelig (Artistic Director of the SF Gay Men’s Chorus) Reads from His New Memoir – June 27, 2 pm–3 pm

    Illuminate the Pink Triangle – Global Grand Lighting on June 27

    SF Pride Main Stage Livestream – June 27, 1 pm, and June 28, 2 pm

    Dykes Go Digital – June 27

    Global Pride – June 27, 7:30 am

    NYC Pride – June 28, 9 am

    Youth Pride Extravaganza – Through June 29

    For more information about these and other virtual Pride events—local, nationwide, and international—go to

    Published on June 25, 2020