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    Welcome to the 48th Annual SF Pride Celebration & Parade! Now Go Homo!

    By Sister Dana Van Iquity of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence–   

    Welcome to San Francisco Pride, where every identity, gender, kink and kind are celebrated! Hundreds of thousands of visitors from outside the Bay Area will attend San Francisco Pride this year. The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade will take place on June 23 and 24.

    The theme is “Generations of Strength!” The two-day SF PC&P is the largest free gathering of LGBTQ people and allies in the nation. A world leader in the Pride movement, SF Pride is also a grant-giving organization through its Community Partners Program. Since 1997, SF Pride has granted over $3 million dollars in proceeds to local nonprofit LGBTQIA organizations and organizations working on issues related to HIV/AIDS, cancer, homelessness, housing rights and animal welfare.

    Parade Route

    The Parade begins at 10:30 am with the roar of the Dykes on Bikes motorcycle contingent and the slightly less roaring Mikes on Bikes bicycle contingent, starting at Beale Street and ending at 8th Street all along Market Street, from Embarcadero to Civic Center. Attendees must stay behind the barricades and not venture into the street.

    For a fun, quick history lesson, check the last two paragraphs of this article.

    Celebration Location & Times

    On June 23 and 24, the Civic Center is the location for the Celebration and all of the booths and stages. On Saturday, the hours are noon to 6 pm. On Sunday, the hours are 11 am to 6 pm, when you may be asked to make a donation of $1 to $5 at the entry gates in support of more than 60 local nonprofit community partners. Be aware that coolers, glass bottles and outside alcohol are not permitted. Everyone entering the Celebration site will be subject to screening. Bags or containers must not be larger than 18″ x 18″.

    With over 200 exhibitors and nonprofit booths at the event, San Francisco Pride offers a wide variety of artists, local and national businesses, nonprofits, artisans, food and beverages. SF Pride makes a special effort to make exhibitor booths affordable to local nonprofits that often use their space to educate, raise much needed funds and connect with the community. There’s something at Pride for everyone!

    Stay Hydrated! Stay Standing! Stay Proud!

    Throughout the site you’ll find booths selling water, soda, juice and other nonalcoholic beverages. If you choose to purchase alcohol at the event, please drink responsibly and remember to stay hydrated. That means drink lots of water! Civic Center Plaza and UN Plaza are designated as official smoke-free spaces.

    Facilities & Accessibility

    Free child-care facilities and a range of services for people with disabilities are available. With special parade-viewing areas and sign language interpretation at all performance stages, the aim is to make the event accessible to everyone. For details about accessibility, log on to the website: http://www.sfpride.org/accessibility/

    Recycling and Composting

    In an effort to be environmentally responsible as people continue to pioneer green event practices, San Francisco Pride provides disposal areas for recycling, composting and trash. All cups, plates, and utensils used at the event are 100% compostable and are made from natural derivatives; please toss these into the compost bins.

    Parade Grandstand Tickets and VIP Party

    There is no fee to watch the Parade (except in the case of Grandstand Seating along the Parade route). Grandstand seating is available for the Parade, and SF Pride will host its annual VIP Party at City Hall on Sunday from 2–5 pm. Tickets and info for both are available at http://www.sfpride.org/

    Safety & Wellness

    The Parade’s volunteer Safety Monitors work hard to provide a safer Pride Celebration and Parade. Please make sure that your valuables and effects are secure by not leaving bags or personal items unattended. Report suspicious activity or unattended packages to the nearest member of the Safety Team or at the nearest Information Booth. “If you see something, say something.” You are also encouraged to protect yourself and your sexual partners by employing safer sex practices during the weekend and always. Together we can help stop the virus.

    Getting to Pride

    SF Pride is one of the largest outdoor events in the nation in the heart of a major metropolitan area. Please do not try to park your car anywhere near the Parade and Celebration site during Parade weekend. San Francisco has an excellent (usually) transportation system! Both the BART and Muni transit systems serve Civic Center station near both the Celebration and Parade, making access to the event easy. Bicycle parking is available. Check out the comprehensive transportation guide at http://www.sfpride.org/

    And Now for A Little History Lesson

    Every year I read an editorial asking for the “freaks and drag queens” to please step aside and not ruin it for LGBTQ rights. And I need to remind those naysayers that it was drag queens and transgenders, way back at the end of June 1969 in New York City, hanging out at their local gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, who decided that they would no longer put up with the daily police harassment and arrests that were part of “normal” homosexual life for these people. At that time, it was illegal to be gay, so there was no openly gay pride, no openly gay politics and most certainly no gay parade.

    On that particular night, the Stonewall patrons initiated local action that was to eventually lead to national gay liberation. They fought back. For several days and nights, the Stonewall Rebellion raged on, and the so-called sissies beat the men-in-blue in a rather violent uprising (and I don’t mean with purses). So you see, it was a very abnormal group of “freaky people wearing funny clothes” back then who made it possible for us today to cocktail and cruise undisturbed in the queer bar of our choice. And walk down Market Street holding hands. And for that matter, those “nelly fellas” paved the way for every one of our civil rights marches. So, when you see a drag queen or “freaky person,” give ’em the thumbs-up and thank ’em for the legacy that continues. Flame ON, freaky people!!!