SF Community Rocks!

This year’s San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade and Celebration is the culmination of a whole year of community outreach and a blossoming of community collaborations which the Pride Committee has been forging.

Heritage Working with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Historical Society and the Center for the History of Sexual Diversity the Pride Committee is proud to support, for the second year running, "Making a Case for Community History", a unique collaboration of community members, archival staff and museum professionals.

Last year, the Imperial Court, African-Americans, Latino/as, Asian Pacific Islanders, the Leather community, the Bears, Lesbian-Feminists and the Transgender community all participated in a major fundraising effort that resulted in the design and production of museum quality display cases used in the exhibit. It is a special gift they have given to the GLBT community and the precedent they set is mirrored by this year's participants.

This is the second annual presentation of this exhibit and the featured groups are 2 Spirit Native Americans, Bisexuals, sex workers, elders, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the Women's Building. The exhibition will be a part of the Celebration at Civic Center Plaza on June 25 following an exhibition May 23 - June 23, 2000, at the Skylight Gallery on the 6th floor of the San Francisco Public Library, Main branch. By having the exhibition at the site, this unique exhibition gets the venue it deserves and the Pride event is placed in context.

This year’s Celebration has an unprecedented number of stages, catering to almost every taste. New this year is a Swing dance venue programmed by community group SwingOUT. The group’s coordinator, Christopher Friday, met with Pride Executive Director, Teddy Witherington, earlier this year to request a space at the event for devotees of Swing music. The Board heard the request and the dream became a reality

. An Asian and Pacific Islander stage programmed by the Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center will also be making its debut at the event. DJ’s Shawn Perry and Lambchop from the N’Touch will start the day and be followed by the GAPA dancers, Rice Girls, Metamorphosis Girls, Utopia, Star Search Karoke winner Leslie, Kinetic Dancers, Ocean of You, Linda Low and surprise guests. The Asian & Pacific Islander Wellness Center staff will be conducting free, confidential, oral HIV testing at its pavilion next to the stage.

Youth is also a community whose visibility is being raised this year. Working with LYRIC and local DJ’s a special float designed like a space rocket will lead the youth contingent in the vanguard of the Parade this year. Marching with the youth contingent will be an unprecedented number of high school gay/straight alliances, many of them from outside the Bay Area, drawn by this year’s Parade theme, It’s About Freedom. The Float will than move onto the Celebration Site to become the centerpiece of an area called the Electric Playground. Local DJ’s will pump out music for a younger audience from the Float and a local Youth non-profits village will be alongside.

The Leather Community will also be raising its profile this year. Not only will the traditional Leather Pride contingent in the Parade be bigger than ever but this year the Pride Committee has dedicated an entire block of the Celebration Site on Sunday, June 25, as a focal point for the Leather Community -- a "Leather Alley". Leather groups will have the block of Golden Gate between Larkin and Hyde. There will be lots of activity in the area besides what the leather groups generate as there will be three dance venues within two blocks. Nearby beverage booths will be run by the leather/biker clubs at each end of the block. The area is being coordinated by The Forum and Unicorn is helping organize a coat/helmet checking location, which will benefit a leather community charity.

Closely associated with the Leather Community is the Imperial Court. This year Absolute Empress XXX, Donna Sachet and Daddy’s Bar Manager, Bob Brunson will be organizing the Imperial Show Palace, a dazzling new venue packed with all your local favorites, plus some special performers flying in! Leaders from the leather community such as Lenny Broberg, Werner Tillinger, Lance Geer, Pam Meyer and Tony Mills will be emcees.

The Pride Committee provides free childcare at the Celebration site and also another playground where parents and children may relax together. The Pride Committee strives to make the event accessible to people with disabilities and all performance stages are ASL translated by qualified translators for the deaf and hearing impaired. There is also a special viewing area for people with disabilities who wish to view the Parade. Please check out the website at www.sfpride.org for a more complete description of the accessibility provision at the event.

The Main Stage will be hosted by longtime community warrior, Ken Bunch aka Sister Viscous Power Hungry Bitch. Assisting Ken are stage hosts such as local Lesbian Comic, Karen Ripley, Tom Ammiano, the reigning emperor and empress of the San Francisco Imperial Court, Empress Suzie Wong and Emperor John Carillo, International Ms Leather, Pam Meyer, Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Sister Spit, Tita Aida, Lou Reed, Examiner style columnist and night club persona, Lord Martine, and Dear Diva.

The Main Stage kicks off on Saturday with the Stand Against Hate Rally. Programmed this year in association with Community United Against Violence (CUAV), the Stand Against Hate Rally will also feature an integrated performance provided by the San Francisco Mime Troupe, renowned for their politically charged work. Sunday’s program starts with a coming together of the San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Freedom Band, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Chorus.

Interspersed with the entertainment throughout the two days of the Celebration will be speakers and a special presentation at peak time on Sunday by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

A new feature to Saturday’s Main Stage program this year is a Commitment Ceremony. Around fifty couples will make a commitment to each other on the Main Stage in a ceremony administered by State Assembly Member, Carole Migden. Migden is the author of AB26, which introduced a statewide register for domestic partners. In the wake of the passing of Proposition 22 which banned “gay marriage” in the State of California, the Pride Committee felt it was important to make a stand for same sex couples and encourage them to register at the state level. Joining in the effort are PFLAG who will be staffing a booth both days of the Celebration (complete with notaries) at which couples can register their partnerships with the State.

The event retains its distinctly San Francisco edge with the advent of another new venue at the Celebration, the Radical Faerie Freedom Village. A completely non-commercial space, the Faerie Freedom Village consists of a performance area, sacred space and chill out zone. There will be “No Talent Shows” where each person has 10 minutes to perform and no one is turned away for lack of talent. A Drag Race starts with a nearly undressed model and then each team has 5 minutes to build an outfit which is judged upon use of materials, style and movement. All rituals are open to everyone regardless of spiritual system, or lack thereof. A drumming circle and completes a weekend of performance, ritual and transformation.

The community are also being asked to play their part in the funding of the event by making a suggested donation of $3 (more if you can, less if you can’t) at the entrances to the Celebration this year. In return for donations of $3 or more, recipients will receive a commemorative sticker which will entitle them to $1 off all beverages.

“Last year’s donations total of $12,000 was disappointing when you consider the large numbers of people who attend the event. We hope that, incentivized by the sticker, people will be more generous and help us and our community partners raise funds for the important work we do.” Said Pride Board member, Joey Cain.

Pride shares donations and all beverage revenues with other community organizations and although last year’s gate donations at the Celebration were below expectations, community donations as a whole have been steadily increasing.

Year Community Donations Donations as a percentage of total Made $ cash expenditure 1997 $32,170 4.79% 1998 $46,800 6.39% 1999 $56,995 7.70% The groups who will be benefiting this year are listed on the attached sheet.

Pride Executive Director, Teddy Witherington, said : “It’s no surprise to me that this year we should see an event as diverse as this. If you take a look at the Board whom I serve you will see that it is a pretty diverse group of people and that is reflected in the program. What we have achieved this year is just part of an ongoing policy of community engagement. Last year we abolished Parade Contingent fees for non-profit whose budgets were under $50k. This year that threshold was increased to $75,000. Last year our beverage partners received 25% of the beverage income. This year it is 30%. By partnering with community groups in this way and collaborating with others on program and inclusion issues we are building a stable, community based future for the Pride event.”

Pride President Calvin Gipson said: “The Pride event has always been anchored in the heart of our community and will continue to be so. The depth and breadth of our community collaborations have borne a rich, diverse harvest in this our 30th anniversary year. This bodes well for the future. We are already in discussions with the Harvey Milk Institute and the Queer Arts Festival about collaborations for next year and are working with our sisters who organize the Dyke March to support each other’s efforts. Pride is magical because it brings out the best in our community and come June 24 and 25, as we take to the streets and demand our civil rights, no power on earth will be able to dim that.”

ENDS

For further information please contact Teddy Witherington at: (415) 864 0831

Pride’s Community Partners Pride relies on your donations to fund the event. Everyone is being asked to make donation of $3 this year (more if you can, less if you can’t) and in return we’ll give you a sticker entitling you to $1 off all beverages.

Donations at the entrances to the Celebrations and Beverage sales at the event are reinvested in our community and benefit the following community organizations : AIDS Legal Referral Panel Alternative Family Project Bears of San Francisco Breast Cancer Action California Men's Gathering Castro Lions Club Community United Against Violence Dignity San Francisco Ducal Court East Bay Pride Freedom in Christ Evangelical Church FTM International Full Circle Community Counseling Gay & Lesbian Historical Society of Northern California Golden Gate Guards/Alameda County Leather Corps Harvey Milk Institute Healing Waters Imperial Council of San Francisco Knights of Malta Legal Aid Society of San Francisco Men of All Colors Together Most Holy Redeemer AIDS Support Nomenus Pets Are Wonderful Support Positive Resource Center Project Open Hand San Francisco Bowlers Emergency AIDS Relief San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus San Francisco Gay Softball League Sundance Country Dance Association

Last year was a record year for the amount of money we were able to return to our community, $56, 995

Year Community Donations Donations as a percentage of total Made $ cash expenditure 1997 $32,170 4.79% 1998 $46,800 6.39% 1999 $56,995 7.70%

1999 was a record high for the amount of community donations and, as a percentage of total cash expenditure, the amount of community donations has been increasing since 1997, hand in hand with higher standards of fiscal responsibility and financial solvency.