Pride Takes A Stand
Responding to comment from its community rap sessions held earlier this year, San Francisco Pride is increasing the political presence at this year's Parade and Celebration.
Pride President Joey Cain said: "What we heard was loud and clear-people want Pride to be a great celebration and party but also want to reclaim the political meaning that gave rise to it in the first place. We can do that through forming coalitions with activists and organizations that are advancing goals which reflect the LGBT community's values and aspirations."
To that end, the Pride Committee has already adopted an anti-war position and took part in the San Francisco anti-war protests, in addition to marching with a formal contingent in the Martin Luther King Day Parade.
The Committee has also entered into an unprecedented agreement with Equality California (EQCA - formerly CAPE) to ensure that the community has ample opportunities to learn about pending legislation that significantly impact lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families. EQCA is the sponsor of three key bills in the California legislature: AB 196 (Leno), which extends employment and housing protections on the basis of gender identity; AB 17 (Kehoe), which requires state contractors to provide equal benefits to lesbian and gay employees; and AB 205 (Goldberg), the Domestic Partners Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003.
Geoff Kors, EQCA Executive Director said: "Pride is a very important opportunity for Equality California to educate our community about the ongoing struggle for LGBTI civil rights. We are thrilled to work with SF Pride to strengthen the political voice of the LGBTI community."
Saturday's Celebration will also feature the Stand Against Hate, organized by Community United Against Violence (CUAV) and the SF Mime Troupe, followed by the mass domestic partner commitment ceremony hosted by Board of Equalization Chairwoman Carole Migden, EQCA, and Marriage Equality California (MECA). During Sunday's Parade, marchers will be asked to carry placards urging attendees to support both domestic partnership rights through AB 205 and full equality through marriage.
Pride Executive Director Teddy Witherington said: "While the Pride Committee has taken a stand on a number of different issues this year, our goal is to remain inclusive of all shades of political thought, and with the many groups that are involved in the event, ranging from Out Against the War to the Log Cabin Republicans, who are participating for the first time this year, I think we have achieved that goal."
This year is the 33rd anniversary of the San Francisco Pride Parade and Celebration. The event theme is "You've Gotta Give Them Hope." The quote comes from Harvey Milk, the City's first openly gay elected official who was gunned down in City Hall 25 years ago, and is the answer he gave when frequently asked why he was an activist. The event is to be held over the June 28/29 weekend. For more information about the history of San Francisco Pride, please visit our website at: www.sfpride.org/heritage