Give Them Hope, Don’t Grope
Committee, CUAV And BLOW Launch Campaign To Educate Pride Audience


Responding to concerns raised by the Women’s Community, the Pride Committee is partnering with Community United Against Violence (CUAV) and Beautiful Lips On Whistles (BLOW) to educate and empower Pride attendees about sexual harassment and unwelcome touching and groping.

Pride Vice-President, Jenni Mork, said:

"No one wants to stop anyone from having fun, but we need to remind folks to be respectful of others’ personal space and ask, before getting tactile and friendly with folks they don’t know, particularly those of different genders. It's all part of making the event safe and welcoming for everyone."

The campaign, “Give Them Hope, Don’t Grope”, a wordplay on the event theme, is a cheeky way to educate about harassment issues in general by using SF Pride as an example.

Benji Holmann, Events Coordinator for the BLOW project, said:

“Although many folks in our communities understand hate-crimes, they might not get the idea of harassment by other community members. In the gay men’s world groping has, seemingly, been a right of passage, of acceptance even. Fueled by the celebratory atmosphere at Pride, perception of what is a ‘friendly grope’ goes out the door and is not always taken as a friendly gesture.”

The campaign will consist of a leaflet (attached) and stickers handed out to people attending the Celebration to get the message out. The leaflet will also provide practical advice on where to go for support. In addition, the Celebration will feature a Sanctuary, next to the Asian Art Museum where folks can chill out in a smoke-free and alcohol-free environment.

Jennifer Rakowski, Associate Director of CUAV, said:

"Sexual harassment should not be allowed to rain on our parade. As a community we can make Pride safer and more fun for everyone."

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