June 23, 2009

San Francisco Pride 2009 Celebration & Parade Shines Spotlight on Critical Issues
at United States’ Largest LGBT Gathering

San Francisco, CA – 23 June 2009 – With the theme of "In Order to Form a More Perfect Union…," the 39th annual San Francisco Pride Celebration & Parade will include Grand Marshals and parade contingents that reflect critical issues facing the LGBT community today, including the US Armed Force’s controversial “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that is still in place, the on-going struggle for Marriage Equality in the state of California, and the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the historic event that began the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights and freedom.

The event is the largest LGBT gathering in the United States and California’s largest annual outdoor event, and is expected to draw over a million participants to San Francisco, June 27 & 28, 2009.

“Even after 40 years of tremendous effort to achieve freedom and equality, there are still battles that we’ve yet to win,” said Lindsey Jones, Executive Director of the San Francisco Pride Celebration Committee.  “Each year Pride is not only an opportunity to celebrate our achievements, but it’s also the time to educate, focus attention, and renew our dedication to support important issues that affect the future of our community and our country.”

Started in 1970, the first San Francisco Pride event was a “Gay-In” held to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and to protest discrimination of the LGBT community.   This year’s two-day Celebration will take place in the Civic Center on Saturday, June 27 from Noon to 6:00 p.m. and on Sunday, June 28 from Noon to 7:00 p.m.

The Parade along Market Street kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 28 from Beale Street, and will include over 200 parade contingents.  This year’s Parade highlights include a special 40th Anniversary Stonewall & Gay Liberation Front contingent followed by a ‘Stonewall 2.0’ contingent consisting of youth activists from the ‘netroots’ organizations who were instrumental in the reaction to Proposition 8’s passage.  Following the Parade, the Celebration at the Civic Center will feature speeches from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, celebrity and community Grand Marshals, as well as live music and entertainment on a variety of stages. The event is free and all ages are welcome.

“Pride’s ultimate message is that it is our differences that are our strength,” stated Jones. “In the wake of Prop 8, it is all the more important for LGBT people to gather together to embrace our diversity and to re-commit ourselves to fighting for nothing less than full equality for all people, regardless of sexuality or gender identity.”

Pride’s Celebrity and Community Grand Marshals are the public emissaries of Pride and represent a diverse mix of individuals and an organization who have made significant contributions to the LGBT community.  Some of this year’s Grand Marshals include:

         Oscar-winning and 9 time Emmy-winning actress Cloris Leachman, a champion for the LGBT community and an ardent Marriage Equality advocate

         Army National Guard Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate, combat-leader and Arabic-speaking expert who was dismissed from the service after declaring on national television that he is gayAs a founder of “Knights Out,” the West Point LGBT Alumni organization, Lt. Choi is fighting for the repeal of the US government’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy


         Representatives of the Oscar-winning film Milk, including Executive Producer Bruce Cohen, Producer Howard Rosenman, and San Francisco-based photographer Dan Nicoletta


         The NAACP, who took an active role in the fight against Proposition 8

"We've come a long way and made a lot of progress since the first Pride event started,” added Jones. "But we have a long way to go. We're still out in the streets. We're still fighting for equality."


About San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee (SFLGBTPCC):
The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee (SFPride.org) is a non-profit membership organization founded to produce the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration & Parade. With its office located at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, SFLGBTPCC is dedicated to education, commemoration of LGBT heritage and celebration of LGBT culture and liberation. A world leader in the Pride movement, SFLGBTPCC is also a grant-giving organization through its Community Partners Program. Since 1997, SFLGBTPCC has granted over $1.4 million dollars from proceeds of the Pride Celebration and Parade to local non-profit LGBT organizations and those organizations serving the HIV/AIDS and breast cancer communities.

About the 2009 San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration & Parade:
This year marks the 39th anniversary of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade. This year's theme is "In Order to Form a More Perfect Union…," and the event will be held over the weekend of June 27 and 28, 2009. With over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and more than twenty community-run stages and venues, San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest LGBT gathering in the nation. The two-day celebration is free and open to all. For more information please visit our website at SFPride.org.


For Further Information Please Contact:

Brendan Behan
Deputy Executive Director
1800 Market Street, PMB #5
San Francisco, CA  94102
Cell (619) 347-3714
Phone (415) 864-0831 ext.102   Fax (415) 864-5889
media [at] sfpride.org