These are from Sunday, June 29th, 2008, San Francisco CA.
Pride went really mainstream this year. Other than pro-gay marriage (and specifically against the anti gay marriage proposition on the ballot in November) pretty much everything else political was gone. Also, almost no nudity, the contingents with mostly straight folks with weird sexual practices were mostly gone - lots of kids and clean cut married couples. In other words, exactly what they need at this point given the current political situation.
Oh, and don't expect any gay bashing - I go to support my friends, not to collect material. Still, there were a few things I found interesting as long as I was there, so let's take a look.
500,000 extra people visit the city for Pride. Every year. BART, could you please put on some extra trains next year? Thanks.
I arrived just as Dykes on Bikes were going by - there's a Dyke March the day before and Pride is seen as somewhat as a gay male oriented event but the Dykes on Bikes still lead off the event. I don't think I saw any topless, though, so that was the first big hint of how well behaved everybody would be.
The next big hint was this guy - he marched himself with a UN flag shouting nonsense. Security ran over and started arguing with him. I'm not sure if they let him march - he said he was a gay man and had been in the parade for 20 years and all this control stuff was BS but it didn't seem to get much sympathy.
And when the American Legion marched not only were there cheers but lots of "Thank you!". It was kind of a shock because I'm always going to these moonbat events and believe me, the first instinct would not be to thank vets, sadly enough.
This is the first of these - lots and lots of identical Obama signs with the URL to his pride landing page.
Everybody political in SF pretty much has to march or people wonder why. This is the chief of police.
And the mayor (Hi Gavin!)
Who was followed by a massive marriage group. The blue signs look identical to the ones used in 2003-2004 when they were originally advocating for gay marriage and Gavin started marrying people despite the state being opposed to it.
There's some kind of school funding Measure A in San Francisco and they had lots of supporters. Not exactly a gay issue but I think they felt uncomfortable saying "no" to certain very PC causes.
But a lot of what was there was this kind of very mainstream, smiling kid, anti homophobia group. Also AIDS charities, "open and affirming" churches, etc. etc.
Corporate folks. Kaiser's been in the parade 14 years - originally just some employees who got together and marched but at this point they have a huge group.
Finally some moonbats - they're very concerned about the latest aerial spraying nonsense. Aerial spraying historically I think has been a bad idea in California (it always has unintended consequences) but the folks against this latest relatively focused effort seem particularly wacky, sorry.
Notice the confetti? I thought it was part of the spraying group but it's actually from the group behind them, promoting a show.
This person's with the show but it's pretty funny to have these no spraying guys and then see this.
Macy's. (a department store chain)
I saw these guys and went into full ProtestShooter mode.
Palestinian flag, cultural non-political scarf (ahem). "With justice comes peace"
But it turns out they're a gay Muslim group, and given that they have gay Pacific Islander and gay Latina/o and etc. etc. it's hard to get too worked up about it, although it's a bit odd they're flying flags from places that would kill them if they went home.
Update: Five and a half years after I wrote this, somebody wrote to me taking exception to my words. He points out correctly that in Turkey (one guy has a Turkish flag but there were flags from many Muslim countries on the float) they abolished the death penalty, and it's not officially illegal anyway (it's just treated as an illness). So in a sense he's right - there are places in that part of the world where you would not be officially executed for being gay. But the very next week after I wrote those words Ahmet Yildiz, who had particulated in gay events in San Francisco, and who looked quite a bit like the man holding the flag, was murdered because he was gay. By his father. In front of dozens of witnesses who refused to come forward, and where the father was not prevented from leaving the country. A quick search shows this was not an isolated event.
A better wording would have been "from places where they would be killed if they went home", but that's more a matter of grammar than a fundamental change from what I meant. I apologize for any confusion. Rest in Peace, Ahmet Yildiz. You deserved better.
There's still a bit of this "we can only stop AIDS if we get people's attention" stuff but this was the only one I can remember seeing. Still, given the large numbers of kids I don't know what they're thinking.
This one nutjob (who's a regular at any event with an audience) slipped in but security may have caught him later.
OK, here's the main Obama group. Which was oddly out of order - they marched with Oakland Pride (75) even though they were registered as 78.
These don't really give the sense of it - it was a huge group, but you get the idea.
There was eventually an Oakland specific sign, and this is Ron Dellums, the mayor of Oakland. They're aiming for the highest murder rate in the country again this year.
RISE UP is some kind of Oakland group - past that I don't know much about them.
Exactly one of these. Sorry Cindy!
Google had a massive group there. They're a big employer - if 10% of them are openly gay that's a pretty huge group (and that would be low for a bay area tech company).
I've left out all kinds of stuff like this - just some group using the parade to push their own agenda. But this year they were pretty much all "safe" groups like the Red Cross.
I never did figure out which one is Charo.
Suggestion: don't date illegal immigrants. Also notice the number - 108. There were 184 registered groups and a lot of groups that I didn't see on the list but basically just joined up anyway. This was over two hours into the parade but I had a prior commitment and had to leave, so I guess it's possible they packed the last third of the parade with the real nuts.
As I headed down the BART steps I saw these two gentlemen getting married while headed down Market. Seems fitting.
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