In case the rainbow flags strewn along Market Street haven’t clued you in, SF Pride is almost upon us. The days between now and June 23 will be chock-full of marches, mixers, concerts, and just enough bacchanalian revelry to get your mind and liver acclimatized for next weekend’s city-subsuming celebration. So start your preparations. Everyone else is.
Raise the flag
SF Pride has its own lengthy list of officially endorsed events. To kick off the week, Mayor Ed Lee and a cadre of this year’s Pride Grand Marshals (including Sarah Silverman, Carmen Carrera, Dot Jones, and Ugandan LGBT rights activist, Bishop Christopher Senyonjo) will hoist the rainbow flag over city at 5 p.m. on Monday, June 18.
Pick Your Party
With a few cocktail parties and one “Bi-BQ” earlier in the week, the hardy partying really gets going on Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22, with events ranging from fashion shows to drag and dress-up blowouts to rip-roaring block parties to the 34th Annual Pride Concert.
By foot or by pedal
On Friday, June 22, the first of the Pride marches gets going with the 3 pm Trans March, certainly one of the biggest annual transfolk events anywhere. The Dyke March follows suit the next day at 6 pm. Both marches are free and both kick off at Dolores Park. For those who’d prefer to celebrate Pride weekend on two wheels rather than two feet, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is organizing a 10-mile biking tour of San Francisco’s LGBTQ history on Saturday, the 23rd. Just as the official celebrations are wrapping up downtown, the other kind of bikers can head to El Rio at 5 pm for the SF Dykes on Bikes pre-parade fundraiser.
Friends of the Pink Triangle
More contemplative than celebratory, the Pink Triangle installation ceremony will take place early that Saturday morning, the 23rd, to commemorate gay victims of the Holocaust and to serve as a reminder that the discrimination and hatred towards sexual minorities is ongoing and global. Volunteers will gather at Twin Peaks Visa Overlook at 7:30 a.m. to begin unfurling the 4,000 square meters of fabric used to make the emblematic pink triangle that will sit perched above the city.
On the cusp of one of the largest events of the year, it isn’t just celebrants who are getting ready for the festivities. A bevy of local businesses are offering Pride week sales and discounts. (Leather Etc., for one, is spanking 20-percent off its prices.) To receive the massive influx of tourists, six hotels have scored themselves “Official SF Pride” partner status this year, with Joie de Vivre offering a 20-percent-off LGBT promotion. Even international chain, Marriott, its Mormon roots notwithstanding, is jumping on the bandwagon with its “Be You, With Us” marketing campaign.
Taking Pride Back
While businesses try to cash in, not everyone is so enamored with what they consider the crass commercialization of a hallowed civil rights celebration. Dubbing themselves (you guessed it) OccuPride, a global coalition of LGBT and Allied radicals are hoping to “take back pride [sic] from the 1%.” Pointing to SF Pride’s roll call of corporate sponsors, the local contingent will be planning TBD “autonomous actions” around the city throughout the weekend.