Pride Weekend is gearing up to be a packed two days with some events starting today to celebrate the LGBT community in the Bay Area and around the world.
The 44th annual San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade kicks off Saturday afternoon at noon in Civic Center Plaza with the theme “Color Our World with Pride.”
The celebration continues Sunday from 10:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. with the parade starting at the end of Market Street at Beale Street and proceeding on Market Street until Eighth Street where it will meet with the festival.
The two-day celebration based out of San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza will include hundreds of booths, vendors and exhibitors, along with musical performances on the main stage and other performance areas.
Some of the stars featured during this year’s celebration include “Orange is the New Black” online TV show cast member Taryn Manning, transgender performer Janet Mock, the band The She’s, a Jimi Hendrix tribute band, electronic dance music group Hi Fashion and many more.
During Sunday’s parade, which includes hundreds of contingents, many featuring elected leaders, community groups, and local organizations, community and celebrity grand marshals will be highlighted.
One of the celebrity grand marshals is transgender activist and author Janet Mock and TV personality Ross Matthews.
Honored as one of the community grand marshal is Jewlyes Gutierrez, a 16-year-old sophomore from Hercules High School in Contra Costa County who identifies as a transgender female.
She was charged with battery for her role in a school fight last November that was caught on video.
After her family started a petition to drop charges for Jewlyes who said she was defending herself from bullying and harassment with no help from school officials, the case was finally dropped earlier this year.
The title of honorary grand marshal goes to Chelsea Manning, following a controversy last year when the SF Pride Board of Directors flipped and decided to revoke the title of grand marshal to the former U.S. soldier, known previously as U.S. Army intelligence analyst Pfc. Bradley Manning.
Manning was in military custody during last year’s controversy and would have had to be honored in absentia because the soldier was accused of leaking classified information to the online group WikiLeaks.
She remains in custody at a military correctional facility at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas after she was convicted in August of aiding the enemy, wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the Internet knowing that it is accessible to the enemy, theft of public property or records, transmitting defense information, fraud and violating Army regulations.
The board decided in January to give her the honorary title for this year’s parade.
Pride Weekend starts bright and early for those participating in the installation of the large Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks on Saturday morning between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.
The triangle can be seen from miles away on its hillside perch and is most noticeable from Market Street where the Pride Parade and events take place throughout the weekend.
The pink triangle reclaims a symbol used in Nazi Germany to discriminate against gay citizens and highlights the ongoing struggle the gay community continues to face to reach acceptance, according to organizers.
Once the triangle, which is comprised of many large pink tarps, is erected, a 10:30 a.m. commemoration ceremony will be held with expected guests Mayor Ed Lee, state Sen. Mark Leno, state Assemblymen Tom Ammiano and Phil Ting, San Francisco Treasurer Jose Cisneros, San Francisco supervisors David Chiu, Scott Wiener, David Campos and Malia Cohen, along with other dignitaries and celebrities.
The annual Dyke March to celebrate the lesbian community starts on Dolores Street near Dolores Park around 4 p.m. Saturday. The group, led by the famous motorcycle group Dykes on Bikes, will head to the Pink Saturday event on Castro and Market streets.
According to organizers the event is “one day where dykes can proclaim space, rights, visibility and respect.”
Once in the Castro, the Pink Saturday celebration kicks off, converging the LGBT community and allies in the heart of the city’s neighborhood known for its gay residents.
The massive street party, organized by a community group of drag queen nuns, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, will include several performance stages, food trucks on Market Street and plenty of dancing in the street.
Transportation in and out of San Francisco will be tricky this weekend with thousands of visitors and festivalgoers descending on the city.
For the festival and parade there will be several street closures in the Civic Center area, along with detoured bus routes throughout the weekend, according to San Francisco Municipal Transportation officials.
Those in cars should expect congestion downtown and are advised to avoid the area and find parking away from the center of activity.
In addition to Muni service, there are several public transportation options including Caltrain, which has weekend service from the South Bay and the Peninsula into San Francisco and back.
The first train arrives in the city at 8:36 a.m. Saturday and the last train leaves at midnight that day.
BART will run longer trains to accommodate the crowds expected to participate in the festivities Saturday and Sunday. The Civic Center station drops off passengers at the entrance of the festival and at the end of the parade route.
More information about Pride events is available at www.sfpride.org.
Sasha Lekach, Bay City News