This being my first year in San Francisco, I felt obligated to support my fellow citizens in the Pride celebrations last weekend. Unfortunately I missed the tranny parade on Friday, but on Saturday I staked out a great spot at a friend’s window for the Dyke March. It started off with a roar, literally. At the head of the parade (and a good ten minutes ahead of anyone else) was Dykes On Bikes, hundreds of women on choppers, scooters, anything two-wheeled and motorized. After that came the rest of the crowd, thousands of women marching (well, walking quickly) down the street. Some were bare chested, others costumed, but for the most part it was just a show of strength in numbers. mUnfortunately it was also pretty cold, so the turn out was maybe not what the organizers had hoped for, but still it was fun to watch.
Sunday was the main Pride Parade, I got a bit of a late start due to the strong margaritas the night before. Still, I made it to the end of the route just as the first marchers (the Gay Cheer squad) came by. There was a huge crowd there to see it, but it was nothing compared to how many people must have been in that parade. I stood and watched it for two and a half hours until I gave up and went in search of food. The floats and costumes reminded me of Santa Barbara’s Soltice celebrations a bit, but what really amazed me wasn’t the costumes or routines. It was the corporate floats and the politicians. Anyone who wanted the dollars or votes of the gay community was out in force, including the mayor who gladhanded the crowd while his supporters wore pink shirts and waved placards. Despite the fervent prayers of many I’m sure, Gavin was still straight last time I checked. It got so that you couldn’t tell who was celebrating their gay identity and who was just there for the publicity. Apparently this phenomenon has spawned a kind of fringe parade, the Gay Shame parade. Their manifesto is worth reading and describes the atmosphere of the main parade better than I could.
On my way back home from the parade I wandered through the Hayes Valley and stopped at the beautiful sculpture in Hayes Green. It’s a temporary installation, it’ll be dismantled in September when all the road work involved in building the new Octavia Blvd project is completed. Go see it, it’s worth it.