San Francisco PRIDE Parade in 2019

San Francisco PRIDE Parade in 2019(c)Megumi MItani Column
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Hello, it’s Megumi (@meg_intheworld), hope you are hanging in there (I know it’s tough and really difficult situation in many ways..).

Yes, it’s June, and it’s PRIDE month 🏳️‍🌈.

Due to COVID, all the PRIDE events and parade were canceled this year. It’s a bit sad because it was supposed to be the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s PRIDE.

So, I thought I would share some pictures of the PRIDE parade in San Francisco exactly one year ago (last weekend of June 2019), to show some support and raise awareness for the LGBTQ+ community🏳️‍🌈.

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What’s PRIDE?

I’m sure you know what’s “PRIDE” or at least you have heard of it, but some of you may not familiar, so let me explain briefly.

PRIDE is an event that originated from the Stonewall riots in New York in June 1969. It advocates for the equal rights of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning) individuals.

In the United States, the month of June is recognized as Pride Month. During this time, you will see rainbow flags 🏳️‍🌈 and rainbow-themed merchandise prominently displayed in the streets and shops. Museums and media outlets also actively feature LGBTQ artists and content to show support for the community. Major cities like New York and San Francisco hold Pride celebrations over the weekends.

At Pride events, not only LGBTQ individuals but also many allies, who are not LGBTQ individuals but support the community, participate in the parade, cheer, and celebrate Pride together.

What’s like SF PRIDE?

OK, I will take you through the experience of San Francisco Pride!

On the PRIDE parade day, when I opened the Google Maps, I saw that the area where the PRIDE event and parade were taking place was filled with rainbows 🏳️‍🌈.

I’ve seen Google Maps change to a unique event theme during car races or marathons, but seeing the rainbow theme made me very excited.

When we arrived around noon, there were so many people along the street, and it was hard to find a spot. Some people brought their camping chairs and reserved their space. I witnessed a father pushing others away to protect “their space.”  So I left the area and move to more peaceful spot 🤗

サンフランシスコ警察のパトカー

San Francisco police cars and beautiful firefighters!

サンフランシスコ消防署の消防車と消防士たち

消防署の職員も

Love his smile and energy!

Then I saw Silicon Valley companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Salesforce, Uber, Netflix, and other nationwide companies such as Amazon, T-Mobile, United Airlines, US Bank and others.

Facebookは観光バスをラッピング

AmazonはUNITYというバルーンと共に

ユナイテッド航空はCAが先導を切ってパレード

Netflixも

Miller Lite(ビール)のパレード

And of course many LGBTQ+ groups, organizations are participating in the parade.

Also many dog lovers and dogs!

How cute they dressed up in rainbow <3

As you can see, the parade had a very bright and joyful overall! However, there were some groups that may not be suitable for children, so if you are attending with kids, be mentally prepared.

There were also people advocating the message of “Don’t commercialize or exploit LGBTQ” and made me aware of the issues.

Indeed, there were some groups seemed to be using the PRIDE for promoting their own businesses.

Well, many of the people who celebrate PRIDE have a keen sense of what’s real or fake, so both the participants and ally can distinguish it.

My thoughts on SF PRIDE

It was my first PRIDE Parade, and I felt immense happiness throughout the day, which continued until I fell asleep.

The LGBTQ+ organizations and groups marching with their handmade message boards left a strong and lasting impression on me. I learned so much and felt deeply moved by their presence.

There were groups of individuals who may find it challenging to openly express their LGBTQ+ identities and support due to religious or national reasons, yet they proudly displayed their messages as individuals or allies. It was truly beautiful to witness.

I couldn’t help but think how wonderful it would be if every day could be like the Pride, as everyone participating in Pride was incredibly supportive and filled with so much love!

パレード中に配られるグッズたち

It was a year ago, but I clearly remember that how incredible it was to see everyone in that space so happy! The energy of a space free from hate is truly remarkable🤗✨

Tips for enjoying Pride

San Francisco’s PRIDE, which attracts one million participants every year, is held on the last weekend of June.

  • There are multiple venues where events take place, with Civic Center being the main hub. There is also the parade, so it’s impossible to see everything in one day.
  • If you have the time, I recommend attending both Saturday and Sunday, or starting early in the morning.
  • Remember to stay hydrated as it can get really hot during the day. Since the parade was such an amazing to watch and hard to leave, I ended up standing for three hours without any drinks..
  • Parking spots are limited near the parade area. It’s probably better to use public transportation to go the parade and the venues.

Lastly, I’d like to share a quote from Marsha P. Johnson, who is considered one of the pioneers of the PRIDE movement:

Each and every one of us is important and deserves to be loved”

As a transgender black woman, she fought for “freedom,” “liberation,” and “equal rights” in a time when understanding and support from the surrounding society were much harder to come by in the 1970s.

On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that workplace discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

While it was a significant step following the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality.

I sincerely hope that one day everyone will have equal rights and be able to live comfortably as they are. As an ally, I will continue to support the LGBTQ+ community.

Lots of love,
Megumi

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