By Meghan Bobrowsky
SAN FRANCISCO — The 46th annual San Francisco Pride for Racial and Economic Justice took over City Hall, the Asian Art Museum and UN Plaza on June 25, the start of the annual Gay Pride weekend celebrating the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The group also hoped to “educate the world, commemorate our heritage, celebrate our culture, and liberate our people,” according to SF Pride’s official website.
Emcees Sister Roma and Honey Mahogany kicked off the festival on Saturday with featured performances by Cheer SF, Spice Queers and JES on three different stages in San Francisco.
The event was free, although donations were recommended and collected upon entrance. A heavy emphasis was placed on the metal detectors and security in the wake of a mass shooting at a gay dance club in Orlando two weeks ago, in which 49 people were killed. Also on June 12, Santa Monica police arrested an Indiana man with a cache of weapons, ammunition and bomb-making materials, who was reportedly on his way to the L.A. Pride festival in West Hollywood.
Malala Ross, who volunteered as a security guard, said the June 25 event went off without a hitch.
“I (saw) a lot of great people, a lot of great stuff happening, a lot of great music and everybody (seemed) happy,” Ross said.
Santa Cruz resident Josie Mattos, who attended with her girlfriend of three years, agreed.
“I think it’s great, I mean not great that (the Orlando shooting) happened but people aren’t staying home,” said Mattos, 68. “We’re not letting fear keep us from being who we really are,” the Santa Cruz denizen said.
Mattos described the festival as a safe haven for people of all ages.
“When I came out of the closet, it was not easy for us — for me. It’s easier for the younger people. They have it in the schools, the rainbow club and everything,” she said.
These words resonated with 18-year-old Matt Nelson, who learned early on that sexuality doesn’t determine a person’s value.
“It doesn’t matter what your skin color is, what race you are, what language you speak,” said Nelson, of Walnut Creek. “We’re all one and it’s love.”
Pride events will continue today. For more information about San Francisco Pride and how to donate to the LGBT celebration committee, go to sfpride.org.
—Photo gallery by Meghan Bobrowsky. Featured photo: A memorial at 18th and Castro streets in San Francisco to the 49 people killed June 12 in a mass shooting at a gay dance club in Orlando, Florida, on June 12. Twitter photo by yan @bcrypt.
Bobrowsky is a rising senior at Davis Senior High School and an editor for BlueDevilHUB.com, the award-winning student-run news website.