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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Is 'Giants Pride Week' the Best Choice of Words?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 9:59 AM

click to enlarge They're big fans...
  • They're big fans...

Are you prideful yet? Mayor Gavin Newsom has decreed this to be "San Francisco Giants Pride Week," urging one and all to wear Giants colors, put pennants in windows, and root, root, root for the home team.

While no one could find objection with good-natured boosterism of our World Series-bound team, the word choice employed by Newsom is a bit suspect. In San Francisco especially, the term "pride" and "pride week" have connotations with subjects other than baseball.

Here and elsewhere, "pride" has been a term wholeheartedly adopted by gay rights organizations to counter feelings of alienation and shame. Both gay San Franciscans and straight Texans I've talked to on the eve of the World Series were a bit thrown by the term "San Francisco Giants Pride." Both assumed it must have something to do with gay pride. Of course -- and this really is the great thing about living in San Francisco -- no one we talked to saw this as a problem for this city.

Our calls to San Francisco Pride -- not San Francisco Giants Pride -- have not yet been returned.



Supervisor Bevan Dufty tells SF Weekly he thinks straight people will get it. "Sure, I think of 'Irish pride' or other events," he says. When asked to name an event in San Francisco self-applying the term "pride" without ties to gay pride, however, the openly gay mayoral candidate was stumped. For what it's worth, the big Irish fest around here is the selection of the Grand Marshal for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. The good folks at the Irish Cultural Center did use the term "Irish pride" offhand during a discussion, but they certainly don't name their festival that.

Dufty added that the Giants have an exemplary record when it comes to gay outreach. The team pioneered Until There's a Cure Day, has gay-friendly fan nights, and, last year, invited drag queen Donna Sachet to sing the national anthem. These are all great things -- and, it just goes to show that LGBT people love baseball and buy tickets too. But it may not be the message this week's "pride" event was meant to convey.

In any event, seven deadly sins be damned, be prideful. Find something to be prideful about this week -- and wear an orange shirt while you do.

Update, 11:11 a.m.: Troy Coalman, the director of external relations for S.F. Pride, says he was a bit confused by the wording of San Francisco Giants Pride Week. "I wasn't thrown. I kind of understood the connotation, but I can see how the community might be thrown. It is a word that is synonymous with our organization."

Coalman is unaware of any non gay-related organization or event calling itself "pride" in this city. S.F. Pride, however, does not have a trademark on the term -- there's a pride organization in many cities. And there's no overarching organization holding rights to the term "pride."

So, while the mayor may have stumbled semantically, he's on solid ground legally. Not that anyone is suing anyone over this. "The reference is just that we should be proud of our team," notes Coalman.

Sounds like a plan.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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