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Your Pride Guide Intro 

Wednesday, Jun 24 2015
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Dateline: San Francisco, June 28, 2015.

Once upon a time, in living memory, the world was so full of homophobia that homophobia didn't even have a name. Two people of the same gender sharing a kiss was abhorrent and illegal and a sign of severe psychiatric illness. And when a generation of people tried to change that, their concerns were dismissed the way we might laugh off people who get extremely upset about AT&T boxes on the sidewalk. And that was the best-case scenario.

It took time, but slowly, fitfully, change happened.

"Do you think homosexuals are revolting?" some people asked. "You bet your sweet ass we are."

San Francisco's first Pride wasn't even called that. It involved a few dozen people marching down Polk Street, some of whom later got arrested at a "Gay-In" in Golden Gate Park. Participants got egged in those early days — a time more recent than the breakup of the Beatles.

Decades later, things are different (although of course, not entirely so). Kids come out in middle school. There's a lesbian senator. Transwomen of color appear on the cover of Time. The infinitely extendable acronym LGBT[QIAQ] teeters on the brink of implosion because society's understanding of gender and sexuality has grown so nuanced.

Pride is now so enormous, so inoffensive, so commercialized, and so removed from plagues and other sociopolitical emergencies, that thousands of politically active queer people disavow it altogether — a wonderful luxury, from the historical perspective. (Hopefully, they still shake their tailfeathers at a party or two.)

We are the lucky ones: the survivors, the children, the beneficiaries of some hard fights. And we live in a beautiful city — one currently rocked by existential convulsions, but a welcoming place for square pegs and misfits. It's still the best city to be a dyke, a faggot, or a destroyer of all categories. Whether you won't stop marching until the last chains of oppression are broken, or you just want to party without ever stopping, this is your city and this is your day.

This is San Francisco. This is Pride.

More From Your Pride Guide:

Laverne Cox is Everywhere
By Peter Lawrence Kane

Faerie Freedom Village
By Peter Lawrence Kane

How to Be a Straight Ally on Pride
By Peter Lawrence Kane

Transparent Policing: Law Targets Anti-Trans Harassment
By Julia Carrie Wong

Profiles: Activist Mahnani Clay
By Giselle Velazquez


About The Author

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is SF Weekly's Arts Editor. He has lived in San Francisco since 2008 and is two-thirds the way toward his goal of visiting all 59 national parks.

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