SF comes out proud for annual Pride Parade 

click to enlarge The rainbow colors were out in full force Sunday during the 44th annual San Francisco Pride parade that went down Market Street to a party at Civic Center. - JESSICA CHRISTIAN/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Jessica Christian/Special to The S.F. Examiner
  • The rainbow colors were out in full force Sunday during the 44th annual San Francisco Pride parade that went down Market Street to a party at Civic Center.

Mayor Ed Lee donned rainbow sunglasses. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom jogged along the sidelines, high-fiving spectators. Police danced to "We Are Family."

Overall, it was a very proud parade in The City on Sunday.

The 44th annual San Francisco Pride parade drew more than 100,000 viewers and participants as well as dozens of floats under clear blue skies along Market Street, capturing the spirit of equality among residents of The City and visitors from all over the world.

"Being part of this San Francisco Pride is amazing because we get to see all the people that are out and proud," said Desiree Sol, a member of the Cheer San Francisco contingent of the Pride Cheerleading Association that marched at the beginning of the parade.

"It's all about visibility and being exactly who you are," Sol added. Sol and Mahogany Paradise, another cheerleader with the Pride Cheerleading Association, traveled from Los Angeles with their squad to participate in the parade for the first time.

While on their way to the celebration, Oakland residents Alison McDonald, 62, and Sandy Martyn, 64, reflected on the progression of acceptance over the years since they began attending the San Francisco Pride parade decades ago.

"We've seen quite an evolution of not just size, but the whole scope and whole embracing of the broader community when we're over here," Martyn said.

McDonald and Martyn have been together for 31 years and married three times, most recently in 2008 after the California Supreme Court first ruled same-sex weddings were legal. For them, the parade symbolizes the increasing support for same-sex couples.

"We get to hold hands today," McDonald said. "It's like being in the majority; you never are. You walk around here and you're in the majority."

City and state politicians in addition to Lee and Newsom showed their support for equality by participating in the parade, including Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, District Attorney George Gascón, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi and numerous city supervisors.

Law enforcement officials from San Francisco, Oakland and beyond strolled down the parade route with police cars and family members.The parade boasted a number of local corporate floats as well. Bay Area tech giants Google, Facebook and Apple took to the parade route in addition to San Francisco-based Airbnb and Burlingame's Virgin America.

San Francisco Unified School District officials, including Board of Education member Matt Haney, and other Bay Area school representatives also carved out a spot in the parade.

Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning was named an honorary grand marshal for the event, a year after organizers bestowed and then rescinded the same title after fielding complaints.

Manning is serving a 35-year sentence in a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., after being convicted of sending classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. She joined the Army as a man named Bradley, but changed her name to Chelsea after being diagnosed with gender dysphoria, the sense of being a woman in a man's body.During the celebration Saturday, 75 arrests were made, including 30 for public intoxication and six felony arrests for assaults and weapons violations, police announced.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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