San Francisco Pride 2016

Given recent tragic events, the Pride celebrations currently taking place across the country have become even more important as representations and embodiments of the LGBT community’s history, steadfastness, joy, and, perhaps most importantly, its refusal to be silenced. They are life-affirming meeting grounds for members of the LGBT community, their families, friends, and other allies who support them.

The San Francisco Pride festival means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For some, the event is a weekend of unencumbered celebration—of the movement itself, of the people within it, and of the city that nurtured its existence for decades. Others see the weekend as the ideal time and venue to advocate for change. And many attendees and participants do a bit of both. While many attendees of SF Pride may agree that society has come a long way in its treatment of the LGBT community, they also know that there’s still much work to be done.

This colorful intersection of vital social activism and soul-enriching celebration means that SF Pride embraces, confronts, and commemorates its communities’ complex histories—often simultaneously. This year’s theme is racial and economic justice, so the weekend will function as equal parts party and political platform.

This year, SF Pride takes place on June 25th and 26th, but in the run-up to the festival there are myriad events that span the cultural and societal gamut. Friday events include San Francisco’s largest transgender community event, the Trans March in Mission Dolores Park; the Shenanigans Pride: Mask4Mask Masquerade Ball; the always interesting EDEN Friday’s Paint Party; the SF Gay Pride Sunset Cruise; and there is a whole weekend of wild Colossus Hot Pink! parties.

The official festivities kick off with a dance and music festival in the Civic Center from 12 pm to 6 pm on Saturday, where 20 stages will be set up to host a vast array of local performers. Sunday begins with the main event, the massive parade that runs down Market Street and ends at the Civic Center, in which more than 200 contingents from across the Bay Area will be participating. From advocacy and parental groups, to motorcycle clubs, religious organizations, politicians, and nearly everyone in between, the entire San Francisco spectrum will be thoroughly represented.

The parade culminates with another fabulous musical celebration at the Civic Center, where the main stage will host an as-yet-unannounced headlining performer. Prior years have seen this stage graced by an amazing and eclectic set of performers, including Lady Gaga, En Vogue, Joan Baez, the Backstreet Boys, Margaret Cho, Erasure, Chaka Khan, Solange Knowles, Lisa Lisa, Third Eye Blind, Crystal Waters, and The Weather Girls.

As always, expect San Francisco Pride to be a wonderfully dynamic weekend fueled by strength, community, self-expression, and love!