One of the biggest weekends in San Francisco is fast approaching, and huge celebrations will be taking place for this year’s Pride Festival. Into it’s 46th year, huge crowds are expected to take to the streets to show their support for the LGBT community in America’s largest Pride celebration.
The Pride Parade was not always as big of an event in San Francisco as it is today. In 1970 a small march took place on Polk Street to mark the first anniversary of New York’s Stonewall riots, which is often considered one of the first well-known instances that sparked the gay rights movement. In the years following this, the parade has grown in popularity, and as images of the event went global, so did the parade.
Today Pride most certainly has a joyous loving atmosphere but this was not always the case. The Parade became politically driven between 1977 – 1979, mainly due to the Anita Bryant campaign and the Briggs Initiative – a proposed bill to ban gays and lesbians from teaching in pubic schools, which was defeated. 1982 – 1985 focused on the AIDS crisis which struck the US in the 80’s. Thankfully, today the parade is a happy and celebratory occasion.
San Francisco has been the symbolic heart of gay rights progress for decades – having one of the first gay bars, first pride parades and since 2015, the first same sex issued marriage laws. Even the Rainbow flag was designed in SF by an artist living in the City, named Gilbert Baker! Make sure to not miss Pride celebrations in the City this weekend.