The green newsrack shook as three teenagers climbed atop it.
They smiled wide and cheered as rainbow-clad marchers twirled and danced down Market Street at this year’s San Francisco Pride parade.
Hailing from Redwood City, Aidan, 14, Dana, 16, and Danny, 14, said many they knew from Woodside High School steered clear of SF Pride due to the threat of an incident like the Orlando, Fla., shooting that claimed 49 lives at an LGBT club’s Latino night.
“A lot of our friends were horrified,” Danny said. The three teens attended anyhow.
SF Pride announced heightened security in light of the Orlando massacre.
It was Aidan and Dana’s first SF Pride. Danny had been once before.
Though the three belong to their local Gay Straight Alliance, they marveled at the sheer amount of people showing solidarity for the LGBT community.
“It’s insane!” shouted Dana.
Aidan said she is pansexual and female, Dana identified as agender and lesbian, and Danny said she is “very queer” and is comfortable with “she” pronouns.
Dana wrapped an arm around Aidan and said “I’m actually here with her,” and kissed Aidan’s cheek.
Some skipped Pride this year because they felt alienated by the parade’s heightened security, like Pride “life achievement” grand marshal Black Lives Matter.
Friday, the group said they feared additional San Francisco Police Department officers as much as they feared a mass shooting.
Malkia Cyril, a member of Black Lives Matter said, “We know that one of the significant protests that kicked off the modern queer rights movement was the riots at Stonewall, which were in direct response to police brutality.”
Cyril said queer people of color experience police violence at a higher rates than other groups.
SF Pride spokesperson Sam Singer said “We respect the decision the organization made.”
Back at Pride, Danny said when those marching to honor the Orlando victims passed by, “I started to cry. We don’t have to live in fear.”