San Francisco’s famed Pride celebration, which is turning 50 during the coronavirus pandemic, will be different from what its longtime supporters and organizers expected.                                Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner

San Francisco’s famed Pride celebration, which is turning 50 during the coronavirus pandemic, will be different from what its longtime supporters and organizers expected. Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner

SF Pride takes 50th anniversary party online

Nation’s largest gathering of LGBTQ+ community skips iconic parade

On the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s famed Pride celebration, 2020 festivities are going online.

The Board of Directors of San Francisco Pride on Wednesday announced the official program for Pride 50, taking place June 27-28. Billed as the country’s biggest gathering of the LGBTQ+ community and allies — planners had expected more than a million visitors before the pandemic struck — events will now be completely online.

The iconic last-weekend-of June parade, which attracts hundreds of thousands of revelers on Market Street and in Civic Center, won’t be happening.

“While this year’s landmark anniversary is very different from what we originally envisioned, we are grateful that we can share Pride 50 with our friends and allies around the world — and we know the world is turning to San Francisco,” said SF Pride Executive Director Fred Lopez. “Our online celebrations not only highlight the spirit of Pride but help us broaden our visibility as we continue to build solidarity in our LGBTQ+ communities during a time when we must be apart.”

Programming includes live performances, speeches from LGBTQ+ elected officials and community leaders, highlights of accomplishments of Pride 50 grand marshals and honorees, conversations and reflections on five decades of the human rights movement.

Among the more high profile Pride and Pride-related events are Mayor London Breed’s Pride Kickoff on June 5, films in Frameline44 Pride Showcase from June 25-28, the Trans March 2020 on June 26, Openhouse’s LGBTQ+ Senior Prom, also June 26, Gary Virginia and Donna Sachet’s Pride Brunch 2020 on June 27.

This year is also the 25th anniversary of the Pink Triangle, the vivid pink public art work that is repainted on Twin Peaks every year for Pride weekend. Because bringing out a team of hundreds of volunteers isn’t’ feasible this year, Pride is instead working with public arts team Illuminate to install 2,700 LED lights instead on June 27. Pride is crowdfunding $85,000 toward the project.

The streaming platforms on which the events are taking place have yet to be determined. Planners will announce them as soon as they are finalized.

“No one wants to celebrate with the entire community more than I do,” Breed said in a statement. “However, we are in an unprecedented public-health emergency with an uncertain future, and we must do everything we can to protect our entire community and put public health first. The City will continue to work with SF Pride to celebrate everything Pride stands for in the weeks and months to come, and San Francisco will emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.”

“Our staff, board, production team, and partners have worked hard to bring new and creative ways to commemorate LGBTQ+ Pride,” added San Francisco Pride Board President Carolyn Wysinger. “At a time when there is so much uncertainty, the Pride 50 online events have the potential to touch millions of lives, providing joyful inspiration and highlighting the resilience in our communities.”

Pride 50’s six Community Grand Marshals are GLBT Historical Society Executive Director Terry Beswick, documentary filmmaker StormMiguel Florez, founder and project director of the Bay Area Lesbian Archives Lenn Keller, Spahr Center founder Rev. Dr. Jane Spahrand CEO of San Francisco Community Health Center Lance Toma.

Awardees include San Francisco AIDS Foundation founder Cleve Jones, author Gabby Rivera and San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band Artistic Director of the Marching & Pep Bands Mike Wong.

San Francisco Pride also will be part of Global Pride — a 24-hour, live-streamed festival uniting more than 350 Pride organizations from around the world — on June 27 led by Interpride, an international collection of Pride organizers.

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