SF Pride 2021 to include in-person festivities

But parade, Civic Center celebration still on hold due to COVID

On the 51st anniversary of San Francisco’s famed Pride celebration, 2021 festivities won’t include the huge, iconic last-weekend-of-June parade or crowd-filled Civic Center bash, but will feature an expo, films at the ballpark, Juneteenth and Black Lives Matter programming and other local celebrations throughout the entire month of June.

Citing health concerns as the pandemic continues, Pride officials announced today that 2021’s programming, including some in-person gatherings with safety protocols in effect, will focus on local people and helping independent Bay Area businesses and nonprofits.

“Our mission of connecting the LGBTQ+ communities of San Francisco and the Bay Area remains unchanged,” Fred Lopez, executive director of San Francisco Pride, said. “Knowing how deeply people miss being together, we’ve worked tirelessly with our partners at City Hall, public health and elsewhere to ensure a number of incredible, safe experiences. SF Pride this year will be all about locals, from queer-owned small businesses to fellow nonprofits that have displayed true leadership over this past year. It’s truly a Pride for the people.”

With a date and location to be announced, the Pride Expo, officials say, will be more like a resource fair than a festival concert. There won’t be scheduled entertainment, but there will be a “safe forum for LGBTQ+ vendors, merchants and nonprofits to reconnect with the community, engaging with potential volunteers, customers and clients,” a news release said.

While 2020’s Pride was largely online, this year’s event also includes Pride Movie Night at Oracle Park on June 11-12, in partnership with Frameline, San Francisco’s long-running international LGBTQ+ film festival, and the San Francisco Giants. Details about the film lineup and ticketing will follow.

On June 18, the eve of Juneteenth, a Black liberation event at the African American Art & Culture Complex is tentatively scheduled; the program, organizers say, builds on the success of the Marsha P. Johnson Black Trans Lives Matter Rally in the complex’s open-air gallery last year in honor of the ACT UP activist and drag artist who died in 1992.

“The African American Art & Culture Complex is proud to partner with San Francisco Pride, as we create space to celebrate and honor the collective freedom of our Black LGBTQIA sisters, brothers and sibs,” said Melonie Green and Melorra Green, co-executive directors of AAACC. “We are committed to activating and strengthening our relationship by being a safe space for our collective LGBTQ+ voices through visibility and community building.” Details on the Black Liberation event will be made public in May.

Meanwhile, health officers continue to caution revelers to follow safety guidelines, and Pride organizers are asking visitors from outside the Bay Area not to attend this year’s events.

“Pride is such a meaningful and galvanizing event for our city, and it is wonderful that we are now in a place where we can plan for some in-person activities. That said, we need to remain cautious as COVID-19 is still very much with us,” said Dr. Susan Philip, San Francisco’s acting health officer. “I look forward to working closely with San Francisco Pride and supporting our LGBTQ+ community to ensure the safety of this year’s events.”

Wednesday’s news announcement said, “#SFPride51 is essentially a celebration of, by, and for the people of the Bay Area. The CDC does not yet recommend leisure travel, and the organization’s leadership respectfully asks visitors from outside the region to reconsider their attendance. It is SF Pride’s hope that by keeping the focus local in 2021, San Francisco may welcome everyone back in 2022 and beyond.”

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