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What is There to Love About Pride? Everything

An oral history from San Francisco Pride-goers.

san francisco pride celebration

 

Everyone knows San Francisco throws the best Pride celebration. From the historic to the hedonistic, nine locals reflect on their most memorable moments.

Mark Leno, California State Senator: I was 25 years old for my first Pride and I was struck by the scope, scale, diversity and beauty of it all. The most joyous moments for me are always when I see mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings taking to the street in support of loved ones. It's very heart-tugging.

Tom Ammiano, California State Assemblymember: There was a march in the ‘70s through the Financial District. It was ragtag. Harvey Milk was there on a bike with an umbrella. A guy with a Bible pushed me and my sign, which said "Gay Teacher." I got all macho and pushed back. We had to be separated, and I was exhilarated.

Heklina, founder and host of Trannyshack: One of the wildest, craziest parties is Juanita Moore's. A few years ago, I went to one of her parties at the Phoenix and it was one of the best. That was when they allowed people to rent hotel rooms around the pool, and I don't necessarily want to talk about what was going on in those hotel rooms cause that might be incriminating.

Tim Flint, owner of Brand X Antiques on Castro Street: I recall a younger man and an older man, both from Mexico, and the older man couldn't believe that two men could hold hands walking down the street. And I had to explain to him, "Oh yes, that's absolutely okay."

Karen Oliveto, Pastor at Glide Memorial Methodist Church: In the Dyke March, a couple of women climbed up on a billboard at Noe and Market. We were watching them, um, enjoy one another with all the lights of the billboard and thousands and thousands of dykes watching.

Sister Mora Lee D'Klined, President of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence: The most joyful Pride moment was taking my 12-year-old daughter for her first Pride. It's not a Folsom Street event, it's not your traditional gay pride, it was very much something she needed to see. She knew I was gay but having her come and see it, it was really incredible.

David Carrillo, filmmaker: Last year was my first time. On one of the nights, I tried to make out with my sister's boss. It did not go over very well. There were lots of Pride miracles I remember. I was in line at an ATM and this guy who was wasted just looked and me and was like, "Do you need money?'" and he gave me $10! Which was the exact amount of money that I needed for the drink I was going to get.

Carol Dauley, President of Transgender San Francisco: My first Pride was pre-transition and I went cross-dressing with a friend. It was the first time I ever felt comfortable with my presentation. The next Pride I actually marched—it was the first time I was that I wasn't afraid to be Carol fulltime.

Neal Gottlieb, Founder of Three Twins Ice Cream: I paid the $5 to go to the S&M alley one year and saw some things that I can't un-see. Among them was a scene involving two elderly gentlemen, a black rubber glove, and a pump bottle of lube. Turns out that grannyfisting is actually a thing. But, to quote John Waters, "Everybody's sex life is funny, other than your own."

Bonus question: How are you celebrating Pride this year?

Sister Mora Lee D'Klined: I'm going to be raising funds for one of the local charitable organizations [the Pagan Festival in Berkeley] and do some bucketing. After that I am going to relax in the Fairy Village. There's a wonderful little camp that gets set up. It's shaded and it's a wonderful place to go have a drink, relax, and chill out.

Karen Oliveto: We are looking forward to having several hundred folks from Glide march to the sounds of the Glide Ensemble, and we will have floats with all of the leadership and people of all ages and sexual orientations.

Neal Gottlieb: This year I am doing something that I never expected to do: march in the Pride Parade. I'll be the guy in ice cream pants with the upside down flag. And I'll stop by my Lower Haight shop, where we are going "Gay as a Three Dollar Bill," offering $3 pints and switching to gay flavors.

Carol Dauley: I'm on the Board of Directors for the Trans March. It gets better and better every year. This year, the Youth and Elder Brunch is at twelve, the rally starts at three, and the march is at six [at Dolores Park].

Senator Mark Leno: From Friday through Sunday I'll hit seven spots: the Trans March, LGBT Film Festival, Pink Triangle on Twin Peaks, the annual pride brunch, Alice B. Toklas' LGBT Democratic Breakfast, the actual parade on Sunday (where I'll march with 250 friends and supporters), and end it all with Juanita More's big after party and dance celebration.

 

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