Sunday, June 24, 2012

Straight Pride Saturday

The San Francisco Gay Pride Parade has gradually morphed over the years into a whole month of activities, including an added "celebration" day in Civic Center Plaza on Saturday prior to Sunday's parade.

The event includes free entertainment, corporate and nonprofit giveaways at booths, liquor sales, and an opportunity to wear outrageous costumes, get drunk in public, and ogle people in skimpy outfits.

In a trend that's reminiscent of the old, shuttered Gay Halloween event in the Castro District, more and more of the participants are young straight people from the suburbs out for a cheap good time in the city.

The mood at 3 in the afternoon was peaceful and ebullient...

...but it was easy to see how it could get nasty fast, with a lot of young people not knowing how to hold their liquor.

I asked the young women at the San Francisco Symphony booth to confirm my impression that there were more straight people than gay at this "Pride" event, and they said that was their impression too. "It wasn't what we were expecting at all," they said.

In a sense, Gay Pride has come full circle, if young straight people of every color have no problem being part of the party. Still, it's very strange.


Greg said...

I''m rather astonished at just how corporate it's become - to the point where there was an SF Weekly cover story pointing out the immense financial problems Pride has had in the past.

I used to work booths at Pride for candidates for many years and every year it seemed to become more about marketing to the lgbtq community consumer goods and less about what it was originally intended. I suppose in a way that's good but it's just weird seeing kegs of vodka and the like at an even that started out as a rather militant, even revolutionary thing.

Matthew Hubbard said...

I came over on BART when I was cat sitting Tiger last year and the train was filled to the gills in the early afternoon with young people already drunk and looking to get drunker.

I'm not ashamed to say I drink, but I try to avoid crowds of amateurs. No good can come from it.

AphotoAday said...

Can't wait to try out that word, ebullient.

Civic Center said...

Dear Donald: I'm not sure I've ever used "ebullient" before on this blog, but it definitely made me happy to use it.

Dear Greg: The Corporatization of Gay Pride is a fairly instructive tale.

Dear Matty Boy: Yep. Lots of 18-year-olds with too much testosterone who aren't getting laid who are drinking too much in public? Get the hell out of the way.

janinsanfran said...

We worked both Saturday and Sunday for SAFE California. Since the project required reasonably sober conversation, you'll understand the early hours of Saturday were probably the most efficacious. (There's a word.) This was the first time in years I've been in proximity to the monster for a long period.

It seems to have become a bacchanalia for youth of all genders and orientations who indulge in various intoxicants (and form a market, not a movement). They are kind enough (mostly) to those of us who don't fit the profile, but oblivious. I don't dislike 'em, but I wouldn't want to spend much time in their company.

Stuff like the shootings at the old Castro Halloween could easily happen.