Thousands turn out for SF Pride parade

June 27, 2011 5:51:14 AM PDT
Thousands of people filled the streets on Saturday for San Francisco's 41st annual Gay Pride Parade.

The festivities began at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday and was still going on by the evening. There's a lot of celebration this year, even if what many in San Francisco are excited about happened clear across the country.

If there ever was a day in San Francisco where just about anything goes, this is it. Whether a person is clothed, on a float, on a bike, on the sidewalk dancing or just plain watching, the 41st annual Gay Pride Parade kicked off in all its feathered and rainbow glory.

It may look like a wild party, but it comes with a serious theme. This year's message: No bullying. Many people who spoke with ABC7 say they wish they'd heard that message years earlier.

"To grow up not knowing another other gay person, and without a sense of sexual identity at all or the possibilities, it would have helped me enormously," said community psychiatrist Donald Tarver.

"You just have to power through and keep going, and just understand that it does get better," said Sarah Perz of Los Angeles.

While San Francisco politicians were out in full force on Saturday, it was the parade's celebrity grand marshal Chaz Bono who won over the crowd. But the passage of same-sex marriage last week in New York made this pride parade even more celebratory.

"It's about time," said Jim Lovelace, a tourist from Las Vegas. "It's time to end discrimination, no matter where it may be."

The crowd on Saturday hoped what happened in New York would happen in California for this generation and the next.

"I support it 100 percent," said Courtney Webb. "I'm one of them. I think they should be open to new ideals, not just judge people by how they look and the way they act."

Police say it's been nothing but a calm and festive event.


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