No ban on Google at this year's San Francisco Pride Parade

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Google has not applied, yet, to be part of this year's San Francisco Pride Parade. Parade organizer's say they are still in the planning stage. But they add, if Google does, the door is open.

"Tonight, the board decided not to ban Google or anybody else from the parade," says Fred Lopez, Executive Director of San Francisco Pride.

He says the controversy to ban Google from this year's Pride Parade began at a January 15 meeting, when members of the SF Pride organization voted to keep Google out. But the vote was non-binding.

At Wednesday night's board meeting, SF Pride Board President Carolyn Wysinger addressed the vote, as well as the concerns which lead to it.

In June of last year, LGBTQ Google employees first petitioned SF Pride to ban Google as a sponsor, citing concerns over the treatment of Google's LGBTQ employees. They also took issue with anti-LGBTQ content YouTube allows to be posted.

RELATED: Activists ask SF Pride Parade board to kick google out of this year's event

"I think some action needs to be taken. There is an incredible amount of transphobia online and it seems to just go, " says Dracaena Wolf, who lives in San Francisco.

However, Wysinger says SF Pride has met with Google and says they have seen immediate changes. She says it is better to work from within than to ban an important community partner, even though some criticize SF Pride for maintaining relationships at any cost.

"Everybody is saying, 'We want to be in your parade!' Well, you need to hear that this is what our community is saying about your organization. And we are going to hold your feet to the fire in regards to these issues," explains Wysinger.

In an email to ABC7 News, a Google spokesperson writes:

"Google has been a proud participant in San Francisco Pride for more than a decade and we will continue to support this important community organization and others like it here in San Francisco."

There were calls from some organization members to ban the Alameda County Sheriff's Department from the parade because of how it handled the eviction of the Moms4Housing in Oakland last month.

However, Wysinger says that was never an official position of the board or the organization, and that the sheriff's department has never participated in the parade.
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