San Francisco's 1st annual Pride Prom celebrates inclusion, helps revitalize downtown

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Sunday, June 23, 2024
SF's 1st Pride Prom celebrates inclusion, helps revitalize downtown
On Saturday, the first annual Pride Prom was held under the rotunda of the San Francisco Centre.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It was a night of music, dancing and a whole lot of pride.

On Saturday, the first annual Pride Prom was held under the rotunda of the San Francisco Centre.

"Come in a judgment-free zone. Express yourself. Be bold. The only rule is you have to have a great time," said Ben Kaplan.

Kaplan is one of the organizers.

He says the goal of the prom is to create a fun and inclusive event for everyone.

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Someone excited to do just that was Angel Tapia.

Tapia said she never got the chance to go to prom when she was in high school.

"I didn't come out in high school, and I've never been really comfortable in a prom setting, so this is kind of my opportunity as a 25-year-old woman to get that prom experience," Tapia said.

Organizers said the prom is about a lot more than just expressing one's pride though. It's also a way to help revitalize the city's downtown core.

Supervisor Matt Dorsey represents this district and is openly gay himself.

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"It's a prom, and I haven't been to a prom since I had a girlfriend. That's how long ago that was," Dorsey said.

Dorsey said events like these are exactly what the city needs right now.

Since the end of the pandemic, San Francisco's core has struggled with empty office buildings, vacant storefronts and lackluster foot traffic.

The San Francisco Centre mall itself has notoriously lost several big-name stores in recent years.

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Dorsey believes things like the Pride Prom help to, not only bring people back to this neighborhood once again, but remind them of everything it has to offer.

"We had a slow comeback from COVID, and we are not getting out of that as fast as some other cities. But I've been around San Francisco for a long time, and I've seen our ups and downs and that happens. But the fundamentals of San Francisco are really strong," he said.

And given that hundreds of tickets were sold for Saturday's event, Kaplan said he's looking forward to hosting more proms in the years to come.

"I think right now it's important to just remind ourselves of what makes San Francisco great, why you should be proud and why all of us can come together no matter what your background is or orientation is," Kaplan said.

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