San Francisco shares love before Pride weekend

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Beneath rainbow flags and among the LGBTQ owned and operated businesses, It's nearly impossible to find someone in the Castro who is not attending some kind of event for this Pride weekend.

Teddy Bennett has been participating in the TransMarch for several years and gave a "yelp" of excitement at attending this year. "Every year Pride comes around and it's such a good feeling to wake up in the morning! SQUEEE!!"

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The TransMarch officially kicks off Pride weekend with an expected 7,000 attendees. But along with the forms of self-expression and acceptance, there are some who take a decidedly more serious tone to the day's festivities.

At El/La Para TransLatinas in San Francisco's Mission District, organizers are busy putting the finishing touches on a black coffin, adorned with the images of trans women killed because of hate crimes and detained by immigration officials.

Behind the coffin, a sobering altar, featuring photos of dozens of more women. Their faces, eerily illuminated by candles which Julia Cepeda maintains for visitors.

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"(We are) going to wear all black today because of the issue." Cepeda says in 11 years, the tribute wall has grown so much, it's time to take a stand. Her colleague Victoria crafted over a dozen black mesh veils for El/La participants to wear at the TransMarch.

"They feel sad and they want to show how they feel and this is very important for the community, the trans community in specifics."

Maceo Persson of the Office of Transgender Initiatives says even in the last month there have been issues surrounding the treatment of transgender individuals who have been detained at the border. "Recently a report was just released...that LGBT individuals who are in detention experience extremely high rates of sexual assault and abuse much higher than other detainees."

Others visiting San Francisco, like Laura Garza from Mexico say Pride is a time for people to come together, not be divided, like at her country's border with the U.S. "In the end we are one world and one society so it's nice to be here where we are all equal and showing up is really wonderful."

Logan Crapser goes to school in Wisconsin but is originally from Kansas. For him, experiencing Pride means visibility to the world. "My school and the town where I'm from is about 93% white and to be able to come here and experience not only much more acceptance for queer people but to experience more diversity in general is really impactful."

SF Pride estimates over a million people will descend on San Francisco over the course of this weekend, with more than 100,000 attending the parade on Sunday.

For more stories, photos, video and information on Pride celebrations in the Bay Area, visit this page.
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