SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF & AP) — Thousands of people waving rainbow flags lined streets for gay pride parades Sunday in coast-to-coast events that took both celebratory and political tones, the latter a reaction to what some see as new threats to gay rights in the Trump era.
In San Francisco, revelers wearing rainbow tutus and boas held signs that read “No Ban, No Wall, Welcome Sisters and Brothers” while they danced to electronic music at a rally outside City Hall.
Frank Reyes said he and his husband decided to march for the first time in many years because they felt a need to stand up for their rights. The couple joined the “resistance contingent,” which led the parade and included representatives from several activist organizations.
“We have to be as visible as possible,” said Reyes, wearing a silver body suit and gray and purple headpiece decorated with rhinestones.
“Things are changing quickly and we have to take a stand and be noticed,” Reyes’ husband, Paul Brady, added. “We want to let everybody know that we love each other, that we pay taxes and that we’re Americans, too.”
Activists have been galled by the Trump administration’s rollback of federal guidance advising school districts to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. The Republican president also broke from Democratic predecessor Barack Obama’s practice of issuing a proclamation in honor of Pride Month.
At the start of Sunday’s parade in San Francisco — which drew about 1 million people — there was a contingent made up of members from some 20 resistance organizations or groups.
“We’re going to lead or kick off the parade with a resistance contingent that’s been organized by the Board of Directors of San Francisco Pride,” said Michelle Meow, the board president of San Francisco Pride.
“We’re focusing on the rights that we feel are the most marginalized,” Meow continued. “That we should be talking about or highlighting especially during this political year. Especially, after the actions of the current Administration and that would be Trans rights, that would be about immigration and undocumented folks, and asylum-seekers and refugees.”
Also included were members of the ‘Black Live Matter’ movement and supporters of this year’s ‘Women’s March.’
Meow said the theme fits in with San Francisco’s legacy as a city of activists.
“We definitely, definitely are anticipating a record year (for attendance),” Meow said. “San Francisco is home to some of the brightest, most talented, most active, activists and outspoken political leaders. That’s going to be the sentiment of San Francisco Pride this year.”
The goal for the organizers was to make sure Washington knows the LGBTQ community will not back down.
“What we’re trying to communicate to this administration is that we’re here,” Meow said. “We’re here. We’re LGBTQ. We’re Muslim. We’re black. We’re immigrant. We are American. We’re not going anywhere.”
“There’s no Executive Order. There’s no hate filled message that this Administration can put out there that’s going to take that away from us so we’ll resist, we’ll fight back — we have before. We’re not going anywhere.”