SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Under blue skies and led off by Dykes on Bikes, the annual San Francisco Pride parade was greeted by nearly 1 million onlookers and participants Sunday as the city’s celebrated its resilient spirit and diversity.
Following the lead of the 2017 parade, participants and revelers displayed expressions of resistance to the Trump administration’s policies.
Ana Stewart was among those celebrating Pride weekend.
“I’ve been out and queer for a really long time and this is a great way to show my pride and be part of the community,” she told KPIX 5.
More than 240 contingents, including floats, groups and other participants, took part with an overall theme of “Generations of Strength.”
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, D-Calif., called the theme very appropriate in the current political environment that has enveloped Washington.
“There are so many people in the (LGBTQ) movement who have been fighting for generations and are still fighting for the right things,” Harris said. “We are going to fight for everyone’s equal rights, we are going to fight for always doing the right thing…Especially in these moments where there are people sowing hate and division among us.”
Jose Xtravaganza, a dancer who has worked with such artists as Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, and the Rolling Stones and was featured in the Miramax film Madonna: Truth or Dare, was among this year’s grand marshals.
“We are here with proudness and longevity and strength,” he told KPIX 5. “It’s a honor to be here.”
Among the hundreds of thousands lining the route was McKenna from Rohnert Park.
“We are just excited to be here,” she said. “We are allies with all our LGBTQ friends.”
Veteran John McCaffrey was marching with a contingent from the American Legion Alexander Hamilton Post 448.
“It’s very important that we are here (in the parade),” McCaffrey said. “It’s wonderful.”
The parade was peppered with celebrities including “Real Housewife” Luann de Lesseps.
“It’s so much fun,” she said. “All the people out here on the street watching the parade are just fantastic.”
Across the nation, the scene was much the same in New York City as throngs of people crowded the streets, rainbow flags waving, for the annual gay pride march.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King was one of the grand marshals, along with transgender advocate Tyler Ford and civil rights organization Lambda Legal. The event, and others like it around the country, commemorated the riots that erupted in response to a police raid at a New York gay bar called the Stonewall Inn in June 1969.
Onlookers and participants in New York noted those origins at Sunday’s event, which was both a celebration of the diversity of LGBT culture and a statement against anti-LGBT policies promoted by President Donald Trump, such as the Republican president’s attempt to ban all transgender people from serving in the military. They also spoke out against policies aimed at other communities, like immigrants and minorities.
“We’re making a statement that we’re here, everybody. Whether it’s immigrants, whether it’s queer people or people of color, we’re not going to put up with what this administration is doing,” said Diego Molano, of Queens, at his second pride parade. “You can’t just cage everybody up.”
Olivia Nadler, a Connecticut resident attending her third parade, said “people that are oppressed are not going to go away, they’re not going to be quiet, they’re not going to be ignored.”
Among the signs people were carrying in the parade were phrases like, “Black and brown and trans lives matter” and “No more guns.”
Ohemaa Dixon, 20, from Brooklyn, teared up as she spoke about what the parade meant to her and the joy she felt in seeing everyone come out to attend.
“It’s okay to be who you are and love who you love and dress how you want to dress and do what you want to do because I think it’s so important to be who you are and who you love,” she said. “I’m getting emotional about it because I think it’s so beautiful when people are who they are. That’s why I love coming to these things. I think it’s really cool that people come and they are exactly who they want to be.”