From 30 people marching down Polk Street in 1970 to last year’s estimated 1.8 million festival attendees, San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride has usually been synonymous with the last week of June. But these days, as evidenced by the rainbow flags adorning Market Street as of today, the entirety of June is Pride month.
This year marks the 49th year of celebrating the local and worldwide LGBTQ community, and while the city’s pride festival is the largest (and most money-generating) event of the year, it’s also, ideally, a platform for the progression for LGBTQ rights. The parade gives a chance to shine a light on groups that otherwise don’t get a spotlight, and for people and organizations to make their beliefs and alliances known before a national audience.
San Francisco’s first-ever parade was a response to New York City’s Stonewall riots. It was officially called the Gay Freedom Day up until 1981 when it became known as the International Lesbian and Gay Freedom Day Parade, and then changing again in 1995 to the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration.
The themes have varied over the years. In 1975 it was "Join us, the more visible we are, the stronger we become," the following year it was "United for freedom, diversity is our strength." In 2003, the theme was a famous quote by activist and assassinated politician Harvey Milk: "You’ve gotta give them hope."
This year’s theme, "Generations of resistance," pays tribute to the generations of queer pioneers and current activists who are helping pave the way to a more inclusive community and world at large. In 2017, Pride decided to kick off the parade with a #resist contingent as a way of demonstrating against the current administration in Washington DC. This year they’re dedicating the entire weekend to the theme of resistance within the political sphere.
In honor of this month's festivities, here are the themes of every San Francisco Pride parade from 1970 to 2019.