San Francisco Pride Parade 2017

June 25th, 2017 was the day of the big parade for San Francisco Pride – a celebration of diversity. For many years I had not paid attention to this event, usually trying to avoid the traffic congestion associated with such a large crowd in town. This time I had relatives and family marching along with the California Bluegrass Association Pride float. Below are mostly photos of California Bluegrass Association Pride float but I could not help myself to get photos of all the “diversity” and “causes.”

Intact Genitals are a Human Right
Intact Genitals are a Human Right

I vaguely remember the Gay Pride parade as being in the Castro but that was years ago. This year it was amazing how many sections were corporate – VISA, Google, Facebook, Workday, Wells Fargo, Intel, Bloomingdale’s, Levis just to name a few. These were all pretty tame in terms of visual presentation and you just had to wonder about the concept of punching the clock for your corporate job and walking down Market Street for your gay pals at VISA – how tame.

Foreskin is not a Birth Defect and It’s Not Your Mother’s Penis 

Signs at the SF Pride Parade

How times have changed as there are surely a few old timers in the gay community scratching their heads about the irony of success. Unlike a lot of parades the music in the Pride Parade is not really the showcase. When there is music it seemed to steer towards a prerecorded sort of night club drum and bass thing. Strange I never heard “I Will Survive,” Tina Turner or even Tony Bennett. There is a musical history to this movement.

Nevertheless, here were some truly interesting and bizarre groups. My favorites where the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence” (just the name is awesome), Church Ladies for Gay Rights dressed in loose-fitted old fashion dresses,  and the many church groups marching.  -The group against circumcision – Foreskin is not a Birth Defect and It’s Not Your Mother’s Penis was an interesting juxtaposition to the many medically altered people marching.

California Bluegrass Association Pride Float
California Bluegrass Association Pride Float

Then the California Bluegrass Pride Float came by. The float was truly awesome with the rainbow colors and a sort of front porch theme. The band was picking some fast fiddle tunes when they went by our spot. I am not sure if bluegrass has been played in many parades but the high register of the instruments and the lack of brass and drums make it a bit tricky to garner much impact.  It sounded a bit like bees a buzzin’.  But overall it was truly great to see some headline acts participating on the float – veteran Laurie Lewis along with members of the band Front Country.

While in the San Francisco bluegrass community there are actually very few openly gay people,  you could tell it was pretty special for Brandon Godman who came to San Francisco after being outed and discriminated against in Nashville. Brandon is an amazing fiddle player and was welcomed into the San Francisco musical community with open arms. In San Francisco, people are usually not discriminated against for who they love and choose to sleep with. Just ask the Church Ladies for Gay Rights standing up for others in their community. Women have been shit upon and pushed around since the beginning of time so look out –  the Church Ladies got your back!