Gay pride in San Francisco no longer any fun

NATIONAL ISSUES: SF Pride has grown stagnant in its approach to supporting marginalized communities within the LGBT community

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The first pride parades on the West Coast began as “Gay-in” protests in the 1970s. Today, SF Pride is just a common market with a whole lot of police officers milling around in the Castro.

The city of Philadelphia released a new pride flag with 8 stripes this pride season — six of the stripes for the traditional rainbow, plus one brown stripe and one black one. All this to support Black and brown people in the gay community that have felt distrust for the largely racist gay community. The entire point of incorporating black and brown stripes in the new flag was to uplift marginalized voices.

And yet, the SF Pride organizers chose not to use the new flag.

San Francisco Pride, in the wake of love winning, has a big number of corporate sponsors this year, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Safeway and other companies with inflated senses of their contribution to the LGBT community.

Like a gay Disneyland for straight people, the entire Civic Center Plaza this past weekend held a tightly contained bunch of stalls and two stages. Stalls offered such luxury goods as food, Pride gear and sunglasses.

For a movement long-beset with tumult, the gay liberation movement holds a great deal of stagnation in the water. The one-year anniversary of the Pulse shooting came and went. Where was the mourning in the thick of the SF Pride celebration?

The traditional rainbow flag has become monolithic. The symbols for queer mobilization have always been ever-changing, and a great many flags have come and gone to symbolize gay struggle. But the people in power among the corporate power players at Pride get nothing out of changing things.  

Gay people need to have queer liberation, not rainbow capitalism.

Ultimately, SF Pride has revealed that the gay community is missing out on change, on growth for the community. The new flag was not incorporated into the celebration, nor were any sincere discussions on the nature of the queer community post-Pulse brought out into the open by mainstream Pride facilitators.

Instead, the decision-making power gets taken away from the people that deserve Pride. Then, less of the community feels inclined to take part. And the bleeding out of Pride becomes cyclical.

It’s simply too easy for Pride to become complacent in its corporatization. It’s so easy now that the community has reached all these milestones — “RuPaul’s Drag Race” won an Emmy and Laverne Cox was on the cover of Time magazine, after all.

And more than anything, Gay Pride just isn’t any fun for gay people anymore. With all these straight corporations sapping the fun from Pride, gay people seem to have forgotten how to have a good time.

Editor’s note: In this editorial, we employed a loose definition of the term “gay,” synonymous to “queer” and similar to that used in “Gay Pride.” Any erasure of the larger LGBTQ+  community was unintentional, and feedback to this point has clarified a need for more nuanced internal conversations about appropriate and respectful language. The Daily Cal is working to be more inclusive towards the LGBTQ+ community.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.