A man strolled by completely at ease with his nakedness except for an adornment around his genitals. The small collection of men from Texas, this being their first pride parade in San Francisco, gawked. "That’s allowed in public here!?" asked one.
I shrugged. "Clothing is optional, but just for today. The medical marijuana supporters might be marching in the parade. A couple of years ago they tossed real joints into the crowd."
The Texas gays shook their heads. "We could never be this loose in Houston," lamented one. But most of the hundreds of thousands of onlookers lining Market Street, festooned with 500 rainbow flags, to watch San Francisco’s 37th annual extravaganza were more conservatively dressed in rainbow beads and khakis. The contingent of gays, lesbians etc. proudly marching with their children was huge.
In a city known for great weather, the day was perfection - a fogless San Francisco morning marked by bright sun tempered by a hint of bay breeze. It was live and let live as a true rainbow of peoples took to the street to celebrate the city’s real pride and joy - its ethos of diversity. Said Mayor Gavin Newsom to the crowd, "We don’t just tolerate diversity here, we celebrate it."
To top it off, Giants bad boy batter Barry Bonds unexpectedly went up against…Yankees relief Roger Clemens!… in the 7th inning at AT&T ballpark. Cell phones started ringing as the news spread throughout the festivities. It doesn’t get any better than this. It really doesn’t.
Google got their LGBT pride on, too. George Takei, Star Trek’s Sulu, greeted the crowd from a captain’s chair mounted on the Google float as a half-dozen company employees bowed before him. A blue skinned, antennaed Andorian waved from a perch above.
Comcast, pumping up their local pr a little, earned themselves a few points in the plus column for their support of the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center. The float wasn’t elaborate, but everyone looked happy. And the 4,000 local employees of Comcast voted the company as one of the top five Bay Area "Best Places to Work." So, at least the employees appear to be satisfied.
As I’ve said before, my on-the-ground experience of Comcast has been positive (the billing and phone customer service issues I’ve complained about notwithstanding). Rick Germano is Comcast’s senior vice president for California so maybe this is his doing.
Celebrity Grand Marshalls included the cast of Logo’s Noah’s Ark and its creator, Patrik-Ian Polk.
And, might I add that Logo is "not authorized" on my Comcast cable system here in Marin, so I’ve never actually watched the channel. This is spite of the fact that I pay $102.99/month, just for cable. I suppose if I called, Comcast would hold Logo hostage to an expensive upgrade, just like my HD Channels. Sigh!
Not forgotten amid the bright colors and celebratory atmosphere were more serious matters including the marriage equality issue. On the marriage equality float, an elderly man stood in the center -a wedding gazebo surrounded by hearts and hanging pots of red, white and blue petunias. He held up an old black and white photo of himself and his partner from the days when they were strapping young men. The sign said "Marvin and Bill, 51 years. R.I.P. 1938-2005. Widower denied."
CLICK HERE to see some fun pics of Google Sulu, Comcast, Logo, and the wacky, crazy joy and heartbreak that is the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade.