Rainbow_PRIDE2015_700Although Pride Weekend isn’t until July 17-19, we wanted to give you the scoop early because it may be a close call getting the newsletter to you early enough in July.

The official kickoff for Pride’s 41st year of celebrating LGBT Pride Weekend will begin on Friday, July 17, with the Spirit of Stonewall Awards and Rally at 6:00 pm. The rally will take place at Marston Point, 6th Avenue and Laurel Street. The Spirit of Stonewall Awards are designed to honor individuals and organizations that have made a positive impact on San Diego’s LGBT community. The event is free.

Next up is the pièce de résistance:  The Pride Parade, which takes place on Saturday, July 18, beginning at 11:00 am.  It starts at University Avenue and Normal Street in Hillcrest. The route is 1.1 miles. If you have never marched in San Diego’s parade, you are in for a real treat. Besides all the excitement of the event, the crowd goes crazy when PFLAG passes by.  There are upwards of 100,000 spectators. And speaking of walking 1.1 miles, if you cannot walk that distance and want to ride in the parade, please contact Karen Thompson immediately. There are a limited number of cars/spots. Karen can be reached at 858-842-7005 or kthompson6447@gmail.com.  A big thank you to Karen and Mark Thompson for reprising their roles as parade coordinators.

Rather than honor one person, the entire Trans* Community is the Community Grand Marshal! It’s an honor to recognize and honor the contributions of San Diego’s trans* community in the pursuit of Liberty and Justice For All. Anyone who would like to join the open trans* community contingent, go to: www.tiny.cc/SDtrans.
After the Parade, and continuing on Sunday, is the Pride Festival which includes multiple stages of entertainment, more than 80 musicians, bands, comedy and dance performers, 300 participating vendor booths, an art exhibit, cultural presentations, and great food!  There is also a Farmers Market, Beer Garden, and Youth Zone. Most important is our PFLAG booth, located on the main drag. The festival is located at Marston Point at 6th and Laurel in Balboa Park.  All tickets are $20 (+$1.75 service charge if purchased online) and are good for both days of the Pride Festival. To purchase tickets: www.sdpride.org. Please note, there are no discounts for seniors or military this year.

Here comes the lecture part.  For the Pride Parade on Saturday, read this BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME!  These are suggestions that have stood the test of time: 1) get to the shuttle buses early; there are free shuttle buses from the old Balboa Naval Hospital located on Park Blvd. across from President’s Way.  If you usually wait until the last minute, don’t, as the buses back up and you’ll be waiting in line so long that you’ll miss part of the parade (for those not taking the bus, the parade starts at the Hillcrest Pride Flag at the corner of University Avenue and Normal Street), 2) wear comfortable shoes, 3) put on lots of sun block, 4) wear a hat, 5) bring a camera/cell phone, 6) make PFLAG signs and bring them, 7) wear as much PFLAG/rainbow clothing and paraphernalia as you own.
Most likely we will not know the location of our contingent until a week before the parade.  Ditto for knowing what number we are in the parade.  We will be sending out an email as soon as we know and also posting the location on our website. If you do not have email, when you get off the bus, you can ask at the information booth located at University Avenue and Normal Street.

Here are a few suggestions to put on your signs: Closets are for Clothes, Focus on Your Own Family, Gay Rights ARE Civil Rights, Homophobia – Now That’s a Choice, I’m for the Separation of Church and Hate, Homophobia – That’s SO last millennium, I’m the Pink Sheep of the Family, Love Knows No Gender, Protect Marriage. Let’s Expand It, What Part of Love Don’t You Understand?, We the People – that means all of us.

Hope to see your decorated selves and signs at the Parade!