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50 Years of Pride in San Francisco

Jeff Howard June 4, 2020

The 50th year of Pride is bound to be celebrated much differently than ever before as a majority of festivities take place virtually or with social distance. Trinity SF will honor 50 years of Pride in San Francisco with new signage displaying rainbow hearts depicting the original 8-Stripe Pride Flag from 1978 designed by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker. Check out the new signs currently displayed in front of our beautifully furnished or unfurnished apartments across SF!

Pride Month is an extraordinary time in our city, so we’ve decided to look back through the last 50 years at the monumental events that have occurred during this month.


Pride month began in SF when the San Francisco Gay Liberation marched down Polk Street on June 27th, 1970. Prior to The Castro, the neighborhood now known as “Polk Gulch” was one of the city’s first gay neighborhoods. The day following the march, hundreds attended a “gay-in” at Speedway Meadows in Golden Gate Park. The following year saw the first actual parade dubbed “Age of Aquarius Parade” down Folsom Street with floats from various groups. The celebration eventually became known as “Gay Freedom Day,” and participants and attendees increased throughout the decade. A theme also was attributed to each year’s celebration and 1979’s “Our Time Has Come” festival boasted over 200,000 in attendance.


Pride took on new importance throughout the 1980s as the AIDS epidemic took its toll on SF. Despite the obstacles the community faced, Pride continued to grow, and the parade became officially known as the “International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade.” The 80s also showed a shift in the movement that was much less radical and encouraged participants to be proud of their identity. This resulted in more groups becoming involved, and festivities with song and dance became part of the tradition. Other major cities besides SF, New York, and LA also caught on to the tradition, and Gay Pride celebrations began much more widespread.



As Pride continued into the 1990s, the movement dropped the “Freedom Day” name and officially became the SF Pride Parade in 1994. Although acceptance for the movement was growing with Bill Clinton officially claiming June as Pride Month in 1999, parade-goers still experienced protests through much of the decade. Despite these protests, hundreds of thousands of attendees began to attend each year, and the parade became one of the most well-known in the world.


San Francisco’s Pride Parade officially hit the 1 million attendee mark in 2007 when Market Street was packed for the “Pride, Not Prejudice” celebration. With June now declared as Pride month, the festivities were no longer limited to one day, and celebrations grew vastly. Furthermore, new groups began joining the parade, and the new LGBTQ movement now experienced massive strength in numbers. Protests faded throughout the decade, and June was declared LGBT month by President Barack Obama in 2009. The celebration now included a range of events across the city and truly became an international tourist destination that included world-class performances. Ending at the corner of Market and 8th near the Civic Center, Trinity Place’s new 1188 Mission, 1190 Mission, and 33 8th apartments are located right in the middle of the Pride action each June


The month of June in San Francisco has now become one of the most beautiful times of the year, with the abundance of color and acceptance that shines across the city. As gay marriage finally passed in California and then nationwide, the celebrations grew even more extensive. Millions of travelers from across the world now visit San Francisco in June to be a part of this festival. Rainbow flags have become a staple of not just June, but everyday life in SF as you can now see them flying everywhere from city hall to churches.



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While Pride may not be the same in 2020, this wonderful time of the year is still upon us, and Pride is very much alive in San Francisco! In June 2020 “Pride, Not Prejudice” takes on an expanded meaning. Recent events demonstrate how our San Francisco community fights prejudice, injustice, and social inequity by coming together peacefully to demand change, acceptance, and justice for all.

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