Pride month has arrived, and the San Diego lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community – and its allies – are ready for it.
San Diego is joining communities around the globe in June to celebrate and honor all things LGBTQ+, although the popular San Diego Pride Parade and Festival, which has been on hiatus for several years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, isn’t scheduled until mid-July.
In 2019, the parade and festival drew more than 350,000 attendees, according to San Diego Pride leaders. About 400,000 tuned into a virtual celebration in 2020 and last year’s San Diego Pride included more than 40 hybrid events, both virtual and in-person, during a weeklong celebration.
This year’s later than normal parade, which is set for July 16 near Balboa Park, is related to keeping San Diego’s celebratory event from conflicting with similar events and parades in Los Angeles and in San Francisco, both of which are taking place in June, says San Diego Equality Business Association president and CEO Jeremy Wilson.
Los Angeles is celebrating Pride on June 11 and June 12; San Francisco on June 26.
But stretching the celebrations into July also drives home the way people are becoming more intentional about equality and equity year-round, parade organizers say.
“We’re seeing a shift in companies and businesses around the world,” Wilson said. “It’s more than making a statement during Pride with a rainbow in a company logo, doing something for employees just to put a checkmark by that box and then moving along.”
Wilson, who has been the full-time president and CEO of the business group since 2021, said companies that truly embrace the LGBTQ+ community’s values every day and all year long and the leaders who understand the importance of that are to be embraced and celebrated.
The San Diego Business Journal will publish a list of the Top 50 LGBTQ+ Leaders of Influence in San Diego on June 27. The SDBJ and the San Diego Equality Business Association are partnering to recognize the honorees along with the on July 11 at Gossip Grill.
Wilson said that the San Diego Equality Business Association will publish for the first time in two years its printed directory of affiliated businesses, which will be unveiled to members at the July 11 event and distributed to the community in July at the Pride Parade and Pride Festival.
This year’s San Diego Pride Parade starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 16 at the Hillcrest Pride Flag at University Avenue and Normal Street. The 1.5-mile route proceeds west on University Avenue, south on Sixth Avenue, goes left onto Balboa Drive and ends at Quince Street at Balboa Park.
The associated Pride Festival is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 16 and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., both headquartered at Marston Point in Balboa Park, at Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street. The festival will include “The Art of Pride,” with LGBTQ+ artists and their artistic creations featured.
Stonewall Set the Stage
June is the month that has long been chosen to show support for the LGBTQ+ community, related to the Stonewall Inn incident from more than 50 years ago.
On June 28, 1969, police pulled patrons out of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York, and in protest, the local gay community rioted for several days after the incident. Since then, the LGBTQ+ community has emerged with groups working to end discrimination, harassment, oppression and prejudice.
In a blog post to the San Diego Pride website, San Diego Pride Executive Director Fernando Z. López expressed appreciation for Pride and the reuniting of the LGBTQ+ community and those who support it.
“Pride brings us together in times of protest, mourning, victory and celebration,” López wrote. “Pride helps connect us to community and our found family. Pride gives us access to life-saving direct services and provides grant funding to our local and global LGBTQ community. I’m inspired by the thought of our community coming together again. Together we will continue to pursue justice with joy.”
Two events on June 4 were already held celebrating some of San Diego’s diverse communities, with Latinx Pride at Mujeres Brew House and Asian American Pacific Islander Night at Rich’s San Diego, but there are a host of others that will be held throughout the month, as well as in July.