This year's Pride Weekend in June is set to be one of the biggest ever as the Supreme Court is more than likely going to decide in favor of federal gay marriage once and for all, and the decision could be saved until the end of their term in June. Cue another blowout weekend of revelry much like we had in 2013 after the DOMA/Prop 8 decisions, complete with the annual Saturday night throngs filling the streets of the Castro, known as Pink Saturday. Now after years of argument over how best to maintain safety at the event, its annual organizers, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, have just voted to bow out and "cancel" the event, insofar as they won't be involved, as the Bay Area Reporter reports.
There has been stress and controversy over the event going back at least six years, just like with Halloween in the Castro, because of the enormity of the crowd and the fact that it's attracted violence and "unsavory" elements. A shooting that took place right near the intersection of Castro and Market Streets in 2010 set off a wave of calls to cancel the event the same way Halloween was effectively canceled in recent years.
And last year, when a Sister and her husband were the brunt of homophobic remarks and then beaten by four strangers while walking out of the event, it was the straw that broke the camel's back for the Sisters. That incident, coupled with another hate-crime attack in SoMa the same night as well a similarly brutal attack in the Castro in 2013, had the LGBT community up-in-arms about the ruination of the typically joyful weekend by homophobic interlopers.
The Sisters, who manage the stages, security, and concessions for the event in exchange for donations at the gate, already said last July they were debating canceling the event or drastically changing it. And as of their meeting on Friday, they voted overwhelmingly to cease involvement.
Trouble is, the tradition of gathering in the Castro that Saturday night of Pride weekend will occur whether the Sisters are involved or not. Friday's vote is simply their organization saying that they're washing their hands of the thing and no longer want responsibility for its security, meaning that that will now have to fall on another organizer or group, with the help of the SFPD. The Sisters have yet to decide whether to officially allow the event to be called "Pink Saturday," however.
Supervisor Scott Wiener told the BAR, "We very much want Pink Saturday to continue, likely as an event that begins and ends earlier than before. We believe an earlier start and end time will address a number of the problems the event has experienced in recent years." He says he'll be working over the next two weeks with the sisters and city officials to figure out a path forward.