This is not going to be a long-winded essay, because the question has been asked for years now and the answer is pretty simple. When did LGBT Pride, which was once called Gay Freedom Day and was an actual show of political defiance, turn into a citywide occasion for straight teens and college students to put on a little rainbow face paint and party together, and get in occasional fist or gunfights? Answer: Sometime over the last ten years or so, in part because gay people are more largely accepted and everyone gets to celebrate that, and because teenagers and college students love a big party.
This year, Pink Saturday dubbed the Pink Party because the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence washed their hands of it after dealing with too much violence and harassment at the hands of straight youth had to be watered down and made earlier because of the "violent element" that the community has observed arriving after sundown to drink and party alongside, or in spite of the LGBT people there to party. Incidents of violence included an apparent hate attack on one of the Sisters last year, a brutal attack on a 28-year-old woman at Market and Dolores Streets during Pink Saturday in 2013, and a fatal shooting in 2010 at the intersection of Castro and Market. That final incident led to alcohol being banned from the street festivities, when pre-2011 there used to be beer concessions.
The annual Saturday and Sunday parties at Civic Center have also been touched by violence, and also feel largely populated by young, drunk heterosexuals. This year, shots were fired near Civic Center on Saturday evening, after a verbal fight between groups of young men, and the Gang Task Force is investigating (an innocent bystander was injured by a stray bullet).
Now, obviously, you can't check everybody's gay card at the gate, LGBT people are also capable of getting drunk and violent (though when Pink Saturday was more primarily gay none of the above stuff used to happen), and similar problems have marred what used to be another fun event in the Castro, Halloween, leading to the whole thing being "canceled."
But it's sad that these public events are being taken away from the LGBT community, bit by bit, and at some level we are letting it happen. Gay people are no longer weird and scary, and teenagers want in on the party, believing that all that's required is a rainbow headband and an open attitude and seriously, the makers of those rainbow head- and armbands, and socks, especially made out like bandits this year. But what's being lost is the ability to gather as outsiders, in public, after dark, and celebrate that outsider-ness.
Is there nothing to be done about this? Should LGBT people go about trying to shun or shame all the cisgender, heterosexual kids who want to join the party every year? Probably not. And of course it's great that so many people want to support and celebrate, ostensibly, LGBT equality.
But at least half of the drunk people I saw on Muni leaving Civic Center yesterday weren't gay nor, probably, were the people in this knife fight that messed up BART last night and this leads to the question of what happens when eventually you throw an LGBT Pride party and no LGBT people show up?