San Francisco could be a two Pride Parade town this year, as the upstart People’s March on Polk Street is planning to return — on the same day as the SF Pride Parade, and possibly even the same time.
Back in the early 2000s, at a certain weekly recurring Tuesday night drag show at the Stud, a certain drag queen would implore the audience every year at the show before Pride Weekend, “Don't go to the parade! Don’t go to the parade!” This was meant as a mockery of what a Bud Light-sponsored corporate marketing event SF Pride had become, a phenomenon that has only become worse in the decades since.
But there was something of a course correction during the terrible two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Something called the People’s March filled the void of the canceled 2020 Pride Parade on Sunday of that year, following the Polk Street path of the original SF Gay Freedom Day from the early 1970s, and better recreating the rebellious spirit of Stonewall and the Compton's Cafeteria riot. Another People’s March was held on Pride Sunday 2021, again with no official parade for folks to attend, and again organized by LGBTQ community activists Juanita MORE! and Alex U. Inn.
Well, the SF Pride Parade is officially returning for 2022. But guess what? The Bay Area Reporter brings us the news that the People’s March is also being planned again for 2022, quite possibly on the same day, meaning the highly sponsored event and the highly rebellious event could be in direct competition for your Pride Weekend Sunday participation.
According to the Bay Area Reporter, MORE! Is “helping organize the third People's March that is expected to take place the same Sunday. Following the Pride parade's original route, the People's March will begin on Polk Street, ‘led by Brown and Black and people of color,’ MORE! said in a phone interview with the Bay Area Reporter.”
The paper adds that “Its start time and date isn't finalized, as MORE! is in the process of securing permits, but MORE! expects the People's March to take place the same day as its larger counterpart, as it has the past two years.”
Which means this is aspirational; the People's March may not get its requested permits granted, but then again, that might not stop them anyway. City officials may not want the hassle of two simultaneous events to staff and monitor, so that permit is not guaranteed. But there is now the distinct possibility of two Pride Parades, and San Franciscans celebrating Pride will have a choice of which rainbow to chase.
Image: missmore8 via Instagram