Election Section

Gay Pride Parade By CASSIE NORTON

Tuesday June 28, 2005

Dozens of people with balloon tentacles jutting four feet behind them strutted, danced, and strolled their way down Market St. with the aptly named group Balloon Magic. Some were on foot, some on rollerskates, and they were altogether a sight to behold. 

Relying on the people who rode it to provide decoration, one float featured brightly colored samba dancers on one side and a human phoenix on the other. Intricately beaded costumes caught the eye- as did the brevity of those costumes. 

Each year the Pride Committee honors those who have contributed to the LGBT community in a remarkable way by bestowing upon them the title of Grand Marshal. This year’s Lifetime Grand Marshal was Jose Sarria, a gay rights activist who hosted the city’s first ball for drag queens and was the first openly gay man in the modern world to run for public office. He lost his 1961 bid for the San Francisco City Supervisor, but the 5,600 votes he received helped illustrate the importance of the gay vote. He has been a champion of gay rights in the Bay Area for over half a century. 

In fine form and fine spirits, two men celebrated the Gay Pride Parade from atop a wall near the sidewalk. They were quite the attraction, receiving attention both from other celebrants and parade participants. Though the air was a bit chilly, these hardy folk kept up their energy by cheering on the crowd and dancing in place until the sun came out.