Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Campaigns promote safety at Pride


Sister maeJoy B. withU's QP campaign poster for this yearPhoto: Courtesy QP campaign
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It is an annual complaint heard about San Francisco's Pride festivities. Too many of those participating are focused on partying and less so on celebrating the city's LGBT community.

In an attempt to turn the focus more toward the celebration aspect, San Francisco Pride officials have taken several steps this year to refocus participants on why Pride matters.

In late May on the organization's blog, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee released a 30-second TV commercial, created by SF Pride board member Michelle Meow, featuring several people who are members of Pride talking about what the weekend-long event means to them. The ads have been airing on KOFY TV, cable channel 20, and on several radio stations owned by iHeart radio, both of which are Pride media partners.

"She got great video literally of people speaking in a heartfelt way about the difference Pride has made in their life or why Pride is important for them," said Pride Executive Director George Ridgely. "That campaign will be ongoing."

In coordination with the ads, Pride is encouraging people to post their own videos or messages on social media sites, using the hashtag #MyPride, talking about their own reasons for celebrating Pride.

"Pride has a lot of meaning to each and every one of us. We share history, we share good times, bad times, differences, disagreements, and more," wrote Meow, who produces her own local cable TV show and co-hosts the live Pride parade coverage. "In the end and at critical times, we have each other. What is Pride? Speaking up is Pride. Engaging the community is Pride. Giving back is Pride. Being out is Pride. Pride is us, each and every single one of us. ‪#‎Mypride class=58cm> is making a difference."‬‬‬


New wristbands

Another step Pride officials have taken this year is to institute a new policy at the alcohol booths scattered around the Pride festival area in the city's Civic Center. In addition to people over the age of 21 needing to show their photo ID each time they purchase an alcoholic beverage, they will also be required to show a wristband those of drinking age will be given.

"We are going to be wrist-banding this year, which we have not done in the past. I think that is a significant change," said Ridgely. "It helps to quickly identify people who have been carded by the event and have purchased alcohol at the event itself."

Pride officials had discussed marking people's wristbands each time they ordered a drink, but in the end, they ruled out taking such a step. The volunteers staffing the alcohol booths will be trained to only serve people one drink at a time, said Ridgely, and will be instructed not to serve people who are inebriated.

"We do not have a mechanism in place to track how many drinks somebody has. It is no different than a guest going out to a bar in that regard," said Ridgely.

Now overseeing his second Pride celebration, Ridgely said he believes the organizers have a good track record in how they handle beer and alcohol sales.

"I think Pride has always done a good job in how we were managing our alcohol sales and consumption in a thoughtful way," he said. "Adding wristbands is a natural progression. I think it is always positive when you get people to stop and think for themselves about the amount of consumption they are intaking."

Pride's latest steps to curtail over-consumption follow other actions taken to ensure Pride weekend remains safe for participants. Following years of violent incidents at the annual Pink Saturday party in the Castro, the outdoor party, which is not affiliated with SF Pride, has been retooled this year and will take place during daylight hours rather than in the evening. [See story, page 29.]


QP campaign

And Sister maeJoy B. withU, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a drag nun group that fundraises for charitable causes, is once again promoting her QP campaign with the tagline "Pride don't gotta be a drag." It is now in its seventh, or possibly eighth, year, said Sister maeJoy.

QP doesn't stand for anything, said Sister maeJoy, who welcomes people coming up with their own meaning for the acronym, whether it be "queer pride or queerly purple or whatever people want."

The campaign urges people to "Stay hydrated; stay standing; stay proud." This year's campaign poster – found in various locations in the Castro and around town – focuses on the need for people to drink fluids, especially if out in sunny, warm weather for hours on end over Pride weekend.

In that regard, SF Pride has once again teamed up with the city's water department to place free water bottle filling stations in the Civic Center festival grounds.

Other advice found on the QP campaign's smaller handouts reminds Pride participants to eat brunch and carry emergency rations for themselves and their friends; take time to relax and rest throughout the day; and plan ahead for their visit if from out of town by making sure to pack whatever medications they need.

Under the heading "co-factors of various natures and tendencies," code for sex and drugs, Sister maeJoy urges people to party smartly and "don't be duped."

Sister maeJoy, who works in the harm reduction field, said her campaign's main aim is to remind people to take care of themselves and their friends throughout the weekend.

"A lot of folks get caught up in the joy and celebration of Pride and we forget to take care of ourselves," she said. "We forget about the things that are important to make our celebration better."

Each year Sister maeJoy estimates she spends roughly $600 on the campaign posters and smaller handouts. To raise the money, she sells her own version of a "dime bag" beginning at Easter time up through Pride weekend.

Each comes with "white glitter in it, a rose petal and a piece of paper not for internal use," she said. "And there is an actual dime so it is an authentic dime bag."


For more information about the QP campaign, visit

Pride's TV commercial can be viewed online at



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