News Briefs: Porter to headline SF Pride

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday May 8, 2024
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Performer Billy Porter will be the headliner at San Francisco Pride, appearing on the main stage Sunday, June 30. Photo: Courtesy SF Pride<br>
Performer Billy Porter will be the headliner at San Francisco Pride, appearing on the main stage Sunday, June 30. Photo: Courtesy SF Pride

Gay award-winning performer Billy Porter will headline the San Francisco Pride celebration and be the celebrity grand marshal in the parade, officials have announced.

San Francisco Pride, which produces the mammoth event, also announced community grand marshals.

Porter, a Grammy, Emmy, and two-time Tony Award winner, will take to the main stage Sunday, June 30. He is known to many for his Broadway performance in "Kinky Boots" and for his portrayal of the character Pray Tell on the FX series "Pose."

For community grand marshals, musician and vocalist Tory Teasley was the public choice, according to SF Pride's website. The organizational grand marshal will be the nonprofit Children's After School Arts, or CASA. The members of SF Pride selected Nicole Adler, a developmental disabilities and LGBTQ communities advocate.

Meanwhile, the SF Pride board of directors rounded out the community grand marshals with the selections of Rebecca Rolfe, a lesbian who's the longtime executive director of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center; nonbinary queer activist Xander Briere; and Xavier Davenport, a trans masculine community leader.

"It's a huge honor to be chosen by SF Pride's membership to be the community grand marshal this year," Adler, who serves on the State Council of Developmental Disabilities, stated on SF Pride's website. "I have participated in the San Francisco Pride celebrations the last several years, and when I see the caliber of marshals who went before me, I can't believe I get to carry the torch."

Teasley stated that she was "deeply humbled" to be representing the transgender community, the Black community, and the entertainment/nightlife community.

Rolfe stated that she has seen much change. "Over the past two decades, I have witnessed our community flourish and prosper despite the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment," she noted.

Davenport is a San Francisco native. "As grand marshal, leading the trans masc community in life's parade to equity is crucial," he stated.

For their part, Briere noted the beginnings of the San Francisco Pride parade. "I would like to take some time to love and appreciate the Tenderloin community, which historically led the first queer liberation marches on Polk Street," they stated.

This year's SF Pride theme is "Beacon of Love." The two-day event will feature booths and entertainment on Saturday, June 29, and the parade, main stage performers, booths, and more on Sunday, June 30. For more information, go to

SF LGBT center to hold spring career fair

People looking for a job, or perhaps moving into a different profession, can find information at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center's spring career fair that will take place Tuesday, May 14, from noon to 3 p.m. at 1800 Market Street.

An event announcement from the center's employment services department noted that attendees would have an opportunity to meet more than 20 employers, all of whom are committed to LGBTQ+ inclusion. Additionally, people can get free professional headshots and drop by the TGNB lounge to network. Attendees can also print out resumes in the center's cyber center.

Representatives from financial service companies, nonprofits, health services, hospitality, and government sectors are scheduled to be on hand, the announcement stated.

The event is free. For more information and to register, click here.

A sensory-friendly hour will precede the career fair from 11 a.m. to noon.

Glide to hold celebration of life for Rev. Williams

Glide Memorial Church will hold a celebration of life for co-founder the Reverend Cecil Williams Sunday, May 12, at 1 p.m. in the sanctuary at 330 Ellis Street in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. There will be an overflow area outside for people to attend, as that portion of the street will be closed to traffic, as well as a livestream of the service, according to a news release from the church.

Williams was an influential figure in San Francisco and built Glide into a powerhouse for social justice. He died April 22 at his San Francisco home at the age of 94.

Williams was also a steadfast ally to the LGBTQ community. During the 1960s Glide was part of a citizen's alert group that documented incidents of harassment against LGBTQ people when possible, as the Bay Area Reporter noted in its obituary. The church also sponsored LGBTQ balls, including one five years before Stonewall that was raided by San Francisco police and resulted in numerous arrests. (All charges were eventually dropped.)

Speakers at the public memorial will include San Francisco Mayor London Breed; Glide minister Marvin K. White, a gay man; Glide President and CEO Gina Fromer, Ph.D.; current Glide board chair Kaye Foster; former Glide board chair Amy Errett, a lesbian; former Glide executive director Rita Shimmin; and Tom Johnston, founding member of the Doobie Brothers.

For more information, go to

Eurovision watch party benefit canceled

A watch party in San Francisco for the Eurovision Song Contest that was to benefit Parivar Bay Area and the LGBT Asylum Project's new Center for Immigration Protection organization has been canceled. The event was to have been held May 11 at the DNA Lounge.

In a message posted to social media, Okan Sengun, a gay man who is executive director of the asylum project, wrote, "We sincerely apologize for any distress or offense caused by our initial plans to hold a Eurovision-themed fundraiser. Our intentions for this event were to help us raise funds for the critical needs of our organization and its mission to support the vulnerable and marginalized TGNCI immigrant population.

"We reconsidered our decision to hold this event after we held conversations internally and we realized that this would not be in the best interest of those communities," he added. "We recognize that going forward with this event might cause further harm to those experiencing human crisis at this time."

Organizers did not respond to an email message seeking additional information.

Tenderloin Tessie turns 50

Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners, which has been providing meals every Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to those in need, will celebrate its 50th anniversary at an event Saturday, May 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. at First Unitarian Church, 1187 Franklin Street (at Geary Boulevard).

A news release from board President Michael Gagne stated that the public is invited to attend and there is no entry fee. District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston, a straight ally, will be the guest speaker. There will be a buffet dinner, and 50th anniversary awards for exceptional volunteers and supporting businesses.

The all-volunteer organization was started by Tessie, the drag persona of Perry Spink. According to the organization's website, Spink was a local performer and bartender who was familiar with the Tenderloin neighborhood during the 1960s and 1970s. Legend has it that he started the dinners when he received some free turkeys in 1974 and decided to cook them for residents of the neighborhood, the website stated.

The dinners were at first held monthly, and the charitable work led to Tessie being crowned Empress 15 in 1980. Spink died in 1984, and the meals continued on an uneven basis. Three years later, Tenderloin Tessie Holiday Dinners was created to serve the meals on the three major holidays. The organization is now a nonprofit.

Though RSVPs are not required for the anniversary party, they can be made by calling Gagne at (415) 584-3252 to help let organizers know how much food needs to be provided.

For more information, visit

YMCA youth community festival in SF

The YMCA of San Francisco will hold its inaugural Y for Youth Community Festival, a free, family-friendly event that takes place Saturday, May 11, from noon to 9 p.m. at Crane Cove Park, a seven-acre urban park located in Potrero Point at 18th and Illinois streets.

A news release stated that the festival would feature exhibits, activities, live music, food, and more. In addition, the YMCA's Charles M. Collins Youth Impact Award will be presented to Festus Ezeli, a former NBA basketball player who spent five seasons with the Golden State Warriors, including winning the 2015 championship.

"We are excited to have this community event at Crane Cove Park to celebrate the impact of youth in our society," stated Jamie Bruning-Miles, a gay man who's president and CEO at YMCASF. The B.A.R. had a profile of Bruning-Miles in 2022.

For more information about the community festival, go to

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