Carrying rainbow flags and "legalize gay" signs, legions of people packed downtown San Francisco on a hot Sunday to see the 39th installment of a parade that, all these years later, still combines steel-jawed outrage over discrimination with bountiful optimism. They call it the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade - a title that, despite its considerable length, may not fully describe the exuberant procession that pulsed down Market Street toward City Hall. Participants steered motorcycles and classic cars , danced on elaborate floats wearing formal gowns or skimpy underwear, and walked on stilts or behind simple banners. Rodeo cowboys and cowgirls rode a mechanical bull, while "Mistress Liliane" was pulled in a pony cart by a leather-clad submissive. All said they were in the mood to party - to celebrate - despite a difficult year that included the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in November, not to mention then-Miss California Carrie Prejean's famous support for it. The theme of this year's parade: "To form a more perfect union.
Halloween Critical Mass in San Francisco 2009
San Francisco Gay Pride Parade Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images
Q: What is the difference between Jake Peavy and a professional bowler? A: A professional bowler knows how to throw a strike. Q: Why did the Post Office recall their latest stamps? A: They had pictures of Giants players on them and people couldn't figure out which side to spit on. Q: Why is it so windy at Candlestick Park? A: Because of all the Giant Fans!
PHOTOS: 2015 SF Pride celebration and parade
Officials had been quietly working on plans to snuff out the Castro event, where a shooting last year injured nine people. The goal had been to instead hold a large outdoor concert near the ballpark. But the concert promoter has pulled out of the effort, and there is not enough time to find another, Joseph said. But officials are still trying to prevent any festivities in the Castro. On Wednesday, Supervisor Bevan Dufty sent a letter to owners of bars, restaurants and stores in the Castro, asking them to close shop on Halloween night to discourage partygoers.