San Francisco Pride 2014: Marching with Intention, Honoring our Legacies

by Sammie Wills, and API Equality - Northern California Interns and Volunteers | July 1, 2014

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Volunteers, Staff, and Interns at Trans March

API Equality – Northern California showed up with purpose for the 2014 San Francisco Pride Weekend. We want to recognize and honor that the original Pride was a rally. It was a resistance, led by those most marginalized and excluded. We want to remember members of our community like Sun Kim, who took his own life because of the daily oppressions that he faced as a young Korean American transgender person. We are tired of our friends and community members dying because of lack of access to resources or the luxury of living authentically. We are tired of our friends and community members dying without their stories being treasured or told.

During this past weekend, it was our goal to show up with the intent of honoring our legacies and fights for liberation. On Friday, we marched as LGBTQ API folks at Trans March, working to build our movement and presence. On Sunday, we participated in the API Contingent during the Pride Parade and held up signs detailing momentous events during LGBTQ API histories. During our tabling at the API Pavilion, we continued working to politicize the event, asking Pride participants, “Why does history matter?” Check out a bit of what our interns and volunteers had to say after the event:

Bryan Chen,  Intern

“This year, for San Francisco Pride 2014, I was in charge of compiling materials and was the main contact for the parade. This was my 6th year attending pride, but the first time in SF Pride and definitely the first time taking on such a large role. Pride has always been, and will continue to be, something that I am largely uncomfortable with. Ever since my first Pride, I felt like I didn’t fit in. I was never quite gay, white, or fit enough to blend in with the majority of the Pride attendees, and I thought it was my fault. This year was not much different. Everywhere I looked, I saw white faces and white (bare) bodies. But, I was comforted by my participation and the mere existence of the API contingent. It was not perfect, but at least I felt like I had a space, however small and wind tossed.”

Tõ Như Đào, Volunteer

“The opportunity to not only go to Trans*march, but with an API contingent, was something unimaginable to me a few years ago. During the march, my heart swelled with bittersweet nostalgia, warmth, and hope. This complexity will be what I carry with me as I try my best to contribute to movements towards healing and justice for our communities.”

Total Nguyen, Intern

“As part of the photobooth planning committee, and I helped create talk, thought, and shout bubbles for participants to use while taking photos that encouraged them to think about our histories. t felt good to know that the API Equality – Northern California staff and I were intentional about our presence at Pride. I also appreciated that Pride attendees took the time to share their critical thoughts about history with us!”

Leadership Team member Mioi Hanaoka with her parents at the Pride photobooth

Ethan Li, Volunteer

“Wow, API Equality – Northern California is really cool! I met so many awesome people in the API Equality – Northern California-associated contingent at Trans March on Friday and from volunteering with their booth today at SF Pride. Trans March and SF Pride seemed so very different to me. Canvassing for API Equality – Northern California’s Dragon Fruit Project was difficult for me, but I’m glad I did it.

I learned a lot from going, and the experience helps me understand all the articles I’ve read discussing Pride. But if I have the chance to go to the SF Pride march/massive-street-party next year, will I go? I don’t know. Thanks to all the awesome people that I spent time so much time with this weekend for making it meaningful.”

Patricia Williams, Intern

“At Pride itself, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of commercialization that the event has undergone. Even during the festivities of the parade, I found myself disgruntled and angry as I slowly walked down Market Street. The event was unmistakably predominantly white and male, which only proved to me our importance in attending. Our involvement became rapidly more intentional to me as I realized that, without us, no one would be there to represent who we are. For this reason, we as LGBTQ API folks need to continually participate in these events with the intentions of reclaiming Pride and others like it.”

Thanks to all those who came to march and volunteer!