PHOTOS: LGBTQ+ Pride Lights Up the Bay Area In All Its Rainbow Glory

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(From left) John Weber, Alex U. Inn, Juanita MORE! and Leandro Gonzales kick off the beginning of the People's March and Rally at Polk and Sacramento Streets in San Francisco on June 27, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)

This weekend, the absence of an official San Francisco Pride Parade made room for things to get a lot weirder, more political and more D.I.Y.

Instead of corporate-sponsored floats with rainbow advertisements, a People’s March organized by artists and activists took over the streets on Sunday, June 27, connecting the celebration back to its radical roots.

“Yes, this feels like my people, everyone is so beautiful,” Gia Loving, a community organizer with the Transgender Law Center, told the crowd. “[This feels like] 51 years ago when we were kicking the pigs out of the bar.”

She was referring to the Stonewall Riots in 1969, when New York’s gay and trans community rioted against abusive police officers who would routinely raid their safe spaces and arrest people based on gender presentation and sexuality. Loving reminded the audience that the fight isn’t over: State legislatures across the country have introduced over 100 bills to restrict trans rights just this year alone.

“I want to be clear that there would be no Pride without trans youth,” she said before leading the demonstrators in a chant.

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Other speakers focused on Pride as an antidote to the isolation and trauma Americans experienced over the last year-plus of the pandemic.

“Last year, there was a moment when I felt as though I was stuck. I couldn’t be on Facebook, I couldn’t be on social media, I couldn’t interact,” said renowned drag queen and activist Juanita MORE! “And then, recently, I felt as though I woke up again, and I knew that I was again creating space for me to grow. All of you being here today is so important because this is what the first Pride felt like. So I want to thank you all for being a part of the march and rally today, because your presence here today is proof that inclusiveness is happening.”

That spirit of inclusiveness was deeply felt throughout the weekend as different LGBTQ+ communities reunited, fully vaccinated and ready to hug, march, dance, flirt and celebrate in person. KQED’s Beth LaBerge was there to capture it all with her camera.

DJ Black plays music from a bus during the People's March and Rally on Polk Street heading toward City Hall in San Francisco on June 27, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
The People's March and Rally depart from Polk and Sacramento Streets to City Hall in San Francisco on June 27, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Hundreds of marchers head down Polk Street towards City Hall during the People's March and Rally in San Francisco on June 27, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Kaylah Paige Williams raises her fist during the People's March Rally in front of City Hall in San Francisco on June 27, 2021. “This is what Pride should be about, community coming together,” she said during a speech. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Juanita MORE! and Alex U. Inn speak during the People's March and Rally in front of City Hall in San Francisco on June 27, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Demonstrators arrive at City Hall during the People's March and Rally in San Francisco on June 27, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
The One and Only Rexy performs during T4T, the official Trans March After Party, in San Francisco on June 25, 2021. “For us at Trans March, Pride is about liberation," she said. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Mallery Jenna Robinson, organizer of Long Beach Trans Pride, dances during T4T, the official Trans March After Party, in San Francisco on June 25, 2021. Robinson drove from Los Angeles to attend the event. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
(From left) Just Shannon, the co-founder of the event T4T, talks with Clive Maxx backstage during the Official Trans March After Party at El Rio in San Francisco on June 25, 2021. “We don’t have events that are for trans people specifically. We are very open, and we want our allies and our friends and supporters and our lovers to come, but it’s the only party that fully centers trans folks," Just Shannon said, speaking about the event. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Laine B and Teter hug during T4T, the Official Trans March After Party, at El Rio in San Francisco on June 25, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Monique and Remy talk with friends during the event Skate for Pride, a part of Oakland Black Pride, at 7th West in Oakland on June 26, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
DJ Ninasol plays music during Skate for Pride, an Oakland Black Pride event, at 7th West on June 26, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
James Cox, Advocacy Director for Oakland Black Pride, poses for a portrait with her rollerskates during a Skate for Pride party at 7th West in Oakland on June 26, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
André greets attendees as they arrive for Skate for Pride at 7th West in Oakland on June 26, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
People dance during the drag show intermission during Princess at Oasis in San Francisco on June 26, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Militia Scunt sits on a throne during Princess, a disco dance party and drag show, at Oasis in San Francisco on June 26, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
Jota Mercury performs during Princess, a disco dance party and drag show, at Oasis in San Francisco on June 26, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)
D'Arcy Drollinger, owner of Oasis nightclub, performs during Princess, a disco dance party and drag show, at Oasis in San Francisco on June 26, 2021. (Beth LaBerge/KQED)