Pride after quarantine

How students and teachers celebrate the LGBT+ community this month.


2019 New York Pride parade attendees walk down the street waving rainbow flags. Photo by Ash Mehta

Jonan Pho and Corie Jiang

San Francisco’s annual Pride parade is known for drawing large crowds of LGBTQ+ people and allies from all around the world, with an estimated 100,000 attendees in the most recent San Francisco Pride in 2019, according to The Daily Californian. This year, however, these numbers are likely to significantly shrink due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The pandemic last year caused the cancellation of all in-person Pride events, but many anticipate the celebration’s return this year. Historically, the San Francisco Pride parade includes a march followed by two days of further festivities. Several additional marches would be spread throughout the rest of the month representing different parts of the LGBTQ+ community.

This year, the San Francisco Pride organizers have announced some scattered events throughout the month in place of the typical parades and marches.

In a press release on March 24, Peter-Astrid Kane, communications manager for the San Francisco LGBTQ+ Pride celebration committee, announced that plans for 2021 Pride would be modified to be more of an expo, with more scattered events, including movie nights on June 11 and June 12 in Oracle Park.

“A natural extension of Frameline and SF Pride’s decades-long, mutually advantageous relationship, this socially distanced and ticketed event (subject to state-mandated capacity limits) is further strengthened by a partnership with Giants Enterprises and support from the City and County of San Francisco.” Kane writes, in the most recent  update on May 11.

In the release, the movie shown on June 11 is announced as the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, “In the Heights,” directed by Jon M. Chu. The second movie is yet to be decided as of May 11, but ticket prices for “In the Heights” are already out, as well as further details on the event itself.

Even with the reassurance that the events will be socially distanced and in accordance to safety protocols, some students remain cautious.

“For me, it [attending Pride] was an incredible experience to do for free, so it depends on how many people are vaccinated and how safe they can make it,” Palo Alto High School senior Edie Gollub said.

Many students echo Gollub’s thoughts, recalling their enjoyment of past Prides but remaining realistic about their expectations of the coming events.

“I will be vaccinated by then, but COVID concerns and all the people can be very socially draining,” senior Atticus Scherer said.

When asked about whether they would attend future events when COVID was not such a concern, both seemed to agree on one thing.

“The summer after 2021 I will definitely go to Pride,” Scherer said. “It’s important that we have it and people have a place to feel welcomed in public.”

Of course, showing up in person for Pride celebrations is not an annual ritual for all people. Many choose to stay local during June and party with more personalized celebrations.

“My push during Pride on a personal note is that I blast my social media feed with all kinds of Pride messages and informational things to educate people,” chemistry teacher Aparna Sankararaman said. “You will probably see me wearing my Converse Pride sneakers the entire month of June.”

For some people, expressing themselves through other means, as Sankararaman does, is the preferred way to celebrate themselves rather than showing up at larger scale events like marches.

“I know that not all people like to go out there and do the most at all times,” Scherer said. “If they don’t want to go, you know what, being outside is scary. I think we all learned that.”

For him, even without going to Pride, the little things people do — wearing rainbows, meeting safely with friends and family, posting on social media — are just as valid.

“I mean, I’m not the same as the guy rollerblading down the street [in Pride], butt-naked, but I can see the kind of confidence and self-awareness that those people have,” Scherer said, “I can say those people are happy with who they are, and that reassures me and gives me pride in who I am and who I can turn out to be.”