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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Memories of Gay Pride

The first Gay Pride Parade that I ever went too as a Gay Boi was the one in 1980. It was an eye opening experience to say the least. I had come out in February of that year and was fairly new to the whole gay scene. You know when you live in the Bay Area you grow up with a slightly different attitude towards things. I had been to gay clubs but I was still under the impression that I was "straight". I mean I had a girlfriend and we had regular sex and did all the things that a couple would do but to say the least something was missing. She broke up with me which was a game she liked to play when she did not get her way and when I told her that this time would be the final time, she broke up with me anyway. I did not get back together with her and she was pissed because she did not get her way but to say the least I was free to be me. So I started to hang out and make new friends and renew friendships with people who I knew were gay. Soon I had a nice group of people who’s company I enjoyed. We were all talking about the whole gay pride thing one night and we all decided to go to the parade. My group of friends and I all met up in the Castro at the Patio CafĂ© for breakfast and plotted out our day. We got the parade route really early and staked out a good vantagepoint.
Mind you it was before cell phones and you had to be where you said you would be at a certain time or the chances of meeting up with your friends was slim. The parade started in the Castro and went to the Civic Center where the entertainment and concessions stands were.
The parade started with the roar of Dykes on Bikes and it was on from that point. Mind you this was before the Aids crisis and everyone was full of optimism and the sexual energy was fierce.
There were Floats from all the major clubs and the porn studios even had floats. There were hot half-naked men everywhere and my neck hurt from looking at all of them. Half way through the parade we started to walk to the Civic Center where we were going to a roof party on one of the office buildings. My friend Scott worked for the planning commission and the building had a roof garden.. From there you could see the whole plaza and watch the end of the parade and see and hear the main stage. It was a wild time up there we could see everything that was going on. We would go down to the plaza and hang out and then run back up to the roof. There were four different areas where clubs had set up outside dancing. There was any and every kind of food at the different booths. There were live acts on the stage form the music industry and comedy and politicians. I am a little foggy on this but I believe that music was Sylvester and Thelma Houston to name a couple of the musical acts. There were half a million people there from all over the world and it was a beautiful day. The whole thing was magical, the special brownies helped I’m sure but it is still a fairly vivid memory to this day. After the roof party ended we all went to the
Endup which as the name implies is just what it is, the bar where everyone ends up. it was so crowded but it was fun we danced and drank and partied until they closed then it was time to go to the Trocadaro Transfer. We partied and danced until the sun came up. It was a fun time and I had a blast. Oh to be twenty-one again with all that enthusiasm and energy again. This was the beginning of my journey of self-discovery and it is an ongoing process. There have been my other pride weekends since and hopefully god willing there will be plenty more.
This little trip down memory lane is all because it is upon us again. San Francisco pride is this next weekend and I may go after I get off work. It just depends on what my work schedule is like the following week. But if you are in the neighborhood you should go and experience on of the premiere Gay Pride events that this country has to offer. While you are there say a prayer for all those who are no longer here to celebrate with you and be nice to those who are here. Life is to short and unpredictable to make enemies. So have a happy and safe pride weekend and make some one proud of you.

This Elmystrio and I’m out.


  1. Happy Pride Elm ,good post so you were there in 1980. I think that is the SF Pride William Higgins filmed for the "Boys of San Francisco" released early 1981. He has about 10 minutes of parade & festival footage at the beginning of that film. San Diego's Pride will be exactly One month later(last week of July)!

  2. Yes a few of my good friends were on the Endup float that year. quite a memerable event in my life. Same year that J. Brian tried to get me to do Flashbacks. aah the memomeries of youth.

  3. yes happy days to ya mr elms
    i was at the very first Mardi Gras in sydney - back in 79 .... i was 17 and people were arrested and charged for protesting... now its the biggest grossing tourist event in sydney ...
    so have a great time mr elms
    missing it here already
    rob x

  4. I was visiting San Francisco last year and looking at the pictures you posted brought back many memories. I remember Haight Ashbury (my favorite place), and the Castro was awesome too! Thanks for the great memories!