By Lilian Kim
It’s a big weekend in San Francisco. The pride celebration and parade will fill the streets once again and to kick it off, leaders of the LGBT community threw a party in the city Thursday night and there’s a lot to celebrate.
The movers and shakers of the LGBT community got the pink carpet treatment Thursday night.
“They deserve the red carpet treatment because they’re the ones that made our community what it is today. It’s a thank you party basically, it’s a thank you,” said party host Mark Rhoades.
It was also a kick-off to the pride celebration this weekend in San Francisco. Members of the LGBT community say there’s much to celebrate this year.
“We’re in a great place in our movement. That doesn’t mean there won’t be setbacks along the way, but we feel incredible momentum,” said Robin Brand from the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute.
Among the accomplishments, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and continuing progress for same-sex marriage. Even Thursday night, New York legislators debated whether to legalize gay weddings in their state. President Barack Obama applauded New York lawmakers at an LGBT fundraiser in Manhattan.
“New York is doing exactly what democracies are supposed to do. There’s a debate, there’s deliberation about what it means here in New York to treat people fairly in the eyes of the law,” said Obama.
But the president stopped short of endorsing the pending New York bill. At the San Francisco party though, there’s optimism that Obama will eventually come around when it comes to their most pressing issue.
“I guess here in San Francisco it’s a little tougher for us to look at the national political landscape and see why you wouldn’t take a stand for equality and justice, but maybe it’s something we can look forward to when he’s re-elected,” said Bevan Dufty, a San Francisco mayoral candidate.
There were plenty of straight people at this celebration and they too say they are just as committed to advancing the LGBT agenda.
“Particularly when you start to think about reaching out to different ethnic communities as well as religious communities, I think that’s probably the next frontier that we haven’t been able to tap into yet,” said San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen.
This weekend will be the 41st anniversary of San Francisco’s Pride celebration. It will culminate with a parade on Sunday.