Grand Marshall Tommi Avicolli Mecca won a fabulosity ribbon after his contingent Occupied the Google float.

By Tim Redmond

JUNE 29, 2014 – Wow, what a festive Pride Parade Day! The social media feeds I’m getting say as many as two million people were in the streets; I was in the streets, and I couldn’t move at all, so it was hard to count everyone else, but I think we can thank the sunshine for what could be the biggest parade crowd ever.

I’ve been at Pride parades since 1982, and this is the first one where I can honestly say I saw more women than men.

Lots of young people, lots of older people, a wonderfully diverse crowd, everybody happy, dancing, mingling, loving … although there were also more cops than I’ve ever seen.

But Pride in San Francisco has always been about politics as much as celebration, and there was great moment this morning while the parade floats were lining up and getting ready to go.

I dunno how this is handled, but the Gods of Pride – or maybe the Goddess Asphalta, who rules Urban Parking, or maybe someone at Pride Ops with a sense of humor – set the contingent of Grand Marshall (and longtime tenant rights activist) Tommi Avicolli Mecca just a few yards away from …. The Google float.

Yes, that same Google that employs a senior executive who is evicting people, that same Google that runs the buses that are getting so much attention, the same Google that activists are begging not to Be Evil anymore. And Tommi’s housing rights folks, who are way into street theater and disruption of the political type, couldn’t resist.

I didn’t see this great moment, but I heard about it and got the pictures: The Grand Marshall’s contingent climbed about the Google Bus Float and Occupied it. With bullhorns and banners and chants of “Eviction Equals Death.”

Oops, Google’s soccer-themed float became a protest message

 

Housing activist Sara Shortt (right) delivers an anti-gentrification message from the Google float. Photo by Peter Menchini

Then along the way, there were “die-ins.” The monitors were nervous; the cops were nervous. “And I told them, chill – it’s just street theater,” Mecca told me later when I caught up with him at Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s party in the State Building.

Tenants hold a die-in to protest evictions. Photo by Lisa Geduldig

I know Pride has gone corporate, and it’s pretty crazy that members of Gay Shame were actually arrested at a protest against the Prison Industrial Complex at (yeah) Kink.com … (more on that as I get the facts).

Still, every year I go and I have a great time, and I look out over the huge crowds having an amazing party, with every elected official in town participating, and I think back to the 1980s when Ronald Reagan wouldn’t say the word AIDS and Mayor Dianne Feinstein wouldn’t once show her face at the parade, and I think: Wow, things are different.

And then I talk to Tommi Mecca and see all the queer youth who can’t live here, and all of the LGBT seniors who are being evicted, and I think: Wow, we have so much work still to do.

But it’s a big party, and we need big parties every now and then, and Anna Conda looked fabulous … and on a beautiful day, we got to enjoy San Francisco for a moment. Before we get back to work tomorrow trying to save it.

Anna Conda looks fab at the Ammiano party