From calls to action to the celebrations, here’s your event-by-event guide to San Diego Pride 2019
This year’s San Diego Pride weekend holds special significance.
“We’re excited to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots,” Fernando Lopez, executive director of San Diego Pride, says of the 1969 riots that led to the modern gay rights movement. “Stonewall is what sparked pride in the first place, so this year is all about reflecting on the legacy gifted to us by the people who came before and how we want to leave that legacy for the next generation.”
From calls to action to the celebrations, here’s your event-by-event guide to San Diego Pride 2019. More information at sdpride.org
Taking place in Balboa Park, the weekend of festivities kick off with Trans Pride. “This is where members of our trans community gather to share resources, information and have a rally of their own,” says Lopez of the Trans Pride festivities, which has the theme this year of “We Will Not Be Erased.” Attendees will then march from Trans Pride to the Stonewall Rally. Noon to 5 p.m. Friday. Balboa Park (near Sixth and Laurel). Free.
Spirit of Stonewall Rally
The Spirit of Stonewall Rally, following Trans Pride, will feature a range of speakers who’ll raise awareness about modern issues facing the LGBTQ movement. “We’ll also emphasis the violence against our black trans community,” says Lopez of the troubling trend. “We want to highlight this epidemic of black trans women killed across this country.” Also, in the face of the ban on trans members of the military, the national anthem will be sung by black trans artist Mila Jam; transgender active duty and veteran service members will be on hand for a color guard ceremony as well. “It’s a direct answer to President Trump’s ban.” In addition, older LGBTQ individuals will be honored. “We’ll be presenting them with awards and thanking them for their decades of service to the community. 6 to 7 p.m. Friday. Hillcrest Pride Flag, Pride Plaza, 1500 University Ave. Free.
Revelers will be happy to know that this year, the Pride of Hillcrest Block Party is free for all ages. “The block party is all about bringing friends, family and having a good time in an open community space,” says Lopez, who points out there will also be a Ferris wheel, cocktail bar and food trucks. It’s all in the spirit of this year’s theme: “Free to be You.” 2 to 11 p.m. Friday. Pride Plaza, 1500 University Ave. Free, but donations encouraged.
Another annual tradition is the 5k, which this year tips off at University Avenue at Centre Street. Participants, who can sign up to join online beforehand, are provided with a T-shirt and snacks. “We’ll also have a Kids Run,” says Lopez of the ancillary event. “Just so we can incorporate all those LGBTQ families.” 8 a.m. Saturday. 3909 Center St. $45 to participate, free to watch.sdpride.org/5k
The highlight of the weekend’s festivities is the Pride Parade. It starts at 10 a.m. at the Hillcrest Pride Flag at University Avenue and Normal Street. The parade will begin with an interfaith blessing. And “this year, we’re proud to feature an indigenous LGBTQ/2Spirit group leading the parade, as well as a military contingent led this year by transgender active duty and veteran service members,” says Lopez, who notes that in 2011, San Diego was the first Pride parade in the country to feature members of the military. “I think that’s the statement piece and a staple of our parade.” This year’s grand marshals are what organizers are calling the Stonewall Generation. “These are people from our senior community. They’re going to be leading our parade just like they led our movement, and we want to really make sure we honor and support them.” 10 a.m. Saturday. Begins at the Hillcrest Pride Flag at University Avenue and Normal Street, proceeds west on University Avenue, turns south on Sixth Avenue, turns left onto Balboa Drive and ends at Quince Drive. Free.
This year’s entertainment lineup spans across genres and generations. “Our goal was to showcase a large spectrum,” says Lopez, whose team booked a genre-leaping roster, from young viral pop singer Greyson Chance to the rappers Mykki Blanco and Snow tha Product. It’s a range that’s also on full display when it comes to the festival’s two headliners. “We’re excited that Melissa Etheridge is closing it all out for us, and we’re also featuring King Princess who, at 20 years old, has been unapologetically out from the beginning.” Even the latter performer’s breakout song, the pop ballad “1950,” is perfect for Pride. “King Princess’ music readily encapsulates queer history, and ‘1950’ in particular even mentions the ‘50s-era Lavender Scare. That wouldn’t even have been possible without artists like Etheridge.” Lopez is also quick to note that spectators high school age or younger get in for free, and Sunday is Senior Sunday. “If you’re 65 or older and come in before noon, we’ll let you in for free and even provide coffee, fruit and bagels.” 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Marston Point, Balboa Park (near Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street). Various prices and ticket tiers.