SAN DIEGO -- A special feeling and energy is in the air as San Diego LGBT Pride Week is here! With the historic marriage-equality rulings issued by the U.S. Supreme Court late last month, many community members are even more excited about this year's celebration, which is appropriately themed "Freedom to Love and Marry."
While the official San Diego LGBT Pride events take place July 12-14, other events will take place throughout this week leading up to the big weekend.
There certainly is a lot to celebrate at this year's Pride. Same-gender couples began marrying in San Diego County last week, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" seems like ancient history, and the LGBT community continues to gain more visibility every day. Along with these victories, though, it's important to keep in mind that equality is certainly not the norm worldwide, and there are people at home and abroad who continue to suffer everyday.
Pride means something different to everyone, so there are events planned for people who want to do everything from party the weekend away to learn more about our community's vibrant history.
Our helpful guide below has the details on all of the official San Diego LGBT Pride events, and some other notable events happening around town this week. Check SDGLN's Entertainment/Nightlife section on Thursday for Jim Winsor's annual Big Gay Guide to San Diego Pride, which includes details about nightlife events other parties that are not included here.
Also, a video is included at the end of this story which includes information about San Diego Pride's ASL services.
San Diego City Council LGBT Pride Month Proclamation
As has been its tradition for several years, the San Diego City Council will kick off Pride week in the city by proclaiming July to be LGBT Pride Month in the City of San Diego.
The proclamation will be presented on Tuesday, July 9 at the 10 am council meeting by openly gay Council President Todd Gloria to members of the San Diego Pride staff and board of directors. The brief proclamation presentation will be held at the beginning of the meeting, and should be wrapped up well before 10:30 am.
Members of the public who wish to watch the ceremony in person can go to San Diego City Hall, located at 202 C St. in downtown. Council chambers is on the 12th floor. City Council meetings are also broadcast live on CityTV and the meeting can be watched online HERE.
San Diego State University's Rainbow Flag Raising
San Diego State University (SDSU) will host its seventh annual Rainbow Flag Raising ceremony to kick off San Diego Pride week on Wednesday, July 10 at 11:30 am.
This year, the rainbow flag will be raised on the school's main flag pole by two openly gay Eagle Scouts and a straight ally. SDSU has hosted the event since 2007 to celebrate the diversity that exists on the large, urban, public university campus.
“The intent of this event is to bring people together and educate individuals about the value of difference,” said Aaron Bruce, SDSU’s chief diversity officer. "Diversity and inclusion are part of the core values of our university and this event supports the identities of our diverse students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families.”
In recent years, the school has made great strides to support the LGBT community. SDSU is home to an LGBT Studies program, a Safe Zone program, and space for an LGBT center has been set aside in the new Aztec Student Union, slated to open this fall.
The Rainbow Flag Raising will take place on July 10 in front of Hepner Hall in the center of the campus. Once raised, the flag will remain on display for the remainder of the day. The event is free and open to the public.
Head HERE for more information.
The Rainbow Ritual: A Blessing for San Diego Gay Pride
A group of community members will provide a blessing to the San Diego LGBT community in advance of Pride weekend on Wednesday, July from 8-9 pm at Bamboo Lounge. Details from the Facebook invitation follow:
Come join your community in a Blessing to spread Peace, Love, Joy, and Protection for this year's San Diego Gay PRIDE.
This event will give honor to the LGBT Community and its Allies. But most of all, Celebrating the spirit of Hillcrest and PRIDE.
Bamboo Lounge is located at 1475 University Ave. in Hillcrest. More information is HERE.
San Diego Democrats For Equality's Pre-Pride Reception
The San Diego Democrats For Equality's traditional Pre-Pride Reception will be held on Thursday, July 11 from 6-8 pm at the Great Maple, 1451 Washington St. in Hillcrest (former site of Brian's American Eatery). The event is free to all Sustaining, Sponsoring and Patron members; a $20 donation is requested from all others.
The event will include complimentary hors d'oeuvres, no host bar and a chance to mingle with club members, elected officials, and other movers and shakers.
More information is HERE.
Rob Benzon Foundation's Pride LAUNCH Party
The Rob Benzon Foundation's annual LAUNCH Party - scheduled for Friday, July 12 from 6-10 pm - has become a staple of the Pride weekend celebrations for many of San Diego's movers and shakers as they celebrate and raise funds for the organization which proves help and hope to individuals in the San Diego community who are suffering from a personal catastrophic event not of their making who are in need of emergency support for actual expenses.
This year's LAUNCH Party will take place at the Historic Burnham House, located at 3565 Seventh Ave. in Hillcrest. The event includes a hosted bar, unique chef's tables, an extensive silent auction and a great time celebrating Pride.
Ticket packages start at $50. Tickets and additional information are available HERE.
Spirit of Stonewall Rally
Often called the "political part of San Diego Pride," the Spirit of Stonewall Rally is the official kick off to the weekend festivities, taking Friday, July 12 at 6 pm. The Rally moved back to the streets last year, and again, will be held around the base of the Hillcrest Pride Flag located on Normal Street at University Avenue.
This year's rally will include the presentation of San Diego Pride's Stonewall Awards, remarks from community activists Vincent Pompei, Connor Maddocks and Norma Chavez-Peterson, and a keynote appearance by actor and activist George Takei. The rally will be emceed by community activist and Pride staff member Fernando Z. Lopez.
At the conclusion of the rally, members of the Hillcrest Business Association will unveil the new LGBT historical monument that is being installed at the base of the flag pole.
The event is free and open to the public.
More information is HERE.
Pride of Hillcrest Block Party
Following the Spirit of Stonewall Rally, Pride revelers will gather around the Hillcrest Pride Flag on Friday, July 12 at 7 pm for an evening of music, drinks, dancing and fun in celebration of the weekend ahead. This year's Pride of Hillcrest Block Party, which is produced by the Hillcrest Business Association and San Diego Pride, will include a large dance area, music by Hillcrest's best DJ's including Nikno, a giant Ferris wheel, a VIP area and more.
Tickets to the Block Party are $20 in advance for regular admission and $50 in advance for VIP admission. Those who wish to attend are encouraged to purchase their tickets early since prices will be raised by $10 and $25 respectively on the day of the event.
Head HERE for more information and tickets to the second annual Pride of Hillcrest Block Party.
Pride 5K Run and Walk
The annual Pride 5K Run and Walk will be held in advance of the annual Pride Parade on Saturday, July 13 at 10 am. The event is hosted by Front Runners & Walkers San Diego and will benefit The Center's Youth Housing Project.
Race start and finish will be on University Avenue at Centre Street.
Registration and additional information is HERE.
Women's Pride Brunch
The annual Women's Pride Brunch, hosted by the Victory Fund, will be held Saturday, July 13 from 9-11 am at Brazen BBQ Smokehouse & Bar in Hillcrest.
Ohio state Rep. Nickie Antonio will be the keynote speaker at the annual event, which raises money to support the Victory Funds programs.
More information and tickets HERE.
San Diego LGBT Pride Parade
More than 200,000 people are expected to line the streets of Hillcrest for the glittering spectacle that the San Diego LGBT Pride Parade is, stepping off at 11 am Saturday, July 13. Nearly 200 contingents will participate in this year's parade, including elected officials, youth groups, community organizations, businesses and more.
For the third year in a row, San Diego Pride will host a contingent of Active Duty Servicemembers. More information about that is HERE.
The parade will be led by several contingents of motorcycles and scooters, including the Women's Motorcycle Group, and the San Diego Squooterheads. For more information or to participate in the contingent, click HERE.
La Toya Jackson and George Takei will serve as this year's parade grand marshals.
The full parade lineup is HERE.
The parade begins on University Avenue at Normal Street, and heads west, turning onto Sixth Avenue, heading south toward Balboa Park, ending at Balboa Drive.
More information is HERE.
San Diego LGBT Pride Parade Festival
San Diego's two-day LGBT Pride Festival is known as one of the best in the nation, with its beautiful location and attractions. This year's festival will take place Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14 in Balboa Park's Marston Park, and feature a bigger footprint and several new attractions.
Nearly 100 entertainers and performers will take the stages throughout the weekend, with headliners including Monica and DJ Morgan Page. The full entertainment lineup is HERE.
Other attractions include dance areas, community information booths, beverage gardens, the Mo's Universe Playground with carnival rides, workshops by San Diego Pride's Diversity Task Force, and a chapel for weddings.
With marriages by same-gender couples now legal in the state of California, couples are invited to host their wedding ceremony at the San Diego Pride Festival. Appointments are available in 15-minute increments for couples to tie the knot in front of friends and loved ones in the festival grounds. Couples must provide their own officiant. More information about the weddings and to request an appointment, click HERE.
Single-day admission tickets are $20 and two-day admission is $30. Discounts are available for seniors, youth and active-duty military.
More information about the festival is HERE.
Parking and shuttles
This year, San Diego Pride has partnered with ParkHillcrest to provide free parking and shuttle service to the Pride events all weekend long. Shuttle service will be available Friday night with service to the Rally and Block Party, Saturday to the parade and festival, and Sunday to the festival. Information about where to park and shuttle schedules is HERE. With so many people descending on the neighborhood for the weekend, Pride-goers are encouraged to utilize the shuttle, or alternative forms of transportation.
San Diego Pride is certainly a "destination Pride" and people from all over the world are expected to come to town for this weekend's festivities. A number of hotels in town offer Pride packages and deals, and those looking for accommodations are encouraged to do so now, as the best hotels sell out fast.
Hotels in the Hillcrest area include Inn at the Park, and the Sommerset Suites. A list of Pride's partner hotels is HERE.
More information about San Diego Pride is HERE.
Looking for information about Pride parties and nightlife events? Check back on Thursday for San Diego Pix's Ultimate Guide to San Diego Pride Parties!
San Diego Pride's ASL services