Oakland’s first Pride parade is today, but according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the leather community is not invited.
One thing you probably won’t find at Oakland’s first LGBT Pride Parade on Sunday: partially clad men in leather chaps. What you will find is the Jolly Trolly from Children’s Fairyland, pony rides, antique fire engines and singer/drummer Sheila E. Instead of kicking off with Dykes on Bikes, as is the tradition in San Francisco, Oakland’s parade starts with Tykes on Trikes. “We had some leather groups from San Francisco who wanted to come, and we politely declined. We want to keep this G-rated,” said Carlos Uribe, one of the organizers. “We don’t want to compete with San Francisco Pride, we just want to offer a more family-friendly, diverse celebration. Sort of an end-of-summer bookend to SF Pride.” The city has hosted a Pride fest on and off since the 1990s, but the current incarnation started five years ago with the goal of eventually opening an LGBT community center. Last year, organizers polled the festival’s 30,000 attendees about what they’d like to see at future fests, and 80 percent said they wanted a parade. “We’re going to be the most family-friendly Pride parade anywhere, ever,” said Amber Todd, chair of Oakland Pride. “We’ll have something for everyone – gay, straight, pansexual, kids. My 75-year-old mother’s coming, and she’s as straight as the day is long.”
Oakland Pride issued an apology on Facebook yesterday, claiming that Uribe was misquoted. From the statement: “Although it is correct that Oakland Pride will not allow nudity or sexually explicit materials at the Parade or Festival, this in no way denies the leather community from participating.”