San Diego’s 39th annual “pride” parade and festival was held the weekend of July 12–14.
With the theme Freedom to Love and Marry, this year’s parade celebrated the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that overturned a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, the initiative that amended the state constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The weekend kicked off Friday evening with a Spirit of Stonewall rally and the raising of a giant rainbow flag at the intersection of Normal Street and University Avenue in Hillcrest.
While the rally was happening, Catholic prayer warriors including me attended a Mass and Eucharistic benediction at nearby St. John the Evangelist Church. Afterward, we set out on a prayer walk for purity and chastity in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Displaying a picture of Our Mother of Perpetual Help and a crucifix, our group prayed aloud all the mysteries of the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet and sang Ave Marias as we traversed the parade route along University and Sixth Avenues.
In response, pride festival-goers yelled “F*** Jesus” at our prayer group and screamed loudly or laughed in mockery and derision to try to drown out our prayers. One man became angry at our presence, following us in an attempt to intimidate, and accusing us of being a “cult.” But, thanks be to God, our group was able to complete its walk safely and glorify our Lord Jesus through peaceful, prayerful witness.
The next day, Saturday July 13, we attended the parade. We parked at St. Joseph Cathedral and then walked up to Balboa Park. On our way, we passed a booth manned by members of the Rock Church’s Agape Road Ministry, an outreach to people with same-sex attraction, who were giving out free bottles of water. It was good to see these Christian brothers and sisters; we spoke with them for several minutes before moving on.
We stationed ourselves near the end of the parade route at the corner of Upas Street and Sixth Avenue. In past years, a group of Christian men holding signs stating the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality have stood there, with police officers nearby. However, this year there was only one man, who later told us that his name was Paul and that he was from a church in Norwalk. We stood a few feet away from him as the parade got underway but kept an eye on him in case the crowds started to hassle him.
Motorcycle-riding lesbians kicked off the parade, followed by grand marshals La Toya Jackson and former Star Trek actor George Takei.
Uniformed contingents from the major military branches marched.
As usual, politicians—mostly Democrat, but including at least one Republican—participated:
Openly lesbian Republican San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis rode with her sex partner, Denise Nielsen.
Congresswoman Susan Davis waved a rainbow flag.
Democrat District 39 state senator Marty Block bullhorned “Happy pride!” to the crowds.
Lesbian state assembly member and former abortion clinic director Toni Atkins, who authored AB 154 to expand the list of healthcare professionals allowed to perform early abortions, participated in the parade, as she usually does.
One liberal Democrat politician who did not participate in this year’s parade was San Diego mayor Bob Filner, apparently too ashamed to show up due to accusations of heterosexual harassment.
Many major corporations participated in or sponsored the parade and festival:
– Wells Fargo stagecoach festooned with rainbow balloons
– Vons LGBT Alliance
– U.S. Bank and the Greater San Diego Business Association, San Diego’s homosexual chamber of commerce
– Wells Fargo banner showing its partnership with GLSEN in “helping to make it better for LGBT youth.”
– Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air
– Alaska Airlines
– Cox Communications
– SDG&E/Sempra Energy
– Chipotle restaurants
– Top Flooring, which also threw condoms to the crowd.
Other corporate sponsors and participants included:
– Anheuser-Busch, makers of Budweiser beer
– Radio stations 91X, Jammin’ Z90, Magic 92.5, Clear Channel stations Channel 933 and Kiss 95.7, Star 94.1, Energy 103.7, 100.7 Jack FM, Radio Latina 104.5, Walrus 105.7, and KPRI
– CityBeat Magazine
– Manchester Grand Hyatt
– Astroglide and ID Lube sexual lubricants
– Barefoot Wine
– Motrin (pain reliever)
– Pacific San Diego Magazine
– Daphne’s (Greek food) and Burger Lounge eateries
– Kaplan College
– San Diego County Credit Union
– Sycuan and Valley View Casinos
– Geek Squad
– ESET Internet Security
Especially troubling was the fact that many healthcare organizations took part in celebrating behaviors that pose grave personal and public health risks:
– Veterans Administration
– Walgreens drugstores
– UC San Diego Medical Center ambulance, decorated with a rainbow flag
– American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Why are they marching in a parade that celebrates a “lifestyle” that leads to higher rates of suicide?
– San Diego Psychological Association
– Red Cross, which has supported a more lenient policy regarding gay male blood donations
– American Cancer Society
– Johnson & Johnson
– UCSD Health Systems UCSD Antiviral Research Center
– CareFusion, a medical device maker
Traditional Christianity, of course, was also mocked and attacked . . . except for churches that have already capitulated to the gay agenda:
– Pilgrim United Church of Christ
– Carlton Hills Lutheran
– St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral
– United Church of Christ
– First Lutheran Church
– University Christian Church
– United Church of Christ
And what pride parade would be complete without the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, men who dress as bizarre caricatures of Catholic nuns, insulting Catholicism? Here, members of the San Diego Sisters, aka The Asylum of the Tortured Heart, were cheered by the crowd.
Extreme sex deviants, including sadomasochists and other fetishists, paraded proudly in front of the children:
Number one baby butcher Planned Parenthood gave out–what else?–condoms as they passed by.
Gender-bending drag queens and scantily-clad dancers rounded out the perverse spectacle.
Toward the end of the parade, we noticed that the crowd was starting to hassle Paul, the Christian man with the sign, so we stood by him to protect him. Someone had placed a Human Rights Campaign sticker on Paul’s back, which I removed. The group bills itself as “the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.”
A young man who disagreed with Paul’s message stood next to him with a hastily-created hand-lettered sign that said, “He’s Gay,” with an arrow pointing toward him.
The young man asked me, “Do you accept this?”–meaning, did I approve of the parade and accept homosexuality? When I replied, “No,” he told me he didn’t give a f*** what I think and began hurtling a stream of additional F-bombs at me.
After the parade, we walked over to the festival area. On our way, we encountered more street preachers. I recognized one of them as a young man who had also preached at the Earth Fair in April.
Inside the festival area, we were sadly shocked to see Ralphs grocery stores hosting the Children’s Garden, an area for face painting, carnival games, and arts and crafts for small kids.
The festival also included a Youth Zone, described as a “hub for LGBT, ally, and questioning youth, hosted by the Pride Youth Committee, the Hillcrest Youth Center, and GLSEN San Diego. The area features a place to hang out with friends, dance, play games, and enjoy Pride.”
Elsewhere inside the festival, children and youth were able to pass by blatant sex-themed booths offering “Bisexual Kissing,” the ability to “Meet Nude Men,” Astroglide sexual lubricant, Hustler products, and polyamory.
We also saw the Log Cabin Republicans of San Diego booth, manned by Ralph Denney and featuring multiple Carl DeMaio campaign posters.
As disturbing as these booths were, they paled in comparison to the Leather Realm, a festival area that celebrates sadomasochism, bondage, and other forms of deviant sex, such as “red hankies” (fisting) and “yellow hankies” (urine).
I’d visited the Leather Realm in prior years, when it was confined to a smaller area within the festival grounds. All entrants were required to be age 18 or older and to show ID before being admitted. In previous years, photography was strictly prohibited.
However, I was unpleasantly surprised to find that this year the Leather Realm occupied a much larger area inside the festival grounds. Although we were still carded, we were freely able to take photos.
In one section, a lecture was being given on the joys of master-slave sex bondage. In another, sex dungeon apparatuses such as whips, a St. Andrew’s cross, and spanking benches were displayed, and audience participants were invited to try them out.