San Francisco Pride, gay marriage, and historic happenings in Furry Mecca.

by Patch O'Furr

highres_439230425

Billet Sheltie – pic by Eric Campbell.

Gay marriage just became legal across the USA.  Even if you have no plan to get one, it’s a big deal.  People of a few generations ago thought we’d have flying cars before this happened.  The writer of “Furry Force” says:

In San Francisco, the news hit right at “gay christmas”.  The city was getting ready for Pride, “the largest gathering of LGBT people and allies in the nation.”

It was already going to be one whopper of a party. But with the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry fresh off the presses, Sunday’s Pride Parade in San Francisco became a rainbow-colored, joyous celebration for the ages.

The whole country was involved. The Chief of Police called it “the largest Pride celebration ever.”  Being mainstream was a big topic. On a subcultural level, the excitement spread among “the world’s greatest concentration of furries per square mile.” Furries were in the parade in 2005, returning in 2014 and 2015.

highres_439248160

Pic by Vincent

Good experiences for furries at San Franciso Pride.

Furry organizing had more pressure than in 2014, because one leader stepped away.  For the 2015 team of two leaders (plus volunteers), with pressure, came more focus. It seemed to bring out less casual friends and more committed members (half were fursuiters.)

Around them, the parade exploded in size.  By the end, it was a record seven and a half hours of preparing and marching.  That was hard to handle.  Every furry who waited patiently past the scheduled march time deserved big hugs. (It was embarrassing to yell at everyone to get ready, then sit for 4 hours!)

2015-6-28-fursuit8

Pic by Eric Campbell.

High amounts of marchers from corporate groups caused some general displeasure: “Did Apple provide too much of a good thing at Pride Parade?” Apple’s 8,000 marchers made up 27% of the parade.  That annoyed people who want it to represent gay culture and not be watered down. It’s good to watch these issues, as Furry fandom starts encountering their own version of them from a very niche level.  (Furries were 0.17% of the parade, but the most fabulous part!)

View post on imgur.com

A large set of pics is here.

The pics give me the biggest smile – I can’t get over how awesome it was. Everyone was a rock star!  There was a lot of running up and down the street to interact with the crowd.  The front-facing banner was a good solution to contain an “unorganized mob” appearance, making a boundary to gather behind.

Surrounding contingents had nothing but praise. Some people said that Aquarius stole the show by jumping on the float behind the furries, and killing it with his dancing. See him at the end of the below video.

Fog Wolf: “I was streaming the parade and after nearly 6 hours I finally caught a glimpse of you all. I recorded it and posted it if you guys are interested!”

Spottacus: “This video leaves off much of the interview, but “furhugs are the best” on broadcast television/cable? That’s just awesome…

Next year makes 2 years of attendance and a new privilege for early application, to be farther up in line with less wait.There is talk about how to do a better presentation, like a real sound system and a flat bed trailer split into a seating area and a dance area. There was even a dream about getting a dedicated Furry event truck one day – like a mobile fursuit lounge, with awesome graphics on the sides.

highres_439247715

Pic by Vincent.

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 3.16.13 AM

Reactions elsewhere.

A very popular topic on Reddit (r/furry):  Not exactly furry, but still important. SCOTUS ends same sex marriage bans nationwide!

From Dean on the Bay Area Furries list:  “Hiya fuzzballs!! On this historic day, I share with you a short film of furry as well as LGBT interest about a man and his werewolf boyfriend. Extremely cute! Watch and enjoy. 🙂

Pride seeks feedback.

Dear Bay Area Furries,

A heartfelt and warm thank you, for your contingent’s particpation in the 2015 Parade, from myself, my assistant Mike Taft, the whole Parade crew, the SF Pride staff, and our Board of Directors!

We’re still wrapping up from the event, as well as doing some discovery around issues all of us encountered, which we would like to address.

Primarily, the longest Parade ever!  Seven hours was never on our planning boards, as it should have maybe stretched out to 5.5 hours at the most, by our calculations.  Plus, the Parade was moving quickly and keeping pretty much on time for almost all of the first half.

So what took it so long?  Things we could not entirely control.  There were a few situations that required emergency vehicles to cross or enter the route, stopping the Parade for several minutes each time.  There was construction on one of the feeder streets and in the dispersal area that we were promised would be cleared — and was not.  This contributed to a delay in later contingents moving, as well as later contingents leaving the route.

We’re hearing from some of the media personnel that contingents were stopping in front of the TV cameras or allowing the on-the-street media to stop their vehicles for interviews — both of which we mentioned should not occur during our contingent monitor trainings and in the confirmation packet.

At least two vehicles stalled, one along the Parade route, requiring us to reroute around it after seeing if it would restart.

So, during the next six months, we’ll continue gathering more facts, evaluating these issues, and coming up with some possible solutions to get us back to a shorter Parade.

We’re also wondering if your contingent marching numbers experienced a surge due to the extraordinary and joyous news from the SCOTUS decision on Friday morning?  The media is asking us for numbers, and we’d like to have something more accurate than our current guesstimate.  If you could please reply back and let me know if you think you had more than you registered, and what that number was, I’d appreciate it!  It will also help us with our planning for next year.

What I am most proud of is how ALL of you, even given the lateness of your step-off and longer than usual waits, remained cheerful, uplifted, and high energy from that first stride onto Market until you turned left onto Eighth Street!  I was really very moved by the unity.

Looking forward to what great things we can do together, in 2016!

Happy July 4th,
Parade Manager

A little more…

highres_439248348

Pic by Vincent.

This story is dedicated to furry friend Acton, a “conservative activist” and Hello Kitty collector who gets very upset to see these events welcomed by the community. He insists that he is “100% heterosexual”, and wants you to stop making him think about cuddling and reading Hello Kitty bedtime stories with a daddy bear. This dedication is brought to you by the color pink, and the word Apophasis.  kitty2