The Resilience of the LGBTQIA+ Community: San Francisco Pride During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Every June, communities come together to celebrate the achievements of the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month. Pride month recognizes the history of the Gay Liberation Front, as well as the achievements of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Since the conception of Pride, the month has honored the continued struggle for LGBTQIA+ equality and human rights. While many LGBTQIA+ rights have advanced since the first Pride, the past year marked a historic rise in anti- LGBTQIA+ legislation, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

In a time where homophobia and transphobia are on the rise, it’s important that the community comes together to celebrate the each individuals and fight for LGBTQIA+ liberation. But unfortunately, this year, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented many cities from continuing in-person Pride traditions.

While the pandemic has halted the majority of Pride traditions within San Francisco, one tradition remains — The annual Pink Triangle art installation. For nearly 26 years, the Pink Triangle has resided on Twin Pinks overlooking San Francsico.

Today the upside-down pink triangle gleams as a sign of hope but that has not always been the case — the symbol was originally born from a horrific time for human rights. During the Holocaust, Nazis used the triangle to distinguish and marginalize LGBTQIA+ individuals in concentration camps. In the late 20th century, the LGBTQIA+ reclaimed the symbol as a form of empowerment — ridding the symbol of its power to harm the queer and trans* community.

The Pink Triangle rests on the highest hill within San Francisco, for all to see. Photo taken by Kaitlyn Hodge.

In the night sky, the Pink Triangle illuminates over the city of San Francisco, reminding the city of the LGBTQIA+ community’s resilience — especially during global pandemic and a world that continues to deny LGBTQIA+ people their humanity.

View of the Pink Triangle lit up at night that consists of 2,700 bright pink lights. Photo taken by Kaitlyn Hodge.

On the other hand, 2021 marked the beginning of a new Pride tradition within the Tenderloin of San Francisco. This year, the community of Tenderloin hosted their first annual Tenderloin Pride festival to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community, on June 19, 2021. The event consisted of live performances, drag shows, DJ sets, as well as an array of merchants and vendors.

LGBTQIA+ performers standing together on the mainstage after their performances. Photo taken by Kaitlyn Hodge.

The festival benefited the local community by providing mutual aid and services to unhoused and LGBTQIA+ individuals within San Francsico.

Individuals at Tenderlion Pride dancing to performance. Photo taken by Kaitlyn Hodge.

Many LGBTQIA+ individuals came out to celebrate Pride after over a year of shelter in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As many in-person events were canceled, the event gave community members an opportunity to express and celebrate their queerness.

LGBTQIA+ attendees respond to questions about being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and Pride. By Kaitlyn Hodge.
Saba Fazeli attends Pride as a form of resilience. Photo taken by Kaitlyn Hodge.

“As a queer person, I find that the LGBTQIA+ community has been a place I can feel free to be as feminine, gay, straight, or whatever I want with no judgment — to me, this means knowing I have a place where I can feel at home in my gender and sexual identity, even if it’s still being defined,” Fazeli said. “Pride is a celebration of the freedom of this community and the spaces we inhabit. It recognizes how far we have come.”

Throughout the Castro rainbow flags decorate the landscape regardless of if it’s Pride Month. Photo by Kaitlyn Hodge

End Credits:

Video Editor: Kaitlyn Hodge
Video Footage: Kaitlyn Hodge
Photos: Kaitlyn Hodge
Interviewer: Kaitlyn Hodge
Infographic: Kaitlyn Hodge
Text: Kaitlyn Hodge