Taking back the rainbow

SF Pride wants Big Tech and cops out of the parade

The board will vote on the amendment on February 5.

carterdayne/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images

In a statement to SFGate, Recode, and other outlets, members of the San Francisco Pride organization said they voted to ban Google, YouTube, and the Alameda Sheriff’s Department from participating in the parade. This move is based on “YouTube’s decision in May 2019 to continue to give a platform to homophobia, racism, and harassment,” and the sheriffs forcibly removing protesters from vacant housing. YouTube and Google’s ban seems to reference the consequence-free harassment of Vox journalist Carlos Maza.

The organization’s board of directors will vote on the amendment on February 5, but members are currently investigating the extent of its legality. If approved, the companies and sheriffs would be banned from San Francisco Pride parades, starting with this year’s 50th-anniversary event.

Why now? — Critique of corporations’ sponsorship and presence in pride parades is nothing new, but moves to enact actual change picked up last year. The blatant non-response from YouTube in the case of Maza’s online harassment fueled calls for a ban from several dozen Alphabet employees and local activists.

Earlier this month, the Alameda Sheriff’s Department used militarized equipment to remove mothers from “Moms 4 Housing” squatting in an empty house owned by a commercial house-flipping company. The presence of police at pride parades — which began as protests against police brutality — is also a point of contention. The SF Pride statement indicates the sheriffs’ ban is just the beginning for law enforcement bans, and Google will not be the only corporation considered for exclusion.

“We look forward to the corporate accountability committee convening to determine if other companies should be banned as well, and to recommend to the board durable, lasting standards that ensure corporate participation in SF Pride is only an option for corporations that are responsible partners with our community.”