‘Queer rights are human rights.’ SLO adds new march, rally to local pride events

Fifty years after the Stonewall riots, a San Luis Obispo group is calling on community members to remember gay pride’s radical roots with a new march and rally.

Sunday’s Reclaim Pride SLO March and Rally is being organized by The Queer Crowd, a group dedicated to enriching the lives of local lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people.

“We want to remind people that there’s a lot of work to be done in the queer community,” said Reese Galido, an organizer with The Queer Crowd. “The fight isn’t over.”

A one-mile march starts at Mission Plaza at 11:30 a.m. Sunday and travels through downtown San Luis Obispo, ending with a rally and community potluck at 12:30 p.m. at Mitchell Park. Speakers include Jessie Funes, president of House of Pride & Equality in Santa Maria.

Other participating groups include 5 Cities Hope, Race Matters SLO County, SLO Democratic Socialists of America and Cal Poly Queer and/or Trans People of Color Club. (In June, 5 Cities Hope held the first-ever Five Cities Pride Celebration in Arroyo Grande.)

Those groups are participating to “march in solidarity” with the Reclaim Pride Coalition, which held a Queer Liberation March and Rally in New York City on June 30, Galido said.

“We’re doing it ... to remind people that pride started at Stonewall as a riot, to not be content with tolerance and acceptance but really fight for a right to thrive in our community,” Galido said.

“It’s not just about queer people,” she added, noting that march participants also want to call attention to issues including affordable housing, immigration, police brutality and the environment. “We’re really marching for everything.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, spurred by a police raid on a Greenwich Village gay bar. Those demonstrations are seen as a turning point in the history of LGBTQ people in America.

“We believe queer rights are human rights,” Galido said.

Sunday’s march and rally coincide with Central Coast Pride, San Luis Obispo County’s annual LGBTQ pride celebration. Now in its 23rd year, the celebration is organized by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of the Central Coast.

Pride Week festivities in San Luis Obispo include Friday’s drag show at the SLO Guild Hall, featuring stars of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and Saturday’s Technicolor Unicorn Party with DJ Suz at SLO Brew.

On Sunday, Pride in the Plaza brings an afternoon of live entertainment to Mission Plaza. Highlights include performances by “American Idol” finalist Ada Vox, Soft People and Jill Knight & the Daylights.

Galido said Sunday’s Reclaim SLO Pride March and Rally is “not meant to be an alternative” to Pride in the Plaza, but

rather “an additional part of the day.” “We timed it so you can participate in both,” she said.

For more information, visit www.thequeercrowd.com/reclaimpride.

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