SAN DIEGO–The San Diego Pride and the California Army National Guard will honor the service of transgender servicemembers and veterans at the San Diego Pride Parade on Saturday.
Parade organizers say this year’s military theme event is a direct response to the Trump Administration’s attack on the trans community through “harmful shifts in policy,” including Trump’s transgender military ban,
At this year’s Spirit of Stonewall Rally, held Friday in the heart of Hillcrest, black trans performing artist Mila Jam opened up the event by singing the National Anthem as a group of all-transgender veteran honor guard presents the colors.
San Diego Pride made history in 2011 with the nation’s first LGBTQ all-branch military contingent in a Pride Parade, and again in 2012 when San Diego had the first Pride in the nation, where the Department of Defense gave approval for active duty servicemembers to wear their uniforms at the event. Trans community members have been a part of this contingent from the beginning.
On Saturday, one of the first contingents in the parade will be San Diego Pride’s 9th annual Military Contingent lead by an LGBTQ active duty servicemember color guard including an openly out trans member, and a large contingent of trans active duty servicemembers and vets.
California Army National Guard Major General Matthew Beevers will also be recognized by San Diego Pride as the Military Grand Marshal of the parade for his work to champion the rights of the trans community members and to defy Trump’s policies.
The parade will have a four ship, F15 flyover from Cal Guard’s Fresno 144th Fighter Wing to honor the transgender servicemembers who bravely serve the U.S. every day, parade organizers said.
“We clearly value the service of the transgender community, we respect their civil rights and right to serve and will do everything within our power to protect their ability to continue serving,” Maj. Gen. Matthew Beevers, Deputy Adjutant General of the California National Guard.
“Forty percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ identified because their parents throw them out on the street like garbage. That number is higher for our trans siblings. Often when young people don’t have the support network to put food in their bellies, a roof over their heads, or money to pay for their educations, they turn to serve our nation,” said Fernando Z López Jr, executive director of San Diego Pride. “This is why the LGBTQ population is higher in the military than in the general population. San Diego has the highest concentration of military personnel in the world so it makes perfect sense that our local LGBTQ servicemembers and vets continue to lead our movement on these issues and make history.”
San Diego Pride was formed in 1974 as a sponsored program of The Center for Social Services, which produced the first Lesbian and Gay Parade in San Diego in 1975 to celebrate the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion on New York’s Christopher Street. San Diego Pride was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 1994.
All proceeds from the festival and parade support San Diego Pride’s LGBTQ-centered philanthropy and year-round education and advocacy programs. For more information about the parade, visit sdpride.org/parade.