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40 and Fabulous!

Giugno 2010
È un anno speciale per il pride di San Francisco: il punto di riferimento della comunità LGBT di tutto il mondo compie 40 anni. Abbiamo parlato con la direttrice dell'evento, che ci racconta come un momento di lotta contro le discriminazioni si sia trasformato nel tempo in una festa per tutti.

di Talitha Linehan

File audio:

Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)

San Francisco in northern California is one of the world’s most beautiful and interesting cities. In the 1960s it was the centre of the flower power movement, but since then it has become the gay capital of the world. In actual fact the correct term today is “LGBT”: “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender.”
Every June the city’s LGBT community celebrates its existence with a massive “Pride Festival” and this year marks the 40th anniversary of the first ever event. Over a million people will attend the parade, which will take place over the weekend of June 26th and 27th. It will feature men in dresses, women on bicycles, marching bands and rainbow flags. There will also be concerts and other performances on 20 stages, and hundreds of booths.
In order to find out more, Speak Up went to see Amy Andre, the executive director of the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee. The gay movement essentially began in June 1969, when customers at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, rioted against police harrassment. Amy Andre explains what happened next:

Amy Andre (Standard American accent):

The very first event happened 40 years ago in June and it was the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York. And a group of LGBT activists decided to commemorate the one-year anniversary by having a parade down Polk Street, which is in the downtown area. And that was considered the very first Pride Parade in San Francisco. And, 40 years later, we’re still making the event happen every year. It has grown quite a bit. I think the first year it was just a couple of hundred people: now we have hundreds of thousands of people who show up to see the parade, participate in the parade and be part of the celebration. We actually have a two-day celebration the last Saturday and Sunday of June. We have events throughout the Downtown area, in the Civic Center Plaza, and it’s just a wonderful time for people.


Quite how San Francisco became the world’s LGBT capital is a mystery. We asked Amy Andre to explain:

Amy Andre:

A lot of people say that it goes back towards the end of World War II, when the reputation for San Francisco as being a place for LGBT folks to live and to be able to be comfortably “out.” A lot of folks say that that was the start of San Francisco being known as an LGBT-friendly location, but there are other historians who say that it goes back even further, that, as early as Gold Rush times during the mid-1800s and moving forward, that San Francisco always had a reputation for being an open and welcoming city.


Whatever its origins, today San Francisco’s parade isn’t only for LGBT people:

Amy Andre:

The parade and celebration is for everyone. The theme is to celebrate pride in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. But I would say that a significant portion of the people who attend are not lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. They are allies to our community who are interested in celebrating with us. And I welcome them. In fact I encourage allies because I think it’s a wonderful way for communities to get to know one another and to have an understanding of one another’s culture.

For more information about this year’s festival, see www.sfpride.org


The Castro District is probably the most famous gay neighborhood in the world. Many gay people live there and many more come from all over the world to visit its gay shops, bars, clubs and restaurants and attend its many gay festivals and other events. The most famous buildings and landmarks in Castro include:

• Castro Theatre, a movie theatre that was built in 1922.
• Twin Peaks, the first gay bar in San Francisco and possibly in the US.
• Pink Triangle Park, a city park named after the pink triangles sewn to gay prisoners targeted by the Nazis during World War II.
• Harvey Milk Plaza, named after one of the most famous gay activists ever, Harvey Milk. He lived in Castro in the 1960s and ‘70s and owned a camera shop there.

The Stonewall Story

The first ever Pride Parade happened in June 1970 to commemorate the Stonewall riots of the previous year. The Stonewall riots were a series of violent demonstrations against a police raid by the gay community of Greenwich Village in New York City. This was the first time gay people fought back against the government for allowing discrimination against sexual minorities. It marked the beginning of the gay rights movement.
Since then society’s attitude to LGBT people has changed dramatically. Most governments no longer tolerate discrimination of any kind against people based on their sexual identity or preference. And some governments recognize marriage between people of the same sex. However, LGBT people continue to fight for their rights all over the world.

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rainbow flags - bandiere arcobaleno.

stages - palcoscenici.

booths - stand.

rioted against police harassment - si ribellarono contro le molestie della polizia.

it has grown quite a bit - è cresciuto un bel po’.

who show up - che arrivano.

folk - persone.

comfortably "out" - apertamente, senza nascondersi.

Gold Rush - corsa all'oro.

allies - amici, alleati.

sewn - cucito addosso.

riots - disordini.

dramatically - in modo straordinario.