2003 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade

San Francisco's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade, a celebration of brash camp and inclusive labels, rollicked through the heart of the city Sunday, propelled by bare-chested Tinkerbells, grinning politicians and fresh optimism born of a landmark legal triumph just days ago.

While conceding nothing to the zany nature of past pride parades, this 33rd version carried an unusual sense of the serious issues that accompany being gay. For every chaps-clad rodeo queen came a sign-toting advocate for same-sex marriages. For every dyke on a bike, an activist demanding gay civil rights.

For the past 33 years, "gay" pride parades have distinguished San Francisco as the epicenter of the homosexual movement in America. On June 29, I was present to videotape and document with a small group of Catholic and pro-family journalists the parade and events at the Civic Center rotunda. I witnessed frontal nudity, lewd conduct, simulated acts of sodomy, and even profane slogans and caricatures mocking the pope and bishops. I filmed at least one Catholic priest, Father Edward Phelan, and members of his parish in the parade, advertising their affiliation with Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church (San Francisco.) A 15-year-old student at Mercy Catholic High School in Burlingame, Marina Gatto, daughter of a lesbian couple, trumpeted her pride in participating in the parade as a grand marshal.