The rainbow flag of Pride waves over a diverse, complicated, label-defying, unclassifiable spectrum of peoples, proclivities, orientations, gender identities, colors, zoological physiognomies, positions, and preferences. There’s way more to the queer alphabet than just LGBTQ. Here’s a very incomplete, not-entirely-representative list of just a few types you might encounter during Pride weekend. 

1.  Cruise Directors

That friend who has something scheduled for every second of the weekend – and about twice as many costume changes. Likely a Career Queer (e.g., an LGBTQ activist, a nonprofit employee, or a personal stylist),  they are  one connected homo with a smartphone glued to their palm and the coordinates set for the next event.

Looking for: his friend who’s working the door

Drug of choice: Red Bull vodka, networking

Most likely seen: everywhere

2. Your Ex

San Francisco is a small town. If you’re queer, it’s even smaller. You’ll inevitably spot this figure from your past. Just be cool.

Looking for: probably not you

Drug of choice: anything to ease the tension

Most likely seen: they could literally be anywhere, but you’ll probably find yourself standing behind them in a long line at the bar

3.  Corporate Shills (a.k.a. Gay for Pay)

This Bank of America/Smirnoff/Randy Blue employee rep is all smiles and nice abs and is here to tell you that Bank of America/Smirnoff/Randy Blue cares about Diversity.™ Stick around him long enough, and you’ll likely get some free stuff – though is it really free?

Looking for: positive brand association

Drug of choice: money

Most likely seen: in a booth near you


4. Freaky Fringe of the Sexual Avant-Garde

Positively sex-positive, these folks are into something in a big way, and they’re not ashamed to march about it. It may not be clear what exactly they’re into, but they are most definitely into it.

Looking for: NSFW

Drug of choice: NSFW

Most likely seen: NSFW

5. The Out and Proud Out-of-Towners

Only their blood-alcohol levels exceed their level of excitement to be here. Whether they’re from Walnut Creek or Wisconsin, these pilgrims have flocked to our foggy city like it’s Dorothy’s Emerald one. Give them a hug – like all tourists, they’re probably cold.

Looking for: a sexy hookup story to tell their friends back home

Drug of choice: Shots! Shots! Shots!

Most likely seen: clogging the sidewalk

6. The So Over the Rainbow

These alterna-queers have been there, done that – and some of that, too, they’ll be sure to remind you. They’ll complain loudly about the tourists, say Pride has gotten too mainstream, and generally have a ’tude. But deep down their blood runs rainbow colored.

Looking for: something to roll their eyes at

Drug of choice: Oakland

Most likely seen: smoking cigarettes outside of The Bold Italic’s Big Gay Birthday Party and begrudgingly having a good time

7. The Straight but Not Narrow

Straight people: they’re a fact of life. They come to Pride in droves. They’ll woo-hoo all over the place. They mostly mean well.

Looking for: a new GBF (and maybe a little experimentation)

Drug of choice: club drugs, cultural appropriation

Most likely seen: invading your favorite bar

8. Proud Protesters Protesting Pride

Not enough nudity! Too much nudity! It wouldn’t be a San Francisco event without somebody wielding a megaphone. Pride’s first incarnation was a protest, and these folks won’t let you forget it.

Looking for: attention from that special someone – namely, the media

Drug of choice: righteous indignation, weed

Most likely seen: at Civic Center Plaza, trying to recruit you

9. Leather Daddies Who Are Actual Daddies 

Pride has always been a family affair – but less Family Matters and more Sister Sledge. Increasingly, though, the gay families of Pride have gotten downright biological. These modern clans proudly accessorize leather harnesses with Baby Bjorns.

Looking for: play dates

Drug of choice: juice

Most likely seen: at the Dolores Park playground (by day), SF Eagle (by night)

10. The Fabulous Few

These are the drag mothers, the butch boss ladies, the elite glitterati who have been giving us life for years now and show no signs of slowing down. They’re the queer veterans who keep the parties and protests going and look damn good doing so.

Looking for: adoration

Drug of choice: dripping with jewels eleganza

Most likely seen: atop their throne waving down on us