The colors of the iconic Pride Flag and its many design variations celebrate the open-minded and inclusive, fluid diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community and beyond. (Photos by Charles Vincent McDonald)

Sacramento Shows Its True Colors at the Sac Pride March

Local businesses and organizations demonstrate their support for the queer community

Back Web Only Jun 17, 2022 By Charles Vincent McDonald

Sacramento’s Capitol Mall, usually dominated by the staid State Capitol and gray government offices, exploded into color last weekend for the first full-scale, in-person Sac Pride March and Festival since 2019. An estimated 20,000 people attended the two-day event, which included music stages, vendors and a parade on Sunday. 

Hosted by the Sacramento LGBT Center since 1984, the annual festival is a commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, when members of the gay community fought back against a regime of violent police raids against the Stonewall Inn and other gay and lesbian bars. The riots and the national attention they brought to the gay and lesbian community sparked the gay rights movement, leading eventually to the 1978 founding of the Sacramento LGBT Center.

While the gay community once held such a pariah status that only the Mafia would own gay and lesbian bars (including the Stonewall Inn), there is now not only an ethical but a clear economic case for businesses to support queer inclusion. According to the Pride Co-op, an LGBTQ-focused market research agency, the buying power of the LGBTQ community in the United States is more than $1.4 trillion. That community includes up to 21 percent of Gen Z and 16 percent of millennials, according to the agency’s research.

But Gen Z and millennials are especially wary of corporate pandering and “pinkwashing”: marketing that attempts to appeal to the queer community but isn’t backed up by action on the part of the companies. A company might change the icon on its corporate social media accounts to a rainbow flag for Pride Month, for example, but quietly donate to political candidates that support anti-gay legislation. 

One way small businesses can take part in Pride without pinkwashing is to support organizations like the Sacramento LGBT Center and PFLAG Sacramento (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) that are working to make grassroots change in the community and care for its members. At the Sac Pride March on June 12, several of these local organizations and the businesses that support them turned out in full-colored force.

A group of approximately 50 bikers from various motorcycle clubs from around Northern California (including Sisters of Scota WMC, Majestic Riders MC, and Dikes on Bikes MCSF) rode past the State Capitol Building during the Sac Pride Parade on June 12, 2022.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg acknowledged the assembled crowd from the lead automobile in the Sac Pride Parade.

Ebony Chambers, director of family and youth partnership at Stanford Youth Solutions, participated in the Sac Pride Parade.

On the Stonewall Pavilion stage, Clive Maxx (on the left) and Apple Adams (on the right) introduced the Mariachi Bonitas de Dinorah Klinger (in the background). Established in 2020, Mariachi Bonitas is an all-female mariachi band created to share the captivating art of mariachi music.

Capital Cheer Elite Storm is a charitable cheerleading team that performed during the Sac Pride Festival on the Capitol Mall. The team was organized to fund and increase awareness for service organizations serving individuals with HIV/AIDS and other life-challenging conditions.

Legado Whiskey is a dark American rye founded by four women entrepreneurs. Charmaine Magale (third from the left) is one of the founders. Charmaine and her team communicated the story of Legado Whiskey, Sacramento’s first women-owned spirits company, during the Sac Pride Festival.

Working alongside Lori Ennis of PFLAG’s Greater Placer County Chapter (on the left) and Emily Zelaya, regional director of PFLAG (third from the left holding the PFLAG banner), are Delta Lambda Phi members Richard Argulo, Joseph Sais and Theodric Aguilar from Sacramento State. Delta Lambda Phi is an all-male fraternity for gay, bisexual, trans and “progressive” men.

Maya Band lead singer Gaby Marin (center) performed on the Thunder Valley Pride Stage during the Sac Pride Festival. Maya, a Latin American tribute band, presented some of the most popular crossover hits from well-known Latino artists as well as selections from movie soundtracks.

Sofia Guerrero, Ms. California Regency International 2022, enjoyed the music performed by the Maya Band at the Thunder Valley Pride Stage.

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