• • • July 2019 Issue • • •


Khuong Lam wears a rainbow gown and holds a plastic purse that reads “Real as Trump”. / California Senator Kamala Harris waves a rainbow flag. / Two youths raise their fists in protest of police at Pride. / California Governor Gavin Newsom waves to the crowd.

Politics, Police and Protests of Pride 2019



House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi. California Governor Gavin Newsom. State Senator Scott Wiener. Mayor London Breed. District Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. State Senator Kamala Harris. A Bernie-less Sanders contingent.

The 49th Annual San Francisco Pride Parade on June 30 was a political traffic jam — until the celebration came to a halt.

Disregarding the barricades near Sixth and Market streets, a group of about 25 began protesting the police involvement and corporatization of pride. Just after 11 a.m., roughly 10 protestors formed a human chain across Market Street, linking arms inside of multicolored tubes.

In a video titled “Kicking off 50 minutes for 50 years since Stonewall” by Bay Area Queer Anti-Fascist Network, the group can be seen initiating the protest.

“F**k corporate pride!” they can be heard shouting. “Police are our enemies,” read a sign. “Queer trans liberation means no cops no corporations,” chanted others.

A statement from San Francisco Pride said when police responded, the situation quickly escalated.

“Once at the scene, SF Pride team members were able to assess the demonstrators’ grievances,” read the statement. “A compromise was found to get the police to retreat their presence. Pride volunteers joined hands to create a protective space around the demonstrators so that they could openly verbalize their actions.”

The delay lasted nearly an hour. By noon, police had expelled the protesters from the route, and the parade continued.

SFPD reported two protesters were arrested and taken into custody: Taryn Saldivar, 21, of Oakland, and Kenneth Bilecki, 27, of Santa Rosa. Both are charged with resisting arrest and interfering with a parade route, while Saldivar has also been charged with battery on a police officer.

“I was slammed to the ground,” read a statement from one protester. “The officers broke my glasses and my cane and pulled my pants down before handcuffing and zip-typing me and placing me in a van.”

The protester, who uses they/them pronouns according to Hoodline, continued: “In addition to mocking my disabilities and claiming I was ‘faking,’ the officers misgendered me repeatedly - even referring to me as ‘it’ and the ‘guy with long hair’ despite knowing my name and pronouns.”

They said they were held at the police station for several hours before police allowed an EMT to take them to the emergency room.

“What happened to me is just one example of why I supported a protest whose intention was to demand ‘no cops at Pride,’” their statement concludes.

According to San Francisco Pride, they have “been in contact with the District Attorney’s office and SFPD and are eager to hear the results of any pending investigation. We encourage a resolution in which all possible charges against demonstrators are dropped.

“We look forward to supporting the work that will be done to understand challenges faced by all in our evolving movement, and we reaffirm our commitment to the pursuit of equality and freedom from oppression,” read the message.

Also during the parade, a flyer with the headline, “No pride in cops or capitalism!” circulated the crowd. The list of demands called for the exclusion of police from Pride because they “uphold white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy, gender binaries and capitalist rule.” It is unclear if the flyer and protesters are connected.

Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee marches in parade wearing a yellow cape. / Person with black handprint over their mouth raises a fist in protest. / Netflix’s Tales of the City cast members (L-R) Murray Bartlett, Laura Linney, and Charlie Barnett raise transgender flags. / Grand Marshall Vince Crisostom


• • • Also in the July 2019 Issue • • •

(Photos courtesy: Giant Eye Photography)


Outside Lands Spotlight:

Rainbow Girls



Outside Lands, that beloved city within our city, is almost here, happening over the weekend of August 9th through 11th. Along with headliners like Paul Simon, Childish Gambino, and twenty one pilots, other artists from around the globe are gearing up for the festival, which has become a tour highlight on so many of their itineraries. Perhaps the artists for whom Outside Lands is the biggest deal however, are those that call the Bay Area home. Rainbow Girls, who met while at university in 2010, live in Bodega Bay, a town that is far removed from the traffic and typical scenes that one often associates with the Bay Area in recent years, but they are very much Bay Area home girls who find themselves in SF quite a lot, when not touring internationally.


Rainbow Girls’ music and vibe is all about freedom, equality, love, and life on the road. They’ve recently released an album of their favorite covers entitled Give the People What They Want, and prior to that in 2017, released American Dream, which is very much a commentary on the disparities within American culture, when it comes to pursuing that dream. 2019 seems like a perfect year for Rainbow Girls to play OSL for the first time, as the festival has come to benefit more and more causes that Rainbow Girls and so many of us can get behind. Along with their record for being the greenest festival of its size around, (having diverted 92% of waste from landfill last year), and for Outside Lands Works’ contributions to seven Bay Area groups, including Youth Arts Exchange and Women’s Audio Mission, this year’s Sunday night closer, Paul Simon, has announced that he will be donating 100% of his profit to the San Francisco Parks Alliance and to Friends of the Urban Forest.


Rainbow Girls’ Caitlin Gowdey chatted to Castro Courier about Outside Lands, American Dream, and life in Bodega Bay, where she shares a home with bandmates Vanessa May and Erin Chapin.


Wendy: Rainbow Girls play all manner of different venues, from clubs to house concerts to festivals, but you’ve never played Outside Lands. You play so many intimate shows, where it’s easy to pick up on your intricate harmonies, but Outside Lands brings in tens of thousands of people. How will that change how you get ready for your set?


Catlin: Obviously, we’re very excited. We’re doing the trio set that we have been doing on tour, but we’re bringing in our drummer, Liliana [Urbain], to drum with us for a couple songs at the end of the set, which is what we did for High Sierra [Music Festival]. It’s what we do for festivals that have a bigger stage and require more sound. So, we’re bringing in drums; we’re bringing in a keyboard, pedal boards, and electric guitars, and just pumping up the whole thing. I think we’re gonna bring what we did at High Sierra, but with a couple more days of rehearsal, and maybe throw in some new songs.


Wendy: For anybody who’s not familiar with your music, Rainbow Girls are a trio now, and have more of an acoustic folk sound, generally, than you used to have when you were more of a plugged-in five piece. The result is a focus on harmonies over an acoustic launch pad; it almost sounds as if you’re one person when you sing together.


Catlin: Thank you! I think it’s the result of spending so much time together, living together, working together, traveling together; we have pretty much become one creature, one human, by this point.


Wendy: You all live together in Bodega Bay, which is the Bay Area, but it’s still kind of removed from the whole Bay Area hardcore tech scene. You can’t even always get reception out where you are, right?


Catlin: Right. It’s kind of the opposite of the tech scene, which is nice. It’s the cow scene.


Wendy: You’ve been touring on your album American Dream....


Catlin: We [also] came out with a cover record a couple months ago, called Give the People What They Want. It was pretty much because of that video we had that went kind of viral, the “Down Home Girl” video. We learned this song, “Down Home Girl,” the Alvin Robinson song. We had been wanting to learn that song for years; it’s kind of a staple in our van. Everyone who rides in the van has heard us play that song. A half hour after learning it we [made the video for it]. We just did it real quick and dirty  -  put a phone on a tower of dressers and lamps and books to make it the right height, and then just played it on the porch. Something about it, I think because it was so real, and wasn’t very polished, it didn’t have the internet kind of make up that a lot of YouTube videos have now, it caught on. Because of that video doing so well, we ended up recording an album so we could have a recorded version of that song.


Wendy: When you’re playing out lately, are Rainbow Girls playing a combination of everything, the covers, earlier work, and songs from American Dream?


Catlin: Yeah. We usually do a couple of songs off of the cover record, but we try not to do too many covers, because we don’t want people to think we’re a cover band. We’re trying to also promote the album, so it’s a fine line, a delicious dance (laughs).


Wendy: American Dream is your most political work, with songs that take on some of the injustices that are happening in our country. Was American Dream a conscious choice to go in the direction of putting out songs that take a stand on more serious issues? The release date was November ٨th ٢٠١٧, a pretty meaningful political anniversary.


Catlin: It honestly wasn’t even a conscious decision; those were just the songs we’d all been writing at the time. When we put them all together it was very clear that that was the wavelength we were all on, but we didn’t come together and say, “We’re gonna do a political album now.”


Wendy: You have a song on the album called “Cameron Sterling” about Alton Sterling’s son.


Catlin: “Cameron Sterling” is one of Erin’s song’s and I believe she wrote it after we were listening to the news. It’s just so shameful. It’s a song about grief, and the inherent dignity of human beings, and how everyone deserves to be treated like their lives matter. It’s incredibly unjust and it’s up to everyone to be a part of the solution, to try and say something, and to stand up for everyone who’s losing their fathers, and their brothers, and their sisters and mothers, and families are being torn apart. We’re so lucky [if] we can drive down the street and not worry about being pulled over for a broken taillight or something, and end up dead. Everyone deserves to feel safe, and that’s not how how it is right now, and it makes us really angry and sad, but also, the song is a celebration of his wife, and his son, and family. His family is so beautiful and strong.


Wendy: Did you write “Song For Standing Rock?”


Catlin: Yeah, that one is mine. The sides were so clear in that battle, who was really strong and on the side of love, and on the side of sustainability and the future, All the indigenous people - their struggle, and their community, and the ability to come from all over the world and stand together was so beautiful and inspiring. It just represented all the people who, despite the craziness, and this [atmosphere] of greed that our society seems to be in right now, there are still so many people standing up for what they believe in, and trying to help on the borders, and trying to help refugees, give asylum in Unitarian churches, or underground railroads for refugees. People are being arrested for helping people on the border, and people are standing up in Oakland, and standing up in Atlanta, standing up in Ferguson. All over the country people are banding together amongst terrible injustice. The song is about people’s ability to stay strong with each other. It’s a call to stand up.

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