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Sidewalks fill as cities celebrate gay community

SAN FRANCISCO — The sidewalks of downtown San Francisco were crowded with revelers on Sunday as the city marked its 42nd year celebrating the lesbian, gay and transgender community.

More than 200 floats, vehicles and marching bands were taking part, including a contingent of uniformed San Francisco police officers and sheriff's deputies who waved rainbow flags and received shouts of encouragement as they marched down Market Street, San Francisco's main thoroughfare.

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown waved as he rode by in a yellow convertible. A jail bus, adorned with rainbow banners, blared its siren and flashed its lights. Crowds of several people deep lined the sidewalks on both sides of Market Street, and the crescendo seemed to increase as two men walked by hand-in-hand waving a sign that read "Frank and Joe, 12 Years Together."

Jeff Haas said he and his wife, Susie, have been coming to watch the parade since the first one in 1968, missing only a few years in between.

"I'm really proud of the city and I think it's wonderful that we continue to celebrate this," Susie Haas said.

Organizers said San Francisco's weekend events are the largest LGBT gathering in the nation, but thousands of attendees were also celebrating in Chicago and New York City.