Melanie Nathan: This past Sunday at SAN FRANCISCO PRIDE, 2022, I had the great honor to present, on San Francisco Civic Center Plaza Main-Stage, an historic and poignant PRIDE video greeting from UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Dr. Filippo Grandi, preceded by the courageous voices of LGBTQI+ people in forced displacement. The Video can be viewed HERE on YouTube.
In a world where over 70 countries criminalize LGBTQI+ people, and where demonization, violence and persecution forces many thousands into displacement, this message for PRIDE from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was so deeply meaningful.
HERE IS THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE SPEECH LEADING INTO THE VIDEO: (Note crazy grammar is for speech emphasis purposes) AD LIB WARM UP..... THANK YOU FOR THAT WARM WELCOME. THANK YOU SF PRIDE..... HELLO SAN FRANCISCO – It is incredibly uplifting to feel the LOVE here in San Francisco today – and that is because we are celebrating Pride. To many of us the word CELEBRATION is the same as PROTEST. – BECAUSE- OUR VISIBILITY here today serves the greater WORLD WIDE ecology - WITH OUR VERY presence, HERE, we are in fact platforming our PROTEST against a world where not only are we so often ostracized and demonized but also where we are STILL criminalized, giving license to brutal violence.
It is war, it is climate change - and it is criminalization and persecution that tears us away from the most fundamental human right of all AND THAT is to LIVE SAFELY AND PEACEFULLY - PRIVATELY OR OPENLY - IN ONE’S OWN COUNTRY. AND in one's own STATE. Even Here in America we are now faced with legislation and Supreme Court rulings that can make us refugees in our own country.
No one should be attacked by their government, their neighbor, church, doctor, teacher, parent, sibling, friend, for being LGBTQI+. Yet this happens all over the world – even in America and worse yet - in the over 70 countries that call ALL LGBTQI+ people, criminals.
We get to stand here today and have a collective resounding SHOUT OUT to the WORLD - that says - we are lesbian- we are gay -we are bisexual -we are transgender -we are non-binary- we are intersex -we are queer- and more - and we are here in ALL our intersections - and with that we know that it IS LOVE THAT UNITES US – (see this portion HERE.)
OUR LOVE is one that has a depth of meaning that stands in deep and stark contrast to the unyielding BIGOTRY and HATE that we must continually fend off.
YOU cannot underestimate YOUR significance in being here today.
When we all stand together our love is like a giant unifying bridge that traverses’ continents and oceans. Like the bright flare from a lighthouse reaching out to a very stormy dangerous sea, THIS SF Pride BEACON reflects a critical beam of life saving light on WHAT IS possible. GIVING HOPE to those who are living in demonizing environments.
For 52 YEARS SF HAS SHOWN the WORLD the way: Has been the light for this hope. Telling our LGBTQI+ GLOBAL FAMILY - that their lives ARE worth living. That we are not satanic, we are not deranged, we are not unworthy we are NOT a lifestyle. We are NOT what those evangelicals, fundamentalists and RIGHT WING politicians preach.
The beacon of Pride reflects that we are ALL EQUAL, we love and are loved and that indeed there is a world which will embrace all of us. Someday everywhere …
Today on this STAGE- we will hear from refugees and asylum seekers, some in hiding, courageously bringing you a greeting. IN THIS VIDEO you will be the first to hear an HISTORIC PRIDE message from The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees DR. Filippo Grandi - from UNHCR in Geneva – who leads the world's response to the current catastrophic crisis - of over 100 MILLION REFUGEES, WORLDWIDE.
And so in return – WE here today are reaching to send our love to all those people around the world who are forcibly displaced, migrants, stateless, - refugees, asylum seekers, those in exile- safe shelters – and hiding…. YOU - SAN FRANCISCO are FAMILY for LGBTQI+ people in forced displacement- and it is your love that will keep us together to decolonize human sexuality - TO decriminalize - to assert our very basic human right to our sexuality , gender identity and sex characteristics. SO we can all live openly and freely including agency over our own bodies in our own home countries and states.
HAPPY PRIDE - A'LUTA CONTINUA - THANK YOU.
THANKS: Many thanks to United Nations High Commissioner for refugees, Dr. Filippo Grandi, San Francisco Pride team under the leadership of Suzanne Ford, ED and Carolyn Wysinger, Board president, the Main Stage Production team, under the leadership of Jenn Stokes, Hahn Ponder, Video Editor and all those who participated in the 20 minute Pride segment, including the AHRC team as seen in credits of Video. As well as REAL CHEMISTRY for the kind donation that made the video possible.
THE SPEECH - clip....
(SCRIPT MESSAGE of Dr. Grandi.
PHOTO CREDIT AND BIG THANK YOU TO BILL WILSON FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.