San Diego Pride Weekend kicks off - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego Pride Weekend kicks off

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pride Weekend festivities are set to begin Friday evening in Hillcrest with the raising of a rainbow flag up a 65-foot pole recently approved by the City Council.

The symbolic banner will wave over the traditional heart of San Diego's LGBT community. Council members this year not only approved the flagpole but also renamed a two-block roadway in Hillcrest Harvey Milk Street in honor of the slain gay rights leader.

The theme of this year's event is "America's Pride: Equality is an American Value."

Organizers also will hold their Stonewall Rally Friday in remembrance of a 1969 protest in New York City. The keynote speaker is scheduled to be Clarence Jones, a lawyer for Martin Luther King Jr. who helped draft the famous "I Have a Dream" speech.

The Pride Parade - which organizers estimate drew almost 200,000 viewers last year - will start Saturday at 11 a.m. along University and Sixth avenues in Hillcrest.

Around 400 active-duty members of the military are expected to march in the parade in uniform.

Last year, soon after the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was abolished, members of the armed services who marched wore t-shirts. Approval to wear uniforms this year was granted by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Rene Bardorf, as long as standards of appearance are maintained.

A two-day festival is set for Balboa Park, with numerous entertainment acts scheduled. Comic Sandra Bernhard will headline Saturday's slate, while British singer Natasha Bedingfield, who is straight but has a strong LGBT fan base, caps the Sunday lineup.

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