SF State associate dean chosen as grand marshal for SF Pride Parade

I’m not unusual in the College of Ethnic Studies. There are lots of us who are involved in social change for economic and racial justice,” says Amy Sueyoshi, who has been chosen as a community grand marshal for this year’s SF Pride.

Amy Sueyoshi of the College of Ethnic Studies was selected for honorary role by SF Pride’s directors

Amy Sueyoshi, associate dean of SF State’s College of Ethnic Studies, will serve as an honorary community grand marshal at this year’s San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration and Parade on June 24-25.

Sueyoshi, the event's first Japanese-American grand marshal, was chosen by Pride’s board of directors. Several other community grand marshals were chosen in a public vote or a membership vote.

“It’s a great honor, and I was totally surprised when I found out I was nominated,” she said. “There are so many incredible people on the list. I thought it would be a long shot, honestly.”

She hopes to use the grand marshal position as a platform to promote the work she’s involved in, including SF State’s College of Ethnic Studies and its queer ethnic studies initiative, which encompasses a graduate student scholarship and a robust curriculum on queers of color. “A lot of people in the college are very involved in community organizations and activism for economic and racial justice,” she said. “I’m grateful to be a part of larger movement. What’s even more amazing is the long legacy of SF State affiliates honored as grand marshals at Pride, both as alums and faculty.”

Sueyoshi is a leading scholar of queer Asian American history and a historian by training who specializes in sexuality, gender and race. She came to SF State in 2002 as a faculty member hired to teach in both Race and Resistance Studies and Sexuality Studies. She is the author of “Queer Compulsions: Race, Nation, and Sexuality in the Affairs of Yone Noguchi.” She has a second book on the costs of gender and sexual freedom in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, titled "Discriminating Sex: White Leisure and the Making of the 'American Oriental,'” forthcoming in March 2018.

Sueyoshi said she has fond memories of her first Pride weekend in the early 2000s and of participating in the annual Dyke March, which takes place during Pride week. Groups of gay men cheered along 18th Street as the march left Dolores Park.

“They were hanging out their windows draped in signs that said ‘DYKE POWER.’ They were cheering for us and throwing necklaces from the top floors,” she said. “It was so moving, in a world where there’s so much misogyny, as well as homophobia, that gay men would be out there rooting for us and straight folks on the corner would be applauding us. It made me want to cry.”

San Francisco's Pride Celebration has been criticized in recent years for taking on too much corporate sponsorship, but Sueyoshi says the spirit of fun and the celebration of diversity remains.