San Francisco Pride Band shows off banner with their new name

The Official Band of San Francisco Has a New Name

San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band is now San Francisco Pride Band

San Francisco, CA, June 9, 2024San Francisco Pride Band is updating its name to emphasize that it includes all members of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies across the spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identity. Now more than ever, as politicians across the U.S. push transphobic agendas, the band wants to emphasize that it welcomes and embraces trans musicians.

“I’m so proud of our organization for taking this step to expand our name to be more inclusive. We’re extra proud to be spreading our message of music this Pride season and beyond,” said Chris Hewes, President of San Francisco Pride Band’s Board of Directors, continuing “This summer, we’re working on updating our logo and visual identity, so you can expect to hear more later in 2024!”

This name change is just one step in the band’s efforts to promote inclusivity. In 2020, the band established a commission program for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) composers, and has since commissioned and premiered two pieces from two talented composers, Roger Zare and Mattea Williams, with additional pieces in the works for later in 2024 and 2025.

Established in 1978, San Francisco Pride Band is the first openly-gay musical group in the world. Jon Sims founded the band as the “San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Twirling Corps,” to reflect the name of the Pride parade at the time. In the nineties, the band adopted the moniker of “San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band” to more explicitly include the lesbian women in the band’s membership.

“When I joined the Band in 1998 as a teenager, the Band had just changed its name to San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, which at the time was so important for visibility, as those who identified as lesbian were made invisible in what had then been known as the ‘gay community,’” said Mike Wong, Artistic Director of Marching and Pep. “27 years later, the Band has again moved forward, making clear that we welcome and represent everyone in the community: lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, non-binary, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, allies, and anyone else who falls under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.”

After members of the band started a discussion about making the name more inclusive, the band spent several months conducting research and surveys to decide on a new name that captured the spirit of inclusivity at the heart of the organization. The band also looked to the other LGBTQ+ musical groups that are part of the global Pride Bands Alliance, many of whom have undergone similar name changes in the last several years.

View a PDF of the Press Release →

Featured image credit: Andrea Nguyen, San Francisco Pride Band
Link to full resolution photo


Doug Litwin, Director of Marketing

About San Francisco Pride Band

San Francisco Pride Band was founded in 1978 by Jon Sims at the height of Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade. As the first openly gay music organization in the world, San Francisco Pride Band has inspired the formation of lesbian and gay bands, choruses, and performing troupes world-wide. In 2018, in honor of its 40th anniversary, the Band was named the Official Band of the City and County of San Francisco by the City’s Supervisors and Mayor London Breed. With over 150 members, the band plays over 25 events throughout the year, including community concerts, Pride and city-wide parades throughout Northern California, and the ever-popular Dance-Along Nutcracker® holiday show.

San Francisco Pride Band will be marching in the San Francisco Pride parade on Sunday, June 30, and performing at a number of events around the Bay Area during Pride Month, including SF Giants Pride Day (6/15), Trans March (6/28), and the Dyke March (6/29). You can find out more about the band at