Packed San Francisco Pride Parade Honors Orlando

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SAN FRANCISCO -- At first glance, it would be hard to tell the San Francisco Pride Parade was anything but a giant party, with its music stages, large dance areas and waving flags. But beyond the spectacle and the outfits, talk to almost anyone who was there, and you'll realize this year, there was a much deeper undercurrent to the rent.

"What happened in Orlando is very traumatic, it is. And there's a lot of healing that needs to go on in our community, but today, this weekend, us being here, not afraid to be out and we're proud, that's actually a bigger statement," said Andrew Gutierrez, a gay high school teacher.

"I think that we stood with Orlando being San Francisco," said Jocelyn Ashford, a Pride-goer who came with a large group from her company."

Responses like these were plentiful throughout the day.

Security was a top priority. The nearly 1 million people that blanketed San Francisco's downtown streets had to walk through metal detectors, and there were 25 percent more officers patrolling pride than in years past, according to San Francisco's Deputy Police Chief Denise Schmitt.

"We've deployed in plain clothes and uniform. We deploy early. And you know, we just try and set a tone and thankfully the community's really supportive of that," Schmitt said.

The parade went off without any major incidents.

And gay or straight, many Pride-goers say the tragic mass shooting in Orlando that targeted a gay nightclub brought this collective community closer together.

"It's just about freedom, and being able to be yourself. I think that's why people are here. And I think that's why they're here in the numbers that they are," said Carlos Roca, a supporter of the LGBT community.

These Pride-goers say that freedom, and the ability to express it, makes a much stronger statement than hate or fear.

There was some controversy after few of notable groups, Black Lives Matter among them, dropped out of the parade as a result of the heavier police presence. There were no major incidents of violence, however, and San Francisco PD officials say the parade went relatively smoothly.

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