7 History Facts about LGBTQ Pride Month
Long before statehood, California had a history of persecuting individuals who did not comply with the conventional standards associated with sexuality or gender. Despite harsh rules that threatened to prosecute anyone caught in a homosexual act, same-sex relationships thrived in San Diego, especially among the city’s upper classes.
This Pride Month, you should try to learn about LGBTQ history and celebrate the diversity of our community. Here are some facts:
1. The City’s First Organized Gay Group was Founded By a Minister
Reverend Ed Hansen was a secretly gay priest at Chollas View Methodist Church in San Diego and had even interned at the Glide Memorial Methodist Church in San Francisco.
He founded “Daughters and Sons of Society” in 1967 as a way to provide emotional and moral support to the gay community. As suggested by its impartial name, members of the group kept their identities hidden. Although this limited their ability to combat prejudiced laws and homophobic discrimination, it was the first properly organized gay group in San Diego.
2. San Diego Was One of the First Cities to Establish a Gay Liberation Front (GLF) Group and Gay Studies Course
In March 1970, gay and lesbian students created a GLF group on the campus of San Diego State College. It aimed to provide support to homosexual students attempting to navigate problems. They announced the city’s first Gay-In, where lesbians and gays would openly show themselves for the first time.
The GLF continued its efforts and eventually tried to establish a non-conventional course at the San Diego State Experimental College, “The Homosexual and Society.”
3. The 1970s Had Significant Progress for the LGBTQ Community in San Diego
The Gay Center for Social Services was established in 1973, which offered a place other than bars and cruising areas for gays to socialize and find support, housing, and employment.
The Imperial Court de San Diego was formed in order to honor “drag queens” and to generate money for donations through its extravagant Coronation Balls, which were annual events that displayed drag grace and beauty. Pacific Coast Times, San Diego Son, The Prodigal, and The Inside Scoop were among the many gay publications and journals that emerged.
In 1974, the city saw its first annual Pride Parade with a small group of gays and lesbians. The number of participants over the years has grown exponentially, from 700 participants in 1980 to 30,000 in 2018.
4. The First U.S. President to Recognize Pride Month was Bill Clinton
President Bill Clinton signed Proclamation No. 7203 on June 11, 1999, declaring June to be Gay and Lesbian Pride Month for the first time in U.S. Presidential history. While the succeeding president, George W. Bush, did not recognize Pride Month, President Barrack Obama followed in Clinton’s footsteps. He even expanded it to celebrate transgender and bisexual Americans. The current sitting U.S. President Joe Biden also recognized June as Pride Month.
- Diversity Occasionally Resulted in Concerns About a Lack of Representation in The Greater Community
As progress was being made towards the acceptance of homosexuality in the 1970s, complications within the community arose. Ebony Pride and Latin Pride, for example, differentiated from the San Diego Pride Parade and held their own festivities, though they would rally together in the face of common enemies.
Presently, the Pride Parade is open to everyone, whereas the Dyke March has been a peaceful march for queer women and nonbinary people’s rights since 1981, and the Trans Day of Action is a demonstration for trans and gender non-conforming persons which began in 2005.
Most major cities in the United States, including New York, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, and San Diego, have three events to celebrate different LGBTQ+ communities. They take place on different days in June.
6. The U.S. is Not the Only Country with a Pride Month
Pride Months are observed in cities around the world, from Tokyo, Amsterdam, Athens, and Zurich to Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, and Reykjavik at different times during the year. In fact, this year, over 150 official Pride festivals and activities will take place around the world.
Since a lot of communities have chosen to postpone their Pride parades to give people more time to get vaccinated and social distancing constraints to be loosened, events are occurring both during Pride month and the five months following it.
London has celebrated Pride parades since 1972. As the U.K. tries to try and keep COVID-19 cases low as regular travel resumes, the city has delayed its Pride festivities to the weekend of September 11.
7. The First Pride Flag was Designed in 1978, and There Are At Least 30 Different Pride Flags Now
The wide spectrum of representation in the LGBTQ+ community continues to evolve with respect to sexuality, sex, gender, and attraction. Therefore, the pride flags we see today are more inclusive and diverse than the traditional gay pride flag, which used 6 colors. There are at least 30 different variations of the pride flag.
Although the rainbow flag, originated in 1978, is the most popular flag used to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, it is not necessarily all-inclusive. Many identities are not covered in these colors, i.e., intersex, non-binary, asexual, etc. That being said, many times, colors were removed and restored from the original flag design, often depending on the availability of fabrics.
To highlight the bisexual people in the community, the Bisexual Flag was designed in 1998 and used pink, blue, and lavender stripes. At the same time, the Pansexual Flag uses pink, blue, and yellow to represent pansexuality’s interest in all genders, including gender non-conforming and nonbinary people.
Black and brown colors are often included to represent queer people of color. The Progress Pride Flag, for example, has a deeper meaning. The brown and black stripes signify people of color and AIDS victims, respectively, while the white, pink, and blue are derived from the transgender flag colors.
From July 10 through July 18, San Diego Pride festivities will be held in a scaled-down manner. Due to the ongoing public health protocols, the organizers opted to merge virtual and reduced in-person activities. The theme for this year’s celebrations is “Resilient.”
Pride is about promoting diversity and commemorating LGBTQ history. It’s beautiful regardless of how or when you celebrate.
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