21 Years of Seattle Pride

 

A Brief History

 
June 28, 1969 - The riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York city spark the modern Lesbian and gay rights movement. Within months, chapters of the Gay Liberation Front are formed on several cities.
1971 - 12 individuals gather to protest the eviction of two lesbians in West Seattle.
1973 - Fair Employment and Open Housing Ordinances passed. Seattle is one of the first cities in the country to include protection on the basis of sexual orientation and political ideology.
1974 - A few hundred individuals participate in what the Seattle P-I describes as "A Proud Day for Girls and Gays."
1975 - The Seattle Women's Commission formally requests that Mayor Wes Uhlman proclaim a gay pride week in June. Union of Sexual Minorities pickets Police Dept. to protest harrassment.

1977 - Mayor Uhlman finally makes public proclamation for Gay Pride Week. A march and rally sponsored by the Washington Coalition for Sexual Minority Rights draws 2,000 participants.
1978 - 3,000 attended the second march and rally by the WCSMR. The rally is aimed at defeating Initiative 13, one of several anit-gay ballot measures sponsored across the country by Anita Bryant. The defeat of Initiative 13 in Seattle stops Bryant's national campaign in its tracks.
1979 - "Rising to Claim the Future" is the theme of a gay pride celebration which drew 2,000. That same year the 1st National March on Washington, D.C. for gay rights is held.
1980 - A march and rally are organized at the last minute.
1981 - The Gay Community Center closed and again, the march almost didn't happen. Only five weeks beforehand, the Stonewall Committee for Lesbian/ Gay Rights is formed to organize the march and rally. 2,000 march downtown with a theme of "For Solidarity of All The Oppressed Against Rightwing Attacks."
1982 - The march is organized by the Greater Seattle Business Assoc. on Capitol Hill. A debate ensues whether the march should include political demands: the GSBA opposed but those who support that idea form a "Stonewall Contingent" within the march.
1983 - The Stonewall Committee calls a meeting to form a community-wide coalition to plan a unified march. The result is the formation of the Freedom Day Committee, open to all groups and individuals, which puts on a successful march and a rally at Freeway Park featuring keynote speaker Perry Watkins.
1984 - A more conservative group, to politics in gay pride events, splits off from the Freedom Day Committee and forms the Pride Week Committee - resulting in two separate marches and rallies. However, the Freedom Day Committee event, which is dedicated to People With AIDS, attracts a far larger crowd, and from that time forward has continued as the organizers of Seattle's Gay Pride Day events.
1985 - 10,000 participate, with the theme "Strength Through Unity and Pride." The event successfully combines protest and celebration.
1986 - Under the theme "Unite to Fight for Human Rights," the march and rally are focused on defeating three rightwing initiatives that attack gay and abortion rights. All of the initiatives failed!
1987 - 12,000 join a somber march. AIDS has begun to radically affect our community. That Fall, the 2nd National March on Washington, D.C., is held.
1988 - The march and rally address the issues of AIDS hysteria and gay-bashings, which have exploded in Seattle that year.
1989 - The 20th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion! The march and rally are the biggest ever, and a wide variety of events commemorating the anniversary are held throughout the month of June, including theater and choral performances, political forums and leather contests.
1990 - "United for Freedom - Lesbian and Gay Rights Now" is the theme as participation swells to 40,000.
1991 - 50,000 participate with "Hands Together in Peace and Pride."
1992 - The words "Bisexual" and "Transgender" are added to the official name of the event to recognize the full diversity of the Pacific Northwest community. 60,000 attend the march and rally "Honoring Our Past, Reaching for Our Future"
1993 - The third national March on Washington, D.C., draws a disputed one million people to the nation's Capitol on April 25th, while Seattle's event draws a record 70,000 participants.
1994 - Despite thousands traveling to New York City to participate in Gay Games IV and the silver anniversary commemoration of the Stonewall Rebellion, Seattle hosts its most successful event to date with an attendance comparable to 1993. Anti-gay Initiatives 608 & 610 fail to make it on the ballot, while uniting diverse communities across the state in opposition to discrimination of any form.
1995 - Diversity and outreach are major thrusts for FDC as it organizes the 21st edition of Seattle Pride under the theme: "Pride in Diversity - No one is free until all are free."

Seattle's annual Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Transgender Pride Parade/March & Freedom Rally continues to grow in size every year and has become a statewide event. It is organized by the Freedom Day Committee, a democratic, grassroots, all-volunteer group which is open to everyone. We invite you to join us.

by Su Docekal, Freedom Day Committee, with the assistance of the Lesbian and Gay Heritage Alliance



FDC World Central