Friday, June 12, 2009

Gay Freedom 1970: The First Gay Pride Day

According to Elizabeth A. Armstrong in her book, Forging Gay Identities (I don't think she means "faking"), the idea of an annual Freedom Day parade was first proposed by activist Craig Rodwell (founder of the Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookstore, the first devoted to gay and lesbian authors).

The resolution passed at the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organizations in 1969 states:

We propose that a demonstration be held annually on the last Saturday in June in New York City to commemorate the 1969 spontaneous demonstrations on Christopher Street and this demonstration be called Christopher Street Liberation Day. No dress or age regulations shall be made....

By the time of the event, references to "demonstration" were replaced by affirmations of "celebration" and "pride."

These photos are from the Commemorative Essay, The First Anniversary Of The Gay Liberation Movement, by the Editors of QQ Magazine. It's an extraordinary piece of ephemera from a pivotal moment in the ongoing struggle for equal rights.

The purpose: "Serve as a permanent reminder of the greatest day in our history"... "ignite a feeling of gay pride" ... "come to know the true meaning of brotherhood."

You can find it at

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