Lesbians and gays celebrate Seattle's first Gay Pride Week beginning on June 24, 1974.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 3/13/2003
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 5409

From June 24 to June 30, 1974, Seattle's lesbians and gays celebrate the city's first Gay Pride Week. This is the first event in the region in which the gay community as a whole comes out of its collective closet.

The public celebrations occurred at the end of the week.

On June 28, 1974, the Gay Community Center at 1726 16th Avenue E held a grand opening. On June 29, 1974, a Saturday, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that about 200 attended a picnic at Occidental Park in Pioneer Square. Entertainment included music and a "Gayrilla theater." Banners from the stage read "[P]roud to be lesbian, [P]roud to be gay."

In the afternoon, activities moved to Volunteer Park and included roller-skating and a sing along at the top of the Volunteer Park Water Tower. That evening, a street dance was held in Occidental Park that featured music by Blue Moon and Sue Isaacs.

On June 30, 1974, Gay Pride Week concluded with a "Gay-In" at the Seattle Center that featured "zany dress, general frivolity, carousing and a circle dance around the main [International] fountain."

Gay Pride Week was held in honor of the June 28, 1969 Christopher Street Liberation Day (later called Stonewall Riots). David Neth, director of the Gay Community Center, in a 1975 interview explained: "June 28 is a rallying point in gay history. On that day in 1969, police raided a bar [on Christopher Street] in the Greenwich [New York City] gay ghetto. Instead of letting themselves be hustled and herded off like sheep as they usually did, the gays rebelled" (Seattle Sun). The police had to call in reinforcements after they were barricaded in the bar, and the bar was set on fire. Rebecca Valregean, also in 1975, stated "I see Gay Pride Week as a statement of solidarity. A chance to say 'Hey, look! We're not an isolated group of perverts. We're a community'" (Seattle Sun).


Sources:

"Gay Pride Week," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 28, 1974, Area 206 Section p. 3, 14; "A Proud Park Day For Girls and Gays," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 30, 1974, p. A-12; "Gay Pride Week as a Statement of Solidarity," Seattle Sun, July 2, 1975, p. 1.


Related Topics:   Firsts | Gays & Lesbians | Society

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