Seattle celebrated our very first Pride Week in 1974 — five years after trans and gay rights activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, among others, led the Stonewall riots in New York City and helped spark the fight for LGBTQ+ equality. Although Seattle’s first Pride celebration was small, it was early, happening four years after inaugural Pride marches in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Our city’s Pride March has come a long way, from a small group of pioneers to a massive parade that draws in thousands of people. And though there’s plenty of work left to do, our city’s made some serious progress in the last half-century.
FIRST PRIDE WEEK – 1974
Seattle gay rights activist David Neth takes the lead organizing Seattle’s first Pride Week. The week ends at Seattle Center where “fewer than 50 happy gay individuals—including a bare-chested Neth, draped in pearls, wearing cutoffs and a white floppy hat–danced with frenzied joy around the International Fountain,” Seattle Weekly reports.
FIRST OFFICIAL PRIDE WEEK – 1977
Mayor Wes Uhlman declares the first city-sanctioned Gay Pride Week, which culminates in Seattle’s first official Pride March. This is just one year before Seattle voters defeat a bill that would’ve stripped LGBTQ+ people of equal housing and employment rights.
THE FIRST TRANS PRIDE — 1997
Trans activists Spencer Bergstedt and Jason Cromwell gather locals together outside Seattle Central Community College for a rally “in support of those crossing, having crossed, or challenging gender and biological borders.” Local advocacy group Gender Justice League writes that Seattle’s Trans Pride was the first in the nation. This iteration of Trans Pride ended in 2000.
Reflecting on the ’90s rallies, Spencer told The Evergrey that it was an important opportunity “to come together and create visibility within the broader LGBTQ community.”
LET IT FLY – 2010
The Space Needle flies the rainbow Pride flag for the first time ever.
TRANS PRIDE IS BACK – 2013
Gender Justice League restarts Seattle’s Trans Pride Parade in Capitol Hill. Hundreds of locals rallied at Seattle Central Community College, the site of the first Trans Pride, and marched around Cal Anderson Park in support of our transgender, intersex, and non-binary neighbors. This year’s celebration is also the first Pride to be held since Washington State legalized gay marriage in 2012.
AN EXTRA SPECIAL PRIDE – 2015
It’s the first Pride since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the country.
AND HERE WE ARE
This year’s Seattle Pride Parade kicks off at 11 a.m. on Sunday at Fourth Avenue & Union Street and will travel to the PrideFest rally and party in Seattle Center. This year’s theme is Pride Beyond Borders, which Seattle Pride President Kevin Toovey says is “a reminder that we can celebrate all the successes and strides of our history, but there is work to be done to keep our communities free, happy, and safe.”
Happy Pride, Seattle. 💖
Learn more about Seattle’s LGBTQ+ history here, here, and here. Want to join in on the Pride festivities? Check out The Stranger’s massive roundup of Pride events. And if you’re planning to celebrate, be sure to tag #theevergrey on Instagram.