This year’s Philly Pride celebration will mark off 28 years of celebrating the queer community in the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia has a rich history of LGBT rights progress and of community, including many firsts, for the city and for the nation! Here are a few notable achievements in Philadelphia for the history of Pride and the history of the community, from pre-Stonewall to present!
Annual Reminder - July 4, 1965
Last summer, LGBTQ Philadelphians took part in a reenactment of the Annual Reminders. The first Annual Reminder occurred on July 4th, 1965, where gay rights activists dressed in regular business clothing (“normalcy drag”) picketed outside of City Hall, carrying signs with slogans like “HOMOSEXUAL CITIZENS DEMAND THEIR CIVIL RIGHTS.” The event was title the Annual Reminder for its purpose of “reminding” other Americans of the rights that had been promised to us by the Declaration of Independence, currently denied to all LGBTQ people. Occurring just 4 years prior to Stonewall and one week after in 1969, the Annual Reminders are commemorated by a plaque at 6th and Chestnut, placed in 2005. More importantly, though, the Annual Reminders are celebrated as a key predecessor to Pride, and an important part of queer history that everyone should be reminded of.
First Pride Parade - June 1972
Participants in Philadelphia's first Gay Pride Parade in June 1972 met in Rittenhouse Square and marched to Independence National Historical Park, where they held a rally with music and speeches. Rittenhouse Square was seen as a focal point in Philadelphia's LGBT geography and Independence National Historical Park was understood to be a proper venue for public discourse on constitutional rights.
Giovanni's Room - 1973
Giovanni's Room, the oldest and very best gay and lesbian bookstore in the country, was founded in 1973. Paralleling the growth of Philadelphia's "out" community and the expansion of publishing in its subject areas, the store has doubled three times from its beginning on South Street to its present two buildings (one a double trinity from the 1820s, the other a mom-and-pop store & house from the 1880s) on the corner of South 12th and Pine Streets.
OutFest - 1995
While we all know that Pride is held annually every June, Philly was also the first city to have a national Coming Out Day festival as well! Held every October for the past 26 years, OutFest is another celebration just in time to get us through those long Winter months ahead, until the ice starts to thaw and it’s time for Pride planning again.
Rainbow Flag Flies - June 1997
For Pride 1997 the rainbow flag was flown at City Hall for the first time! Philadelphia has continued to be on the forefront of LGBT rights and representation in the nearly two decades following.
"Gayborhood" is Born - 1995
Center City’s gay neighborhood gained its name in 1995 at Outfest, a commemoration of National Coming Out Day, when City Paper’s David Warner playfully paraphrased the Mister Rogers children’s song and declared, “It’s a beautiful day in the Gayborhood!” The name stuck, and what had been a “gay ghetto” gradually became commonly known as the Gayborhood.
Gayborhood Street Signs - 2007
In 2007, the city of Philadelphia installed thirty-six rainbow street signs in the area bounded by Eleventh and Broad Streets and Pine and Walnut Streets to honor the history and diversity of the area. In 2012, a section of Locust Street from Twelfth to Thirteenth Streets was dedicated as “Barbara Gittings Way,” in honor of Philadelphia’s pioneer activist.
Trans Flag Flies - June 4, 2015
The City of Philadelphia hosted its first ever Transgender Pride Flag Raising Ceremony to honor the city’s diverse transgender community on June 4, 2015. The flag was flown next to the United States flag and the City of Philadelphia flag for the duration of the 14th Annual Philadelphia Trans Health Conference.
Information for this post was retrieved from these awesome sites! If you would like to learn more about LGBT Philly history and the history of the Gayborhood be sure to visit them!