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  • "Share the Pride" t-shirt, 1985
  • Commissioner Susan Jester calls the crowd to action, 1985.
  • Nicole Murray-Ramirez on the Imperial Court float, 1985
  • "Please don't feed the fundies," 1985
  • Parade participants relaxing on the Grand Marshals float, 1985
  • Flyer on how to ward off Christian fundamentalist attacks

1985: “Share the Pride”

"Share the Pride" t-shirt, 1985

“Share the Pride” t-shirt, 1985. Pride T-shirt Collection, Lambda Archives of San Diego.

Following the turmoil of the previous year, the 1985 board of directors was comprised of mostly fresh faces and saw the return of Doug Moore. Lambda Pride again adopted an international theme, “Alive with Pride in ‘85,” and a local theme, “Share the Pride.” That Pride weekend, which took place June 8-9, was dedicated to Suzy Lynn Sarrett, a lesbian activist who had passed away in May. The biggest change in 1985 was the site of the festival, which was held in the County Administration parking lot at the Embarcadero.

"Please don't feed the fundies," 1985

Signage reminding Pride-goers not to “feed the fundies,” 1985. Christine Kehoe Collection, Lambda Archives of San Diego.

Christian fundamentalists protested regularly in the mid-1980s. They could been found at gay bars, gay churches, and birth control and abortion clinics almost every weekend. In March, fundies protested outside The Flame, a lesbian bar, and hours later, a birth control clinic in El Cajon was bombed. The Future Former Fundy Fighters continued to train and prepare to deflect the fundies at Pride.

Flyer on how to ward off Christian fundamentalist attacks

Flyer on how to ward off Christian fundamentalist attacks. Lambda Archives of San Diego.

There was no Friday night kickoff concert that year, but the fourth annual Gay Pride Run and Walk continued as Saturday’s earliest event. Participants had a chance at winning thirty different prizes, including a trip to San Francisco. Parade set up and float judging began at 10:00 a.m. The parade began at noon on Sixth and Juniper, led by banners decorated with themes from previous years. There were four Grand Marshals, who were all organizations: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the Gay Youth Alliance, Couples Club, and Gay Fathers. The Blood Sisters were an Honorary Grand Marshal. In all, sixty-nine contingents, two floats, and at least ten decorated vehicles took part. Two thousand people participated and the parade drew eight thousand spectators. There was a smaller but not insignificant fundy presence, but they still turned out in the hundreds, infiltrating the parade to harass participants. One regular agitator flew an aerial banner over the crowd. The San Diego Police Department worked with the Future Former Fundy Fighters to maintain a buffer zone.

Commissioner Susan Jester calls the crowd to action, 1985.

Commissioner Susan Jester calls the crowd to action, 1985. Christine Kehoe Collection, Lambda Archives of San Diego.

The rally followed the parade at Balboa and Juniper. Nicole Murray chaired the rally and served as a keynote speaker along with Susan Jester, President of the Log Cabin Club and Chair of the Police Liaison Committee. Speeches remained political. Murray spoke sharply of the AIDS crisis, lack of action from the Reagan administration, and ongoing police violence, calling on the Latino and Black communities to unite with the gay community. Jester criticized the fundamentalists for ignoring the abuse and violence prevalent amongst heterosexuals, and called on the crowd to get involved politically. A concert from the GAY Freedom Band was held Saturday night at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. A crowd of three thousand enjoyed the show.

Nicole Murray-Ramirez on the Imperial Court float, 1985

Empress Nicole Murray-Ramirez on the Imperial Court float, 1985. Christine Kehoe Collection, Lambda Archives of San Diego.

The festival was held on Sunday, June 9th, from noon until 8 p.m. Musical entertainment this year included folk singer Kathy Curtis, local band Youth In Time, trio Joyce Wells & Co. and others. Comic Amy Boyd and country western dance team The Bugle Boys were additional performers. Other features included carnival entertainment, a resource fair, and haircuts from The Center. For the third year, there was no proclamation of “Gay Rights Day” from the city. However, Neil Good, aide to the County board of Supervisors President, presented a certificate applauding the gay community for their contributions at large.

Parade participants relaxing on the Grand Marshals float, 1985

Parade participants relaxing on the Grand Marshals float, 1985. Christine Kehoe Collection, Lambda Archives of San Diego.

On the surface, 1985 Pride weekend was a success, but criticisms of Lambda Pride were issued in the following weeks by the local gay press. Reports of missing money and disorganized procedures led to community meetings calling for a reorganization of the Lambda Pride Association on the basis of “gross incompetence.” Ultimately, one hundred and fifty community members attended the meeting for board election, which resulted in an almost entirely new board, the only continuing member being Penny Goss.