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  • Souvenir Program, 1995
  • Parade participants carrying "Out & Free" banner and balloons, 1995
  • Bronski Beat lighting cigarettes backstage at festival, 1995
  • Viking in parade, 1995
  • "San Diego Pride '95" t-shirt
  • "Out & Free" t-shirt, 1995

1995: “Out & Free”

Souvenir Program, 1995

Souvenir Program, 1995. Lambda Archives of San Diego.

The 1995 San Diego Pride theme “Out & Free” was selected to highlight the importance of coming out. The 1995 souvenir program states: “Coming out is the essential first step we must all take to show not only what we have in common, but that the uniqueness of our people is a gift the world cannot do without.” In line with this theme, the weekend saw an increase in high profile participants and performers. Greg Louganis, four-time gold medalist Olympic diver, was honored as Grand Marshal. Louganis, originally from El Cajon, came out the previous year as gay and HIV positive. Louganis was the first internationally-known figure to be selected as a Grand Marshal, which undoubtedly contributed to the large turnout at this year’s Pride. Performers included dance music artist Thea Austin, synth-pop trio Bronski Beat, and all-girl rock trio BETTY. The festival also featured, for the first time, a body piercing workshop hosted by the National Leather Association.

Parade participants carrying "Out & Free" banner and balloons, 1995

Parade participants carrying “Out & Free” banner and balloons, 1995. Lambda Archives of San Diego.

Bronski Beat lighting cigarettes backstage at festival, 1995

Bronski Beat lighting cigarettes backstage at festival, 1995. San Diego Pride Photo Collection 1994-2008, Lambda Archives of San Diego.

Approximately 60,000 spectators gathered for the parade, which took place on Saturday, July 15th. A small group of protesters from the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas were among those in attendance. Rally speakers included Grand Marshal Greg Louganis, Roberta Achtenberg, San Francisco mayoral candidate and the first openly gay person to be confirmed by the US Senate, and Pat Hussain, secretary of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, founding member of Black Gay and Lesbian Leadership Forum, the Atlanta Lambda Center, and GLAAD of Atlanta.

"Out & Free" t-shirt, 1995

“Out & Free” t-shirt, 1995. Pride T-shirt Collection, Lambda Archives of San Diego.

Viking in parade, 1995

Viking in parade, 1995. San Diego Pride Photo Collection 1994-2008, Lambda Archives of San Diego.

On the previous Saturday, the Lesbian Avengers once again held a Dyke March, which was advertised as a warm-up for Pride weekend. This year, it started at the Center and was followed by a rally and performers, including a DJ and fire-eaters. Significantly, Tijuana organizers also held their first Pride parade since 1981 in June of this year.

"San Diego Pride '95" t-shirt

“San Diego Pride ’95” t-shirt. Pride T-shirt Collection, Lambda Archives of San Diego.