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  • Flyer for March to Defend Civil Rights, 1974
  • Reverse side of flyer

1974: Gay Pride Week and the First March

The Center for Social Services (CSS) established committees to provide a variety of services for the gay and lesbian community and veterans.* In June, CSS held another Gay Pride Week that included a yard sale and a potluck to celebrate the anniversary of Stonewall. This event was followed by an impromptu, unpermitted march along the sidewalk on June 29th, which began at Newtown Park and proceeded to Balboa Park. There is conflicting information on the number of people known to have participated in this march, but reportedly, some wore paper bags over their heads to protect their identities. This courageous event constitutes the first march of the San Diego gay community and, bolstered by the momentum of earlier community events, marks the birth of San Diego Pride.

Flyer for March to Defend Civil Rights, 1974

Flyer for the March to Defend Civil Rights, 1974. Bernie Michels Collection, Lambda Archives of San Diego.

Reverse side of flyer

Reverse side of flyer.

As in previous years, celebration of gay pride was balanced with protest of the continued harassment and discrimination the community experienced. In August, forty men were arrested on misdemeanor and felony charges for “lewd conduct and sexual perversion” following clandestine police surveillance of the May Company department store’s restroom. The San Diego Union published an article listing the names, occupations, and addresses of the men arrested. The community was outraged by this offense and reacted strongly. On October 5 approximately 100 protesters demonstrated at the May Company store.

*By the 21st century, The Center would grow to include over a thousand dedicated staff and volunteers and provide services reflective of the full diversity of the LGBTQ+ population in San Diego.

  1974  /  San Diego Pride Timeline  /  Last Updated July 13, 2017 by sdpride  /  Tags: , , , ,