The birth of our modern-day LGBT civil rights movement is largely credited to the spontaneous riots at the Stonewall Inn in June 1969 and the resulting media coverage and community galvanization it spurred. Yet, our movement had long been organizing before Stonewall. In the 1950s, gay organizers formed two organizations essential to the early community’s growth. After Stonewall, that growth exploded as LGBT organizations and annual commemorations of Stonewall spread across the country and the world. Such community organizing quickly spread to North Carolina, where members of the Gay Liberation Front and other groups began setting up shop. North Carolina’s first gay newspaper, The Charlotte Free Press, began publishing in 1975. But not until 1981 did local LGBT community members begin to organize annual celebrations of Stonewall and LGBT Pride. Since then, the movement has exploded, with nearly every city and town, regardless of size, boasting at least one LGBT community group. Many have organized their own local Pride festivals or parades, events that organizers today say celebrate and raise awareness for their local community of LGBT and straight ally residents. The brief timeline below was compiled by Matt Comer from material available in the qnotes archives, other local newspapers and other sources. Some of the information is incomplete; other information is from news reports but lacks any other historical sourcing. Do you have more information on some of these events (e.g. meeting minutes, original newspaper clippings from a first-ever event, etc.)? Feel free to send them or copies to firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 2013 – Volunteer organizers of Pride Charlotte form a new non-profit organization and rebrand under the original Charlotte Pride. It is announced that a Pride parade will be held, 19 years after Charlotte held its first in 1994.
August 2012 – Pride Charlotte expands to a two-day festival held one weekend before the city hosts the Democratic National Convention.
August 2011 – Pride Charlotte expands to S. Tryon St. in Uptown Charlotte.
July 2011 – The first Triangle Black Pride is held.
June 2011 – The first Outer Banks (N.C.) Pride is held.
June 2011 – Salisbury Pride holds its first events.
May 2011 – The LGBT Center of Raleigh produces its first OutRaleigh! festival, a Pride-inspired event designed to be more family- and kid-friendly.
October 2010 – Winston-Salem holds its first
locally-produced Pride festival and parade, presented annually each year since.
May 2010 – The first Charleston Pride is held.
October 2009 – The first Blue Ridge Pride is held in Asheville.
June 2009 – Organizers plan the first Upstate Pride in Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C.
July 2008 – Myrtle Beach hosts its first locally-produced Pride activities.
August 2007 – Organizers with Alternative Resources of the Triad organize the first local Triad Pride in Greensboro.
August 2006 – Original organizers of Charlotte Pride disband. Community members team up with the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte to present the newly rebranded Pride Charlotte.
June 2006 – The first South Carolina Black Pride is held.
2006 – The first Wilmington Pride is held.
July 2005 – The first Boone Pride dance is held, later growing into the annual High Country Pride.
July 2005 – Charlotte Black Gay Pride holds its first events.
May 2001 – Charlotte Pride is founded and its first festival held in May, following several years of smaller, more loosely-organized events held at various locations, including UNC-Charlotte, Bryant Park, Marshall Park, The Scorpio and The VanLandingham Estate.
2000 – N.C. Pride settles in Durham, where it has been held each year since.
1998 – S.C. Pride is held in Myrtle Beach as the State House continues undergoing renovations. The event returns to Columbia the next year.
1997 – A Gay Pride march is held in Boone, N.C.
1997 – S.C. Pride is held in Greenville, S.C., while the South Carolina State House is undergoing renovations.
1994 – Charlotte hosts N.C. Pride. It is the first and last time, until 2013, that organizers plan a Pride parade in the Queen City.
1993 – Charlotte hosts a more traditional Pride-inspired picnic at The VanLandingham Estate, in preparation for its hosting of N.C. Pride in 1994.
1990 – The first S.C. Pride march is held in Columbia.
1990-1999 – N.C. Pride is held annually in cities across the state: Carrboro (1990), Durham (1991), Asheville (1992), Raleigh (1993), Charlotte (1994), Durham (1995), Winston-Salem (1996), Carrboro (1997), Asheville (1998) and Greensboro (1999).
1988 – Durham’s annual festivities grow into N.C. Pride and is held in Raleigh in 1988 and 1989.
1987 – Queen City Quordinators and QNotes host their first annual picnic in Bryant Park, a precursor to Pride activities in Charlotte.
1986 – Durham once again hosts an annual Pride parade, followed in 1987. The events mark an annual tradition held in various months but eventually morphing into an annual tradition held the last weekend of each September.
1981 – North Carolina’s first Pride parade, “Our Day Out,” is held in Durham.
1980s – Organizers of annual Liberation Day events begin to drop the words “Liberation” or “Freedom” from their names. The modern “Gay Pride” parade is born.
June 1972 – Liberation Day events are also held in Atlanta, Buffalo, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Miami and Philadelphia.
June 1971 – Christopher Street Liberation Day Parades spread to Boston, Dallas, Milwaukee, London, Paris, West Berlin and Stockholm.
June 28, 1970 – LGBT community members organize the first Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade in New York City to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Other Christopher Street Liberation Day events are held simultaneously in Los Angeles and San Francisco, with Chicago organizers holding their event on June 27.
June 28, 1969 – Patrons of Stonewall Inn, primarily transgender community members, drag queens, street youth and hustlers, rebel when police raid the establishment.
August 1966 – Transgender community members rebel after police attempt to arrest them at Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco. A riot is sparked; the night afterward, trans community members, hustlers and gay community members picket the cafeteria.
July 4, 1965 – First-ever public demonstration for LGBT equality held at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. These “Annual Reminders” were held each July 4 until 1969.
May 1959 – Gay men and transgender community members rebel after police harassment at Cooper’s Donuts in Los Angeles.
1955 – Daughters of Bilitis founded.
1950 – Mattachine Society founded.