San Francisco became a pivotal cornerstone for the LGBT pride movement and a necessary champion for the rights of all. Host to one of the first Pride Parades in 1970, as well as one of the nation’s first LGBT neighborhoods, the city is also home to the creation of the community’s coveted rainbow flag. With a rich history, a variety of iconic moments occurred within San Francisco that depicted the struggles and victories of the LGBT pride movement.1970 San Francisco Pride Parade San Francisco was one of the major initial proponents of a citywide pride parade to celebrate equality for members of the LGBT community. First held in 1970, one year after the harrowing Stonewall Riots in New York City, the parade marched down Polk Street in conjunction with similar events occurring in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Growing in scope each year, the parade began with 40,000 attendees and currently welcomes nearly 2 million guests to celebrate equality for all.
Golden Gate Park Sit-In
Following the advent of San Francisco’s Pride Festival and Parade in 1970, the march concluded at Golden Gate Park for a legendary sit-in, with 200 participants. Though an example of peaceful protest, the event was unfortunately riddled with arrests while making a powerful statement. Attendees stood their ground for what they believed in and created a successful event to communicate the tenets of equality.
During the 1970s, the Castro became one of the first LGBT neighborhoods within the United States. Today, a rainbow flag flies over Harvey Milk Plaza within this prominent district, reminiscent of those who fought nobly for the rights of their community.
The San Francisco Pride Parade has welcomed notable guests throughout its reign, including Harvey Milk in 1978. It was on this day that he gave a monumental speech that is depicted within the movie based off of his life’s events, Milk. The route begins each year at City Hall, a spot that pays homage to Milk’s legacy and his advocacy work for the community.
Mere days before the 2015 Pride Parades occurred within numerous cities, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage on June 26, issuing cheers of “love wins” throughout the nation. This decision was uttered nearly 46 years to the date following the Stonewall riots, which began the gay rights movement that was championed over time.