History of DC Gay Pride

There is a long history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other communities coming together in celebration and remembrance. Pride in D.C. has a rich tapestry of people coming together, including allies, in support of pride in various ways. From 1975 to 1990, the Club House in DC was a community gathering space that boasted an annual Memorial Day weekend celebration. Word quickly spread about the event throughout the country and people came from all over to celebrate together. The tradition almost went away when the Club House closed in 1990. A few men worked hard to keep things moving forward amidst an epidemic of HIV/AIDS spreading like wildfire, impacting their community. The history of how DC gay pride still occurs is one for the books.

First Black Gay and Lesbian Pride

The idea was born as Club House closed and the AIDS crisis loomed large in everyone’s consciousness about raising funds to help organizations and bring people together. The African-American community in Washington and surrounding areas came up with an idea to ally with organizations to put together the first DC Black Pride festival in 1991. Hundreds of people came to help celebrate and raise money. Black Pride only increased from there to a weekend-long festival, events, and more.

Becoming ‘Official’

To bring the pride event to a bigger stage, organizers realized they needed to create a nonprofit organization. Out of this idea, Black Lesbian and Gay Pride Day, Inc. (BLGPD) was created. Volunteers led the nonprofit to oversee the execution of DC Black Pride. The Black Pride Movement was born out of this space with other thirty Black Pride celebrations happening around the world with DC Black Pride as the model. An International Federation of Black Prides (IFBP) was formed, later being named the Center for Black Equity (CBE). More than 30 members serve through which organizers raise funds and create the best pride events possible.

Presently, there are more than 300,000 members of the LGBTQ community of African descent with allies coming together in the community to raise awareness, money, and celebrate a rich, albeit difficult, history to be seen and recognized for their achievements and contributions. The need to rally people together brought them to where they are today. Equal rights have increased in the United States but more work remains. Globally there is still more work to be done in helping others find equity. The movement of DC Black Pride continues to grow, inspire, and encourage people globally to enrich the lives of LGBTQ people and allies and support their mission.


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