dialog on Pride

09 – Phoenix's First Pride

The city of Phoenix’s Gay and Lesbian Pride March debuted in June of 1981. Like many protests at the time, it was put on in support of the original 1969 Stonewall Riots. Members of local gay bars & bookstores were protesting against state legislators who were attempting to close what few safe spaces the city had. At the time, same-sex relations were illegal in Arizona, punishable by up to 30 days in jail or a $500 fine. It is said that the march garnered 650 total demonstrators, though police later stated that 3,000 additional supporters gathered at the Capitol. 

A photograph from the first lesbian & gay rights march in Phoenix, 1981. (Source: Republic Staff.)