After 2016's election, the following year's theme couldn't have been more timely: "Rise, Resist, Unite." (Courtesy of GLBT Historical Society, via Lenore Chinn)

50 Years of Pride: A Look at San Francisco's Parades Throughout the Years

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On June 5th, 1970, some 30 San Franciscans marched down Polk Street—once our city's hub of queer culture—for the first-ever Gay Freedom Day. That small happening would later grow into what we all know and love as San Francisco Pride, which attracted an estimated 100,000 spectators in 2019.

Now in 2020, SF Pride was set to celebrate its golden anniversary until COVID-19 put the kibosh on the 50th annual parade and its constellation of parties and events. This year's celebration will instead be an all-digital affair to abide by social distancing mandates.


It's a blow, we know. You could almost hear the collective moan across the City when the news broke in early April. But let's face it, the LGBTQ community has weathered worse, and at least our modern technological age allows for plenty of wonderful ways to virtually celebrate Pride this year.

We highly recommend everyone check out the GLBT Historical Society's free online exhibit, 50 Years of Pride, which showcases the work of 100 historical photographers and visual media from Pride throughout the years.

"Culling through the archives at the GLBT Historical Society, we found a treasure trove of photographs, snapshots and 35 millimeter color slides that began to tell a story of the spirit and nature of Pride and what it has come to mean both locally and internationally," says photographer and creative Lenore Chinn, one of the exhibit's co-curators. "With the rise of gay power and an expanding movement, we saw more participation and more diversity along with gender and ethnic lines."

No matter how Pride changes from year to year, the message remains the same: inclusivity, acceptance, and love. Take a look back at some rainbow moments throughout the years.

A crowd of people at the reflecting pool at Civic Center during Gay Freedom Day in 1974. After this, both North Baker Beach and Marshall Beach were legally designated as clothing optional.

(Courtesy of SFPL)

Find more coverage of San Francisco Pride at 7x7.com/lgbtq-pride.

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