1974: Unable to secure a parade permit from the city, the newly formed Center for Social Center (what we now know as SD Pride) held a Pride event that included a charity yard sale, potluck dinner and a defiant unofficial march of protest. Two hundred people marched, some wearing bags on their heads.
1975: The first permit is granted for a Gay Pride parade and rally in San Diego.
1979: San Diego Police announce they will hire Gay and Lesbian officers. Al Best becomes the first openly Gay person to run for San Diego City Council, finishing fifth.
1981: Two San Diegans are diagnosed with the mysterious illness striking the Gay community — what we now call AIDS. A year later, the Gay Health Clinic opens.
1985: First Lesbian and Gay appointees Susan Jester and Brad Truax are appointed to government advisory boards.
1986: Mayor Maureen O’Connor is the first elected official in San Diego to March in a Pride Parade.
1987: The Lesbian and Gay Historical Society of San Diego, now known as the Lambda Archives, is established to preserve and teach our history.
1988: The AIDS Memorial Quilt comes to San Diego.
1991: Openly Gay and Lesbian police officers march in the Pride Parade.
1993: Christine Kehoe becomes the first openly Lesbian San Diegan elected to City Council. President Bill Clinton signs “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding LGB military services members.
1995: First Tijuana Pride Parade takes place with the support of San Diego community leaders.
1997: Attendance at the annual Pride festival reaches 100,000.
1998: The city’s 1966 cross-dressing law is repealed.
1999: During the parade, a tear gas bomb was thrown into the crown near 10th Street and University Avenue. Chaos ensues as people rush to get away from the danger. The parade is temporarily disrupted while people receive medical care and the police investigate the scene. Eventually the parade continues.
2000: Proposition 22, which restricts marriage to a man and a woman, is approved in California. Kehoe is elected to the state Assembly; her City Council seat is won by Toni Atkins.
2001: Bonnie Dumanis is elected district attorney, the first openly gay or Lesbian top prosecutor in the nation. For the first time, the Pride program is a bilingual publication, written in both English and Spanish. In October, former Pride Executive Director Mandy Schultz loses her life in an automotive accident. A vibrant young woman, she helped take Pride to the next level during her time with the organization.
2003: The first Latino Pride and Ebony Pride take place on August and September, respectively. The Supreme Court declares sodomy laws to be unconstitutional.
2004: Pride celebrates 30 years of Pride.
2005: One of the biggest crises in Pride’s history takes place when anti-Gay/ex-Gay crusader James Hartline releases his research to the press indicating that two of the volunteers for Pride were registered sex offenders. This scrutiny and criticism from vocal members of the community has a big effect on the Pride organization and many members of the board of directors and a number of staff and volunteers resign.
2006: Tracy Jarman, a Lesbian becomes San Diego’s first female fire chief. Unknown to many of the celebrants inside the festival, homophobia rears its ugly head as three men go on a gay-bashing rampage near the festival grounds: six men are attacked with baseball bats. Pride credits Police Chief William Lansdowne and Mayor Jerry Sanders with taking swift action. Within days, the three suspects (one of them a minor) are in custody.
2008: The California Supreme Court authorizes same-sex marriage and thousands of couples tie the knot. Five months later, California voters approve Proposition 8, which bans same-sex unions and triggers protests — including one in San Diego that draws 20,000 people. Todd Gloria is elected to the San Diego City Council.
2011: President Obama signs “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed, allowing Gays and Lesbians to openly serve in the military.
2012: Military personnel are allowed to march in uniform in the Pride Parade.
2013: Transgender San Diegan Autumn Sandeen wins her legal battle to get the military to recognize her gender identity on official documents.
2014: Atkins becomes the first Lesbian named speaker of the state Assembly.
2015: The Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
2016: Carlsbad elects its first openly Lesbian City Council member, Cori Schumacher. Forty-nine people lose their lives at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, horrifying communities everywhere.
2017: Attendance at the annual Pride festival tops 200,000.
2018: The documentary film “San Diego’s Gay Bar History” is broadcast on KPBS and premieres at FilmOut’s 2018 LGBTQ Film festival. The San Diego History Center in Balboa Park opens the exhibition “LGBTQ+ San Diego: Stories of Struggles + Triumphs.”
2020: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Virtual Pride will take place with a livestream of interviews with community leaders, awardees and entertainment. July 18 will be “Pride Live: Together We Rise.”