Over 40 years ago, the modern Gay liberation movement began in a small tavern, on a hot and emotionally trying day, in New York City – when what is now known as the Stonewall Riots happened.
A year past and LGBT people around the country were seeking a way to commemorate this momentous event.
Leaders in the homophile movement in Los Angeles gathered to decide what to do.
“We should hold a demonstration here on the West Coast to celebrate that riot,” Morris Knight, CSW co-founder remembered.
Rev. Troy Perry, CSW co-founder remembered the meeting where the decision to have a parade was had. “We immediately decided on a name: Christopher Street West; and Morris said he would pick up any application that the city had for a parade.”
Out of this meet came the beginnings of Christopher Street West – the producers of LA PRIDE.
The decision to have a parade was not as simple as one would think.
“The [police] commission was against it, but they said, ‘We’re going to give the permit, if you can post two bonds, … and post in cash the amount of $1500, that amount will go to pay for the policemen that it will take to protect you.’ I thanked them. We called the ACLU and they entered the case. We were going to hold that parade.” Perry remembered.
The history of LGBT Pride celebrations is uniquely Los Angeles’ because of Christopher Street West. It was CSW that produced the world’s first PRIDE Parade.
Please take a moment and look at the other interesting and important moments in the LGBT civil rights movement both locally and abroad.