Remembering Our Gay Palm Springs History

In 1986, the Palm Springs Pride celebration began as a simple dinner and variety show showcasing the talents of local entertainers at the Riviera Resort grand ballroom. The first Pride Parade named the Desert Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade took to the streets of Palm Springs with 35 units and was greeted by hundreds of men and women. The parade made its way down Williams Road to Mesquite and into Demuth Park where the festival was held. Since then, Greater Palm Springs Pride has flourished and grown. From those humble beginnings has emerged a celebration that attracts over 125,000 people from Southern California, across the nation and around the world.


  • June 28 – the community fights back following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village (police harassment was common at that time for gay bar patrons due to a NYC law requiring a minimum of three articles of “gender-appropriate clothing”). Later termed “the Stonewall Uprising”, the riot lasts three days.


  • The nation’s first Gay Pride March is held in New York City.
  • Amazon Bookstore, the first lesbian-feminist bookstore, opens in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


  • The National Gay Task Force (“Lesbian” was added later) is formed to “bring gay liberation into the mainstream of American civil rights.”


  • Congress members Bella Abzug and Ed Koch introduce the first federal bill to include language directed at protecting the rights of gays and lesbians; the bill was defeated.
  • American Psychological Association removes homosexuality from its list of psychological disorders.


  • Anita Bryant leads a successful campaign to repeal a gay rights law in Dade County, Fl.
  • AB1, Art Argos’ anti-discrimination bill was presented in Sacramento.


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