Pickets, Protests, and Parades

In June of 2025, Washington will host WorldPride 2025. The date will intersect with several important anniversaries in the History of Pride in Washington: the 50th Anniversary of the first Gay Pride Day Block Party, the 60th Anniversary of the first picket at the White House for Homosexual Rights, and the 25th Anniversary of the first Presidential Proclamation of LGBTQ Pride Month.


The Rainbow History Project has launched an 18-month research project to create to a public display on the evolution of Pride activities: “Pickets, Protests, and Parades: The History of Gay Pride in Washington.”


The exhibit will tell the origin story of local Pride activities and how the pickets and protests of the 1960s led to parades and celebrations of the 2020s—and all the politics and drama in between. The research will focus on the voices of the event organizers and include the critics of Pride and the significance of the intersection of Pride and other movements for equal rights and liberation.


RHP needs the community’s help to make the exhibit a success! Do you have iconic DC Pride photos to contribute? Do you know someone who should record their oral history about organizing Pride events? Are you interested in volunteering on the Pride Exhibit Committee? Can you donate funds to make it all happen to the Rainbow History Project?

Learn how to get involved here, attend any of our events, or contact us.


The narrative outline for the exhibit includes:

  • “From Pickets and Protests to Parties and Parades” (Origins of DC Pride)
  • “Picking our Battles and Reminding the Nation” (1965-1970)
  • “Gay and Proud” (1970-1975)
  • “A Bookstore Blocks the Street: Gay Pride Day” (1975-1979)
  • “The Third World Conference Marches on Washington” (1979)
  • “P Street Beach” (1980-1986)
  • “Dawn of a New Era of Pride Politics” (1987-1992)
  • “Bisexual, Trans, and Intersectional Visibility” (1993-1995)
  • “Freedom on America’s Main Streets” (1995-2008)
  • “A New Alliance for a New Millenium” (2008-2020)
  • “A Vice President Marches at Our Side” (2021-???)


On April 6th, the DC community got a sneak preview of the exhibit themes at the DC History Conference. Activists Paul Kuntzler, Leigh Mosley, Lynne Brown, Chris Dyer and Kenya Hutton spoke about their experiences and provided feedback on the research agenda.

The next public presentation of the research will be on Tuesday, May 28, 2024, at the Martin Luther King Library, from 6:30pm-8:30pm.