Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

KPBS Evening Edition

Officials kick off San Diego LGBTQ+ Pride Month at city hall

In 1974, activists held San Diego's first-ever pride march without permission from the city government. KPBS metro reporter Andrew Bowen and elected officials marked the anniversary today with a Pride Month kickoff event at City Hall.

Local elected officials kicked off San Diego LGBTQ+ Pride Month on Monday in a ceremony in the City Council chambers marking the 50th anniversary of the city's first Pride march.

"It's so lovely in San Diego that we get to celebrate Pride twice," said City Counclimember Marni von Wilpert, who came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community last year. Most cities celebrate Pride Month in June.

San Diego's first Pride march took place in 1974, despite the city's refusal to grant a permit. Nicole Murray-Ramirez, a longtime San Diego gay activist, recalled being told by a San Diego Police sergeant that, "there will never be a gay pride march parade in San Diego."


"Dozens of us in 1974 marched anyway," Murray-Ramirez said. "The next year, in 1975, after Tom Homann and the ACLU threatened to sue, Tom Homann was granted a permit."

Also among the speakers Monday was Christine Kehoe, who became San Diego's first openly gay elected official in 1993. She served on the City Council and later in the California Assembly and Senate.

Kehoe said San Diego and California progressed immensely since 1974.

"But in other states, our right to marry, to express and determine our gender identity, to access the health care we need — all these rights that are now in law are being threatened, state by state, every day," Kehoe said. "We need to be vigilant always. We cannot drop our guard."

A recent report from the California Department of Justice found reported hate crime events were down overall in 2023 — but hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people were up.


Even in San Diego, threats to the community's safety are present. In May, an unidentified person drove past several gay bars in Hillcrest shooting a pellet gun. One person was struck in the eye.

And last month, a projectile shattered the window of a nonprofit serving transgender migrants. The police said they are investigating both incidents as potential hate crimes.

Jen LaBarbera, interim co-executive director of San Diego Pride, said hateful rhetoric and violence against the LGBTQ+ community is not new, and that the community has "won before, and we're going to win again."

"Our community is so resilient," LaBarbera said. "We have decades and centuries of experience in holding both protest and celebration at the same time, in the same breath. Because pride is still protest in every sense of the word. And pride is also joy, and our queer joy is resistance."

Pride events are taking place throughout July, culminating in the San Diego Pride Parade on July 20 and the San Diego Pride Festival in Balboa Park on July 20 and 21.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.