San Diego pride

Why Is San Diego's Pride in July?

The annual LGBTQ event has been held in July for more than 30 years, while most other cities celebrate in June

Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

This year, as has often happened in the past, many San Diegans take to wondering: Why is San Diego Pride not in June, which is widely recognized as Pride Month in the United States?

Well, 50,000 annual attendees of Pride in America's Finest City can't be wrong: Pride in July is perfect.

Sure, but why, why July? and not June, as is the case for Pride in L.A., San Francisco, New York City and most other places? And how did that come to be?

The story of San Diego's Pride, like all of the LGBTQ celebrations around the nation, begins on June 28, 1970, in NYC, Chicago and Los Angeles, with marches held on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, when NYPD plainclothes officers raided the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Manhattan. The police came armed with a search warrant, ostensibly to probe the illegal sale of alcohol — the sale of alcohol to a gay person was illegal in NYC till as late as 1966, with reverberations felt afterward — and events escalated after arrests were made following police "interrogations" and subsequent police brutality.

San Diego's first parade march celebrating the LGBTQ community stepped off in 1974, according to organizers, with the first permitted Pride parade taking place the following year.

According to the organizers of San Diego Pride, however, it's necessary to look back to the 1990 iteration of the event to understand why San Diego's Pride falls a little later in the calendar. In the intervening years, participants and festival officials had become all too aware that they were competing with other cities for attendees, since the Prides were all stacked up against one another.

You may already know about the main Pride events. But here four others happening this week that you may not know about.

"Back when all Prides attempted to be on the same weekend in June, it limited our LGBTQ organizations’ abilities to be in every city, to build supporter lists and to grow our organizations," as Pride organizers put it on their website.

Then, in 1990, it happened, a seemingly ordinary event for many Americans but one whose paralyzing properties San Diegans are all too familiar with: Rain.

That's right, precipitation nearly prompted the cancellation of that year's event. In subsequent discussions, people made the excellent argument that there was no threat of June Gloom in July, either. And so, the event was moved back in the calendar, where it's made its home except for 2020, when, of course, the pandemic pause put a hold on Pride.

This year's Pride kicked off last Saturday with She Fest and runs through this weekend when Friday will see a Spirit of Stonewall Rally; Saturday hosts the annual parade; and the festival itself is on Saturday and Sunday.

Contact Us