In 1981, a group of gay & lesbian activists organized the first Pride march through the streets of downtown Phoenix to the state Capitol building. It was a politically focused march to bring awareness to gay rights issues in Phoenix.
Nearly ten years later, a group of volunteers joined together to coordinate the annual Pride festival. This committee, best known at the time as the Phoenix Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee, Inc. helped establish the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization known today as Phoenix Pride.
The organization was created as an educational non-profit to continue to educate and promote issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community in metro Phoenix. Under the leadership of Phoenix Pride, there has been an annual march, festival, parade or celebration in metro Phoenix for almost 40 years.
The organization is a leader in the metro Phoenix LGBTQ+ community. During the past twelve years, the organization has been able to make significant contributions to other LGBTQ+ focused non-profit organizations and has awarded scholarships to deserving LGBTQ+ individuals continuing their education totaling over $930,000. It is the goal of the organization to continue developing community programs to benefit the LGBTQ+ community and to continue to raise public awareness about the LGBTQ+ community in hopes to eliminate homophobia, transphobia and discrimination still very much prevalent over 40 years later.
In 2020, the LGBTQ+ community will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the first LGBTQ+ march in Phoenix. Phoenix Pride will continue to honor and celebrate our community by promoting April as “Pride Month” in Phoenix, Arizona and by continuing the “March Toward Pride” events started in celebration of our 30th Anniversary in 2010.
History of the LGBTQ+ Movement
On June 28th, through 30th, 1969, after continual harassment by the New York City police, the patrons of the Stonewall Bar, located on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, openly defied the unjustified raids and took to the streets in demand of their civil liberties. These riots continued through the weekend, until Monday morning. The gay crowd numbered over two thousand, and in this act of integrity and self affirmation, the modern Lesbian and Gay Rights Movement was born and was soon formally launched into such organizations as the Gay Liberation Front.
Pride Committees, commemorate the birth of the gay and lesbian rights movement each year across the country. They host rallies, parades, marches and festivals in the month of June, many on or around the 28th. These activities keep the spirit alive and allow us to renew our energies toward educating the general public about our Pride in ourselves and our right to exist.
“CELEBRATING PROGRESS: Past, Present, and Future” Two-Day 39th Annual Phoenix Pride Festival held April 6th & 7th, 2019 at Steele Indian School Park with an average temperature of 84 degrees. The 2019 Phoenix Pride Parade was held on Sunday, April 7 and attracted over 14,000 spectators and 180+ parade entries with over 4,000 participants. The Celebrity Grand Marshal was Monica Helms- transgender activist, author, veteran of the United States Navy and creator of the Transgender Pride Flag. The Community Grand Marshal was ECHO Magazine- celebrating 30 years of service to the community. Festival Entertainment included: JOJO, Kim Petras, Taylor Dayne, DumBlonde, RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Nina West and American Idol’s Ada Vox. The Latin Stage was added for the first time in 2019 and was graced by: Amara La Negra, DULCE, Robin S. And Miss Vanjie. Miss & Mister Phoenix Pride Royalty: Vanity St. James and Gray Matter were crowned on March 24, 2019 at the Tempe DoubleTree by Hilton. The Annual Pride Awards Reception was held July 13 at the Penske Racing Museum where $47,000 were awarded in scholarships, $65,000 were awarded in Community Grants and $4,500 were awarded in Volunteer Grants. Phoenix Pride celebrates its 8th year of ownership of the Rainbows Festival at Heritage Square on November 2-3, 2019. The Pride Festival and Rainbows Festival maintained the honor of being the two largest LGBTQ+ events in the state of Arizona.
In June of 2019, for the first time in Arizona history, both City Hall and the State Capitol flew the Rainbow and the Transgender Pride flags in observance of the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall and the 20th Anniversary of the creation of the Transgender Pride Flag. Phoenix Pride provided the flags and worked with both offices to make this historic event happen during Pride Month. On June 26th, 2019 Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego made 2 proclamations celebrating both events and asking residents to remember and recognize the impact and power they had on our LGBTQ+ Communities. On June 28th, 2019 the flags hung from the balcony of the Arizona Capitol Museum for the actual Anniversary of Stonewall. The Mayor’s Office, Councilwoman Laura Pastor and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs were instrumental in making this happen.
“UNITED WE STAND, EQUALITY FOR ALL” Two-Day Pride Festival held April 7th & 8th at Steele Indian School Park with an average temperature of 80 degrees. The 2018 Phoenix Pride Parade (presenting partner) Bank of America was held on Sunday, April 8th and attracted record-breaking attendance with Community Grand Marshals Daniel Hernandez and IGNITE by SouthWest Center for HIV/AIDS and Celebrity Grand Marshal Bill Kennedy. Festival Entertainment included: Bebe Rexha, Berlin featuring Terri Nunn, Grammy-winning singer -Thelma Houston, American Idol’s -David Hernandez, and Billboard magazine Top 3 Dance Artist of all time-Kristin W. Miss & Mister Phoenix Pride Royalty: Mya McKenzie and Carrington Hall- Dubois were crowned on March 18, 2018 at the Tempe DoubleTree by Hilton. The Annual Pride Awards Reception was held June 23, 2018 at the Penske Racing Museum were $41,000 were awarded in Scholarships and $65,000 we awarded in Community Grants. Phoenix Pride celebrates its 7th year of ownership of the Rainbows Festival at Heritage Square. The Pride Festival and Rainbows Festival maintained once again, the honor of being the two largest LGBTQ+ events in the state of Arizona.
In July of 2018, the City of Phoenix joined the ranks of other leading cities in the U.S. and abroad that have recognized the vibrance, vitality and contributions of their local LGBTQ+ community by installing rainbow-painted crosswalks at two locations within the city ( 7th Ave. and Glenrosa Ave. & Central Ave. at Portland Ave.). The initiative to create the Phoenix Rainbow Crosswalks was led by Phoenix Pride, with the support of many local organizations, merchants and neighborhood leaders. One hundred percent of the cost of installing and maintaining the crosswalks is being provided by private – not public – funding, made possible through a partnership between the Phoenix Pride Foundation and the one•n•ten Foundation.
“STAND UP, STAND PROUD” Two-Day Pride Festival held April 1st & 2nd with an average temperature of 75 degrees. The Phoenix Pride Parade was held on Sunday, April 2nd and attracted record-breaking attendance with Community Grand Marshals Stacy Louis and the Grand Canyon Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Celebrity Grand Marshal Belinda Carlisle. Festival Entertainment included: Belinda Carlisle, Aaron Carter, Ninel Conde, & Brian Justin Crum. Miss & Mister Phoenix Gay Pride Royalty: Eva Angelica Stratton and Kristofer V. Lee. Phoenix Pride hosted The Equality March & Rally for Unity and Pride (part of the National Equality March) on June 11th in Downtown Phoenix. The Annual Pride Awards Reception (formerly Awards Brunch) was held June 23rd at the Phoenix Art Museum. Phoenix Pride celebrated its 6th year of ownership of the Rainbows Festival with continued record attendance. The Pride Festival and Rainbows Festival maintained once again, the honor of being the two largest LGBTQ+ events in the state of Arizona.
“COMMUNITY STRONG” Two-Day Pride Festival held April 2nd & 3rd with an average temperature of 74 degrees. The Phoenix Pride Parade was held on Sunday, April 3rd and attracted record attendance with Community Grand Marshal Olivia Gardens. Festival Entertainment included: The B-52s, MAGIC! & Daya. Miss & Mister Phoenix Gay Pride Royalty: Naomi St. James and Geo Johnson. The Annual Pride Brunch (formerly Awards Gala) was held June 11th at the Hilton Scottsdale. Phoenix Pride celebrated its 5th year of ownership of the Rainbows Festival with continued record attendance. The Pride Festival and Rainbows Festival maintained once again, the honor of being the two largest LGBTQ+ events in the state of Arizona.
“PASSIONATE, POWERFUL & PROUD” Two-Day Pride Festival held April 11th & 12th with an average temperature of 76 degrees. The Phoenix Pride Parade moved to Sunday for the first time in its history and was held April 12th with Community Grand Marshal Brendan Mahoney. Festival Entertainment included: Phoenix Pride’s first ever Latin Headliner, Ana Barbara and other headliners Wilson Philipps , Katy Tiz and Betty Who. Miss & Mister Phoenix Gay Pride Royalty: Trixxie Deluxxe and Dee-Jay Galazy. The Annual Pride Awards Gala was held June 20th at the Hilton Scottsdale. Phoenix Pride celebrated its 4th year of ownership of the Rainbows Festival with continued record-setting attendance. The Pride Festival and Rainbows Festival maintained once again, the honor of being the two largest LGBTQ+ events in the state of Arizona.
“BE HEARD, STAY STRONG, BE YOU” Two-Day Pride Festival held April 5th & 6th with an average temperature of 78 degrees. The Phoenix Pride Parade was held April 5th with Celebrity Grand Marshal Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury and Community Grand Marshal Lloyd Mays. Festival Entertainment included: Neon Hitch, Beverly McClellan, David & Devine, A Great Big World and Michelle Branch. Miss & Mister Phoenix Gay Pride Royalty: Barbra Seville & Eddie C. Broadway. The Annual Pride Awards Gala was held June 7th at the FireSky Resort & Spa. Phoenix Pride celebrated its 3rd year of ownership of the Rainbows Festival with another year of record-setting attendance.
“EQUALITY & JUSTICE FOR ALL” Two-Day Pride Festival held April 6th & 7th with an average temperature of 80 degrees. The Phoenix Pride Parade was held April 6th with Community Grand Marshals Howard & Patricia Fleischmann and Karen Bailey & Nelda Majors, Pride Gala Grand Marshals the Imperial Court of Arizona and the Phoenix Gay Flag Football League. Festival Entertainment included: Girl in a Coma, Wynter Gordon, Black Carl, The Veronicas and Karmin. Miss & Mister Phoenix Gay Pride Royalty: Khloe V Monroe & Jensen Dean. The Annual Pride Awards Gala was held June 8th at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. Phoenix Pride celebrated its 2nd year of ownership of the Rainbows Festival with record-setting attendance on its 11th Anniversary.
“Born This Way FEEL IT. LIVE IT. BE IT. Proud!” Two-Day Pride Festival held April 21st-22nd. Pride Parade held April 21st with Community Grand Marshals Rick Zavala (Afeelya Bunz) and Jamie Henderson-Maysm Pride Gala Grand Marshals Empress VI Lady Christian and Emperor VI Jerry Heitman, Youth Grand Marshal Max Janssen and Celebrity Grand Marshals Chely Wright and Beth McDonald. Festival Entertainment: Chely Wright, Vanessa Carlton, Cazwell & Amanda Lapore and the Village People. Miss & Mister Phoenix Gay Pride Royalty: Grecia Montes D’Occa & Jensen Dean. Annual Pride Awards Gala was held June 9th at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. Phoenix Pride acquires the Rainbows Festival on it’s 10th Anniversary and now produces the two largest LGBTQ+ events in the state of Arizona.
“Do Ask. Do Tell. BE PROUD.” 15th Annual Pride Parade was held on April 16th. Featuring Celebrity Grand Marshal’s Lynda Carter, Derek Hartley & Romaine Patterson, Community Grand Marshal’s Meg Sneed & Jimmy Gruender, and honoring the first LGBTQ+ Youth Grand Marshal Caleb Laieski. Two-Day Festival held at Steele Indian School Park April 16th – 17th. Festival Headliners: 80’s Teen Idol Tiffany, American Idol finalist Blake Lewis, former The L Word star Leisha Hailey’s Indie/Electropop band Uh Huh Her and American indie rock Shiny Toy Guns. Added expanded Erotic Art World, ARTS Expo/Bistro Stage all under one roof, additional shading throughout the park. Mister and Miss Phoenix Gay Pride Royalty: Olivia Gardens and Freddy Prinze Charming.
“1 Community. 3 Decades. 4 Pride.” 30th Anniversary of Pride Festival. Two day festival held April 17th – 18th. Pride Parade held April 17th and presented by Verizon Wireless, Community Grand Marshal’s Tambra Williams & Micheal Weakley and International Grand Marshal’s Adam Biskupiak and Tomasz Baczkowski from Warsaw Pride of Warsaw, Poland . Festival Entertainment: Colby O’Donis, Nina Sky, Berlin and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. Added Erotic Art World, Red Bull Tent, Fort McDowell Casino Tent, 10 Days of Pride, T-shirt Design Contest, ProEM’s Wedding Expo. Mister and Miss Phoenix Gay Pride Royalty: Diamond Dallas and Nikki Kidd. OUTdayPHX returns to the Phoenix Zoo for the second year with celebrity keynote speakers ANT and Heather Matarazzo. Phoenix Pride teams up with Aunt Rita’s Foundation for Celebration of Giving held Dec. 4th.
“Celebrate Community, Celebrate Family, Celebrate YOU!”, Two day festival held April 18th -19th. Pride Parade held April 18th with Community Grand Marshal’s Linda Hoffman and Mayor Phil Gordon and our 1st International Grand Marshals, from Tijuana Pride, Lorenzo Herrera and Dr. David Oliva Jimenez . Festival Entertainment: Inaya Day, Deborah Cox, The Cliks & Gin Blossoms. Mister and Miss Phoenix Gay Pride Royalty: Chane’ Jordan (title removed) & Brandon Packer. Inaugural Pride Gala was held June 13th at Memorial Hall. Inaugural OUTdayPHX at the Phoenix Zoo is held Oct. 11th. Celebrity keynote speakers: My So Called Life’s Wilson Cruz & former The L Word star Daniel Sea. Phoenix Pride teams up with the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce for the 1st annual Festival of Trees held at the Hilton in Scottsdale on Dec. 5th.
“More Color, More Voices, More Pride”!, Two day festival held April 12th-13th. “The Celebration Starts Here!” Pride Parade held April 12th with Community Grand Marshal’s Bob Heygi and Regina Gazelle Wells, National Grand Marshal the Phoenix Mercury.
Festival Entertainment:Ultra Nate’ and Expose’ on Saturday night or Kat DeLuna and Sheena Easton.
Pride Royalty: Miss Afeelya Bunz.
“Over The Top” Pride Parade on 3rd St on April 14th and Festival April 14th-15th, 2 day Festival at Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix Green. 5K Pride run organized by AZ Frontrunners.on April 15th
Entertainment Headliners: Taylor Dane and En Vogue. Added additional interactive Entertainment / Friends Fun Zone.
Pride Royalty: Miss Claudia B
“10th Annual Parade” Pride Parade on 3rd St on April 1st and Festival April 1st-2nd, 2 day Festival at Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix Green. 5K Pride run organized by AZ Frontrunners on April 2nd.
Entertainment Headliners: Jennifer Holliday and RuPaul. Added Art Expo, Wine Experience and Bungee-Trampoline Ride.
“25 Years of Pride in Phoenix” Pride Parade on April 2nd and Festival April 2nd-3rd, 2 day Festival at Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix Green. 5K Pride run organized by AZ Frontrunners.on April 3rd
Entertainment: Evelyn Champagne King, Crystal Waters, Liquid 360, Kevin Ceballo, Rockell, Debbie Deb, Comedy: Sabrina Matthews, Nick Tarr
“Celebrating Rainbow Flag 25” Pride Parade on April 3, 2004. 5K Pride run moves North & is organized by AZ Frontrunners.
Festival: April 4 12:00-6:00 pm Steele Indian School Park, Phoenix Green (another new location) (added Bistro Stage & Pride Saloon) 1st ever Phoenix Gay Pride Week proclamation-Mayor Phil Gordon presented on Festival Stage.
Entertainment: Kim English, Thea Austin, Paul Lekakis, comedienne-Michele Balan
Royalty: Miss- Paula Sha’, Mr. Jeffrey Klimas-Mckenzie, Ms-Madame Rose (Rosemarie Nagle), Miz-ter Tomi Boi (aka Tara Masters)
“Let Your Pride Be Your Guide” Pride Parade (1st year northbound), 10K Pride run, and Festival at Steele Indian School Park, Circle of Life area Entertainment: Pointer Sisters, Digital Soldier
Festival moved to Steele Indian School Park
Royalty: Miss- Anita Champagne Pride (aka Kelvin Brown)
“For One Day Feel Like the Majority” Pride Parade, 5K run, and Festival at Margaret T. Hance Deck Park
Royalty: Miss- Dottie D, Mr-Jerry Lee (moved), replaced by Mr. Mikey P
“What Part of Equal Don’t You Understand” Pride Parade, 5K run, and Festival at Margaret T. Hance Deck Park (June)
New ACP President: Linda Hoffman (YEAR OF THE STORM)
Entertainment: RuPaul (almost), Crystal Waters (not!)
Royalty: Miss-Aurora Gayheart, Mr.-Tommy D
1st time Gay Billboard (I-17 & 17th Ave)
“One Heart, One Mind, One Vision, Take Pride, Take Joy, Take Action” Pride Parade, 5K run, and Festival at Margaret T. Hance Deck Park
Royalty: Miss-Antewnette, Mr-Byron Lourde, Ms-Liz Kestner, Mr. Jeff Edwards
“Millions of Lives…One Voice in Pride..” Pride Parade, 5K Pride run by Team AZ/ACP, and Festival at Margaret T. Hance Deck Park.
Royalty: Miss- Mimi Rae Rose, Ms DaMomma Powers, Mr. Jeff Edwards
“Pride 98…A Gateway to Change” Pride Parade (1st year together with Festival date)
Festival moves to Margaret T. Hance Deck Park in Phoenix
“Pride…Equality Through Visibility” Festival (June) at Tempe Diablo Stadium Complex Soccer Fields, 1st year for Parade (April) in Phoenix Entertainment
Royalty: Miss- Pussy LeHoot, Mr. John (Tigner) Dennem, Ms. Pat Brinegar
Entertainment: Royalty: Miss- Paula Sha’, Mr. Carl Gommer, Ms. Jennifer Stieha
“Discover: Pride Without Borders” Festival at Tempe Diablo Stadium Complex Soccer Fields
New ACP President: Ernie Mendoza.
Royalty: Miss- Diane Daniels, Mr. Tony Geraldes, Ms. Jennifer Guthrie
“Discover Pride” Festival at Tempe Diablo Stadium Complex Soccer Fields.
Royalty: Miss- Felicia Fahr, replaced by Miss Ellie
“Stonewall 25: A Global Celebration of Pride” Festival at Tempe Diablo Stadium Complex Soccer Fields expands to 3 day event.
Royalty: Miss- Roxy Blue
PLGPC renames itself to Arizona Central Pride
“A Family of Pride” Festival at Tempe Diablo Stadium Complex Soccer Fields.
1st year for Royalty Pageant: Miss Markus
“Pride = Power: A Simple Matter of Justice” Festival at Tempe Diablo Stadium Complex Soccer Fields
“Desert Pride: It’s Hot” Festival at Kiwanis Park, Tempe, AZ.
“A New Decade of Pride” Festival at El Lienzo Charro Rodeo Grounds (27th Ave & baseline) with booths and entertainment.
Entertainment: Comedienne Lynn Lavner
The organization incorporates as The Phoenix Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee, Inc.
President: Beth Verity
“Stonewall Remembered” March from Patriot’s Park to rally at Wesley Bolin Plaza
Keynote: Karen Thompson
“Unity ’88” – Festival at Phoenix Civic Plaza with booths and entertainment
Keynote: Caryoln Warner.
“Silent No More” / “Hands Across the Capitol” Rally at Wesley Bolin Plaza Rally becomes combined with Mecham Recall event. Participants held hands surrounding the State Capitol building.
“Phoenix Pride Emerging” – Outdoor event at South Mountain Park
Keynote: Activist Cleve Jones.
“Our Future in Our Hands” – Parade on Central Avenue
Keynote: West Hollywood Mayor
Pro-Tempore: John Heilman.
“Unity and More in ’84” – March on Central Avenue. Rally at Phoenix Civic Plaza.
Keynote: Attorney and Civil Rights Activist Flo Kennedy.
“Uniting for Freedom, Recognition, and Understanding” March on Central Avenue. Rally at Phoenix Civic Plaza
Keynote: David Clarenbach, Wisconsin State Representative.
“We are Family” – March from Patriot’s Park to rally at Wesley Bolin Plaza. 17 People walk to Phoenix from Tucson for the event.
Keynote: Author Charlotte Bunch.
Alternative Relations Center opens in Phoenix during Gay Pride Week.
“We are Here” – March from Patriots Park to rally on State Capitol ground.
Keynotes: Lesbian activist Arlie Scott and Serviceman/Activist Leonard Matlovich.