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Buffalo Pride Turns 40; Ten Buffalo Gay Pride Facts and Trivia and Frivolities

Buffalo —Did you know that the first Buffalo Gay Pride celebration was actually held in 1973? Yes, Pride in Buffalo turns 40 this year.

There was no parade in 1973 but there was a discussion group and picnic.

In 2013 If you are expecting a parade filled with thousands of bewigged curls, garish dresses of unspeakable colors and partial male nudity you won't find it at Buffalo Pride parade your thinking of the Saint Patrick's Day Parade.

While not as garish as St. Patrick and Dingus the Buffalo version of the Gay Pride parade is every bit as foppish and earnest as any other group of lgbt people with balloons and a dream.

Here are a few historical facts and tips to get your Pride Month popping.

Ten Buffalo Gay Pride Facts and Trivia and Frivolities

1.) This is the 20th year that Buffalo has had a gay pride parade. Buffalo Activists, energized by the April 1993 March on Washington, organized the very first Pride Parade going from Kleinhans Music Hall to Elmwood and ending on Allen Street near Main.

2.) The first coordinated Pride Festival in 1981 featured a beach clean-up party at Woodlawn Beach. This was before it was a New York State park and was a notorious “closed” beach frequented by gay men and nudists. (usually they were one and the same.)

3.) Do not feed the Bears. They are already well fed. That is why they always win the float competition. You can rub their tummy... they like that but don't get carried away or they may carry you away!

4.) The Rainbow Pride flags first went up along the parade route in 1996. In fact that was the only year that the flags circled Niagara Square.

5.) Tip your bartenders both under the tents and at the bars. It's Pride- splurge!

6.) During the early seventies the first Buffalo Gay Pride events were organized by the Mattachine Society of The Niagara Frontier and Gay Rights for Older Women (GROW).

7.) The 1981 Buffalo Pride Festival ended with Climax on The Little Rock. This was before Don't Ask Don't Tell enactment and repeal. Makes one wonder if the organizers were aware of the irony.

8.) The first post parade rally was 1995, on the steps of City Hall. This was the first year after the notorious fruit hater, the late former Mayor Jimmy Griffin had left City Hall. There was reason to celebrate.

9.) Chuck Gurney, the former WIVB-TV weatherman came out at Pride in 1996 when he hosted the post parade rally in Lafayette Square.

10.) The Christian protesters along the parade route are not from Western New York. They are actually from a small sect outside of Rochester. The Lilac City has better hateful Christians than Buffalo does.

Did you know the early lgbt civil rights activists only identified by their first names and last initial back in the sixties and seventies. Fear of authorities was so prevalent that one person was always designated to have the membership list in one hand and a lighter in the other. In the event of a "raid" the list would be ignited so that no evidence would remain.

You would be well aware of that fact and learn a great deal more about the women and men who have been bringing our regions attention to the issues that have been important to lgbt people for centuries.

The Madeline Davis Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender archive of Western New York are located in the archives collections of the E. H, Butler Library at Buffalo State College. Through this collaboration, the students aim to present a cross section of these archives to the public, highlighting some of the important political and social achievements of the lgbt people in Buffalo, New York. —Staff

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