Durham Proud: Unscripted Salutes Durham’s LGBT Pioneers. To celebrate Durham Pride Week, we wanted to use this space to celebrate the histories of LGBT groups in the Triangle and honor their contributions to our community.

Photo by NC Pride 2010- One Heart, One World, One Pride-NCPride.org
                                 Photo by NC Pride 2010-NCPride.org

Prior to the late 1960s, and especially during the politically and culturally conservative 1950s, Durham’s LGBT communities were categorically denied safe places to meet, organize and especially dance. Often, local authorities would raid gay-friendly establishments and arrest attendees for everything from dancing with members of the sex same to wearing clothing that was deemed “inappropriate” for their assigned gender. However, despite the very real dangers that LGBT Durhamites faced, they overcame these obstacles by forming deep bonds to one another and spreading information about everything from political meetings to elaborate dance parties. The seeds of this tight knit DIY network would bloom further in the decades that followed.

During the 1970s, Durham’s LGBT communities and activist groups grew in visibility. One of the most enduring is the Duke Gay Alliance (DGA). Inspired by the rebellious spirit of New York’s Stonewall Riots, the DGA published its own newsletter, The Gay Morning Star, and soon began attracting like-minded individuals from all over the Triangle. Later in the decade, the Triangle Area Gay Communication And Planning Committee would form to bring more discussion to the issues affected Durham’s various LGBT groups from all economic and social groups.

In the face of the AIDS crisis and a string of unsympathetic conservative political leaders, Durham’s LGBT groups had to raise their voice and their public profile in the ‘80s and 90s. Notable events from this era include the area’s first ever “Our Day Out” March in 1981, the forming of the North Carolina Lesbian And Gay Health Project the following year, the state’s first Pride Marches in 1986 and the formation of several gay rights groups at historically African-American colleges including North Carolina Central University in the 1990s.

This year, we encourage you to honor the legacy of Durham’s LGBT pioneers by celebrating Durham’s 31st Annual Pride Parade on September 30th. In addition to a grand parade filled with floats and marchers, the event also boasts fabulous performances, a live dating show, a 5K charity fun run and special guest speakers. For more info on all the action, we encourage you to inquire at the front desk, as they will be happy to support.

We hope that learning more about the rich histories of Durham’s LGBT communities inspires you to speak out against discrimination and oppression and extend love and kindness to all humans. From everyone here at Unscripted Durham, we wish all of you a happy, fun and safe Pride Week.

Planning a trip to Durham around Pride 2017? Book now using promo code PROUD and receive access to our weekly events, up to 15% off, and 2 specialty “Yesss Honey” cocktails upon arrival: https://goo.gl/FXb5Sz.