Utah Pride Festival

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The rainbow flag at the back of the 2014 Utah Pride parade. People watch from the street, from rooftops, and from a parking structure.

The Utah Pride Festival is a festival held in downtown Salt Lake City in June celebrating Utah's diversity and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The event is a program of the Utah Pride Center, and includes the state's second-largest parade, after the Days of '47 Parade.[1]


The Kitchen v. Herbert plaintiffs participate as grand marshals while Lady Liberty and Lady Justice kiss at the 2014 Utah Pride parade in Salt Lake City. The words on the side of the float read, "Our Champions for Marriage Equality".

The festival includes the parade, a film festival, the Dyke March, an interfaith service by the Utah Pride Interfaith Coalition,[2] 5K charity run, and related parties and receptions.

Participation in the festival cuts across a broad spectrum of Utahns. Past speakers during the celebration have ranged from Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, who was quoted in support of same sex marriage, to Utah Rep. Jackie Biskupski, the state's first openly lesbian legislator.

The festival's last day (Sunday) begins with the parade. Participants have included Mayor Ralph Becker,[3] County Mayor Ben McAdams,[4] a group of uniformed Boy Scouts, the largest group - Mormons Building Bridges, Mormons for Equality, the Provo Pride Council,[5] and Weber State University.[6] Over 140[4] organizations, sponsors, and religious groups participate.[7] A large rainbow flag fills the street at the back of the parade.[5]


Salt Lake City Library during the 2006 Utah Pride Festival, which was centered around the Salt Lake City and County Building in the background.

The festival began in 1977 when the Salt Lake Coalition for Human Rights sponsored a three-day conference. Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons (then called Gay Mormons United) was founded during this conference, on June 11.[8] The 1978 keynote speakers were David Kopay, the first NFL player to come out of the closet, and U.S. Air Force Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, an ex-Mormon who was the first openly gay person to appear on the cover of Time magazine.[9]

Utah Pride Inc. was created in 1989 through 2004 as a project of the Gay and Lesbian Community Council of Utah. The project was renamed Pride of Utah in 2006.[9][10][11]

The first Pride parade in the state was held in 1990 and included a procession of 270.[12] In 1991, the Utah Stonewall Center opened and Pride festivities moved to the Salt Lake County Fairgrounds in Murray, Utah.[13] The parade attracted twice as many participants along with opposition by members of the Aryan Nation.[12] The Pride Day Art Expo and Competition was created to award local artists with its Lesbian and Gay Pride Art Award and the Mapplethorpe Award.[9]

In 2004, an estimated 50,000 people attended, the largest since the festival began.[8] However, in 2005, the first year in which an admission was charged, attendance at the festival was 15,000 to 20,000. Some have attributed this decline to patrons not wanting to pay for admission to the festival.[citation needed] Festival organizers argued that it was the first year in which an accurate method of counting the attendance was employed and that the numbers did not reflect a drop in attendance.[14]

The 2012 festival included performers Frenchie Davis and Prince Poppycock[15]

In 2014, Mayor Ralph Becker threw a private wedding reception for couples whose marriages he performed on the first day that same-sex marriage became legal in Utah.[16]

Utah Pride Festival History
Year Dates Festival name Theme Grand Marshal Estimated attendance
May 1974 Beer Bust Kegger
1975 June 1 Gay Freedom Day[17]
1976 Memorial Day Kegger
1977 June 10 – June 12 Human Rights 400
1978 June Pride Day Leonard Matlovich, David Kopay
1983 Basket Social
1990 Pride Day Look to the Future Dr. Kristen Ries
1992 Pride Day Jess Hawk Oakenstar
1993 Walter Larabee
1994 Stonewall: Twenty-five Years Remembered, Twenty-five Years of Progress[9] 4000
1995 5000
1996 June 9 Pride Day Pride... Without Borders Chastity Bono
2000 May Utah Pride Day A New Era of Pride Rep Jackie Biskupski[18]
2001 June 7 – June 10 Utah Pride Embracing Diversity
2002 June 9 Utah Pride Day Unity in the Community- Change From Within Alicia Suazo[19]
2003 Be Yourself Out Loud
2004 June 11 – June 13 Utah Pride Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are! Bruce Bastian[20] 50,000
2005 June 8 – June 12 Utah Pride Equal Rights. No More. No Less. 15,000 - 20,000
2006 June 1 – June 4 Utah Pride Week[21] Pride, Not Prejudice Boyer Jarvis, Ph.D[22] 20,000[23]
2007 June 1 – June 3 Utah Pride Days[24] United for Equality John Amaechi[25]
2008 June 6 – June 8 Utah Pride Come Together Ralph Becker[26][27]
2009 June 5 – June 7 Utah Pride Festival Pride. Voice. Action. Cleve Jones[28] 20,000[29]
2010 June 4 – June 6 Utah Pride Festival Our History, Our Future Sister Dottie S. Dixon[30] 25,000
2011 June 3 – June 5 Utah Pride Festival Live. Love. Pride. Roseanne Barr[31] 28,000[32]
2012 June 1 – June 3 Utah Pride Festival Changing Hearts and Lives Dustin Lance Black[33]
2013 May 30 - June 2 Utah Pride Festival Gotta Be Real-Equality[34] David Testo[35] 35,000[4]
2014 June 5 - June 8 Utah Pride Festival Love Equals Love The Three Couples from Utah's Marriage Equality Case: Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen, Kate Call and Karen Archer[36]
2015 June 4 - June 7 Utah Pride Festival Pride Is Janet Mock[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Utah Days Of '47 Parade Denies Entry For Mormon LGBT Float". The Huffington Post. Associated Press. May 9, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Utah Pride 2007 kicks off with Interfaith Service". The Salt Lake Tribune. May 26, 2007. 
  3. ^ McCarthy, Christine L. (Jun 9, 2014). "Thousands Celebrate Utah Pride As Ruling On Same-Sex Marriage Looms". KUTV (Sinclair Broadcasting Group). Retrieved Jun 12, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c Romboy, Dennis (June 8, 2014). "Gay marriage issue pumps up Utah Pride Parade". Deseret News. Retrieved Jun 12, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Canham, Matt; Manley, Danielle (June 8, 2014). "Gay couples who made history lead Utah Pride Parade (videos)". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  6. ^ Pyle, Skyler (June 9, 2014). "Wildcats show their colors at Utah Pride parade". The Signpost. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  7. ^ McCombs, Brady (June 8, 2014). "Gay marriage victories focus of gay pride parade". Houston Chronicle. Associated Press. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Affirmation". [dead link].
  9. ^ a b c d Pride Guide 1996. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City: Gay and Lesbian Community Council of Utah. June 1996. p. 12. 
  10. ^ "Utah Pride Inc.". Business Search. Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. 1989. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Pride of Utah". Business Search. Utah Division of Corporations and Commercial Code. 2006. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Evans, Whitney (June 6, 2014). "Pride weekend in Salt Lake City has changed over the years". Deseret News. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  13. ^ Brophy, Steven M. (5 June 1997). "Utah gays and lesbians celebrate Pride Day with weekend activities". The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City: Kearns-Tribune LLC). pp. D–2. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "SL Metro". [dead link]
  15. ^ "Utah Pride - Announcing 2012 Headliners". Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  16. ^ Winslow, Ben (June 6, 2014). "Utah Pride Festival kicks off as decision on same-sex marriage nears". Fox13. Retrieved June 12, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Q Salt Lake - The History of Utah Pride". Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  18. ^ Williams, Ben, ed. (May 2000). Official Guide to Utah Pride Day 2000. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah Pride Day Inc. 
  19. ^ Booth, Sherry, ed. (May 2002). Official Guide to Utah Pride Day 2002. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah Pride Day Inc. 
  20. ^ "Deseret News - Wedding float is highlight of Utah Pride parade in S.L.". June 15, 2004. 
  21. ^ "Utah Pride 2006". The Salt Lake Tribune. June 2, 2006. 
  22. ^ Aaron, Michael, ed. (June 1–15, 2006). Q Salt Lake "Guide to Pride". Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah: Salt Lick Publishing. 
  23. ^ "Utah Pride - Press Releases" (PDF). Utah Pride. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Utah Festivals List". The Salt Lake Tribune. May 20, 2007. 
  25. ^ "Utah Pride Festivities". Deseret News. June 4, 2007. 
  26. ^ "Utah Pride Festival Schedule". The Salt Lake Tribune. June 2, 2008. 
  27. ^ "Becker Leads Utah Pride Festivities on Friday". The Salt Lake Tribune. June 1, 2008. 
  28. ^ "Governor, Entertainer Honored with Pride Festival Awards". QSaltLake Magazine. May 25, 2009. 
  29. ^ "KSL - Pride Parade draws thousands to downtown Salt Lake City". June 6, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Sister Dottie: Utah Pride Festival Grand Marshal 2010". QSaltLake Magazine. Retrieved May 16, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Thousands Celebrate Diversity, Individuality at Utah Pride Festival". Deseret News. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Q Salt Lake - 2011 in Review". Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Utah Pride Grand Marshal for 2012 Festival: Dustin Lance Black". Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Utah Pride Center Gears Up for 2013 Pride Festival". Q Salt Lake. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  35. ^ "Utah Pride Festival Grand Marshal Reception". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  36. ^ "Grand Marshal Reception". Utah Pride 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  37. ^ Utah Pride 2015 (insert section in the 28 May 2015 issue of Salt Lake City Weekly), pp. 20=36


External links[edit]