A Legacy of Provincetown Pride

Ever since the Stonewall Riots sparked a national movement, Provincetown has served as a stage for Gay and Lesbian Liberation.

Provincetown Pride has grown rapidly post-pandemic, with keystone events like the Rally on the steps of Town Hall spiking from several hundred attendees to several thousand in just a few short years. While the PBG’s Pride celebrations may have kicked off officially in 2018, we also recognize that this is by no means the first Pride event in Provincetown. The international queer zeitgeist of today is built on the strong, sensible shoulders of the queens, lesbian motorcycle clubs, and trans activists who came before us – and it’s no different here in Provincetown. Pride here still pulls on the threads of our shared histories, and commemorates the work that’s come before us to help power the LGBTQ+ movement forward, both locally and beyond.

In 1970, the one-year anniversary of the historic Stonewall Riots was marked with a Gay and Lesbian Liberation March in Provincetown – to our knowledge, the first local Pride March. Further down the line, in 1987 and 1988, as AIDS was tearing at the fabric of the gay community and Provincetown became a refuge for those seeking civility and care, the town hosted more subdued iterations of Pride. They took the form of solemn candlelight processions. The following year, in July of 1989, the 20-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, Pride demonstrations featured members of ACT UP. This sparked major political discourse, followed by threats of violence that resulted in the cancellation of that year’s Carnival Parade.

In all reality, there have been countless celebrations of Pride dotting the timeline of Commercial Street. Therefore, in approaching Provincetown’s 6th Annual Pride this June 2-4, we will continue to recognize each brick, step, and demonstration that’s brought us to where we now stand. We’re also reminded that the current wave of violence towards trans and non-binary folk, queer youth, and drag queens, sparked by reinvigorated legislative wars – which all reaffirm the crucial need to protect and celebrate our LGBTQ+ family. Being alert to those who threaten our community remains a part of that larger inheritance.

Provincetown’s Pride continues to gain footing as one of the community’s most diverse weekends. That is proved by so many special moments: Introducing non-binary Gen-Zers to their first Ptown experience. Welcoming young kids with their parents. Celebrating the powerful lady-contingent supported by MEMDay and attendees of the longstanding Womxn Women of Color Weekend. Provincetown warmly extends its open arms to the full spectrum of our community. It offers an opportunity to celebrate Pride safely and freely. It’s a wildly exciting period where LGBTQ+ people exist as the majority in our town – along with nearly 70% of our visitor base.

While not every day is Provincetown Pride, rest assured that every day there is Pride in Provincetown.


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