Christopher Street, West Hollywood by Peter Nardi

In 1975, I moved to Claremont, CA to begin what would become a 35 year teaching career as a professor of sociology at Pitzer College, one of the Claremont Colleges about 35 miles east of Los Angeles. I graduated college in 1969, the same month as the Stonewall riots. But I ended up in Philadelphia attending graduate school so was not aware of the 1970 march to commemorate Stonewall and do not recall anything in Philadelphia. I also was just coming out, so was not as attentive to the growing gay movements as I later became. I left Philadelphia in 1975, and had never been to a gay pride march until 1977 when several of us from Claremont drove to LA to watch what was called the Christopher Street West pride march. Note that it was not held in West Hollywood, as it is today, but along Hollywood Blvd, between Vine St and Highland Ave, a few steps from where the LA Gay & Lesbian Center is located today. And in 1977, Anita Bryant was running rampant so lots of the signage and T-shirts made reference to her. After the parade, a small festival -- very small, the parking lot of a mini-mall on Sunset Blvd and Cherokee Ave -- had booths, food, and souvenirs. Today, it is a big commercial festival, with admission prices and corporate sponsors. But in 1977, my first parade was seeing gay teachers, gay religious groups, parents of gays, lesbian groups, and not the bars and disco floats that would later be added. My memory is that it was truly a march and commemoration of the Stonewall events and my first introduction to what would become a career in gay studies and activism. Luckily, I have some photos from that march and posted on this website.

Christopher Street West Pride March, 1977