Out of the Archives
By Dana Wiegand
When thinking about the history of Pride in San Diego and its establishment as an institution, one thinks of all the LGBTQ pioneers that made it possible for us to celebrate our identity proudly and publicly. We may think of those who bravely walked in unpermitted marches, the gay-ins at Balboa Park in the early 1970s, and of those who organized the very first permitted San Diego Pride Parade in 1975. Though all of those pioneers made their mark on San Diego’s LGBTQ history, when it comes to Pride, Doug Moore is considered one of the most influential.
After moving to San Diego in 1972 and coming out in 1974, Moore was brought to a planning meeting for the first permitted Pride parade — held at The Center’s first location on B Street — by Howard Williams of the Oceanside Metropolitan Community Church. It was there that he witnessed Nicole Murray Ramirez speaking with inspirational flair to those who had gathered in front of the house. Moore attended the 1975 Pride Parade, but according to the Center’s Wall of Honor, Moore kept a low profile at the event, sticking to the side streets and peeking out from behind trees to watch the parade for fear of being recognized. But by the next year, Moore was marching in the parade himself and soon after became a prominent organizer, founding Lambda Pride in September 1980, beginning a long and dedicated career of Pride organization.
But Moore’s involvement with Pride not only reached across the United States, but across the world. Thanks to Moore, San Diego has the honor of being one of the founding cities for some of the most prominent LGBT Pride organizations such as InterPride. Moore and other LGBTQ activists from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco worked together to found the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Pride in 1983, which would later become InterPride or the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Pride Coordinators (IALGPC). It was during his increasing involvement with organizations like San Diego Pride, InterPride and the California Association of Pride, Inc. (also known as CAPI), that Moore developed his collection of all things Pride.
Moore began saving every button, T-shirt, poster, Pride guide, and Pride-related tchotchke that he could get his hands on, effectively preserving the history of Pride celebrations around the world. The Doug Moore Pride Collection housed at Lambda Archives contains incredibly valuable pieces of Pride’s history, including early San Diego Pride banners and beautifully mounted button displays to boxes of collectables and documentation on Prides around the globe. If there was anything related to Pride, Moore saved it. In doing so, he preserved a majority of Pride’s history and by donating these materials to the early incarnation of Lambda Archives, he has enabled LGBTQ peoples and researchers from around the world to experience that history.
While the vast documentation on the history of Pride allows those interested to learn exactly how and when
major turning points occurred, it is the physical items in the collection that allow whoever accesses them to experience that part of our history. Buttons proudly displaying the occurrence of a city’s very first Pride celebration or boldly exclaiming that this community was “United for Our Rights,” bring back memories of our community’s drive and fight to exist as we are. The collection of Pride theme banners that were carried during San Diego Pride parades commemorating Pride themes from 1975 through 2004, proclaim slogans echoed at Prides nationwide such as “Proud, Diversified, United” (1982) and “Forward Together” (1986) allow us to gain insight into what was the most important feeling or sentiment to be celebrated in full at that year’s festivities.
Moore’s Pride Collection is one of the most comprehensive and thorough collections Lambda Archives houses. Not only does it have extensive documentation into what it took to not only get Pride institutionalized in San Diego, but to bring Pride to a national and international level — it also holds a great deal of sentiment thanks to all of the physical items. Every single item in this collection represents the overwhelming dedication and the pure devotion that Moore had for preserving this major part of LGBT history. After all, Pride is a celebration of our identity, of our community, and of all that we and the valiant trailblazers before us have accomplished — so it is an honor that this collection has beared witness to and continues to represent the fight, the passion, and the courage of what it means to have Pride.
—Lambda Archives, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to collecting, preserving and teaching the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in San Diego and the Northern Baja California region, is located at 4545 Park Blvd., in University Heights. To learn more, stop in or visit their website at lambdaarchives.org.