1981: "Frontline of Freedom" San Francisco Pride

1981: "Frontline of Freedom" San Francisco Pride


11 documents from “Front Line of Freedom: Lesbian/Gay Freedom Day Parade & Celebration,”  San Francisco: 1981.

A wonderful collection of documents attesting to the vast work of cooperation and coordination behind pulling off a Pride Parade—and one that emphasized political content and community outreach.

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  1. Barbara M. Cameron, Greg Day. “Dear Lesbian/Gay Community and Friends,” a letter from the co-chairs of the event describing the theme of San Francisco’s 11th Pride, on the “twelfth anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. Our Theme “Front Line of Freedom,” Emphasizes the spirit of Stonewall and our struggle against those who would deny us full civil and social rights.” The letter encourages participation in terms of parade marchers, floats, booths, and other forms of volunteering and “creative support.” 1 l. in very good condition, with a light line of whiteout in the margin not effecting the text.

  2. “Guidelines and Fees,” 1 l. printed on yellow paper in very good condition, listing guidelines for participation in the parade, including statements of sexism, racism, ageism, classism, and physicalism.

  3. “Float Application,” 1 l. printed on red paper in very good condition, a blank form to apply for a float in the parade.

  4. “Booth Application,” 1 l. printed on blue paper in very good condition, a blank form to apply for a booth for the parade.

  5. “Program and Newspaper Rates,” 1 l. printed on green paper in very good condition, describing the press run (50,000 copies), cost, and dimensions for advertising in the Freedom Day program.

  6. “HELP WANTED,” 1 l. printed on tan paper in very good condition, advertizing the help needed for the Freedom Day, mainly in terms of food and refreshments, vehicles and drivers, “or by helping us make sandwiches on the Saturday” before the parade.

  7. “1981 Bay Area Women’s Float Auction,” 1 l. printed on golden paper in very good condition, advertizing a fundraiser for the women’s float at the Freedom Day Parade on April 2, 1981 at Maud’s, 937 Cole Street, S.F.

  8. Parade Committees, 1 l. printed on yellow paper and in good condition but for light creases to upper corners, a blank form to apply to serve on the various committees who collaborate to organize the Freedom Day Parade, including Media/Publicity, Safety, Third World Liason, Women’s Liaison, Disabled Liaison, and both Senior and Youth Liaisons.

  9. “Celebration” Schedule, 1 l. printed on pink paper and in very good condition. A list of every performance at the Freedom Day Parade, split across two stages, running from 12:00-5:00, and featuring fifty-three speakers and performances including dance, poetry, stand-up comedy, and music ranging from “Folk Jazz” to New Wave; on the verso there is a list of all parade floats and marching groups.

  10. “Queer As A Three Dollar Bill,” an offset printed three dollar bill in very good condition (This is not legal tender…”), featuring illustrations of Bessie Smith and Harvey Milk. An interesting little piece of ephemera from the parade and celebration.

  11. “Front Line of Freedom” parade program, 28 June 1981, 104 pp., staplebound in pictorial wraps, text printed on newsprint paper. The program contents feature essays, “proclamations” from local politicians, poetry, cartoons, interviews, and critical pieces by Pat Califia (“Gay Rights, What’s That?”, Juan Jacobo Hernandez (“South of Whose Border? Mexico’s Gay Liberation”), The Women’s Place Bookstore (“Sexual Imagery and Male Supremacy”), The Rainbow Deaf Society (“Reagan Doublecuts: Disabled and Gay”) and addressing other issues such as immigration, labor rights, family rights, and gays in the military. Between the wide-ranging political writing, the calendar of events, and the spread of local advertizing, this program is a wonderful time capsule of LGBTQ life in and around the Bay Area in 1981.