June 01 - 04, 2023

Utah Pride

June 04, 2023 @ 10:00 am

The pride parade goes through downtown Salt Lake City. The Pride Fest is on Washington and Library Square, entrance 450 South 300 East

Utah Pride © Utah Pride Center/Facebook
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About Utah Pride

Utah Pride is the largest yearly event organized by the Utah Pride Center, aimed at uniting, empowering, and celebrating the state's diverse LGBTQ+ community. Established in 1977, Utah Pride focuses on creating inclusive, vibrant events for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies to celebrate diversity, equality, and love. The Utah Pride Parade, which began in 1990, attracts around 150,000 participants and spectators annually.

The Salt Lake Coalition of Human Rights hosted a Human Rights Convention in June 1977 in Salt Lake City. During this convention, Stephan Zakharias (also known as Matthew Price) and about nine others founded Gay Mormons United (now called Affirmation: LGBTQ Mormons, Families, & Friends). In 1978, the convention featured David Kopay, the first NFL player to come out, and U.S. Air Force Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, an ex-Mormon and the first openly gay person on Time magazine's cover, as keynote speakers.

Although there were private and unofficial LGBTQ+ groups in Utah during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, the 1977 Human Rights Convention is considered the beginning of Utah Pride. A notable early event was a Beer Bust Kegger Party in 1974 along the Great Salt Lake, which gathered over 200 people. In 1975, the Gay Community Service Center was founded, and it sponsored the first Gay Freedom Day on June 1 in City Creek Canyon.

In the 1980s, Pride celebrations, then called Gay Pride Day, occurred in various parks, including Fairmont Park, Pioneer Park, and Sunnyside Park. The first Pride march occurred on June 27, 1990, with 270 participants. The march began at the State Capitol and ended at South Temple and West Temple. That year, the Pride festival was held at the Northwest Community Center.

When the Utah Stonewall Center started organizing Utah Pride Inc, festivities moved to the Salt Lake County Fairgrounds in Murray, attracting twice as many participants. Pride Day Art Expo and Competition, the Lesbian and Gay Pride Art Award, and the Mapplethorpe Award were introduced to promote local queer artists' visibility.

The famous and symbolic giant pride flag carried by the crowd at the parade was first used in 1997. The flag was completed moments before the parade on June 8 that year, and it became a huge sensation! The flag bearers proudly marched with it from the Utah State Capitol to the City and County Building, down State Street. A new flag was purchased in 2012, which is still in use today. 

After a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Utah Pride returned in 2022 with various events, including the longest-ever Pride Parade, a Festival at Washington Square, a Glow March, a 5K run, and multiple venues hosting their own programs and shows throughout the month.


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