PDA at Pride


There’s a lot of discussion right now about whether “PDA” is appropriate at Pride events, so here’s a reminder that the very first Pride event in 1970 (called the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade) featured a “Gay-In” with same-sex couples showing public affection for each other:  


“Gay-in” in Central Park during the 1st Christopher St Liberation Day Parade in NYC, 1970

Similar events were held at other Prides in the 70s and 80s. In this period, displays of same-sex affection were especially encouraged, and some even featured gay “kissing booths”:


Three couples take advantage of the Gay Band Kissing Booth at the Los Angeles Christopher Street West Pride Parade, in 1982 

This was not casual, it was an intentional choice meant to send a specific political message that LGBT people would no longer stay hidden. People who say that PDA grosses them out no matter who does it are missing the point entirely. Public displays of affection among LGBT people within the context of Pride are part of its historical political message and significance. Refusing to  engage with and understand that context is inherently reactionary.