Sparked by the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, Pride Month recognizes the resilience and grit of individuals in the LGBTQIA2S+ community who are fighting to live with freedom and authenticity.
Boise’s first Pride parade took place on June 23, 1990. The late Brian J. Berquist, assistant director and coordinator of conference services in the Boise State Student Union, planned and coordinated the inaugural event.
“A Gay Pride Parade will help us to understand that we are part of a larger, national movement. A movement that is making progress. We are not an isolated island, but part of the great tide of human diversity,” wrote Bergquist for the November 1989 issue of ‘Out!’ magazine.
Today, many see Pride events as a celebration. But the road toward visibility has not always been easy, and challenges continue.
Bergquist moved to Boise from Hollywood in 1987 to work at Boise State. He began to network in the community in the late 80s and made many friends and allies. He also saw the need to organize with purpose and founded Your Family, Friends, and Neighbors in 1989 — a trailblazing gender identity and sexual orientation advocacy group.
Bergquist continued to shine as a leader and advocate for gay civil rights in Idaho until he passed away from a sudden heart attack during Boise’s Gay Pride Week in 1998. His legacy lives on through the annual Boise PrideFest, in the continued fight for basic human rights and freedoms for LGBTQIA2S+ Idahoans, and in the Bergquist Lounge in the Student Union, named in his honor. The Brian J. Bergquist Papers, 1968-1998, are available to the public in the Albertsons Library Special Collections and Archives.
Bergquist’s brave voice is one of many in the LGBTQIA2S+ history of Boise, a legacy we build upon with education, hope, love, and pride.
Photo Credits: Boise State Special Collections and Archives at Albertsons Library