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I Didn’t Know That: A Short History of Pride at Boise State

Rainbow colored lighting in the SUB atrium in honor of Pride Week 2020, photo Patrick Sweeney

As June arrives with lingering sunshine and long days, a large community prepares to take advantage of the sunny, summer times. Every June, members of the LGBTQIA+ community celebrate their history, cultures, identities and victories.

You may wonder why, exactly, the queer community celebrates during this month. It’s because, in June of 1969, queer people, including trans women of color Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, fought back against unjust police raids in what was soon after called the Stonewall Riots.

Since then, June has been a special time of year for the community, even here in Boise. The first Boise Pride Parade was held in 1990, after Boise State professor Brian Bergquist published a piece in “Out!” saying, “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.”

The following June, approximately 350 people, including Boise State community members, marched in the first annual Boise Pride parade.

You may actually recognize Bergquist’s name—in the SUB, you’ve probably walked past the Bergquist Lounge, named after the activist following his passing in 1998. Though Pride in Boise this year, similarly to last, has been postponed until September, queer Boise State students can still find community through clubs like QSTEM or Pride Alliance and Trans Alliance, two organizations on campus with active Discord chats.


1990 Gay Lesbian Freedom Parade in Boise, Idaho. Boise State Special Collections and Archives at Albertsons Library

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  • Paige


    Writing Correspondent