The History of InterPride
The Early Years
In October of 1982, representatives from half a dozen U.S. Pride organizations gathered to network, in Boston, at the first gathering of the National Association of Lesbian and Gay Pride Coordinators. They agreed to continue to meet every year since the number of Pride organizations had steadily grown.
As the movement built for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) equal rights grew, Pride events became more prominent. The need for a more global organization was getting stronger. Pride took place in many continents, so the organization was renamed the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Pride Coordinators.
With the participation of more delegates came greater diversity. At the West Hollywood (California) Conference, they voted to add bisexual and transgender to the association’s name, International Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Coordinators.
At the 1984 Conference, delegates started the ongoing tradition of selecting an annual theme. Members vote for the theme, and they are then encouraged to include the theme within their Pride organizations.
By the late 1980′s, delegates from Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom were participating. Continued outreach made the organization truly global. In 1997, delegates representing 73 Pride organizations from 18 countries attended the annual conference in New York City. This was when the WorldPride title was created, and it was awarded to Rome, Italy, for 2000.
The 1999 Glasgow Conference in Scotland was a true milestone. It was the first conference held outside the North American continent. The organization revisited its name and shortened it to InterPride, therefore consolidating its global impact.
The new Millennium
The Millennium saw the first WorldPride take place in Rome, Italy, on July 1-9, 2000. It was co-organized by the Italian gay rights organization Circolo di Cultura Omosessuale Mario Mieli and InterPride. The 2001 Auckland Conference in New Zealand was the first to be held in the southern hemisphere, and Pride delegates enjoyed the prime minister’s warm welcome.
The 2003 Montréal Conference in Canada welcomed 150 delegate members from 51 cities in a space where English was not the primary language. The members voted in favor of the Jerusalem Open House bid to host WorldPride 2006 in the Holy City. The 2004 Reykjavik Conference in Iceland was the first to be organized in a Nordic country. The 2005 Minneapolis/St.Paul (Minnesota) Conference in the U.S. was followed by the 2006 Portland (Maine) Conference in the U.S. That year, the second WorldPride was held in Jerusalem.
Zurich, Switzerland, hosted Pride delegates in 2007. There, they forged the joint membership agreement between InterPride and EPOA, instantly adding about 20 new European member organizations to InterPride. Vancouver, Canada, welcomed the 2008 InterPride Conference, where delegates awarded WorldPride 2012 to London, UK.
St. Petersburg, Florida, played host to the 2009 Conference, where the InterPride membership awarded the 2014 WorldPride license to Pride Toronto, Canada. The 2010 InterPride Conference took place in Long Beach, California.
The first InterPride and EPOA joint Annual General Meeting and World Conference (GM&WC) took place in 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. European delegates enjoyed participation at both events simultaneously and the benefit of traveling to one destination.
In celebration of 30 years of Pride delegate gatherings, the 2012 InterPride Conference returned to Boston and launched the first PrideRadar. The Conference delegates awarded WorldPride 2017 to Madrid Pride. That year, Pride in London organized the third WorldPride.
This was a very charged year, marking the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee’s year-long celebrations.
The 2014 Conference took place in Pittsburgh, PA, USA, and Pride Toronto organized the 4th WorldPride. Pride organizers gathered in 2016 in Montpellier, France, for another joint General Meeting and World Conference with European Pride Organiser Association (EPOA), and the second edition of PrideRadar was presented.
2017 was a busy year, with Madrid Pride producing WorldPride that included a Summit on Human Rights. The InterPride Conference was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, US, where delegates awarded WorldPride 2021 to Copenhagen Pride. In 2018, Pride delegates gathered in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Canada), and voted to review the bylaws and the Board structure to enhance the organization’s effectiveness.
The first Mediterranean General Meeting and World Conference happened in 2019 in Athens, Greece, and delegates voted to add a non-binary Co-President position. That year, the 2023 WorldPride was awarded to Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, Australia, the first to be held in the southern hemisphere.
The 2020 General Meeting and World Conference was scheduled to occur in Oslo, Norway, but was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This online format provided different opportunities for members from around the world to take part in the Conference.
With continued uncertainty related to the COVID pandemic restrictions, the 2021 GM&WC will be held online and hosted by InterPride. Guadalajara Pride will host InterPride’s 2022 GM&WC, in Guadalajara, Mexico. This will be the first time InterPride meets in Latin America, thus marking a new milestone for its 40th anniversary.
« Thirty-six years ago, I had a nugget of an idea that I never knew would grow. The plan was simple ... invite about 50 LGBTQI+ Pride or Pride-related organizations to join me (Boston Pride) in a historic Beacon Hill home converted to a community center to discuss commonalities. Of those who replied were six cities: Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, represented by 16 people. Twelve of them slept pajama-party style on the floor of my brownstone studio in Boston's South End. I prepared and provided all the breakfasts and lunches... some of us dined out together for dinner. I recall the weather was, disappointingly, typically autumn-ish gray and rainy instead of beautifully New England Indian summerly.
We met for three days and agreed as we wrapped things up that the conversation was healthy and inspiring, determining to meet the next year in San Diego. I never imagined it continuing until this day — or that it would be so inclusive, connecting the whole world — my ideas had been just simple and immediate: share the information, mentor as we go.
It is still a little surreal to take in, and makes me immensely proud to call many who attend InterPride, my friends ».
Marsha H. Levine
Founder – InterPride
September 24, 2018