Hop in the Durham DeLorean: Out Today, Out to StayPosted on June 27, 2023
Triangle Lesbian and Gay Pride March named “Out Today, Out to Stay”, June 28th, 1986. Courtesy of NC Collections, Durham County Library.
In preparation for the upcoming, nostalgia-inducing exhibit, Stranger Times, we are bringing you several stories throughout June of some of Durham’s greatest 1980s events. For some, these stories might be interesting Bull City trivia from way back, while for others these events might feel like they happened yesterday.
The 1980s brought about a cultural revolution for the LGBTQ community in the state of North Carolina, and it all began in Durham. Thirty seven years ago, North Carolina experienced its first official state “pride” gathering that took place on Duke University’s campus, composed of many LGBTQ Durham residents and allies. Although this gathering was not labeled as a pride march as we know it today, it represented the beginning of the annual event known as the NC Pride March organized by LGBTQ individuals demanding civil rights across the state.
The event was actually not the first public demonstration of gay citizens demanding justice and equality in North Carolina. LGBTQ residents convened and formed a public protest and vigil in front of the Durham County Judicial Building in 1981 following the murder of a local gay man named Ronald “Sonny” Antonevitch in April of 1981. During the trial of the two men charged with Antonevitch’s murder in 1982, LGBTQ individuals came together as a group to protest the injustice that gay people like Antonevitch had endured. Since then, the pride community continues to thrive in Durham and lead public demonstrations fighting for the rights of LGBTQ+ people.
Little River protestors, 1981. Courtesy of NC Collections, Durham County Library.
LGBTQ+ Resources in Durham’s Community
- LGBTQ Center of Durham: Supporting the LGBTQ community through services, programs, resources, and support networks that center on wellbeing.
- NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources: More on the history of Durham’s LGBTQ+ community.
- Love and Liberation: A History of LGBTQ+ Durham: Online exhibit featured by the Durham County Library, with over 60 years worth of history.
- Durham County Library’s LGBTQ+ Collection: Archive full of materials on the activism of the LGBTQ community in Durham and the Triangle, with a focus on the 1980s and 1990s.
- Durham Civil and Human Rights Map – Out Today, Out to Stay: Follow the route that the 1986 parade took!
- Pauli Murray Center – Reflection and Revolution: An Instagram post from our friends at the Pauli Murray Center that looks at all of the arts impacted by Durham’s LGBTQ+ community.
- Raleigh’s First Pride, 1988: A collection of photographs from Raleigh’s first Pride Parade in 1988.
- Riot Space: A project from Majesty Royale-Jackson, this performance installation explores Blackness and queerness in the American South, and is seeking community input of personal perspectives.