1977 Gay Pride Marches

in Events

Cleveland held two unofficial gay pride marches in 1977. The first, organized by Martha Watson and sponsored by the Gay Caucus of Youth Against War and Fascism (YAWF), took place on June 25, 1977. The second, organized by Dan Richmond and sponsored by the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) and the Gay Education Awareness and Resources Foundation (GEAR), took place on July 9, 1977.

Initially, YAWF, the MCC, and GEAR planned to work together to schedule a march on June 25. On June 21, however, it was discovered that Dan Richmond of the MCC had failed to secure a parade permit for the already highly publicized June 25 march date. Believing that the march would be “vulnerable to harassment or even arrest without a parade permit,” GEAR and the MCC rescinded their support for the June 25 march. The MCC instead planned a new march, rescheduled for July 9, separate from that of the already-planned YAWF march on June 25. YAWF went ahead with the June 25 march date.

The June 25 march was planned to begin at Public Square downtown. Participants marched up Euclid Avenue to East 9th street before moving “over to Prospect and back to Public Square.” A “rally at the Square” was held after march concluded. Over 2,250 people attended the YAWF march on June 25. Much like the June 25 march, the July 9 MCC/GEAR march began at Public Square downtown and proceeded along a similar route. Due to public confusion regarding the parade’s cancellation and date, approximately “150-200” people attended the MCC/GEAR march on July 9.

Additional information coming soon.


  • “Cleveland Gay Pride March Set for June 25.” High Gear. June 1977. Page 1.
  • “Cleveland Hosts Two Gay Pride Marches.” High Gear. July 1977. Page 1.
  • Grevatt, Martha. “Revolutionaries in Action in Cleveland’s First Pride March.” Worker’s World. June 18, 2019.
  • “John Nosek and Leon Stevens Interview, 15 August 2023.” Cleveland Voices.
  • Littleton, Jane M. “200 to Join Gays’ March for Rights; Group to Seek Law Against Bias.” Plain Dealer. July 10, 1977.
  • Negron, Sidney. “Pride in Cleveland.” Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.
  • Nosek, John, and Leon Stevens. “Gay Community 1970s.” Encyclopedia of Cleveland History.
  • Schneck, Ken. LGBTQ Cleveland. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2018. Page 54.
  • Scott, Jane. “Gays: Silent Minority No More.” Plain Dealer. July 9, 1977.
  • “Why Two Marches?” High Gear. July 1977. Page 2.
Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44113

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