Beginning in 1988 with Halifax’s very first Pride March, members of the city’s gay and lesbian community organized Pride Week without the benefit of legal protections. Amidst growing unrest about rampant prejudice and discrimination, that first Pride March was primarily a protest over the lack of legal protection from discrimination, and the all-too-common threat of homophobic violence.
About 75 people marched through Halifax’s North End that first year. A handful wore paper bags over their heads, not out of shame, but out of the very real fear for their livelihoods and their safety. Since that time, the Halifax Pride Festival has grown into a celebration that includes numerous events that highlight the unique character of our diverse community, welcoming upwards of 150,000 participants every summer.