After 25+ years of the Circle City Pride festival, it's 'No big deal'

Posted: 1:51 PM, Jun 09, 2017
Updated: 2018-06-07 15:41:43Z
FROM 1990: Protestors mar first pride festival

INDIANAPOLIS -- In 1990, the first Circle City Pride Festival on Monument Circle stretched a few dozen feet, from the Soldiers and Sailors Monument to the edge of Meridian Street. More than 25 years later, the festival has outgrown Monument Circle, and includes a large parade through downtown Indianapolis. 

The festival's growth is a sign of the steps society has taken for acceptance in the LGBTQ community in Indianapolis.

"In 10 years when somebody sees the gay pride festival at the Circle, people are going to say 'No big deal,'" a man attending the 1990 Pride Festival said. "In 10 years, that's the way it'll be."

It may be "no big deal" now, but the inaugural festival was marred by protesters. Some held homemade signs in opposition that read "Queers recruit your children," "Gay pride - born in the pit of Hell," and "Thank God for AIDS." A few men were seen wearing gas masks.

Take a look back through time and watch stories from some of the early Circle City Pride festivals in the video player above. 

In the years since the protesters crowded the first festivals, public opinion has changed. Any current protesters or opposition for the pride events are vastly outweighed by the thousands of supporters, who come from all walks of life.

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The growth and acceptance for the LGBTQ community has been seen across the United States. According to multiple Pew Research studies , national support for gay marriage went from 27 percent in 1996 to 55 percent in 2016. 

The legal issue of gay marriage came to a conclusion in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 when the court decided 5-4 that the right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples.

"We deserve the right to have our own celebration," one person at the parade said during the 1991 festival. "Because we are what we are. We have nothing to hide. When a person asks me if I'm gay, I say 'If gay is being happy, then that's what I am.'"