Anchorage Pride has been historically robust and unique for decades. Read more below.
Russ Reno is one of our favorite Pride contributors, as he always sends the most personal and expressive photos of the LGBT people in Anchorage. He sent us this note, and we are happy to share it with you. —The Editors
It may surprise some that Alaska is not new to the LGBT scene. In fact, it is one of the oldest organized LGBT communities in the U.S. Anchorage, in particular, is also the most diverse per capita, boasting 97 different ethnicities, and in Alaska there are 27 different languages that are spoken in our Native Alaskan communities.
Seven days of Pride in Anchorage began with a prayer service and ended with and old-school underwear party and fundraiser. We had 15 major events and countless more all over the city. We held our 44th annual memorial in remembrance of 32 who were murdered in the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans and one, Peter Dispirito who was murdered in Anchorage. We also honored 30 Alaskans who are memorialized in the original AIDS quilt. We remember 44 years of Identity and 40 years as organized Pride. We learned about our first march on City Hall in 1973 and marching with paper bags over our heads in 1978. (See photo above.)
Most importantly, we had fun with a Kick-Off Bar-B-Q, a FilmFestival, an identity youth concert, MGA Pageant, Bike Run, Rainbow Run, Two Diva Shows, Drag Queen Bingo, and the ultimate in entertainment — lube wrestling in 50-degree weather.
History spoke at "Beyond the Closet," we danced the night away in a local club; we had a parade, a festival, and Bob the Drag Queen live in concert. We took on protesters with bed sheets and old buckets — we published a 27-page newspaper with a timeline of our gay history. We are Alaskans and we are proud to offer you pics of our Pride photos in Anchorage.
Finally, we would like you to know that even though we have come a long way, Alaska in 2017 still has a long way to go. Currently under Alaska state law, termination of employment due to gender identity or expression is legal for public employers; private employers may also discriminate for sexual orientation. A landlord may evict a tenant due to sexual orientation, gender identity or expression; you can also deny public accommodations, refuse to sell your home, or deny credit to any individual based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. In 2017 there are no hate-crime laws protecting those who identify as LGBTQ, and conversion therapy is legal in Alaska. In 2017 we still have a lot more to do. —Russ Reno, photographer