From the early beginnings of the gay rights movement to the first Portsmouth Pride, Seacoast Outright has seen many leaps in progress since it was first founded in 1994. Read on to learn about the biggest milestones in LGBT history and how Seacoast Outright got started. 

1969: The Stonewall Riots

The Stonewall Inn in New York was a haven for LGBT people in the 1960s. But on June 28th, 1969, police arrested 13 people, and  conflict eventually erupted into a full-on riot. Thousands continued to protest in the following days, and the event is considered to be a catalyst of the gay rights movement in the US.
Learn more about the Stonewall Riots.

1970: The First Pride March

In 1970, on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the Pride parade as we know it was born. Stonewall had led to the idea of “Christopher Street Liberation Day”, where thousands of people dressed in their wildest atire collected in the streets across 15 blocks chanting, “say it loud, gay is proud”.

See photos of the early pride marches..

1973: Homosexuality Removed from the DSM-II

A unanimous vote by the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the DSM-II. The resolution urged the end of discrimination against LGBT people, and was a crucial first step to working against LGBT stimga.

1977: Harvey Milk Elected

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man ever to be elected to public office in the United States.

Read more about him from Legacy Project Chicago. 

1978: Harvey Milk Assassinated

A year later after his election, Harvey Milk, along with Mayor George Moscone, was assassinated by Dan White, a former member of the Board of  Supervisors. After White recieved only seven years in prison as a sentence, the local LGBT community erupted into protest in a series of "White Knight Riots" where police tear gassed and assaulted protestors.

See photos of the riots and the aftermath. 

1982: The AIDS Epidemic

In the early days of the AIDS epidemic, that has killed 36 million people to date, it was called the “gay plague”. Many believed only gay men could contract the virus and that it was the result of "immoral" behavior. It continues to be a source of homophobia today. 

1993: Seacoast Outright founded

In early March, about 40 people attended the Respect All Youth Conference at UNH. focused on supporting the LGBT community, where they learned about the Outright model and decided to start building a program. In October, Seacoast held its first support meeting in Karnan House behind South Church in Portsmouth, and has continued to provide support for LGBTQ youth for the past 28 years.

1994: Launch of Youth Speakers Bureau

In the same year that Seacoast Outright officially became a nonprofit, the Youth Speakers Bureau was founded. The  program aimed to educate youth in public speaking skills and provide outreach through speaking events in public schools.. 

1997: Mim Easton Becomes Executive Director

Mim Easton discovered Seacoast Outright in its early days, and became the Executive Director between 1997 and 1998 and again between 2001 and 2003. 

1998: Carina Self Joins

Carina Self took over as Executive Director between 1998 and 1999. Previously, she had been an outreach coordinator since 1995. 

1998: First Discrimination Ban 

In 1998, the first ban on discrimination against LGBT people passed in New Hampshire. At the time it only covered sexual orientation, but it has since been expanded to include gender identity and gender expression.

1999: Nissa Youngren Joins

Nissa Youngren became Executive director in 1999, and continued in her role until 2000.
In the same year, the ban on adoption for same-sex couples was repealed in New Hampshire.

2004: Tawnee Walling Joins

Tawnee Walling served as Executive Director from 2004-2008. She expanded programming to include weekly drop-in meetings, a session exclusively for transgender members, and a series of cultural competency programs offered for schools and businesses.

2009: Rose Eaton Joins

Rose Eaton became the Executive Director in 2009.
During her tenure, the organization returned to being entirely volunteer-run. Seacoast Outright was also a part of various events like the annual Boston Pride for 2013, where Outright had its own float. 

2009: Hate Crime Ban

Also in 2009, President Obama signed into law a ban on hate crimes that made assault based on sexual orientation or gender identity a federal crime.

2010: Marriage and Adoption

Rights in New Hampshire

Gay marriage was officially made legal in New Hampshire in 2010, where previously only civil unions had been available to same-sex couples. As part of the legislation, all same-sex civil unions were automatically made into marriage on January 1st of the next year.

2011: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repealed

Entering into effect in 1994 under the Clinton Administration, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” forbid gay, lesbian, and bisexual military members from openly expressing their orientation while serving their country.
Learn more about the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

2014: Transgender Students

Officially Protected Under Title IX

The Department of Education ruled that Title IX, which protects students from unfair discrimination in school programs based on gender, protects transgender students as well.
Read about attacks on trans rights in

New Hampshire’s schools in 2021.

2015: Gay Marriage Legalized 

In the same year that Seacoast Outright held its first Portsmouth Pride, gay marriage was finally legalized in all 50 states after a ruling by the Supreme Court that required states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. 

2016: First LGBT Monument Created in the US

President Obama dedicated the Stonewall National Monument in Manhattan as a monument to the LGBT movement. It is the first monument to LGBT history in America.

Learn all about the monument from the National Park Service.

2018: Discrimination and

Conversion Therapy Banned

In May of 2018, the New Hampshire legislature passed a bill to ban discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. In April, a bill was passed to ban conversion therapy for minors.

2019: Hershey Hirschkop Becomes ED

Hershey Hirschkop is our current ED and has been serving since 2019! In the past two years, she and the Board have put in place a strategic plan, are adding a new Program Director, and will be expanding our programming to included professional mental health services. Sign up for our newsletter and social media to keep current on Seacoast Outright's new growth spurt!



Exectuive Director:

Hershey Hirschkop



Office hours are available by appointment. Please contact Hershey.


Office: 25 Highland Street

Portsmouth, NH 03801​

Mailing: PO Box 842

Portsmouth, NH 03802



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© 2018 Seacoast Outright.

All rights reserved.



Youth Group Meetings Fridays (ages 11-21)

7:00 PM - 8:30 PM


to resume eventually:

South Church (Basement)

292 State St

Portsmouth, NH

Parent Group Meetings First Friday of Month

7:15 PM - 8:45 PM


to resume eventually:

Safe Harbor

865 Islington St

Portsmouth, NH