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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. 

A black and white crowd surrounds a man being led by police officers

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..

A black and white crowd being led by a few people holding a sign that reads "Gay Pride" in capital letters
Two hands holding pens linger over a document to be signed

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. 

Harvey grins from ear to ear in his black and white suit and neatly styled hair
Harvey standing with a hand up beside a person with short styled hair in front of microphones.

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. 

1981: The AIDS Epidemic

The AIDS epidemic has killed more than 36 million people to date. In the early 1980s, when the virus was first recognized, it was believed that only gay men could contract the virus. By the end of 1981, almost 350 people had been identified with the disease. The stigma created by misinformation surrounding HIV and AIDS continues to be a source of homophobia today. 

Three hospital beds are empty and made up with pale yellow blankets and pillows

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 30 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.. 

On a white house with slightly peeling paint, a window displays a rainbow flag with "Portsmouth Pride" written on it framed by green shutters
A white megaphone is held up
Mim has short gray hair with blonde highlihgts and glasses. They wear awhite collared shirt and a backpack with blue and dull green straps

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. 

Carina has long and straigh dirty blonde hair and wears small gold hoop earrings
A crowd of people marching down the street carrying rainbow pride flags

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.

Nissa stands in front of a wall painted with a grafiti mural. She has sunglasses perched on top of her tied-back brown hair. She is dressed in a red and white stripped tank top and is wearing silver earrings and a silver necklace.
Tawnee has long, straight brown hair and light blue eyes. She wears a silver necklace and is shown smiling.

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. 

The color of Rose's short, sideswept brown hair matches the color of her eyes. She wears a black sleeveless dress with gold accents and gold earrings to match. Her simple black-framed glasses sit at the bridge of her nose.
A gold statue of Justice holds a balanced scale.

2009: Hate Crimes Banned in the US

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.

Two men in suits, one light blue and one dark, hold hands and smile at each other.
The silhouette of a U.S. Marine in formal wear in front of a line of other soldiers.

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.

An arm holding a protest sign reading "Trans Rights are Human Rights."
A rainbow flag is waved in front of the White House

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.

The Stonwall National Monument in Manhattan, New York
The New Hampshire State House in Concord, the gold dome and statue on top of the building standing out against the blue sky

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 served at the Executive Director from 2019 to 2023! She and the Board put in place a strategic plan, added two staff positions, expanded programming.

Hershey smiles wide in her brown zip-up jacket. Her short brown bangs frame her face and lay against her forehead, stopping right above her glasses.

2020: COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic began in earnest in March of 2019, impacting the way we live on every level. Folks who could, worked at home. Those who couldn't bore the brunt of the disease with job loss, homelessness, and lack of adequate medical resources. Our healthcare system faced extreme challenges. The way we live, work, socialize, consume, give, and interact changed dramatically.  

For Seacoast Outright, not only were in-person meetings suspended and pivoted to Zoom, but our LGBTQ kids felt the full force of this new isolation. Whether stuck at home with unsupportive parents, separated from friends and lacking in all-important peer support, or finding the struggle with depression and anxiety deepen, the calls for help increased. We responded by ramping up our social media presence to keep our kids connected to our community, hosted several virtual PRIDE events, and finally, hosted a live PRIDE event in October 2021. As we waited to resume in-person meetings, we continued to build Seacoast Outright, adding new staff and board members, moving to a new office, and forming new partnerships for 2022.

2022: Community Outreach and Education Coordinator Jessica Goff

 Jess has joined the staff! See her bio under the Leadership page.


2022: Program Coordinator Amy Rock


 Amy has joined the staff! See their bio under the Leadership page.

2023: Heidi Carrington Heath becomes ED

Heidi is our newest Executive Director! She's excited to continue to grow Seacoast Outright's Programming and impact. 

Sign up for our newsletter and social media to keep current on Seacoast Outright's new growth spurt!


Heidi Headshtos September 2020-059_websi
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