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”.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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 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.
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
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, added 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!
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.