LGBT 50th Anniversary Comprehensive Guide

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Annual Reminders demonstrations, considered one of the first organized LGBT protests in the country – and they happened right here in Philadelphia, at Independence Hall.

Led by LGBT acvitists Barbara Gittings and Frank Kameny, the first of these demonstrations took place on July 4, 1965, and with 40 participants, it was the largest demonstration for gay rights in world history.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of these protests, the Gay Pioneers who staged them, and half a century of LGBT civil rights projects, organizers have put together a four day event featuring panels and events, to be attended by activists and celebrities, including Edie Windsor, Jim Obergefell, and Wanda Sykes. We’ve got you covered with the full schedule below:

Thursday, July 2

Wreath Laying at Gay Pioneers Historical Marker
Independence Mall
6th & Chestnut
2:15 to 2:45 p.m.
Details: Jim Obergefell will launch the National LGBT 50th Anniversary Celebration by laying a wreath at the Gay Pioneers historic marker at 2:15 p.m. He will be surrounded by LGBT leaders and Gay Pioneers. The Gay Pioneers historic marker is directly across the street from Independence Hall and Liberty Bell Center.

Christ Church Religious Freedom Tour
Christ Church
20 N. American St.
5:15 to 6:00 p.m.
Details: Take a guided LGBT tour of historic Christ Church. More signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were associated with Christ Church than any other private institution. Learn about the Founding Fathers, their views on religious tolerance and how those views are being misrepresented in the discussion of LGBT civil rights and religious freedom.

National Legal Panel
National Museum of American Jewish History
101 South Independence Mall East
6:30 to 7:45 p.m.
Details: A panel of leading legal activists and scholars explores our progress—from the first Supreme Court brief for LGBT equality, filed by Gay Pioneer Frank Kameny in January 1961, to the latest landmark ruling—as well as the current and future legal challenges facing the LGBT community.

National Politics Panel
Congress Hall
520 Chestnut St.
8:15 to 9:30 p.m.
Details: This panel of savvy movement leaders explores political changes over the past 50 years, the impact of marriage equality, and current and future challenges.

50th Anniversary Party
National Museum of American Jewish History
101 South Independence Mall East
10 to 11:30 p.m.
Details: This special party celebrates the National LGBT 50th Anniversary and is sponsored by the Williams Institute.

Friday, July 3

National Interfaith Service with sermon by Bishop Gene Robinson
Historic Christ Church
20 N. American St.
4 to 5 p.m.
Details: The National Interfaith Service at historic Christ Church will feature a sermon by Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal Bishop. Bishop Robinson will be joined by a diverse group of faith leaders, including two women rabbis, a transgender Muslim faith leader, African American MCC minister, Episcopal clergy, and “Ave Maria,” sung by Jonathan Allen, America’s Got Talent semi-finalist.

“Gay Pioneers” Screening With Special Guests
150 N. 6th St.
6 to 7:30 p.m.
Details: Co-produced with PBS affiliate WHYY, this compelling documentary braids interviews with Frank Kameny, Barbara Gittings, Lilli Vincenz and other early activists with archival footage and FBI investigative reports. The screening of “Gay Pioneers” is followed by a discussion with special guests.

Live Nation 50th Anniversary Concert
Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing
Chestnut St. & Columbus Blvd.
7 to 11 p.m.
Details: The 50th Anniversary concert will be hosted by dumblonde (Aubrey O’Day & Shannon Bex, formerly of Danity Kane) and will feature performances by: FANCY, GoGo Morrow, Ferras, Adore Delano, Jonathan Allen from America’s Got Talent, Mimi Imfurst, Jonathan Hernandez, Zsa Zsa St. James, Satine Harlow, Ariel Versace, Iris Spectre, Roxxy Starr, Aloe Vera, Trish Talapia and Cleo Phatra.

TWC presents Guerilla Queer Bar Philly
Location TBD
9 p.m.
The Welcoming Committee’s LGBTQ party pack is getting gaytriotic at another typically straight Philly bar on Friday, July 3. Find out where we’ll be next by signing up for free at

Saturday, July 4

50th Anniversary VIP Lunch: Honoring Edie Windsor and Judy Shepard
Liberty View Ballroom, Independence Visitor Center
1 N. Independence Mall West
11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Details: Before the official 50th Anniversary Ceremony and festivities begin on July 4th, enjoy a celebratory lunch in the Liberty View Ballroom at the Independence Vistor’s Center. Judy Shepard and Edie Windsor will receive the 20th Annual International Role Model Award.

National LGBT 50th Anniversary Ceremony with MC Wanda Sykes
Independence Hall
520 Chestnut St.
2:15 to 3:15 p.m.
Details:  Award-winning out actress & comedian Wanda Sykes will be the Master of Ceremonies for this one hour ceremony, which will feature a variety of local and national speakers, presentations, videos, and more.

VIP Cocktail Reception: Honoring James Obergefell
Stratus Rooftop Lounge, Hotel Monaco
433 Chestnut St.
4:30 to 6 p.m.
Details:  Following the 50th Anniversary Ceremony and festivities on the 4th, enjoy cocktails and a spectacular city view at the Stratus Rooftop Lounge, 11 stories above Independence Hall at the Hotel Monaco. James Obergefell will receive the Frank Kameny Award.

Sunday, July 5

Annual Reminders Block Party
The Gayborhood
Chestnut to Pine and 11th to Broad
Noon to 6 p.m.
Details: This is an old-fashioned block party similar to OutFest. Spruce Street will remain open. Every business in the Gayborhood will be doing something. There will be fun and games, food and beverages, as well as over 110 partners.

Queer Women’s Block Party & Afterparty
13th & Chancellor
Noon to 8 p.m.
Details: Stimulus Philly presents a Queer Womens Block party on 13th and Chancellor from noon to 5 p.m., with drinks, DJ’s, and games, followed by an afterparty at Franky Bradley’s (formally Sister’s) from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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