The LGBT community of Tucson formed Tucson AIDS Project (TAP), Shanti Foundation, and People with AIDS Coalition of Tucson, PACT for Life. Eventually, these organizations merged under the name Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF). SAAF provided direct services and programs to those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.
The first annual Fiesta de Mayo was held in Tucson as a fundraiser event for Tucson Lesbian/Gay Pride Committee (TLGPC), later renamed Tucson Lesbian & Gay Alliance (TLGA) / Tucson Pride. The event encouraged unity and celebrated Mexican American heritage among the LGBT community.
The Arizona AIDS Project, later renamed AIDS Project Arizona (APAZ), was established in Phoenix. A year later, the organization planned the first AIDS Walk.
In October, thousands of activists, from across the country, participated in the National March on Washington to demand that President Ronald Reagan address the AIDS crisis.
In August, Ed Buck, a gay activist, formed Mecham Recall Committee, a drive to recall Arizona Governor Evan Mecham who was openly homophobic and racist. A year later, Governor Mecham because the first Arizona governor to be impeached.
In February, Wayne Blankenship and other LGBT activists met at the Unitarian Universalist Church to form Wingspan, a Lesbian and Gay Resource Center that created a safe space and services for the community.
Tucson Mayor Tom Volgy proclaimed June 19th - 26th as Tucson's Lesbian and Gay Pride Week.
In October, National Coming Out Day (NCOD) was established by Robert Eichberg and Jean O'Leary in order to celebrate the "coming out" process and to bring awareness to LGBT civil rights. A few years later, NCOD merged their efforts with the Human Rights Campaign and the annual event was celebrated nationwide.
Kirk Baxter co-founded Phoenix Body Positive, later renamed Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS. It was an advocacy organization that provided HIV/AIDS information, nutritional help, and counseling services. Today, this organization is the largest clinical trial site in the Southwest.
President George Bush signed the Ryan White Care Act, a federally funded program for people living with AIDS.
The first annual Phoenix Pride Festival was coordinated by Phoenix Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee, Inc. (PLGPC). This committee helped establish a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Desert Pride, later renamed Arizona Central Pride and finally Phoenix Pride.
The Red Ribbon Project, established by the Visual AIDS Artists Caucus in New York, adopted a red ribbon as a symbol of awareness and compassion for those living with HIV/AIDS.
Bill MacDonald and other community members founded Arizona Human Rights Fund (AHRF), later renamed Equality Arizona. It served as a political advocacy organization that supported LGBT and LGBT Friendly candidates, voter education, and lobbied for LGBT inclusive legislation.
Valley One In Ten (VOIT), later renamed one•n•ten, was founded by a group of concerned community members lead by Toby Urvater. It was a program within a non-profit organization called Valley of the Sun Gay and Lesbian Community Center, often referred to as The Center. VOIT was established to help gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in Arizona. They held the first "Gay Prom" in Phoenix.
Ken Cheuvront became the first openly gay man elected to the Arizona House of Representatives.
In June, Arizona Human Rights Fund (AHRF) and Anti-Violence Project (AVP) launched an extensive public service campaign to educate the general public and the LGBT community on how to report and prevent hate crimes.
In September, President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law. The law defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. It also barred same-sex married couples from being recognized as "spouses" for purposes of federal marriage benefits. Under DOMA, couples were denied over 1,138 benefits.
Neil Giuliano became the first openly gay Mayor of Tempe. Five years later, his political opponents unsuccessfully tried to remove him from office by organizing a recall campaign.
The first annual Pride in the Pines Festival was organized in Flagstaff by the Northern Arizona Pride Association (NAPA). Over 300 people attended the event which took place at Fort Tuthill County Fairgrounds.
Arizona Governor Fife Symington signed SB 1038 into law. This bill banned the recognition of same-sex marriage in Arizona and marriages performed in other states. The bill was supported by the Center for Arizona Policy, a Christian organization that promoted traditional marriage, family values, and religious liberty.
In June, the first Gay West was held at Old Tucson Studios. This was an LGBT fundraising event supported by statewide organizations like Wingspan, AGRA, TLGA, Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, Team Arizona, Desert Voices, Reveille, PFLAG and Arizona Central Pride.
In October, Matthew Shepard, a gay man from Laramie, Wyoming, was tortured and murdered because of his sexual orientation. His death increased the awareness of LGBT hate crimes and served as a rallying point for supporters of LGBT inclusive laws at state and federal level.