What is a gay pride parade? Where did it come from? What is its purpose? These are some of the questions we will answer in this blog post. We will also discuss what people do at gay pride parades worldwide and what to expect when you attend one. Whether you are in the LGBTQ+ community or an ally, this blog post provides insight into one of the most critical events in the LGBT+ calendar!
What is a gay pride parade?
The gay pride parade, also known as the pride festival or pride march, is a global event annually across urban cities to celebrate the diversity, rights, achievement, liberation, and pride of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The pride festival serves as a dual celebration of the achievement and progress of the queer movements in the fight for equal rights. For decades, the LGBTQ community has hosted pride parades across major urban cities worldwide to spread awareness about the persecution, stigma, and social ostracism associated with homosexuality.
Origin of the march
Pride celebration traces its origin to the Stonewall inn uprising in 1969. Before the Stonewall uprising, the LGBTQ community had a quiet presence in the public sphere. The only notable queer organizations were the Daughters of Bilitis and Mattachine Society, lesbian and gay groups respectively, that advocated for queer rights by presenting an unthreatening presence in the society.
The pride parade is held in honor, recognition, and continuation of the courage expressed by the LGBTQ people that protested the unjust raid of the stonewall inn, a bar that catered to queer clientele. On 28th June 1969, the police raided the Stonewall inn, a bar located on Christopher Street, New York City. Unlike previous occasions where police raids were met with subservience and shame, the gay community reacted by protesting against the targeted attacks.
History of the pride parade
The 1969 Stonewall uprising marked a turning point for queer movements. The rebellion against police brutality against queer people sparked a social and political movement to support gay rights.
In 1970, the queer community held pride marches in major cities, including San Francisco, Chicago, and Las Vegas, to commemorate the courage of the Stonewall uprising. In New York, where the Stonewall riots started, a pride event was held in honor of the stonewall inn protest at Christopher Street West. The 1970 LGBT pride marches inspired annual events and festivals to commemorate queer people’s diversity, human rights, and hope. In 2020, the LGBTQ community marked the golden celebration of the stonewall riots, which had an estimated capacity of five million people.
Persecution of the LGBT community
Homosexuality is not new. The religious texts and lyrics of Sappho to classic literature show that homosexual practice transcends time and culture. Persecution against homosexuals is also not new. The history of LGBT people is marked by cases of assault, violence, discrimination, and fatalities. The gay culture is perceived to be threatening because it contravenes hetero-normative rules. While the stonewall attack piqued public attention, it wasn’t the first, the last, or worst offenses the LGBT people have endured for simply being gay.
In 2016, a gunman massacred 49 people at an Orlando nightclub because of their sexual orientation. While the massacre was shocking, it wasn’t the first time the gay community had been targeted on such a scale. In 1973, 32 gay people died after an arsonist set fire to a gay bar in New Orleans.
Over the years, the LGBT community has experienced violence, often leading to fatalities at the hands of anti-gay groups, religious fanatics, and rogue law enforcement officers, with LGBT people of color experiencing broader social, cultural, and political prosecution.
What does pride stand for?
The LGBTQ+ community uses the word pride to defy the hatred, homophobia, and bigotry directed toward the queer community because of their sexual orientation. Pride is an assertion of self-worth and awareness that gives the queer community the courage to demand equal rights, respect, and acceptance. Pride is a celebration of queerness, achievements, diversity, and hope for the gay community.
What is the point of a gay pride parade?
Pride parades draw millions of people across the globe to celebrate the liberation and hope of the queer community. The pride parade is a platform to create awareness against atrocities committed against queer people. While there have been giant steps towards gay acceptance and protection against persecution, violence, and social isolation, much still needs to be done. In some parts of the world, gays, lesbians, and transgender people face discrimination, corrective therapy, prison sentence, and sometimes, the death sentence. The annual pride parade, held in different cities across the globe, is a show of support for LGBTQ people living in fear because of their sexual orientation.
When is the gay pride parade?
Summer is a particular season for the LGBTQ community in the United States because it comes with a month-long celebration of the gay pride parade. In June, the queer community holds parties, events, rallies, and marches to celebrate queer love, pride, hope, diversity, and liberation.
In honor and recognition of the stonewall riots in June 1969, the queer community has set aside June as the official LGBT pride month. Wherever you fall on the asexuality spectrum, you can celebrate your queerness by attending a queer parade, pride week, or spend the entire pride month creating awareness about equality for LGBTQ+ people.
Some pride parades you can attend across the country include:
The New York Pride parade
The New York prided is the mother of the modern gay rights movement. For decades, the city has faithfully held pride parades to commemorate the stonewall riots. The New York pride parade is impressive because it draws vast numbers annually. In 2019, the New York inaugural pride parade had an attendance of close to five million people, setting a record as the largest gathering of queer people. Whether you attend the New York pride alone, with your friends, or with family, you can find something exciting to do: Some of the most extraordinary events at the New York pride include family movie night, brunch for LGBT people of color, and the NYC rally.
San Francisco pride
San Francisco’s pride event will be excellent with a cool pride parade theme like “Love Will Keep Us Together.” The city organizes several events you can attend, including the trans and dyke marches on Friday and Saturday, respectively, the pink triangle ceremony, and a park event at the Civic Center Plaza to sample food vendors and music. You can end your pride month with a bang by participating in San Francisco’s famous Sunday march pride in the market street that attracts millions of people.
Chicago pride parade
Chicago organizes one of the best pride events in the country. You can attend Chicago’s annual pride parade from Northalsted to Lincoln Park, the music fest at the Back Lot Bash, or the pet parade with your pet.
Los Angeles pride parade
LA pride is arguably one of the most inclusive pride events. The parade gives an equal platform to artists of color, trans, asexual, and intersex community members.
Other cities pride you can attend this year include:
- Dallas Pride
- Seattle Pride Festival
- San Diego pride in July
- Orlando and Phoenix pride in October
- Palm springs pride in November
What do people do at the gay pride parade?
The pride parade has various activities to keep people engaged, informed, and proud of being queer. Pride month organizers hold diverse entertainment, education, and motivational activities for the LGBT community and its allies throughout pride month. If you have never attended a pride festival, strap on a colorful outfit, bring out your flag, and experience the following events at your local LGBT pride parade:
- Music festivals
- Youth pride
- Rallies Concerts
- Pride parades
What is needed to prepare for the first gay pride parade？
Planning your first gay pride parade can be overwhelming. If you are not prepared, the anxiety and nerves can ruin your first experience at pride. Here are a few things to remember when attending your first pride:
Carry a rainbow flag to hoist above your head proudly and unashamedly queer. A flag is a representation of LGBT pride. The LGBT flag, also known as the rainbow flag, was designed by gay activist Gilbert Baker in 1978 as a symbol of gay pride. The modern pride rainbow flag includes six colors: indigo, red, yellow, violet, orange, and green representing the diversity and hope of the LGBT community.
Pack something spectacular, colorful, and bold. If you want to deck your whole body with glitter, every color of the rainbow, or rhinestones, do it. Remember, pride is a judgment-free zone when it comes to outfits, so glam out to your queer heart’s content. A unique way to stand out at your first pride parade is by wearing a muscle suit costume that gives you a toned physique to rival a sports ad model.
Pride is a summer event, so carry adequate water to keep you hydrated throughout the day.
Rainbow-themed comfortable shoes are handy in pride parades because the event involves long marches, dancing, and standing.
Carry a rainbow-colored bag to pack your essentials such as money, glasses, water, and a change of clothes.
Pride parades are annual events across significant cities that celebrate the diversity, rich history, and oneness of the LGBT pride. Most pride events take place during June to commemorate the stonewall uprising that sparked queer social movements.