The sun is shining, the days are warmer and school’s finally out. You’ve caught up on all your favorite TV shows and have gone through most of your summer reading list. You’re racking your brain, trying to think of something fun and memorable to do. Why not go to a Pride Parade?
It sounds like a great idea, but what if you’ve never been and have no idea what to expect? Well, look no further, because you’ve reached the ultimate guide to Pride!
First, a little bit of background
Pride parades are commonly held around June or July to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which happened in 1969 at a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. For those out of the loop, the Stonewall riots are considered by many to be the most important event leading up to the LGBTQ liberation movement.
In the very early hours of June 28, 1969, four policemen entered the Stonewall Inn, a hot spot for marginalized patrons, in an attempt to raid the bar because they were serving liquor without a license. LGBTQ individuals had been frustrated, as the police seemed to be targeting gay bars specifically. The raid didn’t go as planned when many people began to resist, spurred on by Marsha P. Johnson, transgender activist, who exclaimed, “I got my civil rights!” A riot ensued, and more than 1,000 LGBTQ individuals continued to protest for days following.
Now, the far more upbeat Pride events are meant to not only commemorate but also celebrate LGBTQ history as well as being an LGBTQ individual!
What to bring to a Pride event
Bring yourself and as many of your cutest friends as you can round up! If you’re not able to gather up too many people, have no fear. It’s incredibly easy to make new friends at Pride by simply being there.
“You get close to a million people in high spirits, loving the weather, and for some, being around that many people who are like them, you can’t help but try making friends with everybody,” says Sarah Bachorski, a freshman at Fleming College. “The joy of the community is that you’ll meet friends of friends or even strangers that’ll become your own friends within minutes. It’s great!”
Even talking to people on the street during Pride events is easy, though, since most people are excited and happy to be attending the event. Remember to always ask for permission before hugging, touching or taking a picture of someone, regardless how well you know him or her!
Your crew aside, there are other necessities not to forget. During the excitement of Pride, don’t forget to stay healthy and hydrated. Pride parades are usually held around noon, which means it can be super hot outside. Make sure to pack a few bottles of water for the day, and always eat before the event. Remember, you’ll be standing in the sun for at least three hours, and it won’t be enjoyable if you end up feeling sick or faint!
What to wear
At a Pride event, you can wear anything… or not much at all! Pride-goers should attend the parade in whatever they feel the most comfortable in. It’s important to take the weather into account, but apart from that, there’s nothing stopping you from decking yourself out in whatever you wish. Remember, you can’t go wrong with rainbows!
Some clothing stores make shirts in support of the LGBTQ+ community. American Apparel and GLBTshirts.com have some great options. The latter especially have a variety of different designs for every sexual and gender identity. For those who are into DIY projects, why not tie-dye your own rainbow shirt?
Don’t forget to consider your own comfort level. Though many people choose to wear very little to Pride, if you prefer to cover up, it’s certainly your prerogative, and you don’t have to dress in a more revealing way just because you may feel pressured to.
Similarly, if you enjoy wearing revealing clothing or playing dress-up, Pride is the perfect place to do it. Few people will judge your outfit there, and you’ll enjoy the day so much more if you’re comfortable and happy with what you’re wearing!
What to do while you’re there
There are even more activities than just parades at Pride events! There are usually several separate marches (such as a trans march), concerts, picnics, dances and smaller-scale festivals. Make sure to look up Pride events in the city closest to you to find specific events.
Pride is also a great time to explore the city you’re in. You could find something new and interesting! During Pride events, there might be little booths set up selling jewelry, food, books and clothing. You never know what sort of interesting things you’ll find until you look!
“It was my first Pride event, and my friends and I were wandering the streets of Toronto after the parade ended, just to look around,” says Charisa*, a student from the University of Toronto. “We didn’t frequent the city and everything was new to us. We ended up stumbling upon the smallest but cutest LGBT bookstore! I’m now much more of a frequent customer there.”
Pride Parades promote acceptance, bring individuals closer to each other and help people feel less alone—not to mention, they’re extremely fun! So pack some drinks, bring your friends, put on your cutest outfit and head out for an amazing day!
Find your nearest city below to find out when a Pride Parade is coming near you!
- New Orleans, LA: June 20-22
- Oklahoma City, OK: June 20-22
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada (WorldPride): June 20-29
- Louisville, KY: June 21
- Knoxville, TN: June 21
- Providence, RI: June 21
- Salem, MA: June 21
- Sioux Falls, SD: June 21
- Denver, CO: June 21-22
- Chicago, IL: Festival June 21-22, parade June 29
- Santa Fe, NM: June 28
- Minneapolis, MN: June 28-29
- New York City, NY: June 29
- San Francisco, CA: June 28-29
- Seattle, WA: June 29
- St. Louis, MO: June 28-29
- Victoria, British Columbia, Canada: June 28-July 6
- Dover, DE: August 2
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada: August 11-17
- Charlotte, NC: August 16-17
- Lansing, MI: August 23
- Quebec City, Quebec, Canada: August 28-31
- Las Vegas, NV: September 5-6
- Burlington, VT: September 14
- Austin, TX: September 20
- Columbia, SC: September 20
- Dallas, TX: September 21
- Brown’s Island, VA: September 27
- Little Rock, AR: October 5
- Jacksonville, FL: October 4
- Atlanta, GA: October 11-12
*Name has been changed.