5 Tips For Attending Your First Pride Walk

Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQIA+ community or a straight/cisgender ally showing up to support queer and trans rights, Pride can be an amazing event for everyone! Here are five essential steps to getting ready for your very first Pride walk! 

#1: Learn Your History

Pride itself began as a riot against a mass arrest at a gay bar, and was headed by two trans women of color, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. While the LGBTQIA+ community owes everything it has to trans women of color, Pride doesn’t often do a very good job of showcasing that—trans individuals, particularly trans women of color, are still underrepresented today. In order to get a sense of how the origins of Pride morphed into the corporate-sponsored parades that occur today, as well as learning about the evolution of the fight for gay rights in general, check out documentaries like Paris is Burning, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, The Out List, and Jewel’s Catch One. Anything written by Judith Butler is generally recommended. This goes double for cishet allies.

 

#2: Know The Route

You have a better sense of how far you’re able to walk than anyone else—and remember, this is a march under the hot sun, likely while surrounded by a huge crowd of people. If you’re someone who can make it any distance in any temperature, good for you! But if not, maybe look up the route schedule and find a good place to break off and go cool down. Remember, self-care always comes first!

#3: Prep For The Weather

Because meteorological movements are, unfortunately, incredibly homophobic (I’m absolutely kidding) there’s always at least one Pride that gets rained out every year. Make sure to check the weather in your local city so that if the skies decide to open up and pour, you’re the one rocking a rainbow umbrella, not the one who’s shivering in a soaked crop top and shorts. Sunscreen, chapstick, and water are always a must, and hats are highly recommended!

#4: Prep For Homophobia

No matter where you live, this will always be an issue. If you’re lucky, it’ll be relegated to the sad little group standing on the sidelines and waving signs that no one takes seriously. If you’re less so, you may need to have to prepare to avoid homophobic protesters who are looking for a fight, or may even need to find methods of avoiding homophobia at home. You know your area best—if you think violence is likely, make sure to put your own well-being first. If you do go to Pride, have a carefully timed and marked-out route that at least one person you trust knows about. Make sure to have backup routes in case one is blocked off. Check in with the person you trust at regular intervals—that way, if you don’t check in at a predetermined time, they know that something is wrong and can alert someone else.

If you need to avoid homophobia at home, make sure that anything you might put on—stickers, face paint, etc.—is temporary, and can be washed or wiped off, depending on your resources. (If this is a particularly important issue, bring makeup wipes along.) Make sure, above all else, that you are staying safe. Pride is important, but it’s absolutely imperative that you live to see the next one.

#5: Have Fun, But Be Respectful

For many in the LGBTQIA+ community, Pride has a legacy of being a funeral march, particularly during the AIDS crisis during the ‘80s and ‘90s, and has only recently become the celebratory event that it is today. Pride is a celebration of life—but it’s just as important to remember the queer and trans people who are no longer here and who cannot celebrate.

For cishet allies, in addition, know that you are a guest in the space you are walking into—that as long as you behave well and use good manners, you will almost certainly be welcomed with open arms, but that you do not have the right to make it your own space, or to bring any type of homophobia or transphobia with you.

With these tips under your belt, hopefully your first Pride can be as healthy, happy, and fabulous as possible. Happy Pride, and enjoy the day!