Pride! An annual celebration of the gay community, and a positive stance against discrimination and violence towards LGBT people, ‘Pride’ lends its name to LGBT-themed events all around the world. While LGBT Pride month is celebrated in most countries in June, Pride events take place across the year and across the globe.
We take a look at some of the biggest and best Pride celebrations.
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New York Pride
The title of the New York Pride website reads ‘The spirit of Stonewall lives on’; and as you read this article, you’ll realise that’s the case in all corners of the world.
Run by Heritage of Pride, New York City’s LGBT Pride is an annual commemoration of the Stonewall Riots of June 28th 1969 – the beginning of the modern Gay Rights movement.
The very first Gay Pride march was organised exactly a year after the riots. According to the New York Times, demonstrators took up the entire street on 15 blocks of the city. 45 years later, on June 28th 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples could marry nationwide across America.
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LA prides itself as hosting the first Pride Parade on June 28th 1970, the same day as the New York march. Since 1979 LA Pride has been held in West Hollywood, the historical centre of Los Angeles gay life. This year the LA Pride Grand Marshal was Jewel Thais-Williams, who opened one of the first black discos in the U.S. in the 70’s.
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Recognised as the leading European city for gay events, Berlin is host to not one but four different recognised LGBT festivals.
First there is CSD Berlin – the traditional Berlin Pride. CSD is the acronym for Christopher Street Day – a day of celebration and demonstration around the world. The Stonewall Inn can be found on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, New York, hence the name. The first German CSD took place in Berlin in 1979. Now almost every city in Germany celebrates the day.
Then there is ‘Stadtfest’ – the Lesbian and Gay City Festival. It is the largest street festival for lesbians and gay people in Europe, and is held around Nollendorfplatz every July.
There are also two other events, which are not specifically branded as LGBT events. Folsom Europe is an annual BDSM and leather subculture street-fair held in September. ‘Easter in Berlin’ is the biggest Leather and Fetish event in Europe.
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Amsterdam is notorious for hosting one of the most well-loved Pride events in the world. The city’s Gay Pride is one of the largest annual events in Amsterdam, second only to King’s Day.
This year Amsterdam Gay Pride has been chosen to host EuroPride 2016. The event will run from July 23rd until August 7th, with a Canal Parade and Street Parties over the final weekend. The Canal Parade is undoubtedly the highlight of the Amsterdam Gay Pride weekend. 80 decorated boats will sail along the Prinsengracht. The Parade begins at 1.30pm, near Amsterdam Central Station.
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Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
Taking place in March each year, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of Australia’s most famous and popular events. The event began as a march in June 1978, and by 1994 had become a mainstream event. That year it was covered by the TV channel ABC. Despite criticism, the highlights show achieved the channel’s highest ratings for a Sunday night. In 2006 Conde Nast named it as one of the top ten costume parties in the world. Planetout has also named it the best gay event in the world.
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Gay Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv Pride, or Gay Tel Aviv, is the biggest event of the year in the city. The Tel Aviv Pride Parade is also the largest of its kind in Asia. Over 100,000 people unite each year to celebrate LGBT rights in the centre of the Middle East.
With roots in both a political demonstration in 1978, and the Tel Aviv Love Parade, Tel Aviv Pride has grown quickly. The growth is thanks partly to the city’s world-class status as both a gay-friendly destination and a top party city. During the 2009 Pride Parade, five same-sex couples were married in what people called ‘the wedding of the century’.
Interestingly, because Tel Aviv boasts one of the largest concentrations of tech companies of any city in the world, LGBT representatives of companies such as Google and Microsoft regularly attend the event.
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Sao Paulo Gay Pride
In 2006 Sao Paulo Gay Pride or Parada do Orgulho Gay LGBT de Sao Paulo made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest Gay Pride celebration in the world, and the event hasn’t lost that position since. Between 1997 and 2006 the Parade grew from just 2,000 participants to almost 2.5 million people. Gay Pride celebrations take place across an entire month in Sao Paulo. There are debates, plays, concerts, dance performances and fairs. The Gay Pride Parade is the main event, beginning at the Museum of Art of Sao Paulo.
Sao Paulo Gay Pride takes place in May. The smaller Rio de Janeiro Gay Pride Parade takes place in November. It still attracts an impressive million participants each year.
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Tokyo Rainbow Pride
“Step forward, Queers! Step forward Friends! One step at a time, to the future.” That’s a direct quote from the Tokyo Rainbow Pride website, and an extremely important one.
The Tokyo Rainbow Pride event involves a 3km parade around the Harajuku and Shibuya area of the city. There is also a two-day Festival in Yoyogi Park. The festival is an extremely important one because many LGBT Japanese people still struggle with violence, threats and discrimination. While acceptance of sexual minorities is growing in Japan, there are still frequent incidents of harassment and bullying in Japanese schools. It’s a stark reminder why the Pride events around the world are so important.
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