All around the world, gay pride festivals celebrate the history, diversity and culture of the global LGBT community, which has come a long way since the iconic Stonewall Riots of 1969. President Obama has declared June to be LGBT Pride Month in the United States, so take a look at our picks for the top 10 Gay Pride Festivals around the world, and take part in the open invitation to celebrate and support the awesome gift of identity.
San Francisco’s Gay Pride Festival has been known to some as a rite of passage, but to all as the largest pride celebration in the United States. With 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, 19 stage and venue exhibitors, various artists, musicians, performer, and dance stages, there is truly something for everyone here. Stroll along Market Street on June 26-27 to experience this year’s 40 and Fabulous theme.
While you’ll have to wait a while for the next Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras in Sydney (it took place Feb 19- March 16), at least you know that there’s always next year! Parades and dance parties shook the streets in this city Down Under, and more than 100 film, art, academic, cultural and sporting events gathered people in droves. This year, Whitney Houston performed.
The weekend of August 5-8, Amsterdam will somehow manage to party harder than it usually does. Club circuit parties, street parties, and other rocking events all lead up to the ultimate Canal Parade, where spectators, supporters, and everyone along Prisengracht watches boats sail along with swagger.
A full week of activities fills the Big Apple with bright and fun events all throughout the city. Beginning with a rally on June 19 and ending with a parade a week later, what happens in between is truly the most exciting and real part of it all. Experience events like Rapture on the River, The March, Pridefest, and Dance on the Pier in a world-class city that some consider to be one of the few birthplaces of modern gay rights.
Celebrate gay pride in London during its Festival Fortnight, which takes place from June 19 – July 3. Forty years on the gay liberation front has brought London to rejoice all through Oxford and Regent Street, and from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square, where speakers and performers gather. A mash of film, art, theater and comedy, Festival Fortnight is a cultural collaboration not to be missed. And if you’re in it for the party, take advantage of the Soho walking bar tours, which offers free shots along the way.
Another festivity that has passed us by this year, Miami’s Gay Pride Parade along Ocean Drive and the Gay Pride Festival was celebrated on April 17. Celebrities and musical performers showed support and entertained, while the Miami Beach Gay Pride Pool Party gave way to VIP after parties and festivities.
More serious and political events included the AIDS walk and interfaith gay pride services.
Officially the world’s largest gay pride celebration, the Sao Paulo Pride Festival gathered 3.1 million visitors in 2009, and expects to see 4 million this year on June 3-7. An entire month of festivities gives visibility to the LGBT community, encourages recognition of their citizenship and builds awareness of sexual diversity in society. Come celebrate Gay Day on June 5, find out who wins the Citizenship Award for Respect of Diversity, and gain a new perspective during the cycle of debates that discusses policies for the LGBT community.
Las Vegas lights up for gay pride – even more than usual. Friday night, April 30 and Saturday May 1, the Las Vegas Pride Festival took off with more than 20 fantastic events including the Pride and Prejudice Photo Essay, and luxurious parties at the Mirage and Luxor.
From June 25-July 4, Gay Pride Week brightens Toronto with exciting sights, sounds and supporters all ready to enjoy the festivities that surround one of Canada’s largest art, film and cultural events. Ten days of world class arts and cultural programming include community activities, street festivals, parades, and family programming. One of the most anticipated events is a free Cyndi Lauper concert in Queens Park on July 3.
One of Europe’s most well-known gay-friendly cities, Berlin celebrates gay pride in two distinct events. The Lesbian and Gay City Festival, which links itself to chic bars, restaurants and hotels, hosts special events throughout Pride Week, and culminates on June 19, when Christopher Street Day takes over the city and supports gay pride.