From glamorous fashion shows and art exhibitions at the Sydney Pride Festival in Australia to extravagant drag shows and musical performances at the Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade in Israel, there is no dearth of events to ring in the Pride Month in pomp and style. But before we get to them, let’s look at why Pride Month is celebrated.
What is Pride Month?
Pride Month is celebrated in June annually, to mark the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City that catalysed the recognition of rights for the LGBTQIA+ community in the United States.
These trailblazing confrontations were led by African-American and Latinx transgender activists who fought against discriminatory raids by the police and the brutality inflicted on the LGBTQIA+ community in New York. The peaceful protests against unfair laws and socio-cultural norms that excluded them from society brought about a radical change with regard to the community’s rights and identity.
Today, the month sees several vibrant star-studded parades, colourful street festivals, parties, workshops and picnics held all around the world.
Here are some of the best Pride Month events for you to celebrate
Dates: 2 June to 30 June
The very first Australian Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival took place on 24 June 1978, in Sydney. It was organised by a small group of queer people known as the Gay Solidarity Group. The parade established itself as an important annual event due to the violent police response it incited, and the subsequent national media coverage it garnered.
This festival was held to inspire political activism and raise awareness about queer culture, marking Sydney as one of the most popular LGBTQ-friendly metropolis in Australia.
The city celebrates the international Pride Month with a range of cultural events, parties, glamorous fundraisers and other exciting shows, spread across three weeks in June every year.
In memory of the pioneers who fought for LGBTQIA+ rights, the theme for this year’s festival is ‘Be Brave, Be Strong, Be You’. The Stonewall Hotel serves as a community hub and cultural base to host events, discussions and shows.
Visitors can participate in art exhibitions, writing workshops and sporting events, too.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Dates: 8 June to 12 June
With a sizeable queer population and allies endorsing the values of freedom and equal rights, Tel Aviv offers a safe refuge and is one of the most LGBTQIA+ friendly cities in the world. Known as the ‘Gay Capital of the Middle East’, Tel Aviv Gay Pride Week is a bucket-list-worthy event to attend for the people in Israel and visitors from around the globe. The 2022 parade is scheduled for 10 June, with many other activities, including musical performances, fashion shows, drag events and glitzy afterparties lined up from 8 June to 12 June.
Adorned by colourful floats and exuberant accessories, the Pride Parade will kick off from the Sportech Centre at Rokach Boulevard and pass through Yarkon Park to Joshua’s Garden in Tel Aviv. The march is followed by a grand afterparty hosted at Hayarkon Park.
High-profile artists, such as Iggy Azalea (Australian DJ) and Israel’s popular icons like Bell Agam and Maggie Ezerzer, are roped in to headline the ‘Love Stage’ concert and party, which follows the parade.
Dates: 11 June to 26 June
After a two-year hiatus, several organisations and activists have teamed up with the Tamil Nadu Rainbow Coalition to plan celebratory offline events. Pride celebrations in the Indian state have come a long way since they first started in Chennai back in 2009.
The 2022 programme will include sensitisation and awareness events, film screenings, poetry readings, cultural events and the highly anticipated pride parade. An open-to-all workshop named ‘Coming Out with Alex and SwethaShri’ organised by Thozhi, in collaboration with the Orinam collective, will be held on 11 June. The workshop will discuss the difficulties one faces in disclosing their sexual identity to community members. A panel discussion with lawyers on recent developments in LGBTQIA+ laws, policies and court verdicts will take place on the following day.
Additionally, dedicated to showcasing the artworks of the LGBTQIA+ community, an art show christened ‘Seven Colors: Chennai Art Festival 2.0’ will be held on 18 June. Put together by the TamilNadu LGBTIQ Movement, Sahodaran and Kattiyakkari, the art festival will feature dances, music, theatre plays, fashion illustrations, drawings and handicrafts, which will be available for purchase.
To end the celebrations with a bang, the Chennai Pride/Self Respect Walk will take place on 26 June, marking the 14th year of its fruition.
Dates: 18 June to 19 June
All set to take place over a weekend in June 2022, the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade is one of the largest pride events in the United States. With a bustling LGBTQIA+ community, avant-garde culture, gay bars, queer-centric dance clubs, organisations, businesses and sports leagues, pride events in Portland can be traced back to the early 1970s. Demonstrating the free-spirited and progressive culture of its people, the US city became the first to elect an openly gay mayor, Sam Adams, in 2008.
The Pride Parade of Portland is organised to attract new supporters and promote businesses owned by the people from the LGBTQIA+ community, build networks, cross-sell and raise funds in a safe and judgement-free environment. Additionally, the event brings in thousands of visitors from all over the Pacific Northwest, boosting the economy of the city, too.
Dates: 26 June
To secure a future where people “inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate” the diverse community, NYC Pride Parade started with the Stonewall riots in the 1970s. This event is etched in history as a civil rights demonstration, and the annual pride parade is held in its remembrance ever since.
The 2022 NYC Pride festival is scheduled for 26 June, with a massive crowd and performing artists in attendance. A majority of the groups participating in the Pride March are non-profit organisations.
Apart from the highly anticipated Pride March, two other proceedings, namely Bliss Days and PrideFest, are a part of the celebrations as well. Featuring rotating DJs, dancers, pop up performances and special guest appearances, Bliss Days is a party event at the Harbor Rooftop, held in honour of LGBTQIA+ Women.
As part of PrideFest, a vibrant street fair highlighting numerous LGBTQ exhibitors, entertainers and food and drink stall owners will be seen in Greenwich Village in New York City.
Dates: 1 July to 10 July
The pride festivities in Spain can be traced back to the late 1970s, with the city of Madrid at its forefront. All set to be held from 1 to 10 July, the Pride Week or the MADO Madrid Orgullo will take place in the Chueca gay neighbourhood of the capital city.
The event is held to spread positivity and promote spaces for meeting, reflecting and exchanging true experiences and ideas to take the human rights movement forward. Madrid welcomes visitors from all over the world and encourages them to celebrate with popular artists, DJs and drag queens.
Dates: 2 July
Commemorating 50 years of the first Pride celebration held in the United Kingdom, 2022 is a momentous year for the LGBTQIA+ community in the country. The festivities and the nation’s largest parade are expected to take place on 2 July in London, with the motto ‘Visibility, Unity and Equality.’ The event offers an opportunity for the people to make a difference and fight against the pervasive injustices and inequalities present in society.
Pride in London may have a theme named ‘Jubilee’ in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. 2022 also marks the 10th anniversary of an exciting annual competition called Pride’s Got Talent.
Seoul, South Korea
Dates: 15 July to 31 July
All set to take place in the second half of July in Seoul, South Korea, the Queer Culture Festival 2022 will include a plethora of exciting parades, parties and cultural events. The Seoul Queer Parade (SOP) serves as a focal point of the festival and takes place on the last Saturday of the celebrations.
Beginning at the Seoul Plaza, in front of the City Hall subway station, the parade is expected to traverse through Sejong-daero Road, which lies between Seoul City Hall and Gwanghwamun, with thousands of people in attendance.
The celebrations post the Pride March will continue at Itaewon’s Homo Hill in the form of several vibrant and fun afterparties and musical shows. Additionally, the annual Korea Queer Film Festival also takes place during the month to generate an understanding of LGBTQIA+ culture and raise awareness about the diversity in Korean cinema.
Dates: 1 August to 7 August
To be held in the beginning of August this year, Stockholm Pride is a massive event in Scandinavia, hosting a range of celebrations such as parties, parades, music festivals, exhibitions and sporting events. With over 50,000 participants every year, it is the largest Pride event in the Nordic countries, organised with an aim to manifest equal human rights, diversity and inclusion. Encouraging attendees to showcase their most vibrant selves, this year’s theme is ‘Dags att bekänna färg’, meaning ‘Time to profess colour.’
You can either choose fun activities sprinkled across the week, such as the Pride Parade marching through central Stockholm, or music performances and art exhibitions held at Pride Park. You can also head to the Pride House to participate in workshops, author talks and debates by organisations, associations, businesses, political parties and individuals for the exchange of ideas.
Dates: 27 October to 30 October
Dubbed ‘San Francisco of the East’, Taiwan broke the shackles of discrimination and stigma when it became the first country in East Asia to legalise gay marriage in 2019. Expected to take place in late October this year, spectacular Pride celebrations featuring parades, parties and a series of other events will be held in Taipei.
This year’s theme is ‘An Unlimited Future.’ It highlights the “future expectations of the LGBT community in Taiwan and celebrates the progress of LGBT rights in the country over the years,” said the Taiwan Rainbow Civil Action Association (TWRCAA).
To encourage people to embrace their sexual identity and come together to celebrate diversity, the massive Pride March will begin its journey at Taipei City Hall Square and end at Ketagalan Avenue.
Other virtual events
If you are unable to attend these events in person, virtual events celebrating the modern gay rights movement and the LGBTQ+ community are your answer.
The Fowler Museum, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Film & Television Archive and ONE Archives at the University of Southern California (USC) are co-presenting an online programme to honour the Pride Month. Scheduled for 23 June, this virtual event explores the thought-provoking artworks of contemporary artist Sadie Barnette and filmmaker Whitney Skauge.
Remarkable projects by Barnette and Skauge include archival material, tracing the lives of two gay African-American activists — the 1992 presidential candidate Terence Alan Smith, aka Joan Jett Blakk, and Black Panther Party member Rodney Barnette, owner of the first gay bar in San Francisco. In the early 90s, Barnette was also a proponent of the safety of the gay community at the peak of the AIDS crisis and fought against political injustice.
Another virtual event worth attending is an online tour of the world’s first ‘gayborhood’, where the famous Stonewall revolution took place, paving the way for Pride Month. On this special Pride tour presented by Professor Andrew Lear, you can explore Greenwich Village and learn more about the history and politics that led to the uprising. The event is scheduled for 12 June.
If you practise spirituality, you can join the event held by Tibet House US, an organisation founded at the request of the Dalai Lama to preserve Tibetan culture and heritage. You can take part in a 30-minute meditation session, focusing on empathic joy and teachings on basic goodness.
(Main image: Margaux Bellott/Unsplash; featured image: Eduardo Pastor/Unsplash)