Another Pride season is upon us, and once again we’re here, we’re queer – and after a two-year hiatus, we’re simply gagging for a kiki. This means that if you’re not already in a rainbow-colored booze mist, you probably soon will be.
Pride isn’t just about partying, though. It’s time for us (queers, qweens and allies) to come together to celebrate the diversity that makes the LGBTQ+ community so special.
There are still many battles to be fought, but it’s important to celebrate our victories – and what better than to celebrate with fabulous communities around the world? Each city is totally unique, but they all have one thing in common: they know how to do Pride like nowhere else.
From sunny, salacious and slightly sleazy marches to political and family marches, it’s time to put on your warmest obsceneand have fun.
June 5 – 31
Every day, the queer neighborhood of Silom Road vibrates like an acid trip, with neon lights, gogo dancers and drag/gay/whatever bars on every corner. But this month of June is going to be very special.
“I’m so excited that Bangkok is hosting its first Pride in over a decade – it’s about time!” says Pagina Heals, whose appearance on Drag Race vs. The World brought global attention to Bangkok’s queer scene. The Bangkok drag doyenne (and host of RuPaul’s Drag Race Thailand) thinks Pride is a huge leap forward for the LGBTQ+ community.
The parade begins at Maha Uma Devi Temple and winds its way along Silom Road, kicking off a month-long celebration at iconic venues like Stranger Bar and House of Heals (at Maggie Choo’s).
Pride is a time to remind us that we still have a long way to go before truly achieving equality. And with the current political climate in Brazil, this year’s Pride is more important than ever.
São Paulo has hosted an annual Pride Parade since 1997. It attracts nearly three million people from all over Brazil and South American countries every year. The parade begins at Avenida Paulista: expect floats, feathers and reggaeton galore. It ends at Ibirapuera Park, with high-octane concerts by Brazilian icons such as Maria Bethânia and Gilberto Gil, who have been openly gay and bisexual throughout their careers.
June 22 – 26
Dubliners know how to throw a good party. This small town explodes into a sea of emerald green every year, as its ancient streets decorate one of Europe’s biggest celebrations: St. Patrick’s Day. And Pride is no different.
Since the first parade in 1983, Pride has become one of Ireland’s largest and most celebrated events, changing hearts and minds along the way. The predominantly Catholic Republic of Ireland voted for same-sex marriage in 2015 in a referendum led by a gay prime minister.
Dublin’s majestic boulevard, O’Connell Street, turns into a flurry of rainbows. The parade ends in Merrion Square (where you will see a fabulous sculpture by Oscar Wilde, made of precious stones). Try to nab an invite to a private ‘members’ party (often held in quirky underground venues, like the basement of a Chinese restaurant), as Dublin’s licensing laws mean the night is cut short at 12:30 a.m.
It all started in the Big Apple in 1970, with several hundred protesters marching from Greenwich Village to Central Park to demand an end to discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, a year after the Stonewall riots.
Today’s NYC Pride is one of the largest and most brazenly queer celebrations in the world, with more than four million people involved. It’s also one of the most commercialized, but if you can handle all those corporate floats, there’s no better time to be in the big city.
There’s no shortage of places to drink, dance and flirt when it comes to after parties. And if you want something more low-key (but no less fun), head to the Dyke March on Saturday afternoon, celebrating lesbians and their allies marching in solidarity against hate and bigotry.
San Francisco: It’s time to grab your wigs, your sequins and your best dresses. Pride is finally here for the first time in what feels like forever. San Francisco is one of the world’s premier Pride events, but like many others on this list, it has been accused of “rainbow washing” in recent years, with Silicon Valley-style corporations co-opting flotillas. That said, San Francisco hasn’t lost any of its original Pride magic – the LGBTQ+ community has responded by creating its own series of unique celebrations.
The nation’s largest Trans Pride celebration takes place around Mission Dolores Park on the Friday before Pride, while micro venues open their doors to parties all day and all night on Saturday. Along with Pride, San Francisco hosts the biggest kink festival in the world in September: Folsom Street Fair. It’s a must-have if leather and fetish clothing is your thing.
June 1 to 30
One of the biggest Pride celebrations in the world takes place during the month of June, culminating in the Pride Parades that close the month (including a Dyke March and a Trans March). The streets of Toronto are flooded with people who have come to celebrate not only the LGBTQ+ community, but everyone who loves being themselves and having fun. Exhibitions, film festivals, and gigantic parties round out the main event, and there’s usually an all-day rave at the TreeHouse towards the end of June.
June 20 – 26
The magnificent splendor of Mexico City unfolds in a wild, week-long extravaganza during Pride. The parade itself takes place on the last Saturday of June each year, along with the Marcha de Orgullo. It’s been over 40 years since the county’s first protest against LGBTQ+ discrimination.
After two years away, expect a large, boisterous crowd of party-loving revelers to finally come together to celebrate Pride. Thousands of people will gather around the Angel of Independence statue in the leafy Zona Rosa area, the gay-friendly neighborhood, for a lively march along Paseo de la Reforma. The main event ends at the Zocalo, the city’s beautiful central square. Mexico packs a punch for late-night after-parties: check out the official Pride website for the full list of Pride-related shenanigans.
London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, and it shows in its Pride celebrations. “Over 1.5 million attendees flock to our capital,” says London Pride Public Relations Manager Haven Thorne.
“This year the parade kicks off at Hyde Park Corner, the site of the first march in 1972, where mining communities also showed solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in 1985.” It continues on Piccadilly Circus through Trafalgar Square before culminating in Whitehall Place (home to Parliament).
Soho is a central ingredient in Pride, away from politics and commercial floats. The beating heart of London’s LGBTQ+ community is a must visit if the heart-pounding queer EDM anthems and all-out atmosphere keep you dancing the night away.
One of the party capitals of the world, Berlin’s rainbow flag has been flying happily for years, with one of the most inclusive (and frankly, out there) LGBTQ+ nightlife in Europe. This year is no exception.
Berlin Pride is named for the street where the Stonewall Riots began. Christopher Street Day includes two highlights: the main parade, which starts from Ku’damm and Joachimsthaler Strasse and ends at the Brandenburg Gate; and the Rally, a stage hosting lectures, drag queen/king performances, and high-octane DJ sets. The laid-back, all-inclusive queer picnic at Volkspark Hasenheide is a highlight.
Pride of Reykjavik
Reykjavik may be one of Europe’s most remote capitals, but that doesn’t mean it’s not ready for its big shot. Thanks to its relaxed vibe, pristine natural beauty, and friendly locals, Reykjavik is an amazing city for LGBTQ+ travelers (and everyone else). It is also one of the most progressive countries in Europe when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. It was one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. Two-thirds of the country participate in it every year. Once, the mayor of the town even walked in drag, which is damn fierce.
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Justin McDonnell is a contributor for Thrillist.