Cities across the US will celebrate Pride Month this weekend with marches, concerts, talks, fundraisers and more.
The events are meant to celebrate the lives of LGBT individuals, and to recognise the struggles these communities face. Many of the marches are the culmination of weeks of celebration and education throughout June, which is recognised around the world as Pride Month.
International Pride events take place through the summer, with Paris celebrating next week (30 June), London and Madrid staging parades on 7 July and Amsterdam's main event not coming until 4 August. But for the US, many of the biggest and most notable celebrations are happening this weekend.
Which cities are celebrating Pride this weekend?
Major marches have already taken place in cities like Los Angeles, Boston, and Washington DC. But more than a dozen Pride celebrations are kicking off this weekend, from cities as small as Flagstaff, Arizona – population 71,000 – to metropolises like New York City.
Seattle, Washington is hosting its 44th annual Pride march on Sunday, while Augusta, Georgia is celebrating Pride number nine. Californians can mark the occasion in Orange County or San Francisco, and Ohio residents can choose between marches in Cincinnati and Cleveland.
Additional Pride marches will take place in Houston, Texas; Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota; Nashville, Tennessee and St Louis, Missouri, among others.
What is LGBT Pride Month?
LGBT Pride Month stems from the historic riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. Protests broke out in June 1969 outside Stonewall, after police raided the popular LGBT bar. Organisers in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco held marches the following June to honour the riot participants, and the tradition soon spread across the country.
Since the initial Pride marches of the 1970s, the festivities have extended to fill the entire month of June. The marches have been used to call attention to everything from marriage equality to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s. They have slowly expanded to include events focused on women and transgender people, as well.
Who will have the biggest pride parades this weekend?
While dozens of cities will be celebrating this weekend, a few marches stand out as some of the largest and longest-lived in the country.
New York City, the home of Stonewall Inn, hosts its annual Pride parade on 24 June. The parade regularly draws more than 2m people, as participants march through the streets of Manhattan alongside colorful floats.
The city also hosts a range of other events over the weekend, including an LGBTQIA+ street fair known as PrideFest. Pride Island – a multi-day music festival – will also take place on a pier near the center of the city.
On the opposite coast, more than 1m people are expected to turn out for San Francisco's pride march on Sunday. The theme of this year’s event is “Generations of Strength,” and will also include a Trans March on Friday and a Dyke March on Saturday. Special guests at Sunday’s march include Gavin Grimm, a transgender 18-year-old whose case was recently argued in front of the Supreme Court.
Some 750,000 people are also expected to participate in Chicago’s Pride weekend, which the city bills as “a two-day festival and a world-famous parade”. The march itself will span 21 blocks, and culminate in a 15-hour dance party near Lake Michigan.
What else is going on?
For those who aren’t fans of marches, there are tons of alternative Pride events happening this weekend as well. In New York, for example, pride organisers are putting on a “Cosplay & Pride” sunset cruise, where participants can dress in costume and let their “feathers fly and latex pop to the latest music hits,” according to the event website.
In Chicago, improv comedy group Second City is putting on an entire Pride-themed show, titled “Let’s Make It Perfectly Queer: A Salute to Pride”. The show will be performed by an entirely LGBTQIA cast, and will include original sketches and music.
Nark Magazine and Bottom Forty in Seattle, Washington are putting on an entire alternative Pride weekend. The festivities will include boat cruises, warehouse raves and drag competitions, and will benefit Gay City: Seattle's LGBTQ Center.