The LGBTQ+ rights movement has made tremendous strides over the past few decades and much of the progress in visibility is thanks in part to gay pride parades and marches that have taken place in cities around the world.
The global landscape for LGBTQ+ rights, protections and acceptance varies tremendously by location, with some destinations attracting millions of visitors to their events like Madrid Gay Pride, Sao Paulo Gay Pride or San Francisco Gay Pride, while more than 70 other countries have laws that allow discrimination or persecution of LGBTQ+ people.
What is Gay Pride?
Gay pride events, including gay pride parades and festivals were started in major urban centers to improve the visibility, acceptance and legal protections for LGBTQ+ people living in those communities. While the aim of pride day started with a political nature, many cities around the world have such wide acceptance and legal protections that many events have become a celebration of pride for the local LGBTQ+ community. Depending on the country or city where the event is being held, the marches and parades often campaign for recognition and acceptance of same-sex marriage, legal protections for couples and families, anti-discrimination laws or trans rights. Although there are still obstacles in achieving full acceptance and protections for the LGBTQ+ community, the progress made just over the past few decades has been significant. Over the past 50 years, pride events, marches and demonstrations have evolved considerably. In western nations where LGBTQ+ people are protected and acceptance is high, many pride events have grown in scale, welcoming millions of visitors to their celebrations. Major cities like New York, São Paulo and Madrid host some of the largest events in the world with crowds of up to 5 million people.
A Brief History of Gay Pride
In June of 1969, a group of LGBTQ+ people in New York City rioted following a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar located on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village. This series of events was a turning point for the LGBTQ+ community and marks one of the most significant events leading to the modern gay rights movement. The following year in June, organized demonstrations took place in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco to mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. As the years went on, additional cities in North America and Europe began to hold their own public demonstrations or pride day, eventually leading to what we know today as a gay pride parade, march, celebration or festival.
When is Gay Pride?
In honor of the Stonewall riots and the demonstrations that took place the following year in major cities in the US, most cities around the world now hold their pride celebrations in the summer of the northern hemisphere and in particular in June. In many countries, June is officially recognized as pride month even though some cities may hold their pride events on alternate dates.
Global and Regional Pride Organizations
Several non-profit organizations have also formed within the past couple of decades in an effort to support prides regionally and around the world. InterPride is one such group and its members include dedicated volunteers who organize and work to put on pride events all over the world. They are also the creator and licensor of WorldPride, an event that promotes LGBTQ+ pride issues on an international level through parades, festivals and other cultural activities. The inaugural WorldPride was held in Rome in 2000. The host cities are selected by the members of InterPride at its annual general meeting. Previous WorldPride host cities also include Jerusalem, London, Toronto, Madrid and New York City. Copenhagen is now set to host the next edition of WorldPride in 2021.
Similar organizations also exist at a regional level such as EuroPride and Pride of the Americas. EuroPride operates similarly to InterPride and they also license an event by the same name (EuroPride) in a different European city each year. Pride of the Americas was created with a similar mission to connect pride events in both North and South America. The inaugural Pride of the Americas is set to take place in Fort Lauderdale.
Pride During the Pandemic
2020 was an unprecedented year as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe disrupting daily life. As most countries went into various forms of lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, large events and festivals including pride celebrations, marches and demonstrations were canceled. As a response to the mass cancellations, many organizations opted to host virtual events. In June 2020, InterPride also launched Global Pride, a virtual event connecting pride organizations and online attendees across the globe. As 2020 came to an end, many pride events have again been forced the cancel, postpone or go virtual. However, a handful of events in countries like Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand with closed borders and tight control of the pandemic have eased back into near-normal life and are able to again host in-person pride events. It’s expected that most pride events will return to their previous form in 2022 as vaccine distribution reaches high levels across the world.
Why Visit a Destination During a Local Gay Pride Event?
Visiting a destination during a pride event is a great way to not only see the city, its landmarks and learn its history, but also to immerse yourself in the local LGBTQ+ community. Most gay pride parades and events also occur during a peak season of the year when the weather most ideal, yet another reason to book your trip during the event. Whether traveling alone, with friends or family, visiting during a gay pride event can be a fun way to experience a new destination and IGLTA can help you find LGBTQ-friendly business in almost any location to help make you trip memorable, safe and exciting.
How to Use This List?
We have published this calendar to inform the LGBTQ+ community of important gay pride events and parades globally to offer a complete source for planning your travel. This event calendar includes more than 150 listings, but you can sort and filter the list by region and date to determine where you want to go or when to plan your trip. While events take place throughout the year, the majority take place during the months of June, July and August. Events displayed in light grey have already taken place for the year. Some of the cities and pride organizations listed here are also IGLTA members, which are designated by the ‘Member’ badge next to the event listing. IGLTA membership indicates a city’s willingness to actively welcome the LGBTQ+ community to that destination. Some IGLTA Members also have enhanced membership including Featured Destination or Global Partner. Global Partners are an elite group of global brands that have committed to improving travel for the LGBTQ+ community worldwide.