Pride in the USA

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by Jenn Shelton

Dust off your rainbow flag and break out the glitter: it’s PRIDE MONTH! Across the nation, participating cities will host parades, festivals, concerts, forums, rallys, and more to celebrate the fabulous strides of the LGBTQIA+ community and unite us all in (much-needed) unprejudiced harmony.  

Of course, we cannot forget that beneath the shimmering neon sea that’s coming to a city near you, this year’s festivities commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Quick history lesson: on June 28, 1969, a police raid of a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village turned violent and lead to subsequent riots, protests, and ultimately the birth of the gay liberation movement.

In conclusion, we’re partying with a purpose, people! We rounded up must-know events, parade deets, and parties from several U.S. cities to explore interpretations of Pride across the nation and, you know, do the heavy-lifting for you, so you can go off and get your #Pride on wherever and however you celebrate!

New York

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This year, New York City will host the world’s largest pride event — aptly named WorldPride — and you know the city that never sleeps will turn ALL the way up for the occasion. The first-ever WorldPride hosted on U.S. soil provides a culturally-diverse expression of the LGBTQIA+ experience. Along with the regular scheduled programming of NYC Pride, the event will welcome millions of participants worldwide to take over NYC’s streets united in the universal mission for equality.

Theme/Hashtag: “Millions of Moments of Pride” representing the countless, unique interpretations of Pride throughout the years. #MillionsofMomentsofPride

Opening Ceremony: NYC Pride/WorldPride officially kicks off with a benefit concert at The Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday, June 26. Hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, the concert boasts a star-studded line-up with Cyndi Lauper, Chaka Khan, DAYA, Ciara, and Billy Porter. All proceeds support the Ali Forney Center, Immigration Equality, and SAGE.

Parade: Sunday, June 30 at 12 p.m. stepping off from 26th Street & 5th Ave. The Grand Marshals will be Dominique Jackson, Indya Moore, and MJ Rodriguez from the hit FX show Pose. Historical icon Phyll Opoku-Gyimah aka Lady Phyll (she was part of the very first LGBTQIA+ activist organization formed after the Stonewall Rebellion), The Trevor Project crisis intervention and suicide prevention line for LGBTQIA+ youth, and Monica Helms, creator of the transgender pride flag, will lead the festivities.

More Pride Events:

NYC Pride’s Human Rights Conference: This two-day conference hosted at the New York Law School on Monday, June 24 and Tuesday, June 25 gathers activists, artists, educators, journalists, policymakers, students, and more for a global dialogue on human rights. Tickets available here!

Rally: Stonewall 50th Anniversary Commemoration: On Friday, June 28 at 6 p.m. community activists, organizers, politicians and more will take the rally back to the streets —Christopher Street and Waverly Place, to be specific. This also happens to be the location of the Stonewall Uprising, which is perfect for this “re-imagined Rally experience.” Free to the public!

Parties:

Pride Island: Iconic to NYC, this multi-day live musical event June 29-30 will feature legendary headliner Grace Jones, along with Teyana Taylor, Pabllo Vittar (Brazil’s most famous drag queen,) and more! Sorry guys, it is sold out…but like, where can we stream this?

Femme Fatale at Hudson Terrace: Sunday, June 30 from 4 p.m. until midnight. This is the official inclusive post-march party featuring 1500+ rooftop party goers from all over the world and a special celebrity DJ line-up. Tickets available here!

Closing Ceremony: Pride month officially concludes June 30 in Times Square with evening of influential speakers and musicians such as Melissa Etheridge, Jake Shears, MNEK, and Deborah Cox, at 7 p.m..

There’s plenty more Pride than we could list here—check out this link for the full list of events!

Los Angeles

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La La Land has rightfully earned a colorful reputation as an active voice for the LGBTQIA+ community. LA locals can celebrate Pride all month long with jam-packed calendar of events in partnership with nonprofit Christopher Street West — the organization responsible for putting on the world’s first permitted gay rights parade!

Theme/Hashtag: #JustUnite at LA Pride invites everyone to come together in the spirit of togetherness!

Opening Ceremony: West Hollywood, LA’s LGBTQIA+ epicenter, hosts LA Pride’s kick-off in the park on Friday, June 7 at 8 p.m. with a night of free entertainment and fun before the LA Pride Festival officially opens its doors the next day. The festivities include a diverse mix of community and spiritual leaders, a Weho Vogue Ball & Drag Show, and a special concert by Paula Abdul!

Parade: Sunday, June 9 at 11 a.m. and stepping off from Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood (between Fairfax and Doheny).The parade will be presented on television for the first time ever, and be lead by The Community Grand Marshal, Phill Wilson — LA-based AIDS activist, founder of the Black AIDS Institute, and former member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS.

Pride Events/Parties:

Pride on the Boulevard: For the first time ever, a free block party officially opens Pride for the entire Los Angeles community Saturday, June 8 through Sunday, June 9! The event showcases local LGBTQIA+ musicians such as Bronze Avery, DIIMOND, Heartthrob Robb, Kaleena Zanders, Zolita, and the industry’s first trans rap sensation — Lady Londyn.

LA Pride Festival: Leave it to LA to host a killer two-day music festival for Pride. The weekend of Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9 in West Hollywood Park boasts headliners Meghan Trainor, Years & Years, Ashanti, The Veronicas, and more. Get your tickets here!

For even more LA Pride events, check out this list!

Washington, D.C.

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The nation’s capital celebrates the aptly named “Capital Pride” all month long! Most events are free, with donations supporting the Capital Pride Alliance and LGBTQIA+ partner organizations.

Theme: “Shhhout Past, Present, and Proud” challenges supporters to honor changemakers throughout history, stand up against injustice wherever it exists, and commit to “SHOUT OUT proudly” as we move forward together towards a more accepting world.

Parade: Saturday, June 8 stepping off from Dupont Circle into Logan Circle at 4:30 p.m. Several Grand Marshals hold this year’s honors: Brandon Wolf, co-founder of The Dru Project, a nonprofit organization founded in the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy; Matt Easton, the 2019 graduate who came out during his Political Science Valedictorian for Brigham Young University speech; and Pose star Hailie Sahar.  

Events:

Capital Pride Festival: Pride takes America’s Main Street — the historic Pennsylvania Avenue — Sunday, June 9 at 12 p.m. for a full day of free entertainment, music, food, drink, education, and celebration to hype up the crowd before. . .

The Capital Pride Concert: The largest annual Pride event in the nation’s capital region! The line-up includes international and local headliners and LGBTQIA+ talent such as Marshmello, Zara Larsson, Todrick Hall, Shea Diamond, Calum Scott, and Big Dipper. The performances will be in front of the U.S. Capitol. Free, with VIP upgrades available.

Parties:

Rooftop Rally: The VIDA Penthouse Pool and Lounge on the Capitol Riverfront hosts a Thursday night pool party June 6 from 7-11 p.m. to get partygoers fired up for Pride! Expect cocktails, appetizers, and plenty of socializing with Capital Pride Alliance’s donors and volunteers...and plenty of dancing! Tickets here!

RIOT!: DC’s Pride opening party is on Friday, June 7 from 9 p.m. into the early hours of the morning! Partygoers are invited to celebrate, dance, and be their true selves with a RIOT to commemorate the Stonewall Riots and the activism that ensued. Hosted at Echostage, DJs, dancing, photo booths, and more will take the night! Tickets available here!

For a complete list of Capital Pride events, check out this list!

Nashville

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Music City, USA presents a southern twist on Pride this year!

The Parade: Nash Vegas Pride marches downtown on Saturday, June 22 at 10 a.m. beginning on Broadway — the city's iconic row of country bars and honky tonks — heading towards the Cumberland River. Grand Marshals include country music star Ty Herndon and Joseph Interrante, formerly CEO of Nashville CARES, the second-largest charitable organization in the Music City region and long-term AIDS survivor and activist.

Events:

Nashville Pride Equality Awards: Each year Nashville Pride recognizes people, businesses, and community groups making a difference. Award winners will lead the annual Equality Walk and be recognized on the festival’s mainstage on Saturday, June 23.

Pride Festival: The 31st annual Nashville Pride Festival will take place in Public Square Park on Saturday, June 22 from 10 to 9 p.m. and Sunday, June 23 1 to 6 p.m. right in front of City Hall. Top-tier acts such as Neon Trees, TLC, Wilson Phillips, and JoJo will be featured. The Festival also boasts a drag stage, dance tent with DJ line-up, Kids and Family Zone, and Youth Area for only a $5 entry fee at the door per day.

Nashville Pride Pageant: You can bet a fabulous, colorful pageant is how the south does Pride! On Sunday, June 9 at 9 p.m., contestants will rock custom creations under the theme “Pride Deconstructed - Anything but Fabric” at Play Dance Bar. Contestants will be judged on creative presentation, evening gown/formal wear, and be prepared to explain how their creations represent pride and talent. The new reigning Queen of Pride receives a $450 prize package and a special place to sashay through the Pride parade.

Parties:

Pink + Purple Party: Get ready to paint the town pink and purple at Nashville's Official Pride Pre-Party on Friday, June 21, which benefits the Tennessee Equality Project Foundation. Dress in your most festive pink or purple (or both!) to show your true colors. General admission is $50 and includes bar, noshes, and live music by Carol Plunk. Tickets here!

Nashville Pride Tie-Dye Party: According to Fat Bottom Brewery, “We'll provide the supplies, the good times, and you'll supply the creativity and wit!” Join their dog and kid friendly brewery Tuesday, June 17 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for a sign-making and tie-dye t-shirt party. Participants are encouraged to join the Brewery’s team during the march, rocking their new t-shirts and banners. Tickets available here!

Chicago

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Pride is a Chicago staple, and this year the Windy City celebrates its 50th annual Chicago Pride Parade, featuring non-stop parties and a two-day festival on Halsted — the historic heart of Chicago’s LGBTQIA+ community aka Boystown!

The Parade: Traditionally held on the last Sunday of June, this year’s installment marks the 50th annual parade on Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 12 p.m. The parade route steps off from the Broadway & Montrose corner, proceeding south on Broadway and culminating on Cannon Drive. Several Grand Marshals lead the festivities, including Honorary Grand Marshal Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the first open lesbian mayor in the city's history!

(Bonus!) Pet Parade: Pets can join in on the fun and show their pride Sunday, June 23 at 12 p.m. starting from the Papa John’s North Stage. Register your proud pet to win the ultimate title of "Best Dressed Pride Pet!"

Events:

Pride in The Park: A gigantic one-day festival in Grant Park provides an entire afternoon of Pride fun on Saturday, June 29 at 1 p.m. Performances include headliners Iggy Azalea and Steve Aoki, as well as R&B singer Tamar Braxton, and Kathy Sledge of disco group Sister Sledge. Keep an eye out for appearances by Ru Paul's Drag Race contestants like Shea Coulee, Alexis Michelle and Coco Montrese! A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and Center on Halsted and Stonewall Sports. General admission tickets are $50 here with VIP upgrades available.

Pride Concert "We Sing What Sparkles”:  Choral concert by the Artemis Singers, Chicago's Lesbian Feminist Chorus! June 15th at First Unitarian Church from 7 to 10 p.m. Donation-based admission is $20 in advance, $25 at door. Seniors/students/children 12 and younger: $15.

The 19th Annual Chicago Pride Fest: Boystown hosts a legendary two-day street festival leading up to the Chicago Pride Parade the weekend of Saturday, June 22 and 23. Up to 100,000 are expected to attend to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. The festival features performances by Leanna Rimes, drag sensation Pablo Vittar, and Alex Newel. $10 suggested donation — all ages welcome!

Backlot Bash: An iconic staple of Chicago pride week, the 16th annual Outdoor Women’s Music & Entertainment Festival is the biggest women’s party in the city, started in response to the limited presence of female artists in the Chicago LGBTQIA+ community. How badass is that?! The killer line-up includes The Veronicas, Jackie Cruz, DEVMO, Dorian Electra and more. Proceeds benefit A Sister’s Hope, Girls in the Game, UCAN, and other groups focused on Women’s/LGBTQIA+ issues. The Backlot Bash takes place the weekend of June 29 behind The Cheetah Gym. Tickets here!

Dyke March: The annual Dyke March, a grassroots mobilization and celebration of lesbian, queer, bisexual, and transgender resilience gathers in the Little Village June 29 at 1:30 p.m. commencing at Piotrowski Park. Donate here!

For more Chicago pride, click here!

Boston

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Theme/Hashtag: “Looking Back, Loving Forward” recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and encourages the community to reflect on the LGBTQIA+ community’s challenges of the past while celebrating the victories moving forward. Acting President of Boston Pride, Linda DeMarco, declared, “The fight for our rights must continue, as well as fighting for our ability to love ourselves and each other freely without fear of hate or persecution.” #BostonPrideStonewall50

Parade: Saturday, June 8 stepping off at 12 p.m. from Copley Square and marching on to Boston City Hall Plaza. Grand Marshal Dale Mitchell, who convened Boston’s very first LGBTQIA+ Aging Summit in 2001 and the LGBTQIA+ Aging Project, (not to mention he’s a veteran of the Stonewall Riot in 1969) will lead the charge!

Events:

Pride Lights: This event is a signature tradition of Boston Pride Week and will be held Tuesday, June 4 at 6-8 p.m. in Blackstone Square Park. Pride Lights celebrates the community’s roots in resilience, and recognizes those lost through the years to HIV/AIDS. The event features performances, music, and of course a commemorative tree lighting ceremony.

Stonewall 50 Displays of Banners and Art: Co-sponsored by the History Project and The Boston Pride Committee, banners and other works of art (digital and printed) will be on display throughout historical LGBTQIA+ sites in Boston and Cambridge. Displays will provide educational resources and speak to the history of Stonewall all throughout Pride month. Check out the map here!

Parties:

LUSH: The Official Womxn Pride Party: Kristen Porter Presents Dyke Night is the longest running and most award-winning womxn Pride party in the city! Hosted at Boston hotspot ICON, the venue boasts two rooms of music and dancing featuring DJ Gay Jim spinning pop/dance/top 40! Saturday, June 8 from 9 p.m. until 2 am.

LesbianNightLife ESME Women’s Block Party: The 22nd Annual ESME Women’s Block Party  is an explosion of culture, diversity, and pride — with thousands of women dancing in the streets. Join the fun on Saturday, June 8 from 2 to 7 p.m. at Boylston and Edgar Allen Poe Way! Once that event wraps, party goers can head over to the Official ESME After Party at The Liberty Hall Mega Women’s Pride Party, where the dancing continues until 2 a.m.

Want even more Boston Pride? Click here!

Denver

Three main events make up official Denver Pride, all produced by the The Center on Colfax — an organization that works to create a safe, healthy, inclusive, equitable, and affirming Colorado for all LGBTQIA+ people through engaging, empowering, and enriching their lives. The largest celebration of LGBTQIA+ pride in the Rocky Mountain region supports organizations that positively impact the LGBTQIA+ community in Colorado, especially the youth programs!

Events:

PrideFest: Denver PrideFest is featuring live entertainment on three stages, 250+ exhibitors and an array of food and beverage vendors from June 15 to 16. These three stages will host national acts and local drag standouts — including headliner Todrick Hall, Denver’s biggest little band Wheelchair Sports Camp, multi-talented drag artist Lady Bunny, and Ru Paul’s Drag Race alums Peppermint and Yvie Oddly! Denver PrideFest takes place in historic Civic Center Park in the heart of downtown Denver, CO. Admission is FREE and welcomes all ages!

Pride 5K: Participants of all ages and backgrounds are invited to run, walk, roll, or sashay on Saturday, June 15 at 9:30 a.m. all the way from 14th Avenue Eto Cheesman Park to the State Capitol. 100% of each dollar raised by individual fundraisers goes directly to support LGBTQIA+ community members,including the local youth center, health services, and social support groups.

Parade: The 2019 Coors Light Denver Pride Parade steps off from Cheesman Park on Sunday, June 16 at 9:30 a.m. The parade also features a Trans Resource Area — a laid-back, shady spot in the center of the festival grounds where the transgender and gender diverse community can come together to meet friends and connect.

Wherever you celebrate this month, we hope you keep flying your metaphorical flag of peace, love, and acceptance for ALL humans, no matter their gender, race, background, or sexual orientation, with us all year long. Wave it high babe. Happy Pride!

Ms. Media