It’s that time of the year again.
The celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Ally+ acceptance, achievements and legal rights is here.
The event, which takes place in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riots, has grown into a global phenomenon.
And, as the US and some parts of the world (d)evolve, some of these events continue to be part festivity and part resistance.
Here’s how I have experienced them in five global cities and my expectations for this year and beyond.
1. Miami Beach:
The State of Florida and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs sponsor Miami Beach Pride.
Its mission: “to envision, plan and execute a roster of events and activities as diverse as the community itself.”
And, like everything else in this part of the world, the parade through Ocean Drive has a bright and tropical flavor.
In late March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, banning public teachers from “holding classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity”—from kindergarten through 3rd grade.
The Trevor Project, and others, have criticized the bill, arguing that it erases LGBTQ identity, history, culture and students themselves.
They’ve also cited studies that show that LGBTQ youth face higher health and suicide risks than their straight counterparts and that the lack of safe spaces could exacerbate the trend.
Copenhagen Gay Pride dubs itself “Denmark’s largest human rights (and LGBTQ) festival” and the Danish pride themselves on being the first country to recognize same-sex unions.
The overall community embraces the celebration. It departs from Frederiksberg Town Hall, culminating with an open-air concert at Copenhagen City Hall Square.
The progressive Danish have been keenly aware of Russia’s law “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values,” also known as “gay propaganda law” and “anti-gay law.”
Some of the pride festival’s kiosks displayed the “Gay Clown Putin” meme in what I see as an act of resistance.
Pride in London is the UK’s most prominent. Its mission: “to raise awareness of LGBT+ issues and campaign for the freedoms that will allow them to live their lives on a genuinely equal footing.”
The event emphasizes the inclusion of “every race, faith and disability status.” The parade starts at Hyde Park Corner, continues to Piccadilly Circus, and culminates with a big Trafalgar Square party.
The United Kingdom has come a long way since the 1952 prosecution of WWII codebreaker Alan Turing for “homosexual acts.”
In 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized for the “appalling treatment.” Despite being hailed a hero by King George VI for helping defeat the Nazis, Turing died a “criminal” just for being a gay man.
In 2021, the Bank of England featured him in the new £50 notes.
Pride Amsterdam‘s focus for 2022, “My Gender, My Pride,” seeks to broaden Gay Pride’s traditional plea from “being allowed to love who we want” to “be allowed to be how we feel.”
Another progressive Northern European country where Pride is a city-wide affair. The parade takes place on boats over the canals, and everyone, from kids to grandmas (who place their chairs on the front porches of their homes), participates.
The Netherlands has been one of the most progressive nations regarding LGBTQ+ rights.
The country legalized same-sexual activity in 1811. In 1973, it declassified gay and bisexual people as mentally ill and lifted a ban on the military.
The Equal Treatment Act of 1994 banned discrimination on account of sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations, extending it in 2019 to include discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
5. New York
NYC Pride organizes Heritage of Pride, an event “to gather and engage in activism, protest, celebration, and advocacy.”
Its mission: is to work towards a future “where all people have equal rights under the law,” which still is a goal in the US.
Historically, the parade has started in midtown, working its way down through Fifth Avenue and finalizing on the West Village, near the historic Stonewall Inn.
As Pride has gone mainstream, and brands wrap themselves in rainbow flags, some Queer Activists have criticized what they see as an over-commercialization of the event, organizing alternative marches without corporate sponsorships under the motto “it’s a march, not a parade.”