When talking about the LGBTQ movement one has to speak about the Gay Pride parades that, in the past decades, have spanned across the globe in celebration of the community.
However, the reason for the festivities and parades is not just the pure celebration of inclusion and being able to display a colorful and unashamed community. It is the anniversary of an important historical event that started the fight against the oppression of the LGBTQ community by society.
The whole movement was sparked by the Stonewall Riots back in June 1969, when New York police raided the Stonewall Inn Pub who was a bar mostly frequented by members of the LGBTQ community. Those raids were fairly common back then especially against gay people until they finally decided to oppose the random police violence.
The violent and spontaneous riots are now considered to be an important point in history leading to the gay liberation movement. Most Gay Pride parades to this day take place in late June because of this, to celebrate not only themselves but a turning point in history for members of the LGBTQ community as a whole. Here are seven of the biggest Pride parades around the world, limited to one per country.
New York, USA
As the parades usually celebrate the riots in New York, it is only natural that their Gay Pride parade should be the first on our list. This may be a controversial choice as the San Francisco Gay Pride parade is probably better known, though we chose to go with history over popularity.
With more than 2 Million spectators in 2016 this as close you can get to actual history.
Apart from the yearly pride festival, New York City will also host the World Pride in 2019, honoring the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
With more than 5 Million participants by 2013, the Gay Pride parade in Sao Paulo is the biggest of them all, even achieving an entry into the Book of Guinness World Records.
It even became the set for one scene of Netflix series Sense 8, which was filmed during the parade.
The parade has been a great success over the years and generates high incomes for the city. While Brazil is one of the countries with very liberal laws concerning sexual orientation, violence against members of the LGBTQ community is still common in the country.
Let’s leave the Americas for a while and take a look at Europe’s celebrations. One of the earliest ones here is the Christopher Street Day, named after the street the Stonewall Inn was located back in the 60s.
The first Gay Pride parade took place in 1979 after the movement slowly swept across the pond to Europe and started to get hold of major cities like Germany’s capital.
There’s even a naked pride, where people participate in displaying their bodies, well, naked.
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Tel Aviv, Israel
Frequently cited as one of the gay-friendliest cities in the world, Tel Aviv is one of the most liberal places for the LGBTQ community in the middle-east region.
Though the situation may not be perfect, Israel has moved forward to provide same-sex couples close to equal rights, though marriage cannot be performed to this day. Marriages of same-sex couples are recognized though if they married outside of the country.
The most recent parade was attended by over 200,000 people, making it one of the larger Gay Pride parades in the world.
One of the truly biggest Gay Pride parades in the world and certainly the main event in Europe is happening in Madrid every year. The Spanish city even hosted this year’s edition of World Pride with an estimated crowd of 3 Million.
In 2005, with the approval of equal marriage in the country, the pride movement grew continuously bigger in the city, drawing approximately two million visitors to the regular pride marches every year.
Madrid is regarded as the European capital of Pride and their Gay Pride parade continues to grow each year, making it possibly the best place in Europe to attend.
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Of course, there’s a Gay Pride parade in Down Under, why wouldn’t there be. The festivities are called Sidney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and coincide with the usual Mardi Gras Timeframe around March instead of June/July like most of the other parades around the world.
While LGBTQ couples enjoy mostly equal rights in Australia, the nation still prohibits same-sex marriage.
The parade draws in several thousand people every year and generates good income for the cities involved in the festivities through tourism revenue.
Let’s conclude our pride tour around where we started – in North America. Toronto hosts the biggest Gay Pride parade in Canada.
Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined this year. It was the second time in a row he attended.
This is the last entry on our list, let us know what your favorite Gay Pride parade is and where you’ll be next.
I’ve never been a big fan of labels. I find them to be too confining for my sexuality which is always changing as I learn and grow. I also tend not to flaunt my sexuality because I really don’t think it’s anyone’s business but my own who I choose to love. However, I do think that it is extremely important to identify and feel proud during pride. Pride creates a sense of community that makes you feel valid, that pushes back against societal norms and repression with self love and acceptance. I identify because if nobody identified, there would be very little support, rights, visibility, and education. I identify because people just assume I’m straight if I’m dating a guy, or gay if I’m dating a girl. I identify because you should never feel ashamed to be who you are. Some people question the purpose of celebrating pride because of the many rights and laws protecting the LGBTQ+ community. Although we are very fortunate enough to live in a country that has advanced legislature, there is still stigma and discrimination faced by those in the community. Pride started as a political movement. To downplay the importance of pride is to ignore the generations before us who fought for the rights that we take for granted today. My first Toronto pride festival was such an empowering experience. Thank you Toronto for the overwhelming love and accepting atmosphere. I can’t wait to be back. ️️ #proudtobebi #torontopride2017
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