Pride is Back in 2021
Last year Pride, along with seemingly everything else, was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This meant no parades or floats, no dance parties or rallies. As a result, many in the LGBTQ community were forced to migrate online and attend events virtually, a far cry from the dancing-in-the-streets celebratory atmosphere Pride has cultivated for decades. While many people gathered in front of their computers and phone screens during quarantine, this year—with the vaccine roll out—it’s possible to once again celebrate Pride in person.
For Amanda Smith, 22, who came out to her family last March as the pandemic was looming, this Pride marks the first time she can share this experience with others in the streets. "I've never been to any sort of Pride before COVID-times, a little bit due to nervousness since it was something new," she said. "The timing just never worked out."
Now based in Columbia, Missouri, Smith is planning a seven-hour road trip to visit queer friends and communities in Chicago. "I've not really been able to date or meet other queer people," she said. "One of the biggest reasons I came out to my family was so I wouldn't have to hide if I went on dates, and then there were no dates because it wasn't safe."
Despite the party-vibe Pride has come to be associated with, there is a larger history behind it that is linked to activism, protests and fighting for equal rights. Many of the celebrations started as a way to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, a series of demonstrations that sparked in New York City's Greenwich Village June 28-July 3 in 1969 after the Stonewall Inn, one of the few openly gay bars in the area at that time, endured months of harassment from city police.
Despite the party-vibe Pride has come to be associated with, there is a larger history behind it that is linked to activism, protests and fighting for equal rights.
Now more than 50 years on, for those who have faced issues from relatives and friends as a result of their sexual identity, celebrating Pride with their chosen family and queer kinship is vital to their sense of belonging and to the growth of their community.
Maria Mora, 41, of St. Petersburg, Florida, said she's making up for 2020 by commemorating Pride with several in-person events. "I felt super isolated last year and missed the opportunity to feel uplifted by the queer community here," Mora said. "It's great to get outside, see people having fun and soak up the energy. I love seeing young people at Pride expressing their joy."
Mora also added that “as a queer parent, Pride is a special opportunity for me to get my kids out in the community. This year, I brought my younger son to the family event, and I'm so grateful we had that special bonding opportunity. It's important to me that he sees his parents expressing queerness out in the wild.”
After last year's pause, this month is packed with international events. For a rundown of what's happening globally, the International Gay Pride Calendar has compiled a comprehensive list of festivities categorized by country, city and date for June and beyond. Here are some events happening around the U.S. and Europe.
New York City
- New York City’s Pride boasts the largest celebration in the world, and this year is no different. This month there are conferences, rallies and concerts happening both in-person and online.
- Pride Island in NYC on June 27 at 6 p.m. will offer people an in-person and digital dance event they have been missing for more than a year. If you aren’t able to make it to the Big Apple, you can join digitally.
- The Youth Pride event promises to be back and better than ever this year with a digital format on June 26 at 3 p.m. Youth Pride, which is being held for LGBTQ+ teens and their allies, will occur online and feature various performances and celebrity appearances.
- No Pride is complete without The March. For many, this is how the celebration culminates. This year it is happening again on June 27 at noon. The NYC Pride March will take place in front of an in-person audience but also be broadcast for the 5th year in a row.
- Pride in the Park June 26 and 27 is an in-person two-day music fest in Grant Park. Headliners include Tiesto, Chaka Khan, a DJ set from Gryffin as well as more than 20 other musical acts. Tickets can be purchased online.
- On June 29, free family-friendly events complete with a firework display at the Navy Pier. Create a rainbow bracelet, hear a musical performance by the Chicago Gay Men's Choir and more. When the sun sets, be sure to check out a live set from DJ All the Way Kay at the Wave Wall and round out the night by watching fireworks.
- On June 25, check out Electroluxx Pride 2021. Although it is normally an all-night event, this year it will go from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and feature an outdoor stage with live DJ sets, other performances and indoor dancing. Tickets can be purchased online.
- On June 26-27, She Said Productions Presents: Your S.F. Pride Party 2021 featuring an all-night dance party with multiple queer DJs from the Bay Area as well as performances and go-go dancers. Tickets can be purchased online.
- On June 27 at 2 p.m. be sure to head to Toronto's Pride Parade. The event will be hosted by Priyanka and feature appearances by Allie X, DJ Kow, Gary Beals and others. And don't worry if you can't make it there, it will also be live-streamed.
- On June 29, 30 and July 7, from 1 to 2 p.m., tune in for Drag Queen Story Time. This ongoing series is happening online and featuring the great Lucy Flawless. It is free, and more information can be found here.
- On June 27 from 6 to 9 p.m., check out the Pride Picnic at Hollywood Forever. You can choose your spot to picnic with up to six people and enjoy music from DJ Asha, as well as drag performances by Amber Crane, Greasy Bouffanti, Lauren Banall and others. Be sure to pack a picnic basket with food and drinks or purchase tickets online for the VIP Pride Picnic Spot. Tickets are required to attend. More information can be found here.
- June 27 from 1 to 8 p.m., hang out poolside at the Pearl Pride Party at the Montrose West Hollywood rooftop pool. Be sure to wear your poolside best. Tickets can be purchased here.
- If you are in Miami, be sure to check out the Daybreak MIA Pride party on June 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Start your day off with yoga and beats by Lucaz. Then treat yourself to some breakfast bites, beers and dancing with a live set featuring DJ Mystic Bill. Tickets for the event can be found here.
- If you want more of a street fair vibe, be sure to check out the Prideline Pop-Up Festival on June 26 from 12 to 4 p.m. The Pop-Up Festival will feature vendors, food, games and more.
- On June 27 check out the free event with the Pink Singers, Europe's longest-running LGBTQ choir. The event is 3-4:30 p.m. and requires a ticket.
- Attend an art exhibit “#YouMeUsWe” featuring at The Halley, which is celebrating Pride month. It is on view until July 9.
- The LGBTQ March in Paris will take place on June 26 at 3 p.m. It is to advocate against homophobia and for pride for the queer community. It is free and open to the public. More details can be found here.