FEATURES / HIGHLIGHTS

Pride Passport 2013
A Guide to LGBT Celebrations Around the World
Michelle McCarthy
5/10/2013

Summer is fast approaching, bringing with it the annual LGBT Pride festival season. As a proud Angeleno, you probably hit one or all of the local events—Long Beach, L.A., San Diego, Palm Springs—all fun-filled soirees in their own right. But there’s also a big, bright world out there with exciting destinations and unique ways of celebrating.

Hitting up Pride celebrations in different locales is a great excuse to explore the country or get some stylish stamps added to your passport. The LGBT community has been making huge inroads on the path to equality over the last year. There are many reasons to get out there and wave our rainbow flags. Here’s a guide to some Pride festivals going down around the globe.

 

Puerto Vallarta: May 24-26
This gorgeous Mexican city’s annual LGBT event, Vallarta Pride, will take place this year on the weekend of May 24. Events will start with a cocktail kick-off at Casa Cupula Hotel Boutique and continue for three days, celebrating LGBT culture and Puerto Vallarta’s welcoming community with music festivals, beach parties, fashion shows, a mass commitment ceremony and activities in participating bars and clubs. The city’s Zona Romantica is home to many businesses that are LGBT-owned and/or cater to gays, including beaches, tours, restaurants, bars and gay-friendly resorts and hotels. gaypv.mx 

Honolulu: June 1
Do you really need an excuse to pack your bags and head to paradise? At this annual Pride celebration on Oahu, you can take in the thriving LGBT scene located in Hawaii’s capital and work on your tan simultaneously. Hawaii consists of six major islands—Hawai’i, Maui, O’ahu, Kauai, Moloka’i, Lana’i—and no matter which one you decide to visit, you’ll experience pristine water, gorgeous sunsets, breathtaking natural landscapes and an endless list of fun activities. The theme of this year’s Pride celebration is Stand Up, Stand Out, Stand Proud! 2012’s event boasted more than 4,000 people at the festival and upwards of 10,000 at the parade. It all kicks off with the parade at 10 a.m. at Magic Island. The festival then takes over from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Kapiolani Park Bandstand with live entertainment, LGBT groups, a keiki area, local crafters and food vendors. honolulupride.org

Berlin: June 15-22
Berlin’s Pride party, which is lovingly called Christopher Street Day, spans a whole week and consists of shows, exhibitions, lectures, films, concerts and a ton of partying. The capital of Germany is known for its festivals, nightlife, arts and diverse architecture. Registered life partnerships (i.e., civil unions) were legalized in Germany in 2001, which covers rights on inheritance, health insurance, immigration, name change, alimony, child support and more. Berlin’s Pride fest offers around 200 events and is touted as one of the most eclectic Pride celebrations in Europe. berlingaypride.com

Portland: June 15-16
If you’ve ever seen the show Portlandia, its depiction of the crunchy, pro-bike-rights, vegan-infested world of the People’s Republic of Portland ain’t too far off. Portland is conscious of everyone’s and everything’s right to be, from LGBT rights to protecting the freedom of avid knitters. The mission of Pride Northwest, Inc. is to encourage and celebrate the positive diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities, and to assist in the education of all people through the development of activities that showcase the history, accomplishments and talents of these communities. The official 2013 theme is Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now, and the event will again open with the Portland Dykes & Allies on Bikes. Weekend events include a screening of the documentary Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin, a Pride Comedy Showcase, Avenue Q the musical, the Waterfront Festival and the 43rd annual Pride Parade. pridenw.org

 

New Orleans: June 21-24
New Orleans Pride got its start in 1971 with a “Gay In” picnic orchestrated by the Gay Liberation Front of New Orleans, the first such event in Louisiana. It became an official annual event in 1978. The Big Easy is home to a host of unofficial-but-may-as-well-be-official gay events (Halloween, Mardi Gras) and official gay events (Southern Decadence, Gay Easter Parade) year-round. It’s a city chock-full of some of the most down-to-earth characters and soulful music around, and the best Southern food you’ll find on any side of the Mason-Dixon line. Whether you want to press your luck viewing dem gators up close on a swamp tour, take a walking tour of the opulent plantation houses in the Garden District or do whatever it takes to earn a set of coveted beads on Bourbon Street, this town is a nonstop party. The French Quarter is the eye of the storm, with bars on every corner and live music of all varieties streaming out of countless clubs. Pride events will span every interest, from the Boomtown Casino Kickoff Party to Family Day at Washington Square Park to the Block Party hosted by Jaymes and James and Blanch Debris to the Remembering the Upstairs Lounge memorial gathering. prideneworleans.org

Dublin: June 21-30
The Dublin LGBTQ Pride Festival is the largest LGBTQ Pride gathering in the Republic of Ireland. What started as a one-day event back in 1983 has expanded to a 10-day series of events culminating in a lively Pride parade. The event’s mission is to produce a professional Pride festival and an annual Pride Day that includes a parade through Dublin city center, a politically based rally and free entertainment, all while working for the improvement of LGBTQ communities. Ireland’s stance on LGBT rights has become increasingly liberal in recent years, and a 2013 survey reported that 75 percent of the population believes same-sex marriage should be legalized. Civil unions have been recognized since 2010. The theme of the 30th Dublin LGBTQ Pride Festival is Live, Love, Be Proud. dublinpride.ie

New York City: June 28-30
If you’re heading to Pride weekend in New York City, be prepared for a jam-packed, nonstop, whirlwind hootenanny. It’s a town known for its lack of sleep, and never is that as apparent as when the Big Apple breaks out its rainbow-colored flags, so plan accordingly. Always a frontrunner in progressive politics (Stonewall, anyone?), New York is a friend to the gays year-round with an impressive LGBT culture—from nightlife to the arts. But Pride weekend really kicks out the jams. The Rally on June 28 serves as the official kickoff for Pride and showcases a list of performers and speakers. Drop in at the VIP Rooftop Party on June 29, which takes place on an exclusive rooftop overlooking the city. Dance your butt off at Rapture on the River, the only official women’s event at NYC Pride on June 29. Take to the streets and show your pride at The March on June 30; grand marshals Edith Windsor, Harry Belafonte and Earl Fowlkes will be leading the 2013 March down 5th Avenue. Then get yourself to Hudson Street later that day for the 20th anniversary of PrideFest, the weekend’s raucous festival. And finally, wind your Pride down on June 30 with the Dance on the Pier in TriBeCa. nycpride.org

 

Barcelona: June 28-30
Same-sex marriage was legalized in Spain in 2005, and the country prides itself on being a shining example of LGBT rights, “always reaffirming our open, respectful and tolerant character,” according to Barcelona Pride’s website. Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain and is located on the Mediterranean coast with gorgeous beaches and a bustling downtown area. Now in its fifth incarnation, Barcelona Pride is listed as occurring on three days, but the celebration actually runs from June 20-30 and offers 10 days of culture, sport, debate, entertainment and parties. And get this—it’s all free. The parade starts at 6 p.m. on June 29 and travels to Plaza Espanya, where the main party takes over and continues until 2 a.m. There’s also a heel race, foam party, drag race and much more. pridebarcelona.org/en

Paris: June 29
With the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in France, the city of love just got more sumptuous. The annual turnout for the biggest French Gay Pride Parade, or Marche des Fiertes LGBT, usually rests around 700,000, but we don’t doubt records will be broken this year since there’s a lot to celebrate. The parade kicks off on June 29 at Montparnasse and will head to Bastille. But the entire weekend is dedicated to celebrating pride in our community with a number of parties and balls. Gay clubs, hotels, pubs and restaurants throughout the city will be hosting special events as well. First-timers will want to check out the City of Lights’ must-see sites (The Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Eiffel Tower) and test out its world-famous cuisine, but definitely spend time in the Marais District, the Parisian version of Boystown. gaypride.fr

San Francisco: June 29-30
Harvey Milk. Castro. Folsom. Eagle Tavern. Lexington. San Francisco is Mecca for the LGBT community. The homeland. It’s the city where seeing same-sex couples walking down the street hand-in-hand is so commonplace, when you happen to see a straight couple doing the same, it makes you do a double take. The Transgender March takes place on June 28, the Dyke March on June 29. The theme for the 43rd annual San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade is Embrace, Encourage, Empower. To take part in the celebration, get yourself downtown to the Civic Center on June 29 (noon to 6 p.m.) and 30 (11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.). The parade kicks off at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at Market and Beale and ends at Market and 8th Streets in Downtown SF. Be sure to wear rainbow-colored flowers in your hair. sfpride.org

Amsterdam: July 27 - Aug. 4
Described last year by CNN as one of “the best picks around the world for celebrating Pride,” Amsterdam Gay Pride is one of those events that seems to embody the spirit and character of its iconic location. Still the only Pride parade on Earth to take place on the water, this event is for many Amsterdammers—and increasingly for ‘in the know’ visitors—the highlight of the summer’s cultural agenda in a city that knows how to party and has much to celebrate. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore and delight in a city that is treasured internationally for its unique spirit of tolerance and diversity. amsterdamgaypride.nl

Vancouver: Aug. 4
Our neighbors to the north—who legalized gay marriage in 2005—like to show their pride all summer long. Official 2013 Pride events commence on June 29 with the East Side Pride celebration and continue with a Pride dinner and game (Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders) on July 6, Gay Day at Playland on July 13, the Pride Run & Walk on July 27, Picnic in the Park on July 27, Davie Street Party on Aug. 2 and the Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast on Aug. 3. The revelry all leads up to the Vancouver Pride Parade and Pride Festival and Market on Aug. 4. Plans are also underway for a youth dance and movie night. vancouverpride.ca

 

Austin: Sept. 7
When a city’s slogan demands the town remain weird, you know you’re in for a good time. Just as the bulk of the summer’s Pride activities are winding down, Austin steps in to take over and keep the party going. 2012’s outing was the largest and most successful one to date, and this year’s 22nd annual celebration promises to exceed expectations. More than 100,000 revelers will descend on Austin to partake in the fourth annual Rainbow Run 5K, the Pride Festival at Lady Bird Lake at Fiesta Gardens and the evening Pride Parade, which will take its first steps at the State Capitol. “More than a party, Austin Pride is a celebration of diversity and community that raises funds for—and awareness of—the numerous resources and charitable/nonprofit organizations available to the LGBTQ community in Central Texas,” according to Austin Pride’s website. The event has donated more than $54,000 in the past two years to nonprofit organizations. And while you’re there, be sure to take in the city’s finger-licking barbecue and Tex-Mex food, cutting-edge music and eccentric arts scene. austinpride.org

Atlanta: Oct. 12-13
Known as the gay epicenter of the South, Atlanta delivers the goods with an impressive Pride celebration. Now in its 43rd year, Atlanta Pride opens Friday with the Official Kick-Off Party, followed by an Official Kick-Off After-Party for those who aren’t ready to call it a night. On Saturday, there’s a Children’s Show, Atlanta Pride Commitment Ceremony, the Atlanta Pride Car and Motorcycle Show, the Annual Trans March (celebrating and promoting visibility of the trans community), the Annual Dyke March (dedicated to the empowerment of the women of Atlanta and beyond) and the Official Atlanta Pride Women’s Party. Then on Sunday, you can enjoy The Annual Atlanta Pride Parade, the drag entertainment of The Starlight Cabaret and the Official Atlanta Pride Closing Party. Ongoing events all weekend long include the Pride Cultural Exhibit, the Community Health Expo and the Pride Marketplace. atlantapride.org


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