June is an especially significant month for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. Pride started off like a single day to honor the Stonewall riots, a huge turning point for that gay rights movement. Now, in many cities, it's an entire month of events to recognize the outcome the LGBTQ+ community has had on history. The most beloved tradition that many people look forward to may be the annual Pride march. The first in NYC was held on June 29, 1970 (around the first year anniversary from the Stonewall uprising), and it's become a yearly tradition that attracts huge numbers of people around the world. In 2022, about five million people attended World Pride in NYC – shattering its prediction of three million attendees.

Tiana DeNicola and Sophie Dunne.Courtesy Kelly Miyar

After converting into mainly virtual programs in 2022, excitement is buzzing for pride parades to return to in-person this season. If you have never visited a Pride march, you might be wondering what to expect. For advice on how you can prepare, we enlisted the help of Tiana DeNicola and Sophie Dunne, co-founders of Shifting Her Experience, a digital platform and podcast that explores LGBTQ+ issues and topics like gender stereotypes, feminism, and sexuality. (P.S. the following month, take a look at their new Pride Month podcast episodes on LGBTQ+ representation on television as well as one discussing how “there's no one way to look gay.”) Read on below:

Do I must identify as LGBTQ+to attend?

“Anyone of any identity can attend a Pride event. All that’s asked through the LGBTQ+ community is when you are not a part of the community, be respectful of it – it's a great opportunity to show your allyship. It’s so important to acknowledge that after the day, Pride is about equality and for the LGBTQ+ experience to become normalized,” says DeNicola. You don't need to be “out” or disclose your gender identity to celebrate Pride.

Can you attend by yourself?

Just like any other parade, you can attend a Pride event alone. “I think attending Pride alone is a great method to make new friends and many individuals the LGBTQ+ community are very accepting [especially whether it's your first experience],” says Dunne. You can come and go as you please so you can attend a part of it by yourself and a some of it with friends. “It can seem to be less overwhelming if you go with people you are feeling confident with,” says Dunne. “The Pride parade is also very family-friendly and a lot of LGBTQ+ couples bring their children. There are people from all walks of life that show their support – from couples to friends and younger generations to older generations. It’s a real time of uniting along with a duration of positivity,” whether you appear solo or perhaps in an organization, adds DeNicola.

What can you be prepared to happen at a Pride parade?

Usually a Pride parade is full of dancing, cheering, and, of course, the actual parade itself. In some cities, after the parade has ended, lots of venues will host after-party events that you could attend. So, sometimes the entire street just becomes a big party afterward, too,” says DeNicola.

How will i find my nearest event? Exist methods to celebrate virtually if you’re uncomfortable with crowds?

The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association is a great resource to find the nearest event to you no matter where you live in the world. Many events do occur in person, but there are many virtual events that you could find online,” says DeNicola. With the pandemic, many Pride events have turned into digital events to offer more flexibility.

Is there drinking involved?

“A lot of Pride events do involve drinking,” says DeNicola. But keep in mind that while there might be social pressure to drink, you absolutely don't need to are drinking alcoholic beverages. “There will also be events like picnics, art festivals, and charity fundraisers that aren't focused on alcohol,” says DeNicola. There are specifically sober Pride events too. For instance, Nyc has the Gay & Sober Circle Line Cruise that's meant for everybody to celebrate and dance while sober. On that note: The pros advise to definitely bring additional water bottles to stay hydrated, particularly throughout the Pride March – whether you intend on drinking or not.

What’s an appropriate thing to draw/write on a sign if you want to bring one?

“We saw an indication once having said that, 'I am-' it followed with the words 'gay,' 'straight,' and 'bisexual' crossed out. At the end, it read: 'a person.' It had been really powerful because, at the end of your day, we're just people who, unfortunately, society has deemed as different. But we are people who should be treated as equals,” says Dunne. “As a fem-presenting gay couple ourselves, we'd probably write something similar to: 'We’re a couple, not just friends' – since everyone thinks we’re just friends constantly,” adds DeNicola.

In NYC, the state theme for 2022 is “The Fight Continues” so any message of justice and equality in your sign is appropriate. You can march without a sign, but it's a terrific way to stay ahead of the crowd and show your support even more.

What will i wear to some Pride parade?

I would say wear whatever enables you to feel like you. Pride is a time to celebrate what you are, especially if you identify as LGBTQ+. The fantastic thing about Pride as a whole is the fact that it’s a real duration of love and acceptance. So, this is the perfect time for you to wear that outfit you’ve been storing away inside your closet for any special day,” says DeNicola. If you do not already know, anything rainbow goes.

On that note, what is the significance from the rainbow at Pride?

The rainbow flag is a symbol that is representative of the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. The first rainbow flag was created by gay activist Gilbert Baker in 1978. The flag featured eight colored stripes, each one of these representing sex, life, healing, sunlight, nature, magic and art, serenity, and spirit. A way of looking at the rainbow representation is the fact that each color represents an identity. So, purple is bisexual, and so on,” says DeNicola. “There are different Pride flags through the years, too, and more colors have been put into them recently,” adds Dunne. The community has been adopting the newer “Progress Flag,” that was designed by Daniel Quasar in 2022 to incorporate the colors black and brown to represent people of color.

What if I'm area of the LGBTQ+ community, however i don't feel like going to a Pride parade?

It's completely voluntary and up to your personal preferences the way you want to celebrate Pride. There are many ways to offer the cause that doesn't involve physically turning up.

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