Gay Pride celebrations are taking place across the U.S. this month, as people the world over are celebrating and fighting for LGBTQ+ rights. With Pride days in New York City and San Francisco — two of the biggest celebrations of LGBTQ+ pride — on the horizon, we’re looking back at all the beautiful celebrations, from raves to rallies, of LGBTQ+ identity that have taken place across the world this year.
New York City
NYC followed LA’s lead this past weekend with a pride celebration that was both joyous and commemorative. While many participants honored the victims of Orlando during the parade, they also celebrated the declaration of the Stonewall Inn as the first national monument to LGBTQ+ rights.
Parade participants not only included politicians like the Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, but also change-makers within the LGBTQ+ community.
Refugee Subhi Nahas led the parade as a grand marshal. Nahas fled Syria after being persecuted for his sexuality by both the Assad regime’s forces and Islamist extremists; he escaped to Turkey but continued to face discrimination. He has since spoken before the UN about the abuse of LGBTQ+ people by ISIS, was granted asylum in the US where he has been living in San Francisco for a year, and is starting an LGBTQ+ organization focusing on the Middle East and North Africa region.
Teenage transgender activist Jazz Jennings (the star of reality show I Am Jazz) also joined the parade, as its youngest ever grand marshal.
NYPD unveiled a patrol car with rainbow details and two FDNY EMTs got engaged at the parade.
Hundreds of thousands joined the San Francisco pride parade, considered the largest in the US, and honored the Orlando victims during their colorful celebration as well.
San Francisco's Pride Parade with a beautiful and solemn tribute to the victims in Orlando. pic.twitter.com/GbOQP3EHoH— David Martinez (@HeyDmart) June 26, 2016
Sao Paulo, Brazil
The people of Sao Paulo know how to party, and their pride celebrations are no exception. The 5-day event, held in May this year, culminated in the city’s 20th annual gay pride parade. The parade — which attracted approximately 2 million people and is considered the world’s largest — is Sao Paulo’s largest event, second only to its Grand Prix Formula One Brazil races, and is generally less about floats than people, dancing, and partying.
Tokyo’s pride parade also took place in May, when thousands of people marched through Yoyogi Park to promote awareness and acceptance of Japan’s LGBTQ+ community. This past year, Tokyo passed laws acknowledging same-sex marriages, but the policies have yet to be adopted country-wide. Human Rights Watch has reported on the ostracization and struggles of Japanese children who identify as LGBTQ+, but the spirited parade reflected changing attitudes and a hopefulness for the future.
The annual Queer Azaadi pride parade in Mumbai is partially a parade and partially a rally against a law, that makes all “non-procreative sexual act[s]” illegal — the law was overturned in 2009, only to be reinstated in 2013. The parade, which took place in February, was attended by 7000 LGBTQ+-identifying persons, activists, actors, and allies. The penal code has now been referred to a five-judge constitutional panel for review.
The LGBTQ+ community in Singapore is battling with a penal code, similar to India’s, though Singapore’s law specifically criminalizes male homosexual acts — both laws are remnants of colonial legacies. Singapore’s main pride event Pink Dot is actually a rally in support of everyone’s freedom to love. Rather than adopting the colors of the flag attendees are encouraged to wear pink, so that the crowd appears to form a pink dot when viewed from above — a play on Singapore’s nickname “The Little Red Dot.” This year’s rally, which took place in early June, broke last year’s attendance record of 28,000. Though the event has been careful to comply with all Singaporean laws, it has recently been under fire from the government, which has warned the foreign corporate supporters of Pink Dot, who comprise the majority of their sponsorship, to cease funding.
Los Angeles, California, USA
Los Angeles held its pride celebrations during the day that followed the tragic shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The parade was nearly cancelled due to security threats, but turned out to be a moving event that honored the victims while celebrating on behalf of those lost.
London’s pride festival kicked off on June 10 and is still going! The parade is this weekend, but the city has been busy getting into the spirit. The festival schedule is packed with shows and events leading up to the big parade this weekend. The Transport for London even replaced the walk signals (ordinarily a green man) on the traffic lights around Trafalgar Square with intertwined gender symbols and people joined to form hearts.
By celebrating and supporting everyone’s right to love and identify as they choose, we support those in Turkey and the many other countries who are prevented from freely expressing their identities and celebrating who they are.
Official pride celebrations only happen once a year, but the right to take pride in one’s identity belongs to each person, every day of the year.