A celebration of the LGBTQ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary & queer), Pride Parades were built from humble, yet historic beginnings. While it is a celebration, it is also a reminder of one of the most significant events that led to the Gay Liberation Movement. The Pride Parades take place at the end of June every year, near the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising (also known as the Stonewall riots).
Taking place in 1969 from June 28 to July 3, The Stonewall Uprising refers to an incident that happened in New York City. At the time, there was a general anti-gay sentiment within the legal system and it was common practice to raid gay bars and make things difficult for the community. On the night of June 28, the police decided to raid the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village, and instead of accepting it, the patrons decided to fight back. While the main part of the riots took place on the first two nights and involved over 1,000 supporters, the uprising lasted until July 3. The aftermath helped band together the gay community and began a movement that continues to this day.
So, while Gay Pride is a fun celebration with parades, concerts and parties, it has a much deeper meaning as it represents the the beginning of the gay rights movement and the fight for equality in the LGBTQ community today.
The beginning of Gay Pride
Just a year after the Stonewall Uprising, the first pride marches were held in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The initial events were much smaller and more of an activist event than a celebration, but every year, the movement grew and so did the crowds. Gay Pride is celebrated all over the world with the biggest events happening in New York City, São Paulo, Madrid, San Francisco, Cologne and Toronto.
San Francisco has one of the largest Gay Pride Festivals in the world with an estimated 750,000 to 1 million people attending every year. The event takes place over two days (Gay Pride Weekend) with a huge variety of events and activities on both Saturday and Sunday. Everything kicks off at Civic Center Plaza with over 200 exhibitors and contingents as well as throughout the city at over 20 venues and community-run stages. The Castro neighborhood in San Francisco becomes the epicenter of the event during the evening with attendees pouring out of bars, restaurants and nightclubs, The Pride Parade takes place on Sunday morning, starting at 10:30am. The parade runs along Market Street from Steuart St to 8th St and features thousands of participants, floats, community groups, live music and more. While the parade is the largest part of the event, you can also attend the Dyke March and Trans March.