June is the month of acceptance and the month to welcome diversity in communities regardless of sexual orientation. Gay and lesbian groups celebrate this special time with pride parades, picnics, parties, memorials for those lost from HIV and AIDS and other group gathering events that attract thousands upon thousands of individuals.
Pride events have been going on for decades now,and some of them have grown to epic sizes. Let’s continue to take a look at the ten biggest Pride festivals and parades in the United States.
LA! Pride Week
LA! Pride Week aims “to create safe and inclusive spaces for self-expression, to inspire an authentic sense of activism in the continued fight for equality and to celebrate the unique heritage and diverse cultures of Los Angeles LGBTQ+ community and its allies.” The events are organized by Christopher Street West Association, a nonprofit group. It was the first group to be permitted to create a parade in response to and in commemoration of the Stonewall Rebellion. The first parade took place on June 28th, 1970. By 2016, there were nearly 400,000 people who participated in the march alone.
Houston Pride Festival
Pride Houston celebrated this year’s Houston Pride Festival in typical fashion. This Pride tradition began in 1997, arranged by former Houston City Council Member Annise Parker. Parker helped draft a parade ordinance which was revised to allow for the nation’s only nighttime Pride Parade. In 2015, the Pride Celebration moved to its new home in Downtown Houston continuing the tradition that began on the steps of City Hall in 1977. This is where the Houston Pride Parade took place this year.
Minneapolis Pride Parade
Twin Cities Pride organizes the Minneapolis Pride Parade. The event attracts between 400,000 and 500,000 people each year. According to their website, the Minneapolis Pride festival is an attempt to “bring the greater LGBTQ community together to commemorate the diverse heritage, foster inclusion, educate and create awareness of issues, and celebrate achievements in equality. We create events that are open and inviting to everyone in the community, providing a safe environment in which individuals feel free to celebrate their relationships.”
In 2016, Chicago Pride organized one of the largest Pride Parades in the world. With over 1,000,000 people in attendance, it was the 9th largest individual Pride event in history. Now, in 2018, Chicago Pride has put together their 49th annual parade and continued to have attendance numbers to match the previous year. There were many local dining locations near the parade route that offered specials on the day. Chicago Transit Authority had special bus routes set up to get to and from the parade, including additionally trains during the day. Chicago is truly a city that celebrates Pride.
San Francisco Pride
San Francisco Pride boasts the largest single LGBTQ event in the history of the U.S. In 2014, the San Francisco Pride Parade had an attendance of 1,700,000 people. No other Pride Parade has ever seen that level of participation. This year, as the 48th Annual Pride Parade approaches, San Francisco Pride draws attention to the celebration of diversity and the honoring of lost heroes in the fight for gay rights. They expect to have the largest turn out in the United States.
With so many Pride events focused on building awareness towards HIV and AIDS prevention, this month is a good time to consider taking an HIV test. In fact, the last week of June marks HIV Testing Day. There are many options for affordable and convenient HIV testing in your area.