In the early morning of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village bar that had become a staple of New York City’s underground gay community. But instead of sitting back and watching yet another of the ongoing raids, community members chose to fight back, initiating what would become known as the Stonewall Riots.
A year after Stonewall, the first Gay Pride March was held by the Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee to commemorate the riots, and it was reported that the crowds of marchers stretched nearly 15 city blocks. From that day forward, Pride organizations began forming in major cities throughout the U.S. and around the world.
In honor of LGBT Pride Month, we’re highlighting a few of the most moving Pride events across the globe.
We believe in equality. We believe in love. And we believe in standing together.
São Paulo, Brazil
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Brazil’s largest city for its 22nd gay pride parade, which is considered one of the world’s largest. Revelers of all ages waved rainbow LGBT flags, paraded down Sao Paulo’s skyscraper-lined Avenida Paulista, and filled more than 10 city blocks. This year’s parade focused on Brazil’s national elections scheduled for October with the theme of “Power for the LGBT — Our Vote, Our Voice.”
New York, USA
An estimated two million people were expected to flood the streets of NYC this year, and New Yorkers did not disappoint. With one of the largest turnouts to date, the city’s pride parade took on a new route to prep for the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which will take place in 2019 and also double as a World Pride celebration. This year’s event commemorated the fight for gay rights within the city, and thousands dressed in rainbow-color ensembles marched through Greenwich Village and up Fifth Avenue for the annual celebration.
“We’re making a statement that we’re here, everybody. Whether it’s immigrants, whether it’s queer people or people of color, we’re not going to put up with what this administration is doing. You can’t just cage everybody up.” — Diego Molano
Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv kicked off Pride Month with a record number of attendees. Israel has emerged as one of the world’s most gay-friendly travel destinations in recent years, and the city’s 20th annual Pride saw a quarter of a million people march for LGBT rights — a number that included about 30,000 foreign tourists and marked the largest Pride turnout in the Middle East to date.
“Pride in Tel Aviv is a beautiful celebration of gay rights and visibility in a region where many of the neighbors cannot live as their true selves or be who they were born to be, which makes it all the more special for this massive coming together in support of equality to be taking place in Tel Aviv.” — Andy Cohen
This vibrant city attracted approximately 7,000 participants to its Rainbow Pride Parade — who, in true Tokyo fashion, were dressed in their most colorful and creative costumes. This celebration of love and diversity brought together celebrities, politicians, activists, and everyday people who support the LGBTQ community, and the parade itself completely overtook the streets of Shibuya and Harajuku. Together, tourists and locals showed their support for an open, inclusive world through the theme “Equality to All Love.”
The first Sydney Pride “Mardi Gras” was held on June 24th, 1978, as a night-time celebration following a morning protest march and commemoration of the Stonewall Riots. More than 500 people marched down Oxford Street, calling for an end to discrimination against homosexuals in employment and housing, an end to police harassment, and the repeal of all anti-homosexual laws. Forty years later, love still poured through the streets as some 300,000 spectators lined the route to celebrate the country’s recent legalization of gay marriage.
“Australia’s transformation has been liberating. Forty years ago there were no spectators; there was just us, and today there is a wonderful community.” — Peter De Waal
San Francisco, USA
The annual San Francisco Pride parade was attended by nearly one million onlookers and participants as the city celebrated its resilient spirit and diversity. More than 240 contingents — including floats, groups, and other participants — with plenty of glitter to spare took part in the festivities and came together to further the theme “Generations of Strength,” a statement that seems fitting in the current political climate.
“There are so many people in the (LGBTQ) movement who have been fighting for generations and are still fighting for the right things. We are going to fight for everyone’s equal rights; we are going to fight for always doing the right thing… Especially in these moments where there are people sowing hate and division among us.” — U.S. Senator Kamala Harris
Over 500,000 people attended Rome Pride 2018 and participated in the 2.4-mile march through the historic Italian capital. This year’s theme, “Rainbow Brigade — Liberation Continues,“ called for Italy to grant same-sex marriage, embrace gender fluidity, end violence against transgender people, restore reproductive rights, and oppose fascism, among other aims amid the newly elected Italian government. In light of the current events unfolding within the country, this year’s parade organizers even published a manifesto for the march, which you can find here.
Mexico City, Mexico
Each year, millions of people join the celebration that is Mexico City Pride, also known as Marcha del Orgullo LGBT de la Ciudad de México. In fact, it’s known as one of the largest Gay Pride events in Latin America. The fiesta completely takes over the capital as the Marcha de la Diversidad starts at the Angel of Independence victory column in Zona Rosa and extends to the city’s iconic Zócalo. And this year, two festivities came together as football fans mingled with annual Pride marchers to celebrate Mexico’s second win in the 2018 World Cup!
“We are very glad to see that these two groups can share the space. This is a very important day for Mexico.” — Karla Vera
Amid a sea of colorful balloons, thousands of Greeks attended Athens 14th annual Pride to celebrate diversity and the global LGBT community. More than 10,000 people assembled in the city’s Syntagma Square, transforming a venue usually reserved for protesters demanding financial reform into a sea of rainbow flags and echoing cheers.
“For us, Pride is a source of celebration, but simultaneously, protest. We seek the same rights as heterosexuals, we pay the same taxes, have the same obligations, and, therefore, demand equal rights.” — Yiorgos Kounanis
LGBT protests in Chile emerged publicly under the government of Salvador Allende, mere months before the 1973 Chilean coup d’état. But, on April 22, 1973, 30 homosexuals and transvestites in the city’s Plaza de Armas formed the first public demonstration for gay rights in the history of Chile. From that day forward, Chile became a global pioneer for political demonstrations of LGBT rights, and Santiago’s Marcha del Orgullo remains one of the largest events in Chile.
In the words of Barack Obama: “When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”