Pride Month 2021: What to know about its history, events, parades

By Morgan Windsor | ABC News via PrideNation

Every summer in the United States, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community comes together for a monthlong celebration of love, diversity, acceptance and unashamed self-pride.

Here’s everything you need to know about LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

What is LGBTQ+ Pride Month?

The month is meant to recognize the sweeping impact that LGBTQ+ individuals, advocates and allies have on history in the United States and around the globe, according to the Library of Congress.

When is it?

LGBTQ+ Pride Month is celebrated every year in June.

The month of June was chosen for LGBTQ+ Pride Month to commemorate the riots held by members of the LGBTQ+ community against a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969.

The so-called Stonewall riots were a “tipping point” for the gay liberation movement in the United States, according to the Library of Congress. The uproar also paved the way for the modern fight for LGBTQ+ rights.

Previous U.S. presidents have, on several occasions, officially declared June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

How do people celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month?

LGBTQ+ Pride Month events draw millions of participants from around the world each year. Typically, there are monthlong celebrations and in-person gatherings that take place across the nation, including pride parades, marches, parties, concerts, workshops and symposiums. Memorials are also often held for members of the LGBTQ+ community who have lost their lives to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.

The rainbow LGBTQ+ flag is prominently displayed throughout the month. Gilbert Baker, an American artist, gay rights activist and U.S. Army veteran, created the flag in 1978 as a new symbol for the gay and lesbian political movement at the suggestion of his friends and colleagues, including Harvey Milk, a San Francisco city supervisor and the first openly gay elected official in California. Milk was assassinated later that year.

According to Baker’s website, the colors of the LGBT flag each have a meaning: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, blue for harmony and violet for spirit.

Baker died at the age of 65 on March 31, 2017, though his rainbow flag remains an iconic, powerful symbol for LGBT pride.

This year’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month will be celebrated differently due to the coronavirus pandemic, but after the virus canceled nearly every in-person event in 2020, many are back this year. All 50 U.S. states have started to lift stay-at-home orders and other restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus as vaccinations increase and cases decrease.

Still, some of the LGBTQ+ events will be a mixture of in-person and online events.

What LGBTQ+ Pride Month events will take place this year?

A number of official events that would normally be held in various cities across the nation throughout the month will now be taking place online. Here are some of the more prominent celebrations.

  • Boston Pride will host a series of virtual events throughout the month, including the raising of the rainbow pride flag on June 4 at noon and the annual Pride Lights on June 8 to commemorate those affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The annual Quincy Pride event will take place in-person on June 6 at noon. There will also be a Pride Night at Fenway Park for the Red Sox game on June 10.
  • While the Pride Parade will not be held, Los Angeles announced its first in-person Pride event will take place on LGBTQ+ Night at the Dodgers game on June 11. A second in-person event will also be held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, when Cinespia presents an LGBTQ+ Movie Night on June 26. Los Angeles ABC station KABC will air a “Thrive with Pride Celebration” special on June 12 at 9 p.m.
  • The New York City Pride Rally will take place virtually on June 25, while the Pride March, normally the biggest in the nation, will also take place virtually on June 27. However, the organizers say there will be “as to-be-determined in-person elements” of the parade.
  • San Francisco Pride will be hosting two movie nights on June 11 and 12 at Oracle Park. The first night will feature the new film “In the Heights,” based on the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, while the musical “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,” which isn’t set to premiere on Amazon Prime until September, will screen on the second night.
  • Chicago Pride announced it will hold its annual parade in October, once restrictions further ease. But they will still have a number of events in June, including Pride in the Park on June 26 and 27 at Grant Park, featuring a number of soon-to-be-named national musical performers.
  • Seattle Pride will hold a series of virtual events on June 26 and 27, including concerts, performances and panels.

Palm Springs Pride is a unique pride festival and the largest LGBTQ gathering in the Coachella Valley. The festival includes a big parade, music stages, DJs, food vendors, and plenty of other entertainment options catered to all tastes. 

The first ever Palm Springs Pride celebration took place in 1986 as a simple dinner and variety show showcasing the talents of local entertainers at the Riviera Resort grand ballroom and promoted as “Sizzle.” 

The first Palm Springs Pride Parade named the Desert Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade took to the streets of Palm Springs with 35 units and was greeted by hundreds of men and women. The parade made its way down Williams Road to Mesquite and into Demuth Park where the festival was held. 

In 1995, the Pride Parade and Festival moved from Memorial Day Weekend to Veterans Day Weekend.

In 2004, Ron Oden, the first openly gay Mayor of Palm Springs, and the first openly gay and African American mayor of any city in the U.S. rides in Palm Springs Pride Parade alongside 4,000 same sex couples who were married in San Francisco this past spring. 

In 2014, the City of Palm Springs approves closing Palm Canyon Dr. for two days to accommodate the Pride Festival’s move to downtown Palm Springs. The Festival takes place on Palm Canyon Dr from Amado to Baristo and on Tahquitz and Arenas Rd between Indian Canyon and Belardo. The Festival main stage is set up on Arenas Rd between Calle Encilia and Indian Canyon.

Data from attendees participating in official events including the Pride Festival and Pride Parade reveals that the 2015 human rights and cultural tourism celebration generated over $22 million dollars of organization and audience expenditures in the region.

In 2016, celebrating 30th anniversary of Pride in the Coachella Valley, the Pride Parade has 175 contingents.  The largest marching band to ever appear in a Pride parade appears in the Palm Springs Pride Parade with 350 members from the International Lesbian and Gay Band Association. 

Since its debut in 1986, Greater Palm Springs Pride has flourished and grown. From those humble beginnings has emerged a celebration that attracts over 125,000 people from Southern California, across the nation and around the world. Palm Springs Pride events are the largest free California Pride Festival south of San Francisco. 

Program for Palm Springs Pride

The following is the event program for a previous edition. Stay tuned for the 2021 program. 

In 2019, Palm Springs Pride will take place over three days, from November 1-3. The theme for 2019 will be Millions of Moments of Pride. The Pride Parade is scheduled for November 3, and will kick off at 10am from Palm Canyon Drive. It will then proceed down the drive until it reaches the main entrance of the Pride Festival at Museum Way.

The Palm Springs Pride Festival is a three-day free festival which will take place from November 2-4, and will be held on Palm Canyon Drive. In keeping with the theme of this year’s Palm Springs Gay Pride, the festival line-up will include a mix of young and diverse artists, ranging from DJs and dancers, to singers, and even comedians. Top acts include LA-based electronic music artist and activist, Madame Ghandi, along with a first-time appearance by UK-based multi-platinum artist and songwriter, DYSON.  

As well as the Pride Festival and Parade, a series of other pride-related events will be taking place throughout the city, including a Block Party on Arenas Road on November 3, and several pool parties which will be hosted at different local venues. If you want to do Pride the right way this November, you need to get yourself to Gay Pride Palm Springs pronto.

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