Was it a young white man from the Midwest (as suggested in “Stonewall,” a 2015 film that prompted boycott petitions launched by the Gay-Straight Alliance Network of school students and MoveOn.org under accusations of “whitewashing” the real history) or the transgender women of color who’ve been increasingly recognized as the first to fight back that night?
Either way, the patrons of that private club, who clashed with police during a raid ostensibly for selling liquor without a permit, helped catalyze the modern movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and asexual rights (LGBTQIA) in the United States and beyond.
Fifty years later, cities across the globe are gearing up for Pride events to celebrate civil rights victories won, push for greater equality and party down with friends.
“If the poison is shame, the antidote is pride,” says Ed Salvato, paraphrasing activists who pioneered the modern gay rights movement.
This objective gave birth to Pride with a capital P.
In the five decades since, a new emphasis on inclusivity has changed the public face of the LGBTQIA movement, highlighting the diversity of communities who, through a mélange of parties and politics, have been fighting for equal rights all along.
New York City: June 1-30
New York’s annual Pride Parade makes its way past the the Stonewall Inn, wihich was the site of the Stonewall riots of 1969.
Kena Betancur/Getty Images
Culminating the month of festivities, the infamous Pride March kicks off on Sunday, June 30th at noon, featuring more than 550 marching contingents and over 100 floats.
Amsterdam, Netherlands: July 27 — August 4
Amsterdam Gay Pride hosts the Canal Parade, an annual parade on boats throughout the canal.
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The Netherlands’s own watershed demonstration took place seven years later during a protest organized by the International Lesbian Alliance, which later evolved into an annual event called “Roze Zaterdag” (Pink Saturday) that takes place in different Dutch city each year.
While Pink Saturday started as a protest march, Pride Amsterdam began as a party celebrating freedom and diversity and promoting the city as a gay destination, says Pride Amsterdam’s director Lucien Spee. Only later was the “emancipatory content” added to create today’s more well-rounded festival.
Salvato says it’s not easy to get onto an official float, but some insist the best way to join in the fun is to stake out a spot along the canals early, and come prepared with food, drink and a bunch of friends. You could easily spend four hours or more taking in the colorful, high-energy spectacle of costumes, synchronized dances and overall pageantry that draws an international crowd of more than half a million people of all ages, genders and sexualities.
Vienna, Austria: June 1-16
Vienna, Austria, hosts Europride this year.
Alex Halada/AFP/Getty Images
“We are more than our borders. We are more than the languages we speak and the colour of our skin. We are more than our gender and who we want to love.”
On June 1, the EuroPride Fest kicks off with Andersrum in Mariahilf, a famous street festival drawing about 5,000 people with colorful performances throughout the day near Mariahilferstraße, one of Vienna’s largest shopping streets.
Then, on June 9, families can visit the oldest zoo in Europe, Tiergarten Schönbrunn, for a full day of programming for children and teenagers or join the all-ages crowd for EuroPride Beach Day on the Danube Canal, featuring yoga, children’s activities, brunch and a DJ-accompanied cocktail happy hour in the afternoon.
Throughout the fest, visitors can take advantage of Pride guided tours through the city’s most prominent museums to gain a glimpse of Vienna’s rich history, which includes numerous gay and lesbian emperors, warlords, princesses and composers.
To honor the political origins of the movement on this 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the organizers of this year’s EuroPride event have teamed up with the Vienna Anti-Discrimination Agency for Same Sex and Transgender Lifestyles (WASt) to the plan the EuroPride Conference 2019—the largest LGBTQIA conference in Austrian history—held from Wednesday to Friday, June 12 to 14.
Their goal is to create opportunities for an international exchange of ideas, highlighting key issues affecting LGBTQIA people in the areas of human rights, business and community through talks and practical workshops.
Taipei, Taiwan: October 26-27
Taipei’s Pride parade is tthe biggest in Asia.
Daniel Shih/AFP/Getty Images
The organizers say that Taipei’s Pride has evolved, over the years, “from a political rally to a celebration of gay culture, making it fun for everyone.”
In contrast with more regulated marches like in NYC, Taipei’s Parade skips the barricades, allowing easy intermingling between marchers and spectators, many of whom also walk the two-hour loop that takes revelers through the city before circling back to the starting point.
There on Kaidagelan Boulevard, a “Pride Village” offers stalls highlighting gay nonprofits and other organizations as well as a main stage for performers and local celebrities.
“Everyone’s dressed in rainbow. It’s like this big LGBT rainbow cultural experience that the whole city is involved in—not just queer people,” says Salvato. “So, you have kids wearing rainbow makeup and people with kooky hair dyed all different colors and grandmas walking in the parade. It’s really kind of extraordinary.”
When booking your travel, consider staying in the Xinyi district, which has some of the city’s best hotels. From there the Parade and Pride Village are a short taxi ride away, as are the gay bars and clubs of the Red District.
Prague, Czech Republic: August 5-11
Nearly100,000 people are expected for this year’s Prague celebrations.
Matej Divizna/Getty Images
In 2018, 40 percent of attendees were Prague residents while 29 percent visited from elsewhere in the Czech Republic and a full 25 percent had arrived from other countries. This year the festival offers an entire week of more than 100 cultural and social events, public discussions and debates, sports events and spiritual encounters. Nearly 100,000 visitors are expected.
As in other cities, the festival’s highlight is the parade. Prague’s three-hour-long march departs from Wenceslas Square at 2pm, then winds through the city via Příkopy and Revoluční Streets and across the Vltava river to Letná Park where beer, cocktails, food stalls, and three DJ stages keep the party hopping.
If you visit for Pride, stay to see the rest of the city. One of Prague’s most spectacular attractions is the Old Town Square (Staromestské námestí), established in the 12th century as the city’s original marketplace where you can see the stunning 15th century Astronomical Clock, the baroque Church of St Nicholas, the rococo Kinský Palace and the gothic Stone Bell House.
Be sure to visit the sprawling Prague Castle in the morning hours before the throngs descend. And don’t leave Prague without trying the pickled cheese!—a Camembert-style fromage marinated in oil and spices. Served with topinky, a dense brown bread that’s deep-fried, nakládaný hermelín is a popular bar snack that goes well with another Czech specialty: beer.
When booking your lodging, consider staying in the old town, which will put you within walking distance of many of Prague’s highlights—not to mention many of the city’s gay clubs and bars.
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