Photograph by Bess Adler
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New York City’s Pride Parade will be held on June 30, 2019. This year’s celebration includes World Pride, whose first appearance in the U.S. commemorates the Stonewall Riots’ 50th anniversary.

Photograph by Bess Adler

June is Pride month. Here’s where to celebrate

From New York City’s Stonewall to San Francisco, these places honor the fight for LGBTQ equality.

In 1969, a police raid on a gay club in New York City sparked the Stonewall Riots, an uprising that kicked off the gay liberation movement and inspired other cities (including Chicago and San Francisco) to organize their own demonstrations of pride. Each June since, these annual marches have been staged across the country to celebrate how far the fight for equality has come—and highlight how far it has yet to go.

You can help commemorate Stonewall’s 50th anniversary at these five destinations for Pride in June (and beyond). But don’t overlook celebrations in your own backyard: Your hometown or state likely hosts a Pride event. Check out the Human Rights Campaign to search celebrations by state, or review the Gay Pride Calendar, which compiles events in top pride destinations around the world.

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Provincetown: Seaside Pride

May 30–June 2: This exuberant Cape Cod village, nicknamed “P-town,” has long been recognized as one of the premiere LGBTQ-friendly summer destinations in the U.S. Head there the first weekend of June to enjoy the monthlong Pride events, followed by the epic Bear Week in mid-July and Carnival Week (think LGBT art fairs, costume parties, and another parade) in late August. Whenever you go, don’t forget to dress according to theme.

Plan ahead: You can reach the island by ferry, bus, or plane, but book in advance, as Provincetown’s beach houses and seaside lodges fill up quickly. During downtime, check out the town’s spas, art galleries, and historic sites, including the century-old Provincetown Art Association and Museum, which offers free admission on Friday nights. Then cap your celebrations with a seafood feast at one of the area’s many restaurants.

New York City: Stonewall 50 and WorldPride

June 1-30: One of the country’s biggest parades is going to be even more monumental in 2019. This year’s WorldPride, an event hosted in a different global city each year, is coming to New York to mark Stonewall’s 50th anniversary with rallies, film events, Youth Pride, stand-up comedy, bike rides, and parties (of course), building up to the official march on June 30.

Plan ahead: Check the official schedule to find free and family-focused events; the official visitors’s guide shares tips on booking travel and accomodation. And don’t miss a drop-in at Stonewall Inn, which in 2016 was named the first U.S. national monument dedicated to the LGBTQ rights movement. (See a hundred years of LGBTQ history mapped across New York City.)

San Francisco: “Generations of Resistance”

June 29-30: If New York City is where Pride as we know it was born, San Francisco is where it truly blossomed. Its famously outspoken LGBTQ culture is on full and fabulous display the last weekend in June, when the Pride March descends down Market Street. This year’s theme—“Generations of Resistance”—kicks off with Dykes on Bikes in the lead, a tradition now over 40 years old.

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The iconic Ferry Building overlooks San Francisco’s Market Street, where the June 29 parade will march to celebrate “Generations of Resistance.”

Plan ahead: Keep in mind that traffic in nearby Civic Center Plaza will be completely shut off to make way for dancing and vendors. Stop by the Queer Youth Space or Leather Alley before hopping aboard a cable car to the Castro neighborhood to party all weekend at some of the country’s most historic queer bars. (Meet 12 historic LGBTQ artists and activists who changed the world.)

Houston: Pride after dark

June 22-23: Houston’s Pride parade comes to life after dark. No, really—it’s been held after sunset since 1997, so creative costuming and glow-in-the-dark floats abound. Often the largest and most well-attended Pride event in Texas, the celebration pulls in over half a million attendees from around the world to events like a Latinx rumba night, a film festival, and a family-friendly skate.

Plan ahead: This year’s theme is “Summer of ’69,” so pack sixties duds and dancing shoes to party with hip-hop queen and Houston native Lizzo, performing at the main stage. General admission to the festival and parade is free, but some VIP areas may require tickets purchased in advance. Consider springing for the official pool party, as you can guarantee Houston will bring the heat. There’s even a handy app for you to keep track of all the scheduled events.

Atlanta: Queens of the South

October 11-13: Not every city’s Pride events are held in June. Atlanta, often referred to as the “capital of the queer south,” celebrates in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day. You can attend the city’s annual Pride parade, Trans March, and Dyke March all in one jam-packed weekend. The city’s very own queer film festival, Out On Film, will run from September 26 through October 6.

Plan ahead: Take advantage of surprisingly cheap flights to the world’s busiest airport to book several trips to Atlanta. Southern Fried Queer Pride and Atlanta Black Pride Weekend celebrate the city’s thriving black LGBTQ community in late June and late August and the AIDS Walk Atlanta (also a 5K run) takes place on September 29.

Sarah Karlan is a photographer and writer based in Austin, TX, who travels whenever she can. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @skarskarskar.
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