Ayaan Shams Siddiquee
The month of June is officially regarded around the world as Pride Month — a time when LGBTQ+ pride is affirmed in society through exuberant celebrations with an aim to promote and normalise the self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people as an accepted social group, as opposed to social stigma and shame.
And as a disavowal of these negative aspects, pride is the predominant outlook that strengthens and fuels the celebrations of pride month. The primary objectives of these celebrations is to recognise and acknowledge the impact and history of the LGBTQ+ community and acquire recognition from predominantly heteronormative societies all over the world.
For the duration of this month, the flag of hope for the queer community is flown high as an achievement begotten by the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community over the course of history. And in this culturally and socially significant month, BLF brings you a brief insight into how countries across the globe celebrate pride month alongside their own cultures and traditions, and how it is an international phenomenon that brings people together as a whole.
To commemorate the Stonewall Riots of ’69, which paved the path for LGBTQ+ movements and their acknowledgement by the wider public and media, countries all over the world celebrate pride month in vibrant colours and high spirits.
The Pride Parade or Pride March is one of the largest and most awaited celebrations. Pride parades are large-scale, outdoor events which celebrate and reassure the recognition of the rights, struggles, and self-acceptance of lesbian, gay, transgender, non-binary and other queer people.
Positive outbursts of colour, pride, and joy, along with the inclusion of amplified and vibrant musical arrangements, drag performances, and dancers, make pride parades one of the best ways to celebrate pride month and what it stands for.
In recent years, one of the biggest Pride March events was the World Pride Parade in NYC, with a staggering 5 million people marching side-by-side for the rights and recognition of the LGBTQ+ community. The festival had a wide array of floats, information booths, musical talents, and many such things which uplifted the energy of the festival.
Aside from that, the São Paulo Gay Pride Parade in Brazil with 2.5 million participants and the Euro Pride Parade in Madrid with over 2 million participants are two more highly notable pride parades which take place annually.
In the continent of Asia, where queer culture is still considered a taboo, pride marches take place flamboyantly. The Tel Aviv Pride Parade in Israel is the largest Pride Parade in Asia, with over 250,000 active participants. It is a week-long festival full of festive and energetic events, with the Pride March being in the spotlight.
The Kolkata Rainbow Pride Walk, the oldest Pride March in Asia, was initiated in 1999 and is still celebrated to this day, with thousands of enthusiastic marchers taking part.
Besides pride parades, countries all over the world celebrate pride month following the cultural norms and traditions of their own people. The Shanghai Pride Festival of China is one of the most active and anticipated events of pride month despite it being one of the more recent events. Initiated in 2009, the festival comprises various events and arrangements showcasing the culture of its country while portraying that of the queer community as well.
The Seoul Queer Culture Festival of Korea is another such prodigious festival. It is a modern cultural festival with an “LGBT Rights” theme occurring annually. It conventionally lasts for a duration of one to two weeks. The most prominent events of this festival are the queer film fiesta and its own pride march.
The Lesbian and Gay City Festival of Germany is the the biggest pride street festival in Europe. With over 400,000 participants, the festival features various information booths for knowledge and insight into the queer community, a wide assortment of musical, cultural, and social performances by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups. It also offers comprehensive information about queer culture in the world of sports, film and politics.
In the modern day and age, various organisations and movements aim to reduce misconceptions and social prejudice towards the queer community. Despite prevalent stereotypes and misogyny, new members join the LGBTQ+ community every year in large numbers and strengthen the bonds which have been closely constituted since the Stonewall Riots.
Through the ever-growing list of pride month celebrations, the queer community finds safety in expressing themselves and their ideologies. LGBTQ+ supporters all over the world also take part in these celebrations to show their accordance towards the queer community.
The writer is a part of the TDA Editorial Team.