Grace Lower | Jun 4, 2019
Throughout the month of June, members of the LGBTQ community, along with their allies and friends, will be coming together in celebration and solidarity.
Although Pride Month is best known for its lively parades, it’s important to acknowledge the history behind the movement. Pride serves as an annual commemoration of the Stonewall Riots: a 1969 protest that laid the foundation for the broader LGBTQ rights movement in the United States. The LGBTQ community has made notable gains in recent decades, and Pride Month serves as both a celebration of progress and a reminder of the ongoing struggle for equal rights.
As Pride Month celebrations become more widely attended throughout the country and around the world, it’s helpful to know what to expect. For advice on Pride Month travel, I consulted the experts. From online “Pride Guides,” to travel forums, to LGBTQ family members and friends, the consensus was clear: advanced planning is key to a safe and fun experience.
If you’re planning to travel to a Pride Month celebration, check out the Q&A below for tips, resources, and a dose of inspiration:
A: In most cities, Pride is organized by a collective of nonprofits, activists, businesses, and community leaders. These organizers will often share Pride Month events and itineraries to a dedicated Pride website.
Social media is another great way to learn about upcoming Pride events. Many major cities will have official Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts dedicated to their annual Pride celebrations. You can use your preferred platform to scope out details on upcoming Pride events and connect with other attendees.
Looking for Pride Month travel inspiration? A simple Google search will reveal endless articles detailing “the best LGBTQ cities” and “amazing Pride celebrations from around the world”. While recommendations vary from year to year, resources like Airbnb, Time Out, and National Geographic all offer comprehensive lists of suggestions.
A: There’s so much more to Pride than rainbow balloons and fanciful floats, and no two cities celebrate Pride in the same way. Depending on the destination, you might encounter local traditions like canal parades in Amsterdam, beach parties in Tel Aviv, and same-sex salsa lessons in Sydney.
Regardless of where your Pride Month travels take you, remember to stay mindful of timing. Some cities will host Pride events throughout the month of June, while others concentrate Pride festivities into a single weekend. No matter the duration, keep an eye out for the unique flair that your destination will add to its celebrations.
A: No travel plans are entirely risk-free, but LGBTQ travelers should take reasonable precautions when visiting a new city. Prior to any long-distance or international trips, it's wise to research your destination thoroughly. Look into any local laws or customs around gender identity or sexuality — these factors could have a significant impact on your travel experience.
Fortunately, there are a number of resources available to help LGBTQ travelers understand what to expect prior to their departure. For a macro-view of LGBTQ laws and regulations by destination, check out the crowd-sourced Equaldex website. The US State Department also has a LGBTI travel guide with important tips and resources for travelers of any identity. Meanwhile, the National Center for Transgender Equality has a guide that can help gender-nonconforming travelers pack, prepare for security screenings, and understand their rights as travelers.
There’s a good chance that you’ll encounter a few unexpected challenges while you’re on the road. Travel insurance is often an essential step in ensuring a smooth trip — especially if Pride Month festivities take you out of the country. In the event of an emergency, a good insurance plan can cover any unexpected medical costs, and it can even provide a safe and affordable way back home.
A: June might be considered “early summer”, but the temperatures can soar! Regardless of what you wear, make sure to apply plenty of sunscreen, bring comfortable shoes, and (if allowed) carry a refillable water bottle. If a water bottle is out of the question, bring a small amount of cash. That way, you can buy a bottle of water from a vendor or bar without needing to pay a credit card minimum.
If you choose to drink during the celebration, make sure to eat plenty of food beforehand, and remember to remain situationally aware. Feel free to take a break from celebrating if you’re feeling uncomfortable or fatigued. If you’re traveling with friends, try to stick with the group and check in with everyone along the way. >
A: One of the best ways to celebrate Pride is by supporting organizations that are owned, operated by, or inclusive to the LGBTQ community. To begin, start local. Take a look at your destination’s Pride Guide or official Pride website for restaurant, bar, and retail recommendations. Some cities will also have online directories dedicated to LGBTQ businesses.
If you’re looking to increase your impact, consider donating to a local LGBTQ community center or youth outreach program. Pride events will often feature LGBTQ artists, musicians, and performers who are looking to build their audiences. When appropriate, tip performers generously and purchase merchandise as a way to show your support.
Finding LGBTQ-friendly accommodations can feel difficult during the tourism-dense month of June. Fortunately, many popular hotel chains champion persity — from training front desk staff on appropriate interactions to hosting LGBTQ-friendly events and promotions. Top hospitality brands like Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton have all made concerted efforts to ensure LGBTQ concerns are addressed so guests feel welcomed and comfortable during their stay. Even Airbnb, which relies on independent hosts, recently unveiled a robust anti-discrimination policy to ensure that all travelers feel safe.
A: Allies play a key role in the ongoing progress that the LGBTQ community is making. With that said, it’s important for allies to recognize that Pride is more than just a fun party: it’s about support and solidarity for the LGBTQ community.
No matter where your travels take you, be respectful, and ensure that others can feel safe and have fun. Dancing and singing have their place at Pride, but so does engaging in thoughtful conversations with locals, learning about the LGBTQ history and culture of the region, and contributing to LGBTQ businesses and causes. Above all, remember that the LGBTQ rights movement is ongoing — your support shouldn’t end as soon as the party does.
A huge thank you to my LGBTQ family members, friends, and colleagues who generously shared resources and insight for this post.
Grace Lower has a love for all things writing and travel. When she's not exploring new places, Grace enjoys teaching English as a Second Language, making terrible puns, and running incredibly long distances at incredibly slow speeds.
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