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Pride will be celebrated in many major cities this year

There are plenty of reasons to take part in Pride parades

Marchers in the Pride parade in New York City calling for an end to  hatred directed at the gay community

Marchers in the Pride parade in New York City calling for an end to hatred directed at the gay community


Whether it’s an act of activism, representation, celebration or a combination of all, there are plenty of reasons to take part in Pride parades.

“The core of the argument is that love is love, and all human beings are equal irrespective of sexuality,” says Prof Maeve Houlihan, director of UCD Lochlann Quinn School and a passionate advocate for inclusion.

“This perspective strongly recognises the systemic consequences of discrimination and social exclusion – being locked out of equality has extensive and systematic implications for earning capacity, access to opportunities, physical and mental health and security and wellbeing in society.”

As organisers gear up for events in Dublin and across Ireland, we look at how Pride is being celebrated globally this year.

New York

New York, of course, has a special history with Pride. In the early hours of June 28th, 1969, in response to an NYPD raid at The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, clashes broke out between patrons and the police. The event was a crucial landmark in the movement for LGBT rights, with the first official gay pride parade taking place in New York on June 28th, 1970, to mark the one year anniversary of the event – with similar parades held in LA and San Francisco.

In recent years the New York Pride parade has consistently attracted millions of attendees, with over 2.1 million attending in 2018. This year, on the 50th anniversary, organisers expect more than 3 million people to attend events running throughout the month of June.

With over 50 official events taking in everything from cinema screenings to cosplay conventions, there will be a special Stonewall Commemoration on June 28th, and the celebrations will culminate with the massive NYC Pride March on June 30th.


The first Pride event in Madrid took place in 1979, and the city has proven to be one of the major Pride players in Europe. Known as MADO (Madrid Orgullo), Madrid’s annual Pride celebrations are chiefly centred around Chueca, the lively gay neighbourhood at the heart of the city.

Historically Madrid Pride events have boasted some of the largest numbers in Europe, Madrid was the host city for EuroPride in 2007, and to WorldPride in 2017, when over 2 million people joined in the parade festivities.

This year events will run from June 28th to July 7th, and along with open-air concerts and sport events MADO also promises plenty of culture on the streets with theatre, puppetry and dance.

Travelling along Paseo del Prado in the centre of Madrid, the Pride parade will be the highlight of the activity, and will take place on Saturday, July 6th.


While Pride parades are accepted and no longer a cause of controversy in many countries in Europe and the Americas, there are still plenty of places where support for Pride is less overt. This year will mark the 11th outing for ShanghaiPRIDE, the longest running Pride festival in mainland China. With a theme of “Share the Pride”, the event aims to spread a message of love, acceptance and diversity through activities and celebrations running through June.

Still growing and volunteer-led, this year’s ShanghaiPRIDE events incorporate a film festival, art exhibitions, and a forum focused on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. One of the most important parts of the city’s Pride celebration is the Pride Run, where a variety of routes from 3km to 15km culminate in an outdoor brunch event. While many of this year’s events take place in galleries and conference halls, the run and brunch serve as a way for Pride to be on the streets of Shanghai, where Pride parades are currently not receiving state sanction or recognition.

The Pride in London parade. This year’s London Pride will see over 100 events take place in June
The Pride in London parade. This year’s London Pride will see over 100 events take place in June


The first Pride event in London took place in 1972 with around 150 people, and support has grown consistently since then. 2018’s Pride in London event attracted over one million people to the streets, with events that celebrated diversity and equality, while also highlighting discrimination and the need for social change.

The Pride movement in the UK gained massive momentum in the late 1980s as the Thatcher government brought in amendments to local authority acts which forbade the promotion of same-sex relationships by teachers and local authority figures, and increased the stigma suffered by LGBT+ people in the UK.

This year looks set to be Pride in London’s biggest year yet, with over 100 events through June. Along with music, comedy, and talent shows running through the city, the Ride with Pride event on the June 22nd promises to be a colourful and relaxed cycle through the streets of the capital.

The festivities climax with Pride in London’s parade, which will see much of the city shut down as the parade takes over Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus and Trafalgar Square on its route through the city on Saturday, July 6th.

São Paulo

The first Brazilian Pride event took place in Sao Paulo in 1997, and has grown to become one of the largest Pride celebrations on earth. Officially known as La Parada do Orgulho LGBT de São Paulo, the week of Pride celebrations runs from June 18th.

The event entered the Guinness World Records as the largest parade in 2006, and last year’s event saw over 3 million people take to the streets to celebrate. This year’s Pride will be the first since the election of conservative Jair Bolsonaro last October, who has made several public statements against LGBT+ values. In May, a Brazilian high court decision to criminalise homophobia and transphobia has been embraced by members of the LGBT+ community.

The 2019 Pride festivities in São Paulo will likely rival New York for the largest turnout, with organisers expecting numbers to exceed last year’s attendance. Following a week of music, talks, and other events, the parade of June 23rd will be made extra special by the inclusion of wedding ceremonies.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, and at the start of this year’s parade five couples will tie the knot in what may turn out to be the largest wedding reception in the world.