5 Cities Celebrating Their First Pride Ever!
1. Guyana, South America | Held: June 2, 2018
In the nations capital of Georgetown, Guyana held its monumental first pride parade. In this country, homosexuality remains illegal and LGBTQ+ rights are frowned upon. More than 2,000 took to the streets of Georgetown to celebrate the progression and glimpse of pride and acceptance that is in Guyana.
Celebrate Guyana's progression with them by checking out the #GuyanaPride hashtag.
2. Yonkers, New York | Held: June 9, 2018
Less than 20 minutes outside of one of Manhattans most northern neighborhood, Washington Heights, sits Yonkers, New York. Until this year, Yonkers natives and residents would travel to neighboring New York City boroughs to participate in NYC Pride, Queens Pride, Brooklyn Pride or Bronx Pride. This year, they can stay within their own city and be apart of Yonkers first pride. Skipping the parade, a large festival was held instead, in hopes of having their first full parade in 2019. The festival included performances from the renowned drag queen Bebe Zahara Benet who won RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 1 in 2009. They also kicked off the festival weekend June 8, 2018 with a Mary J. Blige tribute band and a LGBTQ+ mixer at a popular local bar.
Check out Yonkers, New York history making pride parade #YonkersPride hashtag!
3. Starkville, Mississippi | Held: March 24, 2018
The City Council of Starkville, MI voted against the permit just weeks before the propose Pride Parade Date on February 6, 2018. During a re-vote on March 6, 2018, the City reversed it’s initial decision granting the parade that exceeded it’s anticipated 1,500 participants by reaching more than 3,000!
Check out Starkville, MI and their pride using the #StarkvillePride hashtag!
4. Aurora, Illinois | Taking place: June 17, 2018
Aurora, Illinois, the states second largest city, is welcoming its first pride parade with full support from The Aurora City Council, Aurora Alderman and The Mayor. The parade permit was approved on February 13, 2018, and created an outpouring of positive response from the community. "Love here, the day before Valentine's Day, is greater than any kind of fear or hate that can come," said Penelope Garcia, a transgender Aurora resident.
The parade had a Go Fund Me set up almost immediately by Indivisible Aurora and sponsorship applications available to make this inaugural pride parade one for the books! Aurora, Illinois has also engaged the surrounding businesses with what they refer to as “Pride Stops” who applied to engage with the community with warm welcomes, dining specials, happy-hours, and general discounts.
Keep up with Aurora's first parade and the turn out here!
5. Swaziland, Africa | Taking place: June 30, 2018
Swaziland is the smallest country in Africa and also the only country participating in an absolute monarchy government ruled by King Mswati III. Although homosexuality is not illegal in this country, the common law offense that can be punishable by law includes sodomy, which is a way to criminalize mostly male same-sex interactions. Melusi Simelane, Swaziland Pride organizer and activist stated, “We have the daily persecution in terms of verbal attacks, and even systematic exclusions from basic human rights. Hospitals continue to discriminate based on sexual orientation. People are fired from their jobs based on sexual orientation and gender identity. All these can easily go unpunished, because the government insists that we do not exist.” When he discusses the hope and what this Pride can mean to Swaziland, he expressed: “We live in times of possibilities. We have a new president in [neighbouring] South Africa who is a great supporter of LGBT rights, and he also sits as the Head of SADC (Southern African Development Community). That is promising….”
Although it has not taken place yet, keep up with the countries groundbreaking pride here!