If you have never attended a parade event, then it is about time you attended one and showed some love and support to the LGBTQ+ community.
What most people do not realize is that everyone is more than welcome to join the pride celebrations.
Even for the straight people, unless you do not respect the LGBTQ+ community.
(And if you haven’t been to the LA pride parade – it is absolutely fabulous.)
Below is a First timer’s guide to attending pride.
1. What should I carry to the event?
There are two essentials that you should never leave behind when attending a pride, water, and sunscreen.
Pride festivities are held in June, so you expect the weather to be quite hot.
Again the parade route is often long.
Therefore you need to ensure that you are well hydrated and have some sunscreen on to protect your glowing skin from the harsh temperatures.
But remember, bags are not quite welcomed in the pride celebrations.
There might be a few exceptions for emergency purposes, but you cannot be more cautious.
2. You can bring a date or not
As much as pride is meant to appreciate and fight for the rights of LGBTQ+ community, it’s also a place that allows you to be yourself without fear of judgment.
That means it is okay to go alone or bring a date.
But do keep in mind that it is not your event so carry yourself respectfully.
If you are going alone, there is no need to feel left out.
Pride is a fantastic event where you can quickly meet new friends and build community.
More importantly, do not try to fake your sexuality.
It’s unnecessary, and quite a disrespect to the LGBTQ+ community so merely be yourself.
3. Know your boundaries
There are several types of pride events that are arranged for certain marginalized groups or specific identities.
For instance, parties for transgender people of color and exclusive gay after-parties to name a few.
These events are organized for a reason, and they might not be open to all people.
It’s therefore important to respect such boundaries.
Do not try to crash such parties and keep your opinions about freedom of movement to yourself.
If you can’t stay out of other peoples space, then do not attempt to attend the pride in the first place.
4. Brace yourself for a long walk and protest
Pride is all about fighting for human rights; it’s all about the protest.
The LGBTQ+ community has faced a lot of challenges in the last couple of years.
The only memorable moment was in 2015 when the court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.
This was however short-lived because the Pulse Nightclub shooting followed shortly after.
Donald Trump getting elected made the situation even worse, and since then the LGBTQ+ community has been all about protests.
Be ready to join in on chants.
Also get involved with LGBTQ+ organizations and groups and be helpful in one way or the other while being careful not to engage in dangerous counter-protests.
5. Do not speculate other peoples gender
It’s pride so expect to see many things that are unusual to the community you are used to.
The important thing is to have an open mind.
Remember pride is not only meant for lesbians and gay men.
It involves a wide variety of identities under the LGBTQIA umbrella.
You will see all sorts of public displays.
Men with matching T-shirts and trans folks among others.
But what you should restrain yourself from doing is trying to guess their gender identity.
Do not question other peoples sexual identity just because they do not fit into your community.
It is incredibly hurtful and disrespectful, and you will deny the LGBTQ+ community the freedom of expression during pride celebration week.
6. Be mindful of your language
Just because LGBTQ+ community is free calling each other names such as homo, dyke or queer doesn’t guarantee you the right to use them.
Again given it’s a pride event, people are bound to mistake your gender identity unless you wear a huge sign declaring you are “straight.”
So, expect people to flirt with you but do not be rude to them.
Do not be offended by the presumptions and questions. Just concentrate on socializing without being too judgmental.
Lastly, celebrate, have fun and learn to appreciate everyone’s gender identity. With respect being your number one priority.