Tuesday, 10 February 2015

When, Where and Why Gay Pride ‘15

If you’ve been there, done that and lost the t-shirt at your local Pride celebrations then why not go global in 2015 and show your support for same sex equality across the pond? Here’s the lowdown on Pride events in 2015, from the teeny-tiny parades to the biggest and best.

Where: Tokyo – Harajuku (home of the cosplayers)

When: 26th – 28th April

Pride definitely isn’t plentiful in Japan; a country where the quote ‘gay doesn’t exist here’ gets thrown out casually in conversation. Those who do bat for the other team have to hide their love lives from friends, colleagues and neighbours, whilst sneaking out to the exciting Nichome district near Shinjuku. (That’s right – buying used schoolgirl underwear is OK but fancying another guy or girl is a no-no).

This is why it’s all the more important to get out there and support this teeny parade and the few who brave the social scene as an out-and-about homosexual. There’ll be floats, live bands cheering on the parade and a festival stage just outside of the beautiful, if slightly barmy, Yoyogi park. There you can watch some fantastic rehearsed-to-a-‘T’ Japanese dance and music performances.

(Side note: festival time in Japan means one thing: incredible food-stalls everywhere in sight. Get yourself some okonomiyaki or takoyaki – just don’t ask what’s inside!)

Where: Amsterdam - Westerdok harbour

When: 25th July – 2nd August 1:30pm

Why: The parade in Amsterdam is well suited to those who like to put their feet up. The Pride-loving festival attendees in this liberal country hop aboard canal boats and gently glide downwind during this relaxing afternoon event. Don’t think this means people don’t go wild afterwards though; all that pent up energy explodes into parties that go on ‘til the early morn.

If you happen to be a moneyed member of the aristocracy and have your own boat, you can register your vessel via this site, but do so quickly, as the parades are limited to a maximum of 80 boats per year.

Where: Brighton - Preston Park

When: 1st August 2015, 12:00pm

Why: There ain’t no party like a ‘let’s-celebrate-equality’ party in Blighty’s gay capital. If you haven’t visited before, Brighton is south of London, nestled against the glorious muddy brown coast of the English Channel. Sticks of rock, a traditional pier and sweet, bunting-adorned cafes make this town a great location by day; whilst the gay-friendly atmosphere, bars and clubs make it a wild night out.

When it comes to Pride, the festivities are now ticketed, meaning you’ll have to splash some cash to get entry to the fun (yes, we know, it’s heinous). Sign up here before the cheaper tickets are all but lost. What you will get for your cash, however, is limitless entry to pop up literature tents and readings, music stages (in the past they’ve had Paloma Faith, Blue and Boy George) and cabarets. Worth the money if you’re already UK-based.

Where: Chicago – Broadway

When: 20th, 21st and 28th June

If you like the stomping camaraderie of the big parade then this is the place to visit – over 200 groups, marching bands, and individuals get involved every year in Chicago to make some noise for same sex equality. The parade itself will take place on 28th, whilst the 20th and 21st are scheduled for the two day dance fest. Live band karaoke, ‘Gay Idol’ competitions and ‘Pride and Produce’ markets are typical features of this city-wide show of support. More travel information and photos can be found on the official site.

Where: Istanbul - Istiklal Avenue

When: 22nd – 24th August

Why: Whilst San Francisco and New York hardly need explanation as Pride locations, Istanbul is slightly different. A country where, though same sex relationships are not strictly forbidden, prejudice is rife, it can be difficult for lesbian and gay couples to be proud in public. This celebration, which is the largest in the Muslim world, does a tremendous amount of good for the cause; bringing the issues into the forefront of public consciousness and, with the sheer number of attendees turning up in drag, reminding everyone there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of gay-risque.

The city is known for being hectic, and gets even more manic when the Pride fans hit town, so if you don’t fancy being swallowed up by the crowds after the festivities are over – get out of town and over to one of the calmer coastal towns like Alanya – which has great beaches and is very gay-friendly.

Where: Berlin, Kurfürstendamm

When: 20th – 21st June

Just in case you’re confused: Pride in Berlin is also known as Christopher Street Day. The weekend before this Pride parade event, Europe’s loudest and largest celebration of LGBT rights ‘Berlin Gay and Lesbian City Festival’ takes place. As a city home to countless fetish festivals, and gay bars that do away with traditional opening hours, this is definitely event where you don’t have to reign anything in – not dress code nor inhibitions.

Where: Maspalomas, Gran Canaria (anywhere with a spare stretch of beach)

When:  8th – 17th May 2015

Why: For those who like to flash some flesh during a party but don’t want to freeze to death – head to Gran Canaria for one of the world’s biggest and longest gay and lesbian beach parties. The events on the island include pool parties, world renowned DJ sets, and sports on the beach. Bring your skimpiest outfit, fifteen bottles of factor 25 and enough coffee not to sleep until it’s all over.

Have you been anywhere that’s louder and prouder during Pride? Let us know!

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