Toronto's pride parade has been held yearly since 1981. In 2003 its activists help score a major victory when the Ontario Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling which made same-sex marriage legal in Ontario, the first jurisdiction in North America to do so. By this time the Toronto Pride Week Festival had been running for twenty-three years. It is also one of the largest, attracting around 1.3 million people in 2009. The latest pride parade in Toronto was held on Sunday June 24, 2018. Toronto hosted WorldPride in 2014.
On Saturday, June 27, 1970, Chicago Gay Liberation organized a march from Washington Square Park ("Bughouse Square") to the Water Tower at the intersection of Michigan and Chicago avenues, which was the route originally planned, and then many of the participants spontaneously marched on to the Civic Center (now Richard J. Daley) Plaza. The date was chosen because the Stonewall events began on the last Saturday of June and because organizers wanted to reach the maximum number of Michigan Avenue shoppers. Subsequent Chicago parades have been held on the last Sunday of June, coinciding with the date of many similar parades elsewhere.
Pride Month is great fun, but it's also an important time when issues related to the gay rights get more attention from news media. From gay marriage and adoption to transgender rights, our country still has a long way to go until everyone is truly equal. Pride Month is a great opportunity to learn about the fight for what's right, and to pitch in as well!
Many parades still have at least some of the original political or activist character, especially in less accepting settings. The variation is largely dependent on the political, economic and religious settings of the area. However, in more accepting cities, the parades take on a festive or even Mardi Gras-like character, whereby the political stage is built on notions of celebration. Large parades often involve floats, dancers, drag queens and amplified music; but even such celebratory parades usually include political and educational contingents, such as local politicians and marching groups from LGBT institutions of various kinds. Other typical parade participants include local LGBT-friendly churches such as Metropolitan Community Churches, United Church of Christ, and Unitarian Universalist Churches, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and LGBT employee associations from large businesses.
In 2008, the Riga Pride was held in the historically potent 11. novembra krastmala (November 11 Embankment) beneath the Riga Castle. The participants heard speeches from MEPs and a message of support from the Latvian President. The embankment was not open and was isolated from the public with some participants having trouble getting past police cordons. About 300 No Pride protesters gathered on the bridges behind barricades erected by the police who kept Pride participants and the "No Pride" protesters separated. Participants were once more "bused" out but this time a 5-minute journey to central Riga.
The first marches were both serious and fun, and served to inspire the widening activist movement; they were repeated in the following years, and more and more annual marches started up in other cities throughout the world. In Atlanta and New York City the marches were called Gay Liberation Marches, and the day of celebration was called "Gay Liberation Day"; in Los Angeles and San Francisco they became known as 'Gay Freedom Marches' and the day was called "Gay Freedom Day". As more cities and even smaller towns began holding their own celebrations, these names spread. The rooted ideology behind the parades is a critique of space which has been produced to seem heteronormative and 'straight', and therefore any act appearing to be homosexual is considered dissident by society. The Parade brings this homosexual behaviour into the space.
The collections of the Library of Congress contain many books, posters, sound recordings, manuscripts and other material produced by, about and for the LGBTQ community. The contributions of this community are preserved as part of our nation’s history, and include noted artistic works, musical compositions and contemporary novels. The Library’s American collections range from the iconic poetry of Walt Whitman through the manuscripts of the founder of LGBTQ activism in Washington, D.C., Frank Kameny.
Vancouver's Pride Parade takes place each year during the August long weekend (BC Day falls on the first Monday of August in the province of British Columbia). The parade takes place in the downtown core with over 150 floats moving along Robson Street, Denman Street and along Davie Street. The parade has a crowd of over 150,000 attendees with well over half a million in attendance for the August 4, 2013 Pride Parade. New for 2013 are the permanently painted rainbow crosswalks in Vancouver's West End neighbourhood at Davie and Bute streets. The city of Surrey, in the Metro Vancouver area also hosts a Pride Festival, though on a much smaller scale.
Even the most festive parades usually offer some aspect dedicated to remembering victims of AIDS and anti-LGBT violence. Some particularly important pride parades are funded by governments and corporate sponsors and promoted as major tourist attractions for the cities that host them. In some countries, some pride parades are now also called Pride Festivals. Some of these festivals provide a carnival-like atmosphere in a nearby park or city-provided closed-off street, with information booths, music concerts, barbecues, beer stands, contests, sports, and games. The 'dividing line' between onlookers and those marching in the parade can be hard to establish in some events, however, in cases where the event is received with hostility, such a separation becomes very obvious. There have been studies considering how the relationship between participants and onlookers is affected by the divide, and how space is used to critique the heteronormative nature of society.
A number of associations and social movements have been denouncing in recent years which, in its views, is a depletion of the claims of these demonstrations and the merchandization of the parade. In this respect, they defend, in countries like Spain, the United States or Canada, a Critical Pride celebration to have a political meaning again. Gay Shame, a radical movement within the LGBT community, opposes the assimilation of LGBT people into mainstream, heteronormative society, the commodification of non-heterosexual identity and culture, and in particular the (over) commercialization of pride events.
On July 21, 2009, a group of human rights activists announced their plans to organize second Belgrade Pride on September 20, 2009. However, due to the heavy public threats of violence made by extreme right organisations, Ministry of Internal Affairs in the morning of September 19 moved the location of the march from the city centre to a space near the Palace of Serbia therefore effectively banning the original 2009 Belgrade Pride.