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social sciences

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Parades and Marches  
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Other Pride Events

In addition to traditional pride parades there are other events that celebrate various segments of the glbtq community. For example, within the last decade lesbians have begun holding "dyke marches" in such cities as Chicago and Toronto.

Chicago is also home to an African-American gay pride celebration, as are Washington, D. C. and Kansas City.

Sponsor Message.

Boston has instituted a Gay/Straight Youth Pride celebration that includes a march in the city and a festival on the banks of the Charles River.

Non-North American Celebrations

Pride parades are by no means confined to America. A number of European capitals, from London to Stockholm, also hold gay pride parades and festivals. While the history of these is generally not as long as that of their American counterparts, the tradition and participation are growing.

Dublin's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Parade, for example, began in 1992, when only about four hundred people marched. Ten years later six thousand took part in the parade, which is the high point of a two-week pride festival.

The pride parade in London dates back to 1972, when approximately seven hundred gay men and lesbians marched from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park. In 2002 tens of thousands took part in a parade that was followed by a huge party at Hackney Marshes, with dance tents and entertainment and sports events, as well as recruiting booths for the fire and police departments and the Inland Revenue.

Brighton and Manchester also hold gay pride parades. Manchester's 2003 parade was a highlight of the ten-day EuroPride festival.

Paris's openly gay mayor, Bertrand Delanoë, led the 2002 pride parade in the French capital, which drew a record crowd in excess of 500,000 people.

The 2003 parade in Sao Paolo, Brazil attracted a crowd estimated at 800,000 persons of all sexual orientations.

Gay pride parades have been held in Tel Aviv for some years, but the first one in the more conservative city of Jerusalem took place only in 2002. Some Orthodox Jewish religious and political leaders denounced the march, but approximately 4,000 gay men and lesbians turned out to parade under rainbow flags. A party in a city park followed.

Parades in some other countries such as New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, and Thailand are also of relatively recent origin. They have generally been well received. Bangkok's fourth annual Gay Parade in 2002 drew more than 100,000 people.

Australian Celebrations

Although it is held in February or March rather than June, one of the world's largest gay and lesbian pride events is Sydney's Mardi Gras celebration, which attracts more overseas visitors than any heterosexual event.

The festival traces its origins to a gay pride rally in 1978, staged in solidarity with the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day celebrations. At the small 1978 rally, fifty-three persons were arrested.

One measure of the progress of the Australian equal rights movement is that Sydney's Mardi Gras is now a month-long cultural event. The centerpiece of the celebration, the parade, is televised nationally and attracts from 500,000 to 750,000 participants.

All six Australian states also have annual gay and lesbian pride events. The Australian Lesbian Festival, held in a different state each year, has also become an annual event.


Parades serve as vehicles for both political expression and celebration by a diverse group of people. Given the glbtq community's diversity, it is inevitable that certain disagreements over messages and manners of celebrating will arise. Nevertheless, parades have generally been successful in instilling a sense of belonging and pride and in providing a venue for joyous affirmation of identity and community.

Linda Rapp

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Beemyn, Brett. "Marches on Washington." Gay Histories and Cultures. George E. Haggerty, ed. New York: Garland, 2000. 566-67.

Branigan, Tania. "Out, Proud, and Oh So Moderate: 30 Years on from Crucial March, Gay Rights Activists Fear Loss of Politics." The Guardian (London) (July 6, 2002): 3.

Fosburgh, Lacey. "Thousands of Homosexuals Hold A Protest Rally in Central Park." New York Times (June 29, 1970): 1, 20.

Gladwell, Malcolm. "Message Confronts Image in March for Gay Rights." Washington Post (June 26, 1994): A3.

Greenberg, Joel. "Gays in Jerusalem Parade Their Pride." New York Times (June 8, 2002): A7.

Hell, Michel. "Dyke Hike: You Go, Girls; T. O.'s Lesbians Host Jaw-Dropping Parade." Toronto Sun (June 25, 2000): 7.

Hurley, Michael. "Australia." Gay Histories and Cultures. George E. Haggerty, ed. New York: Garland, 2000. 82-84.

Lichfield, John. "This Europe: Gay Paree Tries to Live up to Its Name; Reputation a Reality." The Independent (London) (December 17, 2002): 10.

Ly, Phuong, and David Montgomery. "Stepping Toward Gay Rights; Diverse Crowd Packs Mall to Celebrate and Agitate." Washington Post (May 1, 2000): A1.

McNally, Frank. "6,000 Likely to Join Gay Parade March." The Irish Times (June 27, 2002): 2.

Neff, Lisa. "Pride by Many Other Names." The Advocate 866 (June 25, 2002): 50-54.

Nelson, Lisa. "Marches and Parades." Gay Histories and Cultures. George E. Haggerty, ed. New York: Garland, 2000. 563-66.

O'Brien, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth Hays. "Gay Pride Uptown & Down." Daily News (New York) (July 1, 2002): 12.

Parrish, David. "Pride on Parade, San Francisco-style." San Francisco Chronicle (July 1, 2002): B1.

Sandalow, Marc. "Exuberant Gay March in D. C.; Hundreds of Thousands Join Call for Equality." San Francisco Chronicle (May 1, 2000): A1.

Scott, Janny. "Gay Marchers Celebrate History in 2 Parades." New York Times (June 27, 1994): A1.

Stone, Andrea. "A Gay-Rights Show of Solidarity." USA Today (April 23, 1993): 2A.

Waldman, Amy. "30 Years after Stonewall, Diversity Is Shown in Gay Pride Parade." New York Times (June 28, 1999): 1.

Zarra, Erica, and David Ward. "Europe's Biggest Gay Festival to Be Held in UK." The Guardian (London) (February 11, 2003): 12.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Parades and Marches  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated April 6, 2007  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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