Thanks to President Clinton, we can look forward to June as the official month of LGBT pride parades in every state of America. It’s a time for embracing your individuality in every way possible from getting dressed up in gay menswear to flaunting the iconic rainbow flag. Amidst the pandemonium of hot bods on parade floats, it’s important to remember that June is also a month for unity and remembrance. Despite the innocent lives that have been lost to hate crimes, such as the Orlando shootings, the LGBT pride parades are a way to reinforce what pride is really about. It’s a time to honor the brave individuals that fought at the Stonewall riots and celebrate America’s progression in supporting LGBT communities.
Read on to find out the most interesting facts about the LGBT pride parades around the world.
1. There are approximately 140 LGBT pride parades in the U.S.
You can find pride parades in every state with numerous cities supporting its local communities. Pride month is celebrated from coast to coast with even Hawaii and Alaska taking part in the festivities.
2. There are over 5.5 million participants at LGBT pride parades, which only accounts for 10 major U.S. cities.
America has made giant leaps since the seemingly feeble thousands that have marched in 1970. As there are currently no hard statistics on the total number of parade participants, this is a rough estimate of 2015’s attendees from Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC. We can only expect numbers to rise in 2016!
3. The biggest pride parade in the world is held in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In 2006, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized Sao Paulo, Brazil as the biggest pride parade in the world. Currently attracting over 5 million participants, Sao Paulo Pride even offers travel packages for the full experience.
4. The smallest pride parade in the world is held in Sligo, Ireland.
Although homosexuality and gay marriage are legal in Ireland, Sligo continues to hold the spot for smallest pride parade in the world of only 100 participants. Despite being the smallest, locals say this may be one of the friendliest parades in Northwest Ireland.
5. The profits of LGBT pride parades are used for organizing events, and any remaining profit is sent back to support LBGT groups and future projects.
Ever wonder where your contributions are actually going? Each pride parade is organized by a non-profit organization that varies by city, which is supported by donations and sponsors. As the parades increase in volume, this means each year can become more costly. Funds are used for parade essentials, such as supplies and insurance, and remaining profit is used to support LGBT groups.
6. Some of the biggest U.S. corporate sponsors of Pride 2016 are Hilton, TD Bank, T-Mobile, and Bud Light.
Although hundreds of companies continue to make contributions, these are the largest corporations spending the big bucks as this year’s presenting sponsors across America. Hilton is Capital Pride’s National Presenting Sponsor with three years of support for LGBT pride parades. T-Mobile is the presenting sponsor of Seattle Pride, and Bud Light is the presenting sponsor for both Pride Houston and San Francisco Pride. Although not a presenting sponsor, TD Bank is a dedicated platinum sponsor for NYC Pride with over a decade of support under their belt.
7. The Stonewall Inn was once owned by the New York Mafia.
The Stonewall Inn holds great significance in why today’s pride parades even exist. The Genovese crime family, known as one of the craftiest mob groups, took advantage of the sparse gay nightlife scene and unintentionally reopened Christopher Street’s former club as one of history’s most significant gay bars.
8. The word “pride” was made popular by Brenda Howard, the Mother of Pride.
We can thank Brenda Howard – an LGBT activist – for establishing “pride” as something you don’t even think twice about saying. It’s said that she chose the word "pride" simply because she “thought it should be”.
9. The rainbow flag was created by a former Vietnam War veteran.
You wouldn’t automatically think of war veterans as drag queens until Gilbert Baker’s incredible LGBT contributions. Encouraged by the infamous politician, Harvey Milk, Baker created a colorful LGBT symbol in 1978 that resonates with people worldwide. Each color has significance; red is for life, orange is for healing, yellow is for sunlight, green is for nature, blue is for harmony, and purple is for spirit. We can thank Baker for any fabulously dyed, gay menswear on the market.
10. There are approximately 77 countries where LGBT pride parades are not allowed due to anti-homosexuality laws.
As much as the world is progressing with LGBT acceptance, there are still countries that consider homosexuality a crime. Some of the heaviest anti-homosexuality laws exist in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Nigeria, Singapore, Malaysia, and Mauritania. Although homosexuality is not illegal in Russia, this European country is actually regressing with accepting the LGBT communities. A recent Russian, anti-LGBT flag was created alongside the hashtag: #ARealFamily. Flock to Spain, England, Brazil, Canada, or the Netherlands for the most lively international pride parades.
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