Pride month is upon us, and that means epic parades and other celebrations of equality in communities around the world. If this will be your first Pride, you should expect a feast for the senses and a whole lot of fun, but also know a few things before you go. Whether you identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community or as an ally, we have some essential tips that will ensure your experience is fun, comfortable, and in keeping with the true spirit of Pride.
Dress the part
While there certainly isn’t a dress code for Pride, it’s sort of a fashion faux pas if you don’t show up in bright colors, and going over-the-top is on point. If a glittery, sequined, or obnoxiously loud item has been languishing in your closet because you’re not sure where to wear it, this might be your opportunity. Just choose a style that embodies what love and freedom look like to you.
But keep it practical
Prepare for lots of time on your feet, probably in some bright sun. Wear walkable shoes and a backpack or fanny pack — you’ll need a hands-free way to carry water and sunscreen (and bring plenty of both!). Make sure your pack has room to stash souvenirs like stickers, rainbow flags, and the free samples that companies hand out at Pride, of everything from energy bars to lube (nope, that’s not hand sanitizer).
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Tip the drag queens
A Pride parade boasts a rich display of fabulous costumes and performances, but all of that fabulosity doesn’t come cheap for the creators. So bring some cash and tip drag queens, singers, dancers, and other performers you appreciate. The ever-regal Shangela of RuPaul’s Drag Race would like to remind you that tipping drag queens is just good manners.
Leave your hang-ups behind
Pretty much anything goes at Pride, so if you’re not comfortable among naked or leather-clad bodies of diverse ages and sizes you should loosen up quick or consider staying home (but, really, you should shake off those hang-ups and embrace the experience!).
Respect the reason
Pride has a purpose beyond partying. Yes, it’s a joyful celebration of LGBTQ+ equality, but that simple idea is inherently political, because sadly there are still places in the world and even our country where LGBTQ+ people are treated as less than. So remember that every Pride celebration is laced with protest, and that all the bright colors and flashy costumes are not simply festive, but a declaration that the community refuses to live in the shadows and demands to be seen, loud and proud.
The bottom line: Show up with your very best attitude, be inclusive, let yourself be included, and carry some of those Pride vibes with you through the rest of the year.
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