How to Celebrate 50 Years of Pride, Wherever You Are

Parade or not, you can still show up for the LGBTQ+ community.

Bug Robbins/Thrillist
Bug Robbins/Thrillist

Pride is my personal favorite holiday after Christmas and July 4th. But this June (the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march, no less!), many of the traditional ways to celebrate -- massive parades, boozy drag brunches, disco parties -- are on pause until further notice. And while it sucks that we might not be able to partake in them this year, that’s not what Pride is all about. The spirit of the holiday is about coming together to show love and togetherness, as well as affirm identities that haven’t always been told they’re worth celebrating. That message shouldn’t be stifled just because parades are canceled, or if you’re quarantining in a remote area -- and with these suggestions for celebrating wherever you are, it doesn’t have to be.  

Share your story with the world

Coming out isn’t easy for a lot of people. So for those who can, sharing your personal story on social media can be an encouraging act to others. Helpful tip: get creative! It doesn’t need to be a long caption under a perfectly photographed picture. Sharing your story can be as easy as expressing your fondest memories of the LGBTQ+ community through an original song, going on Instagram Live and hosting a Q&A for your followers, or sharing your favorite quote from an LGBTQ+ icon. My personal No. 1 is from James Baldwin: “If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.”

Make something sweet and delicious

A tasty way to capture the fun and cheerfulness that surrounds Pride is with a colorful, sugary treat. Baking a rainbow layer cake is one way to go, but let’s face it, not everyone has a full set of food coloring in their cabinet at the moment. Instead, make a vanilla layer cake and create a natural rainbow by sandwiching sliced fresh fruit -- strawberries, oranges, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries, and grapes (from top to bottom) -- in between the layers to represent the Pride flag. (You can do this with fruit kebabs, too.) Serve either alongside homemade multi-fruit sangria poured into a tall glass so there’s space for all of the colorful fruit to shine through. Or, if you’re a bartender (amateur or otherwise), grab some coconut rum, grenadine, pineapple juice, vodka, and Blue Curaçao and try your hand at making a rainbow paradise cocktail. Then host a virtual cake and cocktail party with your friends to toast to Pride. 

Learn some history 

Did you know that two trans women of color, Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Riviera, played integral roles in the Pride movement through their leading efforts in the Stonewall Riots? Or that New York’s drag ball culture dates back to the first Annual Odd Fellows Ball in Harlem in 1869? Take some time to learn about the LGBTQ+ folks who came before, such as exploring the online collections of The GLBT Historical Society, or discovering the national parks and monuments with LGBTQ+ heritage. Reading books like Gay Voices of the Harlem Renaissance, A Queer History of the United States, and Borderlands/La Frontera is also a great way to learn about important LGBTQ+ experiences right from your couch. Since Pride is a month long, you and your friends can start a history bucket list and see how many you can cross off before July rolls around.

Bug Robbins/Thrillist

Experiment with makeup or drag

From something as simple as glitter highlights to a full drag transformation, dabbling in makeup can be a creative and fun outlet for standing with your LGBTQ+ family during the Pride season. Rainbow-fy your look with multicolored eyeliner and eyeshadow or mix up some homemade rainbow body glitter with aloe vera -- but don’t stop there. Tons of video tutorials are available online, for beginners and pros alike, to help you take your Pride look to the next level.

Support queer businesses

The COVID-19 crisis is expected to increase financial hardship in the LGBTQ+ community, given that 40% work in industries more likely to be affected. Small businesses especially have been hurt by social distancing and shelter in place orders, so help keep the community open and fabulous by spending your extra money with them. Gift some witty merchandise from a queer-owned brand like dfrntpigeon in Portland, Oregon, or order a sexy calendar and apparel from Jamaican-American photographer Warren Giddarie’s Fluorescent Studio. Virtually tipping your favorite queer performer who’s hosting a live show on social media can also go a long way.

Give back, virtually 

Of course, money isn’t the only way to show your support. Becoming a TrevorChat/TrevorText volunteer through the Trevor Project (an organization for LGBTQ+ youth struggling with coming out) is a meaningful way to give back, no matter where you are. GLAAD also has a slew of ways to be an “At-Home Advocate” on their site, like signing petitions. If you aren’t in a position to donate money yourself, you can still raise awareness on social media for LGBTQ+ nonprofits and grassroots organizations that are responding to the outbreak in their communities.

Bug Robbins/Thrillist

Practice loving and accepting others every day

This one sounds simple, but it’s by far the most important: Choosing to love and accept others is a muscle, and just like any muscle, if you want to strengthen it, you have to exercise it every day. If you’re an ally, send an encouraging message to your LGBTQ+ friend. A text, video chat, or call to offer some words of love and appreciation can go a long way in showing your true support of your queer friends. Being intentional and respectful when asking for someone’s preferred pronouns is crucial to creating a more inclusive culture for all gender identities, too. And while it may seem obvious, remember to take time to talk with queer people about things other than being queer. (We like movies, food, and sports, too!) You can never go wrong with simply saying, “I love you,” either.

Stay up to date on rescheduled (or reimagined) Pride events

Although the Pride parades in New York and Los Angeles have been canceled, we still don’t know exactly what Pride 2020 will look like. Stay on top of the latest news on rescheduled parades or parade-alternatives in your area by following the official Pride account on Instagram and Twitter. You can also reach out to your local LGBTQ+ organization to see what virtual parties or fall/winter events they might have planned. If all those things don’t work, consider gathering friends to brainstorm a virtual Pride event of your own.