The biggest, baddest Pride celebrations tend to go off in coastal-elite cities like New York City and San Francisco, sitting as they tend to do in the big coastal-elite states. It was in New York City, after all, that the local LGBTQ community stood up to police raids on Stonewall Inn in June 1969 and set the stage for the modern gay rights movement, including the rise of Pride parades around the country.
Meanwhile some of America’s absolute raddest Pride celebrations -- the large as well as the small -- have sprouted in the sorts of environments where the default mood still seems to be, at best, that parades turn children gay. Organizers and parade-goers are of course still targets for harassment in blue states, and those Prides are no less meaningful. But there’s a particular feeling of hope and warmth that comes from seeing people enjoy Pride events that were even harder to establish, which overcame even more homophobic attacks, more homophobic politicians, more pressure from homophobic organized religion.
The more popular the celebration, the greater the accompanying frenzy of brands and politicians slapping a rainbow on everything in sight, and this is true of red state Prides, too -- see, for instance, Atlanta’s new $200,000 taxpayer-funded rainbow-colored crosswalk (in permanent marker, as it were, not like just for Pride week). Whether Pride should be a protest or a party is an ongoing discussion that applies to the deep South just as much as California, but if you’re looking for the red-state Prides where you’re going to have a very, very good time, you have come to the right place. If you are looking for Prides where your participation also functions as an extra-large middle finger to Ted Cruz (or Marco Rubio, Orrin Hatch, Mike Pence…) you have also come to the right place. Here are the best Pride celebrations among the 30 states currently colored red on the presidential electoral map.