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Pride parades have become incredibly popular in cities around the world, and there are many other types of events scheduled to celebrate and embrace the LBGTQ community. These events vary from being adults-only to family-friendly, and they often focus on advocacy, education, and equal rights.
LBGTQ individuals, couples, families, and groups of friends have more chances than ever before to take part in festivals and events that are part of local traditions. These can be wonderful opportunities to see the world. So if you’re thinking about planning a trip soon, these are some of the top LGBTQ events worth traveling for this year.
San Francisco Pride – San Francisco, California
Some say that attending the San Francisco Pride celebration is a rite of passage in the LBGT community. The city has always been at the heart of the LGBT movement, and it’s a great place to learn about LBGT causes, celebrate with friends, and enjoy an exciting party scene. The event typically takes place in June each year, and the parade is the big draw. Each year has a different theme that aligns with current events, and you can register online to be part of the parade. There’s a free float-building workshop that you can attend if you’re in the area, and other official SF Pride events include the kickoff party and VIP party at the City Hall Rotunda.
The Paris Tournament – Paris, France
Show off your athletic abilities by joining the Paris Tournament, which is organized by the French Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation. The tournament typically takes place in May or June each year and features over a dozen sport competitions, social events, and workshops. Athletes travel from all over the world to attend this event, as both participants and spectators. You can register for the tournament online in advance and even volunteer to help out the event coordinators to get involved. Past events have focused on issues like the prevention of HIV, welcoming the trans-gender community in sport participation, and offering sporting activities for disabled individuals.
Berlin Christopher Street Day – Berlin, Germany
Berlin Christopher Street Day is the of the biggest LBGT celebrations in Europe and brings together all types of patrons over four weeks in Berlin. The event typically takes place in July, and hundreds of thousands of people gather together to advocate for LGBT rights with music, a festival, and a parade. The first Christopher Street Day was celebrated in Berlin in 1979, and it’s held in memory of the first big uprising of homosexuals against police brutality in New York City in 1969.
Darklands Festival – Antwerp, Belgium
Darklands typically takes place in February of each year and is an important event in the Antwerp LBGT community. The event’s goals are to increase public visibility to reduce prejudices and support sexual health organizations. It is the world’s only indoor gay fetish festival, with live performances, workshops, and opportunities to meet people in the industry. Other main events include the official opening party called Meltdown, the main party called Rage, and the closing party called Crash. Each year, a Mr. Leather Belgium and a Mr. Puppy Europe are chosen.
São Paulo Gay Pride Parade – Sao Paulo, Brazil
The Sao Paulo pride festival made it in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the largest pride parade in the world. It usually takes place in May or June and is known for having elaborate costumes, floats, and events. In addition to the parade, there is an LGBT Cultural Fair and an entire month of activities including dance performances, debates, musical concerts, a literary fair, and plays.
Elevation Gay Ski Week – Mammoth, California
Other popular trends in LBGT events include ski weeks, and there’s a great annual one in Mammoth. Elevation Gay Ski Week often takes place in mid-March and is a fun alternative to traditional festivals. Expect to find some great DJs spinning tunes at the resort and some excellent snow conditions for skiing and snowboarding. Both guys and girls are welcome to have fun and meet new friends here, and around 2,500 people attend the event each year to hit the slopes and enjoy the parties. While visiting Mammoth, you can book a lodge, hotel, or luxury condo to suit your style and needs.
Gay Sailing Cruise – Mykonos, Poros, and Athens, Greece
Because Greece is a collection of islands, the best way to explore this beautiful area is on a cruise! Gay Sail offers gay-only cruises that start on the island of Mykonos and travel to the Cyclades before heading back to Athens. One and two-week cruises are available, and your daily itinerary is set for you so you can sit back and relax. These cruises often take place in May and make stops on the islands of Kithnos, Poros, Patras, and Santori too.
Womenfest – Key West, Florida
A lesbian-centric event that takes place each year in Key West is Womenfest, which offers a dance club scene, pool parties, a golf tournament, water sports, and plenty of local sightseeing opportunities. Attendees can take a trolley tour, attend a burlesque show, eat brunch, play poker, and learn about nature at the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory and on dolphin-watching excursions. Womenfest usually takes place in September, but there are lots of other events in Key West throughout the year too. These include Kamp Key West in May, Key West Pride in June, Key West Tropical Heat in August, and Hot Pink Holidays in December.
Reeling: The Chicago LGBT International Film Festival – Chicago, Illinois
There are some great LGBT film festivals around the world, but the one in Chicago is a particularly good one to travel to. It’s the second-longest-running festival of its kind and shows documentaries, feature films, and experimental shorts. The first Chicago film festival took place in 1981 and has since achieved worldwide popularity. Venues include Comfort Station, Chicago Filmmakers, the Music Box Theater, and the Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema. You can choose between several different pass options to attend five or more screenings. Learn about the films on the festival’s website to choose which ones to attend.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – Sydney, Australia
Sydney is considered the “gap capital of Australia,” and Mardi is a huge event here. It happens in February and March and includes a month-long festival of performing arts, sports, film, social events, pool parties, and art experiences. Highlights include a DJ spin-off competition, a bike and tattoo show, fair day picnics, a gaming convention, and family fun day.