June marks WorldPride Month and this year, New York is proud to host the largest Pride celebration around the world! This month-long global celebration of diversity represents an opportunity to commemorate 50 years since the pivotal Stonewall Uprising while honoring the half-century of LGBTQIA+ liberation.
A Glimpse into History
On June 28, 1969, members of the gay community engaged in a series of riots in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village. A catalyst for the gay rights movement, the Stonewall Uprising not only sparked a revolution in the United States, but also around the globe. Over the last two decades specifically, there has been a lot of progress in the gay rights movement; many laws prohibiting gay sexual activity have been denied, many members of the gay community are now allowed to openly serve in the military, and same-sex couples are now allowed to engage in marriage and adopt children in all 50 states. This is the first WorldPride held in the United States and New York City is honored to be the first U.S. city to host this imperative event.
NYC Pride Events
There are several amazing NYC Pride events to attend throughout the month of June – here’s a closer look at what you can expect and where you can celebrate from our partner, CitySightseeing New York & beyond:
Hop on Hop OUT: The Pride Experience Bus Tour
Curious about the gay history of New York City? Join a 2-hour tour on an open-top double-decker motor coach bus hosted by the fabulous Anita Buffem, which highlights the facts while Buffem brings the fun. But first, who IS Anita Buffem? Buffem was raised outside of Syracuse, New York and began life in the Big Apple in 2004, which is when the character of Anita was fully realized. Buffem has a background in performance and a natural knack for comedy as well as in innate passion for joy, positivity and inclusion. Anita also stars in a musical comedy “The Haus of Mimosa”, which has been operating since 2007.
The Hop on Hop OUT tour will be operating on various dates throughout the month of June. The tour departs on all dates at 7p.m. from the northeast corner of 8th Avenue and 52nd Street, and the route will go north from Hell’s Kitchen along Central Park past the notorious Central Park Ramble and then south, passing iconic locations such as The Ansonia Hotel where Bette Midler was discovered while performing at the Continental Baths, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Times Square, Chelsea and finally Greenwich Village.
**Do note that some content will be adult in nature and that advanced ticket purchases are highly recommended as seating is limited.**
Darkness to Light: The Gay Liberation Movement in the West Village
On Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month of June, join a walking tour that aims to take you back to the night of the Stonewall Uprising in an effort to relive the riot that changed the social fabric of America. The tour meets at 1:30p.m. at Christopher Square Park across from the Stonewall Inn located at 53 Christopher Street. Your local guide will take you to notorious gay bars along Christopher Street while introducing you to key landmarks and locations that enabled New York’s long-closeted gay community to make itself public and to unite and fight for more rights. This Greenwich Village tour ends in front of Big Gay Ice Cream as a way to symbolize how far the community has come while instilling a sense of joy and positivity for its future.
WorldPride Opening Ceremony
Renowned entertainer and internationally-recognized humanitarian Whoopi Goldberg is slated to host the ceremony and the benefit concert featuring an impressive list of acclamed speakers and iconic performers, which will kick off at the Barclays Center on Wednesday June 26th at 7p.m. Performers include: Cyndi Lauper, Chaka Khan, Billy Porter, Ciara and more. Ticket proceeds will benefit organizations like the Ali Forney Center, Immigration Equality and SAGE.
NYC Pride March
On Sunday June 30th when the clock strikes noon, the largest Pride march in the world will kickoff at 26th Street and 5th Avenue. This annual civil rights demonstration was first held in 1970 and has since broadened to include recognition of AIDS and to honor those lost to illness, neglect and violence. This year’s Grand Marshals include: cast members from POSE, a dance musical set in the 1980s that focuses on exploring the juxtaposition of life and society in New York; Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, the heart of UK Black Pride; Gay Liberation Front, the first activist organization formed after the Stonewall Uprising; The Trevor Project; and Monica Helms, a transgender activist and creator of the Transgender Pride Flag.
For a more detailed list of WorldPride events, check out Millions of Moments of Pride and find out how you can get involved in this jubilant celebration with such a colorful and deep history, and the goal of an even brighter future.