10 Biggest Gay Events in the United States

In this article we are going to list the 10 biggest gay events in the United States. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 biggest gay events in the United States.

A couple of decades ago, any public declaration of a person’s sexual orientation other than that which was ‘standard’ was rare. Those who did belong to the LGBTQ community were kept hidden and often led double lives to avoid persecution. Keeping this open secret was a necessary action, as revelation of an individual’s membership in the queer community often meant they would have to face real-life consequences. Such individuals would lose their jobs, be ridiculed among friends and family, and face extreme societal persecution. This constant cycle of repression of a person’s inner self often led to depression and a decline in mental health for members of the LGBTQ community.

Today, this is not the case. Today, representation of members of the LGBTQ community is very common, on all forms of mainstream media. We now have openly gay CEOs, for example Tim Cook who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Fortune 500 company Apple Inc. You can learn more about them if you take a look at the biggest companies with gay CEOs. There are transgender actors and celebrities starring in major television and movie productions, such as Laverne Cox from Orange is the New Black. Laverne Cox also has the distinction of being the first openly transgender person to be on the covers of both Time and Cosmopolitan magazines, as well as the first openly transgender person to have a wax figure placed at the world-renowned Madame Tussauds wax museum. Perhaps the largest milestone of gay acceptance was demonstrated with the 2015 legalization of same-sex marriages in the United States.

15 Gayest Countries in the World per Capita

Pixabay/Public Domain

Even though the situation today is much more accepting and inviting for the gay community than it was a couple decades ago, there is still a lot of societal judgement and overall lack of understanding in much of the world. The above-mentioned milestones and measures of acceptance are only limited to certain parts of the western world. In Eastern countries, openly admitting to being a part of the LGBTQ community can be a serious offence, both at a societal or federal level. Because of the negative consequences that they may face should they go public, people from the gay community must hide their preferences to feel socially accepted. You will not see any mention of the LBTQ community in mainstream media, schools, or common conversation in much of the Middle East and East Asian countries. It is an open secret, but rarely ever spoken about. This hush-hush attitude towards the LBTQ community has led to other negative consequences, with members of the community becoming trapped in forced marriages and in extreme cases, ending up as honor killing victims.

In order to celebrate the social and self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights, and pride of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, and queer (LBTQ) community, outdoor events are held all over the United States. These events are referred to as parades, pride marches, pride events, and pride festivals and often take place annually in the month of June. The reason for this is to  commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, a moment considered pivotal in the history of LGBTQ acceptance. These events aim to foster dialogue, create community, and honor the history of the movement. Even companies are now jumping on the bandwagon, and many companies are now well-known for being supportive of the LGBT community, including Nike (NYSE:NKE), General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA).

In 1970, marches in the name of pride and protest were held in four major cities of the US, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. These events were a tribute to the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City. These events eventually morphed in the parades and festivals that we know today. They are now being held annually, with the attendance of participants and supporters growing larger and larger. A weekend pride parade and festival would take the better part of a year to plan and coordinate, with high levels of security and alternate routes planned to accommodate the participants being planned as well. Today, events with the overall attendance in the millions is not uncommon. Here we have compiled a list of the 10 biggest gay events in the United States. So, let us take a look starting with number 10:

10. Twin Cities Pride Festival 2016

Attendance: 400,000

Run by the nonprofit organization Twin Cities Pride, this festival is run annually every June in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and St. Paul, Minnesota. The celebration features both a parade and a festival. The pride parade is the festival’s highlight, drawing crowds of 400,000 people. The 2016 festival was particularly well attended, as it came only two weeks after a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The festival focused on peace, with a segment of the final portion of the festival, the parade, recognizing the victims of the massacre. The segment showed a group of people holding photos of each of the 49 victims that were killed.

Pixabay/Public Domain