Annually, the LGBTQ+ community unites to commemorate Pride in June, a month dedicated to celebrating diversity and equality. However, what may not be as widely known is that a grand celebration called World Pride exists, which gathers individuals from across the globe to a single location to revel in festivity.
While Pride Month is typically celebrated locally and focuses on community events and activism, World Pride is a larger international event that brings together LGBTQ+ individuals and allies from around the world to celebrate and advocate for the community’s rights. It is held every few years in a different country.
Where did it all start?
World Pride made its debut in the year 2000 in Rome, marking the beginning of a grand celebration of diversity and inclusivity. From then on, this global event has taken place in several cities worldwide, including London, Toronto, Jerusalem, and Madrid, among others. Each host city brings its unique flair to the event, showcasing its local LGBTQ+ community, arts, and culture.
The first World Pride was set up by the Italian LGBTQ+ rights organisation, Mario Mieli Homosexual Cultural Circle. The theme of the event was ‘Love, Passion, and Rights,’ and it attracted over 250,000 people from different parts of the world. The success of the affair inspired other LGBTQ+ organisations to throw their own Pride events and laid the foundation for World Pride.
In 2006, the second World Pride was held in Jerusalem, which was a controversial choice due to the political situation in the region. However, the event was a success, and it brought together LGBTQ+ people from Israel, Palestine, and other parts of the world. The theme of the gala was ‘Love Without Borders,’ and it highlighted the need for peace and understanding.
The next one was held in Madrid in 2017, and it was the largest LGBTQ+ event to ever take place in Spain. With the theme of ‘Whoever You Love, Madrid Loves You,’ the celebration attracted over three million people from different parts of the world and generated an estimated €300 million for the local economy.
World Pride festivities encompass more than just the iconic parade; concerts, cultural programs, lectures, and parties are also on the menu. These events not only honour and acknowledge the LGBTQ+ community, but also serve to raise awareness and spark dialogue about LGBTQ+ rights and issues worldwide. Many of the events are accompanied by political speeches and rallies, where politicians and activists unite to champion the community’s rights and push for social justice.
One of the most iconic World Prides was held in New York City in 2019, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the historic Stonewall riots. The occasion attracted millions of visitors, and the city was transformed into a rainbow-coloured celebration of love and diversity. The parade was the largest in the city’s history, featuring over 150,000 marchers and performances by LGBTQ+ icons like Madonna and Grace Jones.
From the bustling streets of Rome to the vibrant energy of Madrid, World Pride has brought together individuals from all corners of the world to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. This monumental event not only showcases the art, culture, and resilience of the LGBTQ+ community but also serves as a powerful platform for advocacy and change.
With each passing year, this institution of sorts becomes a more significant force for progress, sparking conversations and raising awareness about LGBTQ+ rights and issues to support a more inclusive and tolerant world.
Where is the event taking place in 2023?
In 2023, World Pride is being celebrated in Sydney, Australia, for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere. The festivities, running from February 17 to March 5, are shaping up to be a vibrant and thrilling tribute to LGBTQ+ culture and activism, infused with an unmistakable Australian flair. With over 35 years of experience in hosting Pride events, Sydney is poised to make history with its World Pride celebration.