Lavender: Scent and Symbol

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Monday, May 21, 2018

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A slew of saucy Australians came out February 5 for the annual Pride March Victoria. The festive, Down Under pride event featured a number of new additions including a Pride Magazine, an election of a king and queen, and the inaugural Peel Street Pride Fair. Aussie lads and lasses marched down scenic Fitzroy Street for the 16th annual event that celebrated the courage, solidarity, and sense of community in LGBT individuals in Australia and around the world. 



This breathtakingly beautiful city in British Columbia hosts one of the world's most exciting pride events every year. This year's Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival will take place on July 31. The family-friendly parade features outrageous floats and performers, and the festival, located in gorgeous Sunset Beach park, features hundreds of vendors selling products and providing information on LGBT rights in Canada and around the world. The pride festivities center on Davie Street, the gay village of Vancouver, and there are numerous clubs and bars to go to with hot venues for all types. This year, the Queer Arts Festival will also coincide with Pride, showcasing queer art from a variety of artistic disciplines.



The Queer Azaadi Mumbai event expanded from a single day march to a weeklong celebration this year, featuring drag performances, dance, and live music. Culminating with a parade on January 29, thousands of people took part in the Indian demonstration. The increased participation is in large part due to the growing acceptance of LGBT individuals in India. With the participation of Azad Bazaar, India's first LGBT pride store, this year's successful event hosted exciting events from political panels on issues like same-sex marriage to documentary screenings and open-mic sessions. 



The host of the annual EuroPride this year is the historic Italian city of Rome. EuroPride began in London in 1992, and is a pan-European party hosted by a different city every year. The event lasts for two weeks, and culminates with a parade, live music, special parties, and an AIDS memorial vigil. This year, it will take over Rome from June 1-12. The main parade takes place on June 11. For the duration of the event, the gardens of Piazza Vittorio, one of the largest squares in Rome, will be turned into EuroPride Park, an open space to be used for cultural events.



If you'd like to try something a bit different rather than your average pride parade, head to Amsterdam this summer for the Amsterdam Gay Pride Weekend. The highlight of this Dutch celebration is the famous Canal Parade on Saturday afternoon. Instead of trucks, this demonstration uses 75 beautifully decorated boats that travel through the city's famous canals. Over half a million spectators watch the Canal Parade every year. On Friday night, the streets and avenues of this charming city are filled with outdoor celebrations. Many clubs host dance parties Saturday night, and the Rapido circuit party takes place on Sunday. This year, the Pride Weekend will be held from August 5-7.



In 1990, Johannesburg hosted the first ever gay and lesbian pride parade in Africa. Fewer than 1,000 people took part in the event, and many hid their faces with masks or paper bags out of fear. Today, Joburg Pride has become the largest gay pride on the African continent. On Saturday October 1, the colorful celebration will mark its 22nd birthday with a large parade and a day of festivities at Zoo Lake Sports Club. Outlandish floats, local artists and DJs, and a number of vendors selling goodies and providing information will take part in the event. Use the opportunity to learn more about the pressing issue of LGBT rights in South Africa and across the entire African continent.



The Korea Queer Culture Festival has been held in the capital of South Korea for over a decade now. It is a pride celebration with a strong focus on arts and culture. In addition to an opening party and street parade, the Festival also hosts a film festival and series of lectures on LGBT issues. The annual march is one of the largest LGBT demonstrations in South Korea. Even though this is still a largely conservative country, the Queer Culture Festival has been able to continue through generous support from cultural organizations like the Korean Film Council. If you're interested in Asian LGBT issues, queer culture, or Korean art, you'll definitely want to look into this weeklong event held late May early June.



The bustling capital of Spain is not only a great LGBT-friendly destination, but is also home to Madrid Gay Pride (or Orgullo LGBT), an annual festival that draws massive crowds. This year, the main festival day will be July 2, and will consist of a large Gay Pride Parade followed by an outdoor festival on the scenic Plaza de Espana. Most of the events held during Madrid Gay Pride take place in the Chueca District, the gay village of the city. Infinita Gay Week will also be throwing a number of their popular parties this year from June 30-July 3. The festival usually draws big name performers. Kylie Minogue gave a concert at last year's event.



With 30,000 attendees, the Taiwan Pride Parade broke a number of records last year. The large turnout made the celebration the largest pride parade in Asia, and many LGBT people from neighboring countries took part. This was a far cry from the mere 500 people that participated at the first pride in 2003. The theme of last year's event was "Out & Vote" and demanded better policies toward the gay community from the local government. In addition to the parade, there is a festival focusing on LGBT-themed goods from local organizations. This year, the ninth annual Taiwan Pride Parade will take place at the end of October.



The world's largest celebration for African American LGBT people takes place every year in Atlanta, and this year all the hot, summer action takes place from August 31-September 5. In The Life Atlanta provides support not only for Atlanta's LGBT community but also for black LGBT people across the country. The celebration raises awareness about issues that particularly affect minority LGBT communities and includes a candlelight vigil, gala ball, numerous parties, a marketplace, fashion show, and many workshops. 


The first pride march in Michigan was held 25 years ago in Downtown Detroit. To commemorate this milestone, Equality Michigan is moving the annual Motor City Pride to Hart Plaza in the center of Detroit, and it sounds like it's going to be busier than an assembly line! On June 4 and 5, this prominent location will host family activities, a stage and dance area, and a number of speeches and performances. The weekend also involves a family picnic, golf outing, commitment ceremony, and parade. If you've never been to Detroit, this would be a great time to check it out.


On June 26, it's all about the ladies, as the gayest city in America hosts the 18th Annual San Francisco Dyke March. Of course, guests of every gender are welcome to join in the celebration. Started in 1993, the march now attracts more than 50,000 attendees and just keeps growing. This year's rally will again showcase outstanding artists, critical thinkers, and political activists. Afterward, marchers will take to San Francisco's streets in support of lesbian visibility. So come show some love for the ladies, make some new friends, and party for equality.