The last weekend of June 2019 marks a significant milestone in LGBTQ history: the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. To commemorate this momentous anniversary, Heritage of Pride brings the WorldPride celebration to New York City. Millions of local residents and countless visitors from all over the globe will enjoy hundreds of parties, concerts, cultural events, and special programming.
“As millions of LGBTQIA+ folks from across the world make their pilgrimage to WorldPride 2019 and the commemoration of Stonewall 50, New York City will display its Pride like never before,” said Chris Frederick, Executive Director of NYC Pride. “The entire month of June, and this day in particular, will be a celebration of everything the LGBTQIA+ community stands for.”
And while we revel, we will remember. As the WorldPride organizers so aptly put it, “Our movement started with a moment.”
The Stonewall Inn occupies a brick building in the heart of Greenwich Village and is now a designated national monument because of what took place a half century ago. On June 28, 1969, Stonewall patrons confronted police and rebelled during an early morning raid. Thirteen people were arrested. Such raids were typical of the intimidation that queer people endured at the time, regardless of where they dared to gather and socialize. However, this sudden rebellion against police harassment was anything but typical.
The uprising reportedly began after Stormé DeLarverie resisted a police officer who tried to arrest her the night before. After the rioting started, self-identified drag queen Marsha P. Johnson and close friend Sylvia Rivera arrived to the scene. Rivera, who became a prominent transgender activist, is quoted on the WorldPride website as having said, “I remember when someone threw a Molotov cocktail, I thought, ‘My god, the revolution is here. The revolution is finally here!’” The courageous spirit that these activists set free that summer night was indomitable, and it sparked the modern gay rights movement.
Today, even in the wake of many important civil rights victories, including same-sex marriage, that fighting spirit is still alive and thriving in our community. Recent setbacks at the hands of the Trump administration and the U.S. Supreme Court have shown us that we need to keep fighting.
This year, our movement is excited to celebrate 50 years of pride and heroic activism with an unprecedented number of events, many of which commemorate and celebrate historical moments as well as the gamechangers of our present and future.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to share the story of Stonewall and what happened in 1969,” said Stacy Lentz, co-owner of The Stonewall Inn and CEO of The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative. “It is also a once in lifetime chance to raise funds and awareness for LGBTQ issues and our community. We need to remind people that what started at Stonewall 50 years ago is not over until we have full global equality.”
In 1970, one year after the Stonewall Uprising, New York City held its first-ever gay pride march. For the past five decades, there have been LGBTQ Pride celebrations all over the globe to honor that brave precedent of visibility, solidarity, and dignity. Now, the celebration returns to the city where it all began.
With the appropriate catchphrase “millions of moments of Pride,” WorldPride has inspired an entire month of official, unofficial, and satellite events in all five boroughs of NYC. From politically charged rallies to festive parties and conferences, there will be a plethora of free and ticketed events produced by NYC Pride and their official partners across the city. An unparalleled number of attendees are expected for these events, so gather your crew and make plans now if you haven’t already.
Official WorldPride events begin in early June. See the landmark art initiative launched by NYC Pride for WorldPride | Stonewall 50, The World Mural Project, on view all month throughout the city. Among the confirmed locations are spots in the East Village and the Lower East Side in Manhattan, Astoria Boulevard in Queens, and Staten Island’s Port Richmond Avenue.
On June 2, it’s time for Westchester Pride in White Plains, which is a designated WorldPride event this year. So, naturally they’re going all out with top-notch entertainment. At the free, all-day festival, just outside the city, you’ll enjoy special performances by Yuhua Hamasaki of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “Pose” choreographer Twiggy Pucci Garcon, and the stars of “Broadway Sings for Pride.”
Criminal Queerness Festival kicks off with “Drowning in Cairo” by Adam Ashraf Elsayighon on June 13 and showcases highly acclaimed LGBTQ plays from all over the globe. The festival stretches into early July with thought-provoking plays and unique queer theater experiences at IRT Theater on Christopher Street.
From June 17-19, NYC Pride’s OutCinema, in partnership with NewFest and the SVA Theatre, celebrates the LGBTQ experience, community, and pride on film with three days of curated screenings, Q&As, and open bar after parties. A VIP pre-screening reception happens on Monday evening, when you can enjoy hors d’oeuvre, drinks, and networking with industry professionals and film buffs.
Bring the whole fam on June 21 for Family Movie Night, an outdoor cinematic evening (hosted by Miss Richfield 1981) that lets you and your loved ones laze under the summer sky and city lights. The movie will be kid-friendly and this event is free, but if you’re looking for a VIP experience, that’s available too. And for the first time ever, there will be an array of info tables and vendors. NYC Pride is inviting nonprofits and small businesses to exhibit during Family Movie Night.
Queer cosplayers will rejoice at Cosplay & Pride on June 22 at Pier 40. NYC Pride is bringing back their popular cosplay event in partnership with the creators of FlameCon, the LGBTQ nonprofit Geeks OUT, and renowned party cruisers SeaTea. Work on your costumes and get ready to slay.
Magic Hour Rooftop Bar and Lounge at Moxy Times Square is the setting for the much-anticipated Pride Luminaries Brunch on June 23. Dress “brunch chic” and help to honor entrepreneurs, business and political leaders, industry insiders, and other movers and shakers who have impacted LGBTQ equality in the workplace. Luminary Award recipients will be announced soon. The drinks, food, and conversation are sure to be flowing, thanks to a four-hour unlimited open bar and a scrumptious brunch buffet.
The two-day Human Rights Conference held at New York Law School on June 24-25 will bring together artists, activists, educators, students, journalists, policymakers, and others who are working toward achieving and protecting LGBTQ human rights worldwide. British model and body positivity activist Harnaam Kaur, aka The Bearded Dame, will appear as one of the speakers for the conference. Tickets include breakfast, lunch, and coffee break networking throughout the day.
On the evening of June 24, foodies will be in heaven at Pier 97 for Garden Party, the signature summer fundraiser of The Center and the official kick-off of WorldPride. Sample distinctive culinary fare from chefs and a variety of top-notch restaurant partners. The sun setting over the Hudson River provides the perfect backdrop for mingling, dancing, and celebrating Pride.
Don’t miss Levity & Justice for All at PlayStation Theater on June 25, the comedy extravaganza benefiting Project LPAC, a nonprofit dedicated to LBTQ women’s civic engagement.
“We’re thrilled to up the ante even more for Levity & Justice 2019, with the El-Salomons hosting a new raft of comedians including Gloria Bigelow, Sydnee Washington, Emma Willmann, Ana Fabrega, and Gina Yashere, and with Beth Malone giving a special music performance,” said Stephanie Sandberg, executive director of LPAC. “Hosting it at the PlayStation Theater means attendees can have a drink, catch up with friends and for those buying VIP tickets, hobnob with the talent at receptions right at the venue. All proceeds will go to LPAC’s new non-profit, Project LPAC, which will provide the first original research on LGBTQ women and political engagemtent. Finally, as the only official WorldPride | Stonewall 50 entertainment event just for queer women, this is a not-miss event…”
The same night, NYC Pride’s GameChangers, in partnership with GLAAD and SVA Theatre, will hold an exciting panel discussion with our community leaders who have changed the game in the entertainment industry. A curated Q&A and networking reception follow. Details on the panel speakers and moderator will be announced.
On June 26, the WorldPride Opening Ceremony—formatted as a benefit concert—will take place at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center with ticket sales supporting Ali Forney Center, Immigration Equality, and SAGE. Actor, comedian, author, and television personality Whoopi Goldberg will host the ceremony, which will include a range of highly acclaimed speakers and performers, such as Cyndi Lauper, Chaka Khan, Ciara, Billy Porter, and Todrick Hall. And that’s just the beginning; more talent announcements will be released in the weeks ahead.
In a statement, Goldberg expressed her excitement about hosting the event. “I’ve been a longtime advocate of the LGBTQIA+ community and this year marks a pivotal moment within our storied history and fight for equality,” said Goldberg. “Hosting a WorldPride event is an honor and I am delighted be a part of the Opening Ceremony in June.”
Lauper also released a statement about her upcoming appearance. “I am thrilled to be a part of the WorldPride Opening Ceremony,” said Lauper. “I can’t wait to celebrate with my LGBTQIA+ friends and family from across the world.”
Get your Pride Weekend started on June 28 at The Rally: Stonewall 50 Commemoration at the place where it all began in Greenwich Village. The first NYC Pride Rally took place in 1969, a month after Stonewall, when 500 people held a “Gay Power” demonstration in Washington Square Park, followed by a candlelight vigil in Sheridan Square. Five decades later, we will continue to gather, fight for our rights, and make our voices heard. Join community leaders, politicians, activists and others to celebrate and honor the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.
Also on June 28, it’s time for Savor Pride, brought to you by NYC Pride & God’s Love We Deliver. Queer and ally chefs will create a special bill of fare to tantalize your taste buds, served on the outdoor terrace of GLWD’s headquarters. Enjoy cooking demonstrations, discussions, mingling, and delicious bites to nosh on.
That evening at Watermark Bar on South Street, Henrietta Hudson is officially partnering with WorldPride | Stonewall 50 to bring you the queerest party of the season: Pride Soup! Queer on the Pier. Hosted by Rain Dove and Devin-Norelle, with a performance by Laith Ashley, the hot DJ lineup includes Amber Valentine (The Woods), Mary Mac (Madonna’s tour DJ), and Average Jo (Henrietta Hudson). The first five VIP packages are guaranteed exclusive, reserved chaise lounge seating at the water’s edge. Get ready to party!
Youth Pride, NYC Pride’s free event for teens, takes over Central Park’s SummerStage in the afternoon on June 28. DJ Nhandi will pump the beats while Deetranada is set to perform. Attendees can also enjoy fun games and interactive experiences.
At Pier 97, it’s Pride Island Saturday featuring headliner Grace Jones, along with Teyana Taylor, Pabllo Vittar, and Kim Petras. DJ Johnny Dynell will be on the decks. Rounding out this impressive list of entertainers is Afro-Latina pop sensation Amara La Negra.
A favorite for your gay boy friends, the VIP Rooftop Party, at The Park, is one of NYC Pride’s biggest fundraisers, with music mixes by DJ GRIND, DJ Toy Armada, DJ Ben Baker, and DJ Kitty Glitter.
Also on June 28, this year’s thrilling Teaze is a unique partnership between NYC Pride and dapperQ bringing you an inclusive WorldPride | Stonewall 50 bash at The DL. NYC Pride’s Teaze presented by T-Mobile is an inclusive LGBTQIA+ party celebrating our diverse community. At this year’s TEAZE, you’ll get to experience five of NYC’s best year-round queer parties all under one roof for WorldPride. Partners include: bklyn boihood; TRUUU; Set It Off; Rose Gold and Yellow Jackets Collective. Madame Gandhi will be headlining.
At Watermark Bar, Henrietta Hudson is officially partnering with WorldPride | Stonewall 50 to bring you Siren, one of the hottest women’s parties, with over 2,000 LGBTQIA+ friends and allies! Co-hosted by Crissa Ace (Harlem Globetrotters) and Kiyomi Valentine (“The Real L Word”), there will be a performance by singing sensation Mindy Jones and a nationally renowned DJ lineup: Whitney Day, MO, and Tatiana.
On Pride Sunday, June 30, five Grand Marshals will lead the world’s biggest LGBTQ Pride celebration, the NYC Pride March. The event will be led by the cast of “Pose,” Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Gay Liberation Front, The Trevor Project and Monica Helms. Marchers and floats will step off at noon on Fifth Avenue and 26th Street, while the action is free to view from the sidelines.
“As we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, it is fitting that we will march down Fifth Avenue, past the Stonewall Inn and through the neighborhoods of Greenwich Village and Chelsea, cradles of the modern LGBTQ civil rights movement,” said NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “The first March, held in 1970, has become an annual tradition—not only as a huge demonstration of visibility and solidarity, but also as a celebration of our lives and our community.”
The revelry continues at NYC Pride’s annual LGBTQ+ street festival, PrideFest, which is free and open to the public. There is also a VIP option for guests looking for a premium experience. This will be a memorable day of over-the-top fun with vendors, exhibitors, entertainers, activities, and people-watching. Princess Nokia will headline this year’s celebration, while Lauren Jauregui and The Veronicas are also set to perform.
Pride Island Sunday will heat up Pier 97, featuring star-studded music performances. Legendary New York DJs Abel and Morabito will spin classic hits and progressive, tech/house-influenced sounds.
Femme Fatale at The Park is an exclusive indoor / outdoor party with two dance floors and multiple rooms. It’s NYC Pride’s official Sunday Women’s event where you can eat, drink, dance, and mingle with more than 1,000 women from all over the country! The amazing DJ lineup includes celebrity Coachella DJ Kittens, Madonna’s tour DJ Mary Mac, and Miami’s Bonnie Beats, and faves Nikki Lions and Lena. Femme Fatale is produced in partnership with Lovergirl NYC, Cynthia Russo, Stacy Lentz of Stonewall, and SPICE NYC.
“Once again, I am honored and extremely proud to be a part of Femme Fatale WorldPride 2019! We promise that the energy, music, venue and vibe will be surpassed only by all of the beautiful women who will be attending from all over the world!” said Russo.
Come to Times Square for the final official celebration: the WorldPride Closing Ceremony. The evening will offer a full roster of influential speakers and superstar entertainers. One of the renowned artists scheduled to take the stage is none other than lesbian icon and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge. Jake Shears and MNEK will also perform. Cast members of the new Broadway musical comedy The Prom will also lend their voices to the evening’s entertainment.
With all of the commemorative activities to honor Stonewall’s 50th anniversary, you may be wondering what’s going on at The Stonewall Inn itself. The answer is: plenty!
“[During] the week of Pride, we will be packed with events and the outside in front of Stonewall will be shut down with various events over Pride weekend,” Lentz said. “On May 29, we will also be hosting our annual Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative Pride Reception at the bar, with guest speakers, celebrities, influencers, and others.”
The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGBI) is “a nonprofit charitable organization inspired by the struggles and ideals of the LGBTQ rights movement born from the Stonewall Uprising.” The organization, led by Lentz, has recently forged many exciting partnerships.
“We have partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue to create a Stonewall collection for Pride,” Lentz said. “The collection will be sold at Saks stores in New York, Beverly Hills, and San Francisco as well as on Saks.com. Some of the designers who participated are Stella McCartney and Christian Louboutin. We will also be taking over the Saks main windows for the last two weeks in June to show various items from the collection and photos from the riots. They have guaranteed a $100,000 donation for the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative.”
“We also have partnered with the Yankees and the New York City Department of Education to create the Yankees Stonewall Scholarship initiative,” she continued. “We will be announcing the winners, one from each borough, who will receive $10,000 to the college of their choice on May 22 at the bar. We will give out the checks to the students on the field at the Yankees game on June 25.”
And the Stonewall Inn IPA, brewed by Brooklyn Brewery to support the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative, will be going global.
According to Lentz, “All Shake Shack locations, Yankee Stadium, and the JetBlue terminal bars at JFK are just a few places where you can get a beer and drink for a cause.”
In addition, Stolichnaya has partnered with the organization to create a Spirit of Stonewall Stoli bottle that tells the history of Stonewall and will be sold across the country. Stoli is also donating $50,000 to the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative.
Want to get involved behind the scenes at WorldPride this summer? Volunteer! If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, go to nycpride.org/volunteer. For all WorldPride events, volunteers must be 18 or older. Volunteers for Pride Island, VIP Rooftop Party, Teaze, or Femme Fatale must be 21 or older.
This Pride season, with the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, there are five decades of history to commemorate and celebrate. For the first time ever, WorldPride will be held in the United States—and New Yorkers definitely know how to host a party. This year’s festivities are expected to be the biggest-ever international LGBTQ Pride celebration. Be here and be queer! For all the latest info on amazing WorldPride events 2019-worldpride-stonewall50.
Last but not least, some unofficial yet noteworthy events for the community this Pride season include the following:
New-York Historical Society has mounted a major retrospective to commemorate five decades of activism with Stonewall 50, with two exhibitions and an installation on view all summer until late September. On display are ephemera and memorabilia from the modern gay rights movement spanning from the 1960s to the present. In addition, there will be related public programs for all ages.
On Saturday, June 29, the WE Pride Massive Main Event takes over the Javits Center with superstar DJs, a special live performance by Cyndi Lauper, and more talent to be revealed. Event producer Jake Resnicow tells GO, “The 50th anniversary of Stonewall will bring millions of people from all over the world to New York this Pride. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate our progress while working towards a better future. I’m especially honored to be producing The Main Event at the Javits Center on June 29 with the iconic Cyndi Lauper performing live, all benefiting LifeBeat and Stonewall Gives Back Initiative.”
Set for a Netflix film adaptation, “The Prom,” nominated for seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, follows a teenage lesbian couple in Indiana who try to attend their high school prom together.
“‘The Prom’ is thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to participate in the World Pride Closing Ceremony and bring the incredible story of this new musical to Times Square for a special performance,” Jane Dubin, the show’s producer, tells GO. “We’re so excited that this story of acceptance and love uniting a community is so impactful for so many people. We hope ‘The Prom’ inspires others with this message!”
For even more epic Pride festivities, check out the hundreds of parties and events in GO’s jam-packed listing section.