Last year was my first Pride and I had no idea what to expect. It seemed like a rainbow whirlwind that I was going to get swept up in, spun around, and dropped without even realizing what happened. But I was determined to make it a Pride to remember.
I am not a person to half-ass something, so I was in the effing parade. That’s right, ya girl came out and then got herself to the front of the GO Mag float. I do not mess around. While I was dancing and waving at the millions of people that we were passing, I simultaneously felt like the most special individual alive and also like I was a part of an enormous, united, loving community. Person after person, street after street, I saw people celebrating themselves, and celebrating each other. I wanted to spend every moment of my life riding on the float and the high of Pride.
As I’m gearing up for Pride again this year, as the ~seasoned lesbian~ that I am, I look back fondly on my first experience some dozen months ago. This year, NYC is hosting WorldPride 2019 | Stonewall 50 so this year’s Pride is a pretty big f*ckin deal. So, If I may, I would like to extend some advice to the sweet baby dykes who are gearing up to follow in my footsteps, as well as the millions that came before me.
1. Take Care Of Yourself!
First of all, WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN. You will be outside basking in the glory of the gays as well as the sun for several hours. Having a post-Pride peel is not cute. Similarly, dress for the weather and make sure you’re hydrated and well-fed. Being hungry or thirsty or sweaty or any level of uncomfortable will totally ruin the experience. Plus, the day usually runs into the night as well, so if you’re not keeping your body happy, no amount of gay excitement will be able to help you bounce back from that. It may seem weird that I’m reminding you to eat and drink water and do basic human necessities, but it’s so easy to get caught up in everything that it’s possible that you could forget that you haven’t gone to the bathroom in nine hours. It’s a lot.
2. Before You Leave The House, Add One More Rainbow
Coco Chanel said that you should take off one accessory before you leave the house, but this right here is the opposite energy. When you are getting ready, you may feel a little silly with the amount of rainbow, but trust me, if you play it cool, you’ll see everyone else and wish you cranked that shit up to 100. This is the one excuse other than Halloween that you can look so absolutely ridiculous, and you *still* won’t be have the most ridiculous outfit. That’s the whole point! Use your outfit to express the overwhelming joy and excitement that you feel in your heart. The opportunity to be this level of flamboyant and obnoxious only comes once a year; paint your face rainbow, wear a rainbow bodysuit, rock a shirt that says “I AM A HUGE DYKE AND I EAT PUSSY FOR BREAKFAST.” Where else are you gonna wear that shirt? Work? Your parents house? On a date? Actually, that last one is not a bad idea…
3. Take A Look Around You
First, take pictures. Take pictures of your outfit, your friends, the scenery, the funny signs you see, a kissy pic with your boo, your favorite float (GO Mag, duh), the celebrities, everything you want to remember. But, I have found the best way to have memories is to experience them. I don’t need a Nobel Peace Prize for that concept but I will accept it. Tell your crew to shut up for a second and just look around you. There are hundreds of thousands of people who, in one way or another, share the same experience that you do. There aren’t many other experiences that you will have in your lifetime that involves the unity of so many people at once.
4. Check Out Other Events Besides The Parade
While the parade gets all the hype it deserves, Pride isn’t limited to just that day; it’s a whole month long celebration! There are local events, family nights, and nightlife ~activities~ all over the place. I got the chance to work at a couple of the Pride events that were more family-oriented, and it was so special to see gay parents and/or gay children waving their rainbow flags and supporting each other in a way that “typical” families would never understand. Additionally, one of my favorite memories of Pride is going out to Hot Rabbit’s Priday party, which is held the Friday before Pride. I spent the whole month hyped up for the parade that when it finally got to the weekend of the parade, it felt like it was never going to come. But going to that party was the perfect way to release any anxiety I was feeling about attending my first pride while dancing the night away with incredible queer people who were just as excited for the weekend as I was. Take some time to look for other Pride events in your area (psst, GO Mag’s Ultimate Guide to NYC Pride Month and Party Event Guide is also out on the streets now).
5. Remember Why We Celebrate Pride
To me, Pride is first and foremost about celebrating love: love for yourself and love for whoever you damn well please. However, this celebration is not just about ourselves. The reason we can celebrate so freely is because of the strong, powerful queer people who came before us: the rioters at Stonewall, the couples who held hands in public when being gay could get you arrested or beaten, and anyone who asserted in any capacity that LGBTQ+ people deserve the same respect and recognition as cishets. While you are reveling, take a moment to remember how lucky you are to be doing so.
Enjoy your first Pride my little baby gays! Look for me; I’ll be the one wearing rainbow.