Lifestyle & Culture

Somewhere over the rainbow: Dispatches’ 2018 list of Europe’s top LGBTQIA+ events

June is Pride Month around the world, a celebration of the triumphs against the struggles faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Agender et al (+). If you’re in Europe at this time (and throughout the summer), you’re in for some of the biggest LGBTQIA+ celebrations around.

The continent has been at the forefront of LGBTQIA+ rights for a while, from the legalization of gay marriage in the Netherlands in 2001, to transgender people in Denmark, Ireland, Malta, Norway and (soon) Portugal given the right to self-declare who they truly are without the need for any medical intervention.

Thus, we present to you a sampling of all things Pride occurring all over Europe in 2018. We still have a ways to go before things are as they should be, but for a brief moment, joy and silver linings are the order of the day.

And always remember: we got here because of a revolution at the Stonewall Inn in New York in the summer of 1969, capped off by African-American gay activist and transgender woman Marsha P. Johnson when she threw a shot glass at the already-torched bar screaming “I got my civil rights!” at the thin blue line of the New York Police Department.

Amsterdam – Pride Amsterdam: The Netherlands became the first nation in the world to grant the right of full marriage to same-sex couples, throwing open the doors to a whole new world 1 April 2001. Before and since then, of course, the nation has been one of the more progressive leaders in LGBTQIA+ rights, from the time of Napoleon to the current age of gender identity and expression.

Thus, if you’re in Amsterdam from 28 July through 5 August, you’ll experience this aspect of Dutch culture at Pride Amsterdam. From the PrideWalk and the grand opening of the week-long festival to the closing ceremony of the Canal Parade and Closing Concert, there’s plenty to see and do: dance parties, art exhibits, film screenings, athletics, and so much more.

Berlin – CSD Berlin: Also known as Berlin Pride, Christopher Street Day Berlin—named in honor of the street where the Stonewall Inn is located—has flown the flag high and proud for 39 years, when the day was celebrated among 400.

For the 40th edition on 28 July, the motto of CSD Berlin is “My Body, My Identity, My Life!” Expect hundreds if not thousands of LGBTQIA+ and their supporters marching from the Ku’damm to the Brandenburg Gate in two groups: one for walking groups and “silent” vehicles, one for technovikings dancing to the big “bassy” beats of the “big bassy trucks.”

The end of the route will have “lots of stalls, several stages and a diverse programme mixing culture, politics and music.”

Copenhagen – Copenhagen Pride: The biggest LGBTQIA+ pride festival in Denmark, Copenhagen Pride, returns for the 23rd edition 13 through 19 August. The colorful festival boasts a wide programme of events, concerts, films, shopping, and more, culminating with a parade from Frederiksberg Town Hall to Copenhagen City Hall Square.

Gothenburg and Stockholm – EuroPride: After a break in 2017 for Madrid’s hosting of WorldPride, EuroPride returns in 2018 with a first-time double-shot of pan-European LGBTQIA+ pride in Gothenburg and Stockholm, Sweden. The theme for the three-week-long festival, set for 27 July through 19 August, is “Two Cities, One Festival – for a United Europe.”

The festivities start in Stockholm, “famous for its closeness to nature, booming tech-scene, gender-fluid fashion, colorful LGBT community and the Nobel prize,” then picks back up after a 10-day break in Gothenburg, which is set to occur alongside the biggest cultural festival in all of Scandinavia, Kulturkalast. No matter where you are, expect lots of music, parades, seminars, and various activities and events.

London – Pride in London: A few Pride events start later this month or further into the summer. Not Pride in London. The month-long festival starts 9 June and runs through 7 July this year.

Pride in London is the United Kingdom’s largest LGBTQIA+ Pride gathering, whose mission is to provide a platform “for every part of London’s LGBT+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, questioning, intersex, non-binary, asexual, polysexual, genderqueer and gender variant people) to raise awareness of LGBT+ issues and campaign for the freedoms that will allow them to live their lives on a genuinely equal footing.”

Cinema, art exhibitions, athletic and artistic competitions, theatre, debates and talks, and, of course, the closing parade… what more can you ask for at Pride in London?

Paris – Marche des Fiertés LGBT: Is a month of Pride too much? A week? Why not spend a day with Paris’ LGBTQIA+ community 30 June for the annual Marche des Fiertés LGBT.

The theme for this year’s pride parade and one-day festival is « Les discriminations au tapis, dans le sport comme dans nos vies ! », addressing LGBTQIA+ discrimination and human rights in sports—like the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups in Russia and Qatar, respectively—and in life itself.

And speaking of athletics, Paris is also the host for the 10th edition of the Gay Games, a multi-sport event held every four years since the first edition back in 1982. Nearly 10,000 participants from over 8 countries will make Paris their home for 10 days, competing in 36 sports.

Riga – Baltic Pride: Organized by LGBTQIA+ groups in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in 2007, the annual Baltic Pride rotates between the three capitals of the Baltic states every year: Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn. The annual festival has since become “a symbol of Baltic strength and unity by inspiring bigger and more powerful Pride marches and empowering the LGBT community across the three countries.”

The 10th edition of Baltic Pride returns to its first home of Riga, Latvia for the fourth time 4 through 10 June, though it actually started with the first of 100 events on 3 March of this year—almost 100 days ago as of this writing—in honor of the Baltic states celebrating their centenary of existence.

Vienna – Vienna Pride: In 2019, Vienna will host the annual EuroPride pan-European Pride festival. For now through 16 June, though, you’ll happen upon the annual Vienna Pride, which is being held has a two-week festival for the first time.

Another first? The 5k Pride Run Vienna will charge from the starting line 9 June on the Prater Hauptallee, at the same time as the Pride Fest. There’s also a Pride Beach Day on the Danube, the opening of the Pride Village 12 June, and of course, the big Rainbow Parade to close it all out 16 June.

Zurich – Zurich Pride: Starting 8 June and continuing through 16 June, Zurich Pride will bring the rainbow to the Swiss cross with tonnes of events leading to the big weekend festival 15 and 16 June.

As for the festival itself, expect lots of parties, stage shows, and a big street parade, all under this year’s theme of “Same Love – Same Rights,” all in Zurich’s Kasernenareal.

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