Pride month is finally here! And the whole month of June is full of fun, liberation, and historical significance. But if you’re tired of the same old parades, marches, bars, beaches, and after parties, you might be feeling the need to explore alternative options. Here are 5 lesser known, lower pressure ways to celebrate Pride month this summer.
1.) Join a Queer Book Club (Or start your own!)
Literature has been a powerful part of queer history since its inception. Sapphic authors, like Eva Kotchever and Radclyffe Hall, were both persecuted for their literary works, which contained overt lesbian themes. For a wonderfully chill and bookish Pride celebration, host a book club to honor one of these infamous queer writers. We suggest Hall’s most controversial novel, The Well of Loneliness, which was the subject of obscenity trials in both the US and UK. You can also join a queer book club, like Sapphic Lit, which is a literary pop-up held in over 55 countries. Sapphic Lit is hosting events all over the globe for Pride month this year, including pop-up bookstores and book swaps. Check out their full list of events here.
2.) Have A Queer Movie Night
Whether you’re looking for a quiet night in with your favorite queer rom-com, or a fun interactive night out with your peers, LGBTQIA+ cinema is a unique way to celebrate Pride this year. Organizations like The Bush Cinema Club, New York City’s Dyke Cinema Club, and Toronto’s Queer Cinema Club host monthly intimate screenings of queer films. The screenings are small, seating only around 50-100 people. They’re sometimes even held in private West Village lofts, or barely known dive bars. The events are usually accompanied by themed refreshments, and the occasional aphrodisiac popcorn. Annual film festivals like the Queer Vision Festival in the UK are also holding screenings of independent queer films all throughout Pride month. Can’t make it to Toronto, New York, or Great Britain? Audience participation isn’t the only way to get involved: you can also donate your time to any local queer-owned cinema organization. You can even hold your own private cinema screenings with your friends, and include some fun treats of your own. Check out volunteer opportunities for The Bush Films here, and check out our list of sapphic movies written by women here!
3.) Go To A Silent Disco
When you’re queer, dancing is a revolutionary act of defiance. Throwing on some Jessie Ware tunes and letting loose is a great way to get down this Pride season. It’s no secret that Disco served as a safe haven for queer individuals, both out and closeted. Disco also provided a platform for queer people of color, something that remains few and far between to this day. But long gone are the days of sweat-stained velour and Studio 54. And because roughly 60% of all LGBTQIA+ individuals experience anxiety, a packed room full of blaring music might be the last place you want to be this Pride. Luckily, there’s a loophole. Silent discos have been cropping up, and they’re a great way to experience a fun night out — without all the overwhelm. For a small fee, attendees rent a pair of headphones with several “music channels” that can be switched over the duration of the party. Most silent disco events are operated by Silent Events. The rental company crafted the multisensory experience as an alternative to the loud, anxiety-inducing environment that clubs and concerts foster. It’s a low pressure way to enjoy cool, queer tunes with friends. You can check out their nation-wide list of upcoming events here.
4.) Start a Riot
Pride wouldn’t exist without riots. The first Pride parade was a riot. If it weren’t for Marsha P. Johnson throwing the first brick at the Stonewall Inn (and the infamous riots that ensued afterwards,) it’s hard to believe that we’d have the agency that we do today. Maybe don’t put yourself in danger of being arrested, but see what local protests or grassroots movements are going on in your area. New York City’s Queer Liberation March would be a great start, as they initially organized to reclaim Pride from corporations by honoring the initial intent of the Stonewall Riots. And if you can’t make it out to the East Coast, QLM offers livestreams of all their events. Additionally, the website pridefinder.com is a marvelous multipurpose resource for finding a myriad of queer events, parties and protests alike. It’s global, and even includes a list of welcoming queer cities across the world. Check out their list of upcoming event pride events for 2023 here.
5.) Support Your Local LGBTQIA+ Historical Site
Museums with queer exhibits, going on LGBTQIA+ historical walks, and speaking with elder queers in your community are all great ways to immerse yourself in the more historical aspects of Pride this summer. There are plenty of amazing museums across the world that are full of rich archival history, like the Leslie-Lohman Museum, nestled in the streets of NYC’s SoHo. The museum houses a small gift shop, a private event space, and a collection that spans over 300 years. But you don’t have to be in the city of the Stonewall Riots to explore the historical significance of the event; There’s a whole museum dedicated to the Stonewall Riots in Fort Lauderdale, of all places. The Stonewall National Museum & Archive was initially a small queer library that has since grown into a museum that hosts movie nights, tours, and fundraisers for the local LGBTQIA+ community. They even have a digital collection if you can’t make it in person. There’s also the ONE Archives in Los Angeles, California, which is known to be “the oldest active LGBTQ organization in the United States,” and hosts the Circa Queer History Festival every pride month. To find a comprehensive list of LGBTQIA+ historical museums across the world, check out this travel list.
Whether it’s supporting queer-owned artists, flipping through a book, or watching a campy queer flick with your friends, we hope you find some informative, eccentric, and innovative ways to honor your LGBTQIA+ community this summer. Don’t be afraid to break tradition!