Love and Authenticity on Display at Philadelphia Pride

Article written by Sabra Anderson on behalf of Global Philadelphia Association

June 10, 2018, marked the 30th anniversary of the Philadelphia Pride Parade and thousands from across the tri-state area came out to celebrate.

The parade began at the heart of the ‘Gayborhood,’ which is the area of the city, located near Washington Square, from Chestnut to Pine Streets between 11th and Broad Street. Gay life and nightlife are centered in this area due to a large concentration of gay- and lesbian-friendly businesses, restaurants and bars. Continuing through Center City and Philadelphia’s Historic District, the parade ended at the Penn’s Landing Festival. 

I rode the train into Philadelphia that morning and, as we grew closer to the city, the passengers boarding colorfully embodied the day's events. Pink and blue cotton candy colored hair, rainbow clothing, neon tutu’s, and vibrant smiles were abundant within my formerly grayscale train car.

Once at 30th Street Station, I met a friend from New Jersey, who had come specifically to experience his first Philly Pride, and it was nearly impossible to get lost on our walk to the Gayborhood with the sea of vibrant, rainbow teenagers leading the way. We had made it just in time to see the parade, and found folks sitting atop trucks, fences, and anything else with elevation to get a clear view or the parade.

We found corporate sponsors on all sides of the parade, who were offering free pride gear embossed with their respective company logos. Johnson & Johnson handed out rainbow sunglasses, beaded necklaces, and rainbow pride flags while TD Bank offered free ponchos for parade spectators once it began to rain.

While the free gear is widely appreciated amongst those participating in Pride, for me, the best part is seeing same-gender couples, transgender folks, and others who identify with the LGBTQ+ or the Queer community, living their lives authentically, freely, all within one space.

Seeing the thousands of people who came out this past weekend to celebrate LGBTQ+ history, love, and community was a reminder that love and personal authenticity are things that all people are entitled to, and we are never truly alone.