An international student’s guide to Pride

pride 2022
Pride 2022 marks a return to in-person parades and events, marking a month-long celebration that's long overdue. Source: Nikolay Doychinov/AFP

The month of June signals new beginnings. From the start of summertime to marking the end of slavery in the US, the sixth month of the year brings many changes that have led to the progression and advancement of our society as we know it. 

Pride 2022 is bringing forth an extra layer of excitement on this front. What began as a singular march in 1970s New York City has evolved into a month-long celebration across many corners of the globe in support of the LGBTQ+ rights movement.

Now, after close to two years of virtual programmes, in-person Pride events are returning in droves, bringing forth more support than ever from brands, influencers, universities, and industries alike. Many of these are set to take place in the last few weeks of June or at the beginning of July, with some going on into August. 

If you’re an international student in countries such as Canada, Australia or even the UK, you might find yourself in or near a city that celebrates Pride. Pride Parades are notorious for being loud, joyous and colourful events, bringing together people of all identities, sexualities and ethnicities into one space.

Whether you identify as queer or an ally, everyone is free to take part in Pride 2022 and all the parades and parties that come with it — though, if you’re a first-timer, you might be wondering what to expect. Here’s a brief look through some common questions you might be asking in anticipation of Pride 2022:

A participant at the annual Pride Parade in Sofia, Bulgaria this June. Source: Nikolay Doychinov/AFP

Where will Pride 2022 be held?

Apart from the usual suspects — capital and other major cities — you can expect Pride Parades to crop up along many locations across major higher education countries. Almost every city in the US is hosting a parade this year, and global Pride events encompass Brussels, Tel Aviv, São Paulo, among others.

While every Pride event differs, you can generally expect an exuberant city-wide march along major landmarks and roads. The New York Pride route, for example, passes through the Stonewall National Monument — the first LGBTQ national monument constructed for the Stonewall Riots — and New York City AIDS Memorial.

The London route will begin in Hyde Park, where the first post-march picnic took place in 1972, and cross into famous landmarks such as Piccadilly Circus, Haymarket and Trafalgar Square. 

If the city you’re in or planning to travel to is hosting a Pride Parade, you should be able to find details on meet-up points and routes online. 

What actually happens during a Pride Parade?

Aside from marching along landmarks and places significant to the LGBTQ+ community, you can expect a host of other exciting things at any Pride Parade. At Pride 2022, you’re likely to see colourful floats, performances by local and major artists, booths, and more. Some cities are even hosting festivals for Pride-goers after the parade ends.

At its core, though, Pride is about the celebration of all identities and orientations — and this is embodied through a loud, vibrant crowd doing exactly that. Expect to see people in colourful costumes and clothes, carrying flags, blasting music and, most of all, having fun. 

Information on Pride 2022 in your city should be readily available online — make sure to do your research beforehand so you don’t miss out on any particular performances, pop-ups, or appearances. 

A Pride float in Los Angeles, California. Source: Tommaso Boddi/AFP

What should I wear/bring to Pride?

It’s completely up to you. Pride Parades act as a space for you to express yourself in whichever way you please, and there are no hard and fast rules or particular dress codes you should abide by.

Some Pride-goers choose to carry a flag they identify with, or don glittery face paint and signs. Either way, you should feel free to wear and bring whatever you want. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll likely spend long hours on your feet in the hot summer sun, so you might want to pick an outfit that’s suitable for the weather and the amount of time you plan to spend out. Here are some general tips for having a comfortable, stress-free day:

  • Wear cooling, summer-appropriate clothing
  • If your outfit is warm, pack some light clothing to change into
  • Wear comfortable shoes or sneakers
  • Bring your wallet and ID
  • Carry a backpack or hands-free bag 
  • Bring a pair of sunglasses, a cap and sunscreen 
  • Pack a water bottle and snacks to eat along the way
  • Bring a portable charger for your phone

You can still attend Pride if you aren’t “out” or comfortable showcasing your identity/orientation. Source: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Can I still celebrate Pride if I’m not “out”?

Of course you can. Pride 2022 is a celebration of queerness in all forms, and while it may seem like everyone who attends is “out and proud”, not everyone is comfortable showcasing this to the world. You’re guaranteed to find just as many Pride-goers who are content to observe or celebrate without any particular signifiers to their orientation or identity. 

Remember that Pride is a safe space — which means you should feel free to express yourself in whichever way you feel comfortable. You’re just as welcome if you’re not comfortable coming out or are unsure what you identify as. 

If you don’t identify as LGBTQ+, you’re just as welcome — but make sure to be respectful of the space, people, and events occurring around you.