While Pride can seem too corporate at times, there are a slew of events — official and unofficial — that attempt to maintain the spirit of the original Stonewall riots, an activist uprising that sparked the modern day LGBTQ civil rights movement.
But with so much happening this WorldPride, it can be difficult to figure out what’s best for you to commit to. So we've rounded-up our picks for you, from museum exhibitions to marches in the street. Here are seven things you can do to resist at this year’s WorldPride in New York City.
Photo: Scott Lynch @scoboco
The Criminal Queerness Festival takes place through July 7 at the IRT Theater. The inaugural festival explores the criminalization of LGBTQ communities in the 70 countries where it is still illegal to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender.
“The Criminal Queerness Festival is the first program of its kind, promoting the stories of LGBTQ playwrights from countries that criminalize same-sex relations,” said National Queer Theater founder and Artistic Director Adam Odsess-Rubin in a statement. “Around the world, we lose so many stories to censorship, violence, and fear. WorldPride is the perfect platform to showcase these artists’ work for a global audience and raise awareness of human rights and freedom of expression.”
This year, the Criminal Queerness Festival will feature the work of four LGBTQ playwrights originating from Egypt, China, Tanzania and Pakistan. Together, these pieces represent the common cause of equality shared by all LGBTQ people, wherever they may reside in the world.
Photo courtesy National Queer Theater
The New York Historical Society is celebrating Stonewall 50 with three socially aware exhibitions. Letting Loose and Fighting Back: LGBTQ Nightlife Before and After Stonewall highlights the ways in which queer nightlife has been critical in shaping LGBTQ identity, building community and developing political awareness. Serving as oases of expression, resilience, and resistance, the exhibition begins with gay bars in the 1950s and continues through the rise of the gay liberation movement and the emergence of LGBTQ clubs as places of community activism.
By the Force of Our Presence: Highlights from the Lesbian Herstory Archives, curated by the Lesbian Herstory Archives Graphics Committee, highlights community-building, organization, and networking within the LGBTQ movement with a focus on the contributions of lesbians and queer women. In addition, a special installation, Say It Loud, Out and Proud: Fifty Years of Pride, features imagery from New York City Pride marches and other LGBTQ protests from the 1960s to the present day, as well as a timeline of milestones and objects from LGBTQ history.
NYC Pride’s annual Rally is being brought back into the streets this year to honor the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. Community activists, organizers, politicians, and more will gather for this free event where no tickets are required.
Announced speaks include Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse Nightclub where 49 LGBTQ people were brutally killed three years ago, and Harnaam Kaur — otherwise known as The Bearded Dame — a body positivity warrior, model and activist.
Not a parade, the NYC Dyke March is returning for the 27th year to the streets of Manhattan. “Thousands of Dykes take the streets each year in celebration of our beautiful and diverse Dyke lives, to highlight the presence of Dykes within our community, and in protest of the discrimination, harassment, and violence we face in schools, on the job, and in our communities,” a statement from the organization reads.
“Any person who identifies as a dyke is welcome to march regardless of gender expression or identity, sex assigned at birth, sexual orientation, race, age, political affiliation, religious identity, ability, class, or immigration status.
The way to flex your acvitist muscle the most during WorldPride is for sure the Queer Liberation March, an event created by the Reclaim Pride Coalition. Organizers have disagreed with the way Heritage of Pride, the organization who runs NYC Pride, produce the annual parade. From over policing to the mass corporatization, these activists are putting their thoughts into action by producing their own alternative march the morning of the main event.
Retracing the steps of the original Christopher Street Liberation Day March of 1970, the group will gather in Sheridan Square, march all the way up 6th Avenue, and end with a rally in Central Park’s Great Lawn. No corporate floats are allowed to participate, and NYPD aren’t welcome to police.