WorldPride, licensed by InterPride and organized by one of its members, is an event that promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ pride) issues on an international level through parades, festivals and other cultural activities. The inaugural WorldPride was held in Rome in 2000. The host cities are selected by InterPride, an international association of pride coordinators, at its annual general meeting. WorldPride celebrations tend to be the largest LGBTQ Pride events for their year.[a]
WorldPride Rome 2000
At the 16th annual conference of InterPride, held in October 1997 in New York City, InterPride's membership voted to establish the "WorldPride" title and awarded it to the city of Rome, Italy during July 1 to July 9, 2000. The event was put on by the Italian gay rights group Mario Mieli along with InterPride.
Rome officials had promised to put up US$200,000 for the event, however bowing to ferocious opposition from the Vatican and conservative politicians, Rome's leftist mayor, Francesco Rutelli, on May 30, 2000 withdrew logistical and monetary support. Hours after his announcement, Rutelli mostly reversed himself in response to harsh criticism from the left. He restored the funding and promised to help with permits, but declined to back down on a demand that organizers remove the city logo from promotional materials. The event was staunchly opposed by Pope John Paul II and seen as an infringement on the numerous Catholic pilgrims visiting Rome for the Catholic Church's Great Jubilee. Pope John Paul II addressed crowds in St. Peter's Square during WorldPride 2000 stating, in regards to the event, that it was an "offence to the Christian values of a city that is so dear to the hearts of Catholics across the world."
The organisers claimed 250,000 people joined in the march to the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus, two of Rome's most famous ancient sites. It was one of the biggest crowds to gather in Rome for decades. Among the scheduled events were conferences, a fashion show, a large parade, a leather dance, and a concert featuring Gloria Gaynor, The Village People, RuPaul and Geri Halliwell.
WorldPride Jerusalem 2006
The 22nd annual conference of InterPride, held in October 2003 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with over 150 delegates from 51 cities from around the world in attendance, voted to accept the bid of the Jerusalem Open House to host WorldPride 2006 in the Holy City.
The first attempt to hold WorldPride in Jerusalem was in 2005, however it was postponed until 2006 because of tensions arising from Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. It was called “Love Without Borders” as a nod to the many barriers within Israel, and for gays and lesbians in other ways. World Pride was a key project of Jerusalem’s Open House, the city’s gay community centre.
After Jerusalem was selected as the WorldPride 2006 City, the city of Tel Aviv announced that it was cancelling its own annual Pride Weekend in 2006 to make sure that more Israelis attended the main march. As WorldPride started in 2006, the main parade was scheduled for August 6, but was strongly opposed by Israeli religious Orthodox Jews,Muslims and Christian leaders from the outset. However, due to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, Jerusalem's government cancelled the march, saying there were not enough soldiers to protect marchers. A week of events took place as scheduled and included five conferences, a film festival, exhibitions, and literary and political events. The parade was cancelled but the Jerusalem Open House announced that it would hold a parade on November 10 after reaching an agreement with the police and the municipality.
WorldPride London 2012
The 27th annual conference of InterPride, held in October 2008 in Vancouver, Canada, voted to accept the bid of Pride London to host WorldPride 2012 in the capital of the United Kingdom just ahead of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and during the anticipated year-long celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. Pride London planned a parade with floats, a large performance area in Trafalgar Square with street parties in Golden Square and Soho.
However, London's World Pride event was significantly "scaled back" at an emergency all-agencies meeting on 27 June 2012, nine days before the event was due to take place and after the festival fortnight had started. Pride London organisers had failed to secure the funds necessary for contractors of key areas of the work, and they announced that all activities were being cut or cancelled. The London Evening Standard reported that four contractors from the previous year's Pride event were owed £65,000 in unpaid debts, though this has been denied by Pride London. Consequently, the entertainment and stages were all cut, and licence applications for street parties in Soho withdrawn. Instead, the event plans included a Pride Walk (without floats or vehicles), and a scaled-back rally in Trafalgar Square. On 5 July, the Metropolitan Police issued a licence regulations notice to all venues in Soho, reminding them that Pride London had no licence for street events in the Soho area, and therefore venues should treat WorldPride as "any normal day".
Peter Tatchell and former Pride London Associate Director James-J Walsh in an article for PinkNews criticised the management of Pride London's management of World Pride. Tatchell said "Whatever the rights and wrongs, this scaling down of WorldPride is a huge embarrassment for London and for our LGBT community. We promised LGBT people world-wide a fabulous, spectacular event. It now looks like WorldPride in London will go down in history as a damp squib. We’re not only letting down LGBT people in Britain, we’re also betraying the trust and confidence of LGBT people world-wide. This is an absolute disaster." Walsh added "This will mar the work of Pride London for years to come. Pride London has lost the focus of being an LGBT campaigning organisation, instead focusing on partying rather than politics, which is what the community needs when legislation around equal marriage and LGBT rights are still to be won both in the UK and around the world."
Following community pressure, Pride London, a registered charity since 2004, withdrew from organising future Pride events in London. In December 2012 the Mayor of London's Office awarded the contract to Pride in London.
WorldPride Toronto 2014
Pride Toronto, in partnership with the city's tourism agency, Tourism Toronto, submitted a bid to host WorldPride 2014 in Toronto, Canada from June 20 to June 29, 2014. The 28th annual conference of InterPride, held in October 2009 in St. Petersburg, Florida, United States, voted to accept the bid of Pride Toronto to host WorldPride 2014 for the first time in North America. In the first round of voting Toronto won 77 votes to Stockholm's 61. In the second round of voting Stockholm was eliminated and Toronto won 78% of the vote, fulfilling the 2/3 majority needed to finalize the selection process.
WorldPride 2014 festivities included an opening ceremony at Nathan Phillips Square featuring concert performances by Melissa Etheridge, Deborah Cox, Steve Grand and Tom Robinson, an international human rights conference whose attendees included Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Frank Mugisha and Edie Windsor, a gala and awards event, a variety of networking and social events including Canada Day and American Independence Day celebrations and an exhibition commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Three marches occurred over the last three days of the ten-day celebration: the Trans march, the Dyke march, and the WorldPride Parade. Of these marches, the Trans and Dyke marches were more political, while the WorldPride Parade was more celebratory and included floats, musical acts, and dancers. All three marches were the longest of their kind in Canadian history. Over 12,000 people registered to march in the WorldPride parade and over 280 floats took part in the march. The parade lasted over five hours, marking it as one of the longest parades in Toronto's history. The parade's grand marshal was Brent Hawkes, the pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, and Georgian activist Anna Rekhviashvili served as international grand marshal.
There were many free public stages throughout Toronto's Church and Wellesley neighbourhood, featuring drag queen and king shows, burlesque shows, cultural performances, and musical acts including Carly Rae Jepsen, Peaches, Against Me!, Hercules and Love Affair, Chely Wright, Pansy Division, Lydia Lunch, The Nylons, k.d. lang, Carole Pope, Parachute Club, Dragonette and The Cliks. PFLAG sponsored a Pride flag, mounted on a flagpole atop the Churchmouse and Firkin pub, which automatically raised or lowered itself based on the volume of positive or negative commentary about LGBT issues on Twitter, and promoted the hashtag #raisethepride to attendees wishing to help raise the flag.
The event's slogan was "Rise Up". Parachute Club, whose 1983 single "Rise Up" has long been considered a Canadian gay anthem, released a contemporary remix of the song a week before the festivities.
When estimating the potential economic impact of WorldPride for Toronto, Pride Toronto officials said that Pride Week 2009 drew an estimated one million people to Toronto and contributed C$136 million to the city's economy, and stated that they expected WorldPride's impact to be about five times bigger. Results showed that WorldPride brought in C$791 million, nearly six times the 2009 figure.
WorldPride Madrid 2017
In October 2012, InterPride's membership voted at its annual conference in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, to award WorldPride 2017 to the city of Madrid, Spain. The other candidate cities to host the event in 2017 were Berlin and Sydney, but Madrid won unanimously in the voting of more than 80 delegations from around the world.
This celebration in Madrid coincided in time with the 24th Europride, which was hosted for the second time in the Spanish capital (the first one was in 2007). It took place from June 23 to 2 July 2017. The event's slogan was "Whoever you love, Madrid loves you!", and the song chosen as the anthem was "¿A quién le importa?" by Alaska y Dinarama, which was specially adapted for the event with the collaboration of several Spanish popular singers among the LGBT community, including Fangoria – the band of two of the three former members of Alaska y Dinarama –.
WorldPride Madrid 2017 also coincided with two key anniversaries in the history of the LGBT community in Madrid and Spain: the 40th anniversary of the first demonstration in Spain in support of the rights of LGTB people – which took place in Barcelona in 1977 – and the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (FELGTB, from Federación Estatal de Lesbianas, Gays, Transexuales y Bisexuales).
The opening ceremony of the event took place at the Calderón Theatre on Friday, June 23, 2017. Few days later, on Monday, June 26, the Madrid Summit, the International Conference on Human Rights, was inaugurated at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Several cultural events took place in the subsequent days, including the traditional and massive demonstration on July 1, with up to 52 floats going through the 2 kilometers between Atocha (Plaza del Emperador Carlos V) and Plaza de Colón. The WorldPride closing ceremony took place on July 2 at Puerta de Alcalá, giving the baton to New York City for the celebration of WorldPride 2019.
Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019
In 2019, New York and the world celebrated the largest international Pride celebration in history: Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019, produced by Heritage of Pride and commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, with five million spectators attending in Manhattan for Pride weekend alone. The event was held in conjunction with Stonewall 50, a celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising of June 28, 1969, which occurred in New York City's Greenwich Village neighborhood and is widely considered to mark the start of the modern Gay Rights Movement (now more commonly referred to as the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights).
WorldPride Copenhagen 2021
For the first time in history, WorldPride will be hosted by two cities in two countries from 12th-22nd August 2021, Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark and the Swedish neighboring city Malmö in the Øresund Region. The cities are fifteen-minute commute apart. It will be combined with EuroGames and other activities held simultaneously in that same area. The WorldPride event will coincide with two LGBTQ anniversaries: seventy years since the world’s first successful genital reconstructive surgery in Denmark in 1951; and fifty years after Gay Liberation Front’s Danish chapter was founded in 1971.
As of July 2019, three bids are vying to host the 2023 events: Houston, Texas; Sydney, Australia; and Fierté Montréal, from Montreal, Canada. Sydney would be the first Southern Hemisphere destination for WorldPride. InterPride, at their 2019 annual general meeting of three hundred delegate organizations, held in Athens, Greece in October, will decide which city wins the bid.
Fierté Montréal, in researching how Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019 transpired, noted the parade, one of four required components of the bid, was criticized for corporatization, and pinkwashing, where products and companies use the rainbow colors to appeal to LGBTQ consumers. For their events, and bid, they restrict parade participation by enforcing that sixty percent be community and non-corporate groups.
- As of June 2019, New York City’s NYC Pride March is North America’s biggest Pride parade. They had 2.1 million people in 2015, which rose to 2.5 million in 2016. In 2018 attendance was estimated around two million. For Stonewall 50 – WorldPride NYC 2019 up to five million took part over the final weekend. With an estimated four million in attendance at the parade.
São Paulo, Brazil’s event, Parada do Orgulho GLBT de São Paulo, is South America’s largest, and is listed by Guinness World Records as the world’s largest Pride parade starting in 2006 with 2.5 million people. They broke the Guinness record in 2009 with four million attendees. They have kept the title from 2006 to at least 2016. They had five million attend in 2017. As of 2019 it has three to five million each year.
As of June 2019, Spain‘s Madrid Pride, Orgullo Gay de Madrid (MADO), is Europe’s biggest, it had 3.5 million attendees when it hosted WorldPride in 2017.
As of June 2019 the largest LGBTQ events include:
-  Accessed July 3, 2019.
- "Stockholm ansöker om World Pride". Rapport (in Swedish). Sveriges Television. August 6, 2008. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
- "Stockholm förlorade slaget om World Pride". Sveriges Television (in Swedish). October 27, 2008. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
- Stanley, Alessandra (July 9, 2000). "Gay Parade, Opposed by Vatican, Passes Peacefully in Rome". The New York Times. pp. section 1 page 5. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
- Buchanan, Wyatt (July 26, 2006). "Broad opposition to World Pride in Jerusalem". San Francisco Chronicle. pp. A-2. Retrieved August 7, 2009.
- "The World's Biggest Pride Parades". The Active Times. June 4, 2018. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- Passy, Charles. "NYC Pride March Tries New Route to Prepare for Next Year's Event". WSJ. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- Allen, Karma; Katersky, Aaron (July 2, 2019). "Millions more attended WorldPride than expected". ABC News. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- Caspani, Maria; Lavietes, Matthew. "Millions celebrate LGBTQ pride in New York amid global fight for equality: organizers". Reuters. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
- Cannon, Sophie (June 12, 2019). "New York City to unveil largest rainbow pride flag in city's history". New York Post. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
- O’Doherty, Cahir (July 4, 2019). "Irish march at historic World Pride in New York City". IrishCentral.com. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- Lynch, Scott. "Photos: Massive Turnout For Euphoric NYC Pride March: Gothamist". Gothamist. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- Ripardo, SÉRGIO (May 28, 2008). "Guinness exclui recorde da Parada Gay - 28/05/2008". Folha Online. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- Lawler, Opheli Garcia (June 18, 2017). "Brazil Holds World's Largest Pride Parade". The Fader. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- Sheets, Cassie (June 1, 2017). "10 Things You Didn't Know About Pride". Pride.com. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- "Pride 2019: The world's 15 biggest LGBTQ celebrations, from New York to Tel Aviv". USA Today Travel. June 10, 2019. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
- Nomadic Boys (June 11, 2019). "South America's best Pride parades". Lonely Planet. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- Duffy, Nick (February 20, 2019). "Glitter has been banned from Australia's biggest Pride celebration". PinkNews. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- Mohamed, Amarra (June 6, 2019). "Pride in Pictures: Johannesburg's Pride parade is the biggest in Africa & there's a reason why". www.lgbtqnation.com. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- "World". Gay Today. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- "WorldPride holy land: the conflict-heavy center point of three world religions is gearing up for the second global pride festival. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. July 5, 2005. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- "Gay pride triumphs in Rome". BBC News. July 8, 2000.
- "WorldPride 2014 Toronto | June 20-29, 2014". Worldpride.net. November 22, 2012. Archived from the original on November 13, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- "Jerusalem Hosts World Pride | Welcome to the World Congress of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Jewish Organizations". Glbtjews.org. December 5, 2006. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- "WorldPride 2014 Toronto | June 20-29, 2014". Worldpride.net. November 22, 2012. Archived from the original on July 19, 2008. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- "WorldPride 2014 Toronto | June 20-29, 2014". Worldpride.net. November 22, 2012. Archived from the original on June 3, 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- Tom Harper Peter Dominiczak (June 26, 2012). "London's big gay pride party under threat in cash dispute - London - News - London Evening Standard". Standard.co.uk. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- Pride, London. "The show must go on". Pride London Website. Pride London. Archived from the original on August 29, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
- "Police issue license regulations notice to Soho venues | 17-24-30 no to hate crime campaign". 172430notohatecrime.wordpress.com. July 5, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- Gray, Stephen (June 28, 2012). "Pride London funding 'shortfall' sees WorldPride heavily scaled back". PinkNews.co.uk. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
- "Toronto wins bid to host World Pride". Globe and Mail. Canada. October 18, 2009. Archived from the original on April 11, 2005.
- "Rise Up" the theme as WorldPride 2014 arrives. Toronto Star, June 19, 2014.
- "WorldPride: Human Rights Conference reminds pride revellers the struggle continues". Toronto Star, June 26, 2014.
- Trans Pride March held in downtown Toronto. CityNews, June 27, 2014.
- Dyke March draws thousands in ‘Longest Walk’. Toronto Star, June 28, 2014.
- Pride parade caps festivities in annual gay and lesbian festival in Toronto. canada.com, June 29, 2014.
- Toronto pride parade 2014 photos show streets packed with 12,000 marchers and thousands of spectators. National Post, June 29, 2014.
- WorldPride 2014: Massive parade in Toronto caps off pride festivities. CTV Toronto, June 29, 2014.
- "Gay rights leader cherishes his New Brunswick roots". The Telegraph-Journal, June 28, 2014.
- "Georgian activist selected as WorldPride grand marshal". The Globe and Mail, May 16, 2014.
- "The Parachute Club releases remix version of ‘Rise Up’". Toronto Star, June 23, 2014.
- The Cliks turn it on for Pride. NOW, June 22, 2014.
- "PFLAG launches Twitter-activated flag for WorldPride festivities". Global News, June 23, 2014.
- "Tegan and Sara close WorldPride Toronto with a bang". Xtra!, June 30, 2014.
- "Toronto to host World Pride in 2014" Archived October 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. CityNews, October 18, 2009.
- "WorldPride brought big dividends to Toronto, Pride says". Daily Xtra, October 31, 2014.
- "WorldPride Madrid 2017". Madrid Pride. November 21, 2016.
- Littauer, Dan (October 8, 2012). "Madrid to host 2017 World Gay Pride". Gaystarnews.com. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- "Madrid, elegida como sede de la WorldPride 2017". Europapress.es (news agency in Spanish). October 8, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
- "World Pride Madrid 2017". Official website of World Pride Madrid 2017. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
- "'Whoever you love, Madrid loves you', lema y presentación en Nueva York del World Pride". Official website of the Community of Madrid regional government (in Spanish). Retrieved June 29, 2017.
- "'A quién le importa': así suena el himno oficial del World Pride Madrid 2017". laSexta.com (Spanish TV channel) (in Spanish). June 29, 2017. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
- U.S. National Park Service (October 17, 2016). "Civil Rights at Stonewall National Monument". Department of the Interior. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
- "Obama inaugural speech references Stonewall gay-rights riots". Archived from the original on May 30, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
- Copenhagen WorldPride 2021, "About"
- Chauvin, Kelsey (July 1, 2019). "WorldPride's Closing Note of Love". Gay City News. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
- Burnett, Richard (July 9, 2019). "Cost, corporatization: Fierté Montréal preps bid for 2023 WorldPride". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved July 10, 2019.