Can I go to gay pride if Im straight?

Toronto World Pride
Toronto World Pride. Toronto World Pride

Question: Can I go to gay pride if I’m straight?

Answer: Yes! Gay Pride is a celebration. A party! Everyone is invited! Many cities large and small have pride parades. Like other parades, participants welcome supporters and spectators. What fun would a parade be if no one came to watch? Most gay pride parades are family-friendly, so bring your kids along too. It will be a great way to educate them about the diversity of the world we live in. It can be a great opportunity to have fun with your kids, while also educating them about why sayings such as, "That's so gay!" can be hurtful and harmful. 

And don't think you need to just be a spectator! March along! One of the largest contingents in many pride marches is the Parents Friends and Families of Gays and Lesbians (PFLAG), an organization of friends and families of LGBT who support gay rights. Consider holding a sign that says, “Straight but not Narrow,” or “I love my gay Friends, sister, mother, brother, co-worker… Whatever!” March or show your support from the sidelines.

Lately, some of the biggest contingents in Gay Pride parades are churches and gay-friendly businesses. Anyone who supports LGBT rights is welcome to march along with their company or church as an ally of supporter of gay rights. You might check to see if your company is marching in the gay pride parade. And if not, maybe you can encourage them to do so. 

Gay Pride Festival

Usually in conjunction with the gay pride parade, there is a festival of some kind. You're likely to find some great performers, speakers, comedians, musicians, dancers and more entertaining the crowds who come out to celebrate pride. 

There will likely be an area for LGBT teens and for same-sex parents to play with their young children. Rainbow face-painting is a popular gay pride activity for the kids. 

There might also be an area with booths with everything from information about gay bowling leagues, local legislation affecting the LGBT community, support groups and self-defense. You can also learn about the different organizations in the community that help the LGBT community and maybe even sign up to volunteer at one.

They will likely also be vendors selling everything from gay brownies to rainbow pet collars. You can bring home t-shirts and jewelry, stickers and crafts. You might also find gay-friendly businesses set up to sell you mortgages, insurance, cars and houses. Gay pride in many places is like other community-wide celebrations and festivals.

There may also be other events associated with Pride happening in the city leading up to the parade day. Look for cultural events, like plays or film festivals. There might be fund-raising dinner events, a 5K run or softball tournament. All of these events are likely to be open to the public and a great place for you to have fun, support the LGBT community and maybe learn something you didn't know about the queer community. 

Just like you don't have to be Mexican to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or German to attend an Oktoberfest event, gay pride is a place for you to learn about and celebrate gay culture--even if you're not a part of the LGBT community. 

Go check it out. You’ll probably have a great time!