June is here in all its rainbow-hued glory, which means it’s the start of another vibrant Pride Month. While you’re getting ready to celebrate your identity and your community, it’s the perfect time to check in with our brothers, sisters, and non-identifying family members scattered across the globe to see what Pride Month means to them and the historical background that brought them where they are today.
From 1788 to 1944, sodomy laws existed in Australia, and it wasn’t until roughly 1949 that the punishment for sodomy was reduced from execution to 20 years in prison. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1976 by the Australian Capital Territory, albeit reluctantly. While ACT passed same-sex marriage legalization in 2013, the High Court blocked it.
Late last year, same-sex marriage became legal in Australia, making this year’s Midsumma Pride March all the more reason to celebrate. The festivities will engulf St. Kilda’s Fitzroy Street, and there’s even a wedding on the schedule this year in Catani Gardens.
New Zealand decriminalized sex between men in 1986, and since then, the island country has developed a reputation of being accepting of the LGBTQ community. This is evidenced by the fact that members of the community are part of the country’s Parliament, and the New Zealand Human Rights Act safeguards gay rights.
Something unique about Pride in New Zealand’s Auckland is that they have a gala, an event where attendees have the opportunity to dress up in their Pride Sunday best. From cabaret and burlesque performers, dance-theatre, and comedians to musical performances and vocalists, there’s truly something for every color of the rainbow. Oh, and did I mention that Pride lasts two weeks in New Zealand?
It’s an unfortunate fact that Africa doesn’t have a great reputation when it comes to LGBTQ rights. As of 2015, homosexuality is outlawed in 30 African countries. There are even places such as Sudan and northern Nigeria where a person can be killed for being gay. Thankfully, it’s a much different story in South Africa, where homosexuality has been decriminalized and same-sex marriage is legal.
OUTReach Africa hosts Cape Town Pride Festival, and the event recognizes not just the LGBTQ community, but also those who are non-binary, queer, asexual, and polysexual, as well as those who are disabled and able-bodied.
In 2015, same-sex marriages were legally recognized in Shibuya, and roughly half the adults in Japan, especially those in their 20s and 30s, support gay marriage, as of 2015. In regard to being part of the LGBTQ community in Japan, it’s a mixed bag. There’s a reported lack of awareness that other sexualities exist, and some remark that their parents are more accepting of other queer people than they are of their own queer daughters or sons.
This year’s Tokyo Rainbow Pride was held in Yoyogi Park over the Golden Week weekend. The parade swept over Harajuku and Shibuya, where attendees lit up the streets dressed in colorful, creative attire and flair.
After the riots at Stonewall Inn, Spain was left out of the swath of demonstrations dusting up around the world due to the Franco regime at the time blocking the spread of the news in the country. It wasn’t until 1977 that Spain organized a demonstration of its own. Since then, the country has become known as one of the most welcoming of the LGBTQ community.
Time your visit to Spain right and you’ll have no shortage of Pride events to indulge in, from Gay Pride in Madrid and Barcelona to the women-only festivities at Ibiza’s Velvet and ARN Culture Pride in Tenerife.
Those who’d rather celebrate Pride in cooler temperatures might consider heading to Antarctica. This year, the frigid research hub will celebrate its very first Pride at McMurdo Station. The juxtaposition of chromatic rainbow flags with icebergs, snow, and penguins should be quite a sight to behold. One can’t help but wonder what the costumes will look like.
Guyana held the nation’s first Pride parade ever last weekend. The event went peacefully, but it’s worth reflecting how special Guyana Pride is. After all, Guyana is the only remaining country in South America to keep homosexuality a criminal act. That ban is dependent on laws that stretch back to the antiquated Colonial era. No wonder sources say gay people in the South American country still face rampant discrimination. That’s why the June 2 demonstration is seen as such a message of hope. In a dazzling display of courage and openness, hundreds of Guyana LGBTQ citizens marched through Georgetown, protesting for an end to discrimination.
On May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia, the nation-state of Fiji had its first ever Pride parade. The country, situated in the south region of the Pacific Ocean, consists of 900,000 people. Homosexuality is currently legal under the constitution; the country became the second nation in the world to formally allow it, after South Africa legalized it in 1994. But discrimination is still widespread within the larger island community. Law enforcement provided a 50-strong escort for the parade marchers. According to reports, public reception to the marchers was largely positive as well.
Iceland is a particularly tolerant country, where the LGBTQ community is concerned. So it’s no surprise that the capital city of Reykjavik has a standout Pride every year — it attracts a third of the country’s 350,000 people. But even the smaller sections of the island country are doing their part to promote acceptance. The eastern Iceland town of Seyðisfjörður has received positive media attention for their recently debuted path of rainbow bricks. Queer Parade Seyðisfjörður was born, and area businesses joined in, helping town members to paint the collection of bricks. (The event this year takes place on August 12. )
There can never be an exhaustive list of Pride events. Even in cities where Pride cannot go public, there are countless people privately commemorating Stonewall, and all that came from it. This year, as you celebrate, remember your neighbors in the good fight — both here, and abroad.