Pride weekend brings Atlanta’s LGBTQ community together to celebrate love and visibility. With one of the biggest public parties happening this weekend, safety is the main priority – a party’s always fun until someone gets hurt. Before attending Pride – or any other festival – here is a list of twelve essential things to “pregame” for safety matters before attending the big festival.

  1. WATER!

With the wonderful sun beaming a nice 100 degrees, don’t even think about leaving the house without a couple of water bottles. Put some water bottles in the fridge a day or two before the event to ensure they’re cold throughout the festival. It’s so not cute to buy a $5 water bottle at Pride when it’s free at home.

  1. Sunscreen (Yes, even for people of color.)

What’s better than showing off war scars after Pride and serving lobster red realness the next day? Skin peeling off and permanent damage sound great, right? Pride consists of walking for miles in the hot sun and planning to walk in it with no protection is a poor choice. Apply sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher at least 15 minutes before heading outside to avoid skin care damage.

  1. Drawstring Bag or Fanny Pack? Your Pick.

Pride brings a number of freebies: condoms, lube, snacks, bracelets, even sex toys. It’ll be very convenient to have a small bag to carry around your goodies. Bringing an extra grocery bag helps tremendously when the freebies are constantly flying at you.

  1. Card Revoked, Cash Only

It may be 2018, but most venues still only accept cash. The line to buy that one hot dog is already out the door, but it’s another story when you get to the cashier after waiting 30 minutes and they say, “Sorry, we only accept cash.” The second problem comes when the line at the ATM takes forever. Try withdrawing cash from the ATM before the festival begins -this will also keep yourself from overspending.

  1. Condoms

“Sex with me so amazing,” but STIs are not! With a buffet of sexual temptation walking around, always bring a condom for protection. You may or may not regret sleeping with that one person, but it’s much more regrettable if you contract a sexual disease. According to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV/AIDS rates in Atlanta are bad as some third-world African countries. The CDC also estimated that one in 51 Georgians will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.

  1. Friendships are Forever

What better way to experience a festival than celebrating with friends? Pride is the perfect opportunity to form memories that will last a lifetime. Friends also provide safety and security in case of over-drinking or walking in shady areas. Golden Girls really meant it when they said, “Thank you for being a friend.”

  1. Category is: Pride Realness

It’s not a competition, but Pride provides the chance to serve looks. Don’t feel pressure to be shirtless or pantless if you’re not comfortable but have fun by putting a little extra effort into your outfit. Dress to slay (but also for comfort).

  1. “What Are Those?!”

Speaking of dressing for comfort, do NOT wear flip-flops. An open toe shoe or slipper will not protect from alcohol slips, pushing crowds, and copious amounts of walking. Drag queens, pack your heels in a bag instead of wearing them. Your shoe game may slay, but a broken ankle won’t.

  1. An Open Mind

Pride brings together the entire LGBTQ umbrella: a wide mixture of genders, sexuality, and races. Everybody wants have fun and express themselves. Try opening yourself up and interacting with people. For allies, remember the reason for the event. Like the Telegraph’s “A Straight Person’s Guide to Gay Pride” mentions, you gotta keep your privilege in check.

  1. Transportation Ready

Have a plan ready on how to get to and from Pride. If driving, be prepared for very long traffic and detours. Once finding a parking space, try to label or mark down where you park in your Notes app. Marta or ride shares, like Uber and Lyft, make transportation easier and safer, especially if you’re planning to drink.

  1. Patience is a Virtue

Though Pride brings the joy and fun, protesters will always try to bring hate. Do NOT touch them. The minute you hit a protester is the minute they press charges. Always stop yourself from committing an action that could cause a legal reaction.

  1. “This Is Me”

There are not many chances for the LGBTQ community to come together and stand proud as one, so be proud of who you are. Show the world how amazing and beautiful you are. Live happy and stay proud. Happy Pride!

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