Pride Etiquette

Ensuring everyone enjoys Pride

Photo by Chad Isaiah.

In what feels like the blink of an eye, or the turning of a page, Pittsburgh Pride season is upon us!  The yearly event, celebrating the love of and for our shared LGBTQIA+ community, returns as the unofficial start of the Summer Season, with an array of events, musical guest appearances, and a never-ending rainbow as far as the eye can see.

Pittsburgh Pride has been around since 1973, with people coming far and wide to see the annual event and share in the celebratory spirit.  But what about those who have not yet had the privilege to attend?  Or, perhaps this is the first Pride Parade you have ever attended and are anxious to know what to expect?

Have no fear!  At QBurgh, we wanted to ensure that guests, both new and old, understand what is to be expected at Pittsburgh Pride 2024, from the events to how to express yourself in an appropriate manner.  Below, find our guide for how to navigate Pittsburgh Pride 2024, ensuring both you and the community at large have their best Pride yet!

What to Expect at Pride?

The first-ever Pittsburgh Pride was held on June 17th, 1973.  Today, the parade and the events surrounding the main function have grown in scale and splendor.  Visitors can expect a massive parade route downtown along Liberty Avenue, with community groups, organizations, and businesses both large and small both in the parade and at the festival at the Point. Unique among Pride celebrations, Pittsburgh Pride maintains the front of its parade for the community to march in solidarity together, protest-style, in honor of the Stonewall Uprising in 1969 and the first “Pride” parade in 1970 — the Christopher Street Liberation March.

If this is your first trip to Pittsburgh, the city comes alive in the Summer, as it is a very outdoorsy city.  Patrons can expect to see vendors all over town, rainbows on every corner, and musical performances in town and in surrounding neighborhoods.

In addition, many of the local gay bars will be hubs of attraction for all, so it serves as a great meeting place for you and your friends if you all wander off on your own throughout the day.

How to Behave at Pride?

As if this should go without saying – you should have the time of your life at Pittsburgh Pride, but you also need to ensure you are contributing to a safe and welcoming environment for all in attendance.  Pittsburgh Pride is a safe space for all of those celebrating who they truly are and for their loved ones. 

Inclusion is the ultimate feeling most have during their stint with Pride.  Whether you are coming alone or in a massive group, there is an overwhelming sense of love that reverberates throughout the weekend.  Ensure that you are adding to this feeling, and not making anyone feel unwelcomed or worse, not wanted.

This is a time to have as much fun with yourself or your friends, families, or partner(s); just be aware of your surroundings and ensure you are not imposing on someone else’s fun.

How to Treat Others at Pride?

It’s simple – treat others the way in which you want to be treated.  Pride is a hard-won accomplishment for the LGBTQIA+ community, and it is not the time or place to share any unwanted views with the masses. 

This is a big day for many in the community, with many not having a safe space for themselves, so these members anxiously await Pride in order to be a part of something larger than themselves.  However, Pride is also unfortunately a time when harassment from outside groups could reach an all time high. If you see a counter-protester spewing their bigotry, ignore them — do not engage — they want to steal your attention away from the festivities. Don’t give them the pleasure.

It goes without saying (yes, I am talking to you straights) – just don’t be a jerk.

Express Yourself.

Like Madonna says, express yourself!  Pride is a time to celebrate you, and all of the fabulousness that comes with being you; dress however you want, as outlandish or as tame as you’d like – there are no written rules for this.

It should be noted, as in my case I was not aware, that it does get rather hot during Pride weekend, so that should be your only inclination into what you should, or should not wear during the weekend — and don’t forget your sunscreen.

Historically, Pride events center around rainbow colors (as you will see many, many rainbows at Pride); yet, other symbolic colors and flag motifs will also be showcased.  From Target’s Pride Collection to leather harnesses and Drag, there will be every subgroup within our community on display, with a major sense of Pittsburgh Pride.

The Number 1 Rule

Above everything else, enjoy yourself. Celebrate your authentic self and have pride in who you are, who you love, and who you are meant to be.

A transplant from NYC, Aaron always had a passion for helping and supporting the community in any way that he can.  Aaron hopes to bring to Central Outreach a sense of fun and laughter, but also compassion and empathy for all that are in need.