Auckland's Pride festival is underway and, controversy aside, it's a wonderful way to celebrate New Zealand's diversity. Pride events take place around the world throughout the year — here are few worth experiencing, writes Jane Jurgens.
Billed as Asia's biggest LGBTQ+ event, the
is held every October, with more than 80,000 people attending the four-day event. The liberal-leaning capital of Taiwan has a thriving gay scene, with more than 25 gay bars, shops and restaurants in the Red House district of the city. The parade takes place on the last Saturday of October, starting from Kaidagelan Blvd and moving through the streets of Taipei for two hours. Afterwards, local celebrities perform to show their support for the cause as the parade turns into a party. In addition to the parade, there are plenty of afterparties and special events to enjoy, as well as a Rainbow Market.
Where to stay:
The W Hotel in the central business district is the place to stay during Pride — because you won't have to go far for the gay rooftop pool parties hosted by the hotel during the celebrations.
San Francisco Pride
San Francisco is a city that's always been known for its thriving LGTBQ+ scene — so as you'd expect, it throws a Pride celebration that's worth travelling for. This year's theme is "Generations of Resistance", celebrating the hard-fought battles for liberation with a distinctly political slant. As it's one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ parades in the world, visitors will be taking part in history as they join the march through the heart of San Francisco — last year, an estimated 50,000 people took part. The weekend-long festival includes a VIP party at City Hall, as well as all-day celebrations at the Civic Center Plaza.
Where to stay:
is partnering with a number of hotels, including Parc 55 San Francisco, Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Joie de Vivre hotels, San Francisco Marriott Marquis and the Hotel Whitcomb. You'll want to book early, as rooms are sure to fill up quickly.
Tel Aviv Pride Week
This Israeli city is proudly gay-friendly and its annual Pride festival is considered one of the best parties of the year. Taking place over a week in June, the city comes alive with vibrant colours and beautiful people for the festivities. Me'ir Park hosts a large fair, with music performances, drag shows and speeches, but it's the annual parade that's not to be missed. It ends at Tel Aviv's Charles Clore beach, with a massive party that rages from 3pm until the morning. Throughout the week, there's a huge variety of parties, meet-ups and other events to enjoy.
Where to stay: Book a room at the Hilton Tel Aviv and you'll be right above Tel Aviv's semi-offical gay beach, Hilton Beach. Or to be close to the Pride beach party action at Charles Clore Park, check into the InterContinental David
Pride in London
With a two-week festival culminating in a huge parade through central London, Pride in London is the longest running pride festival in the UK, attracting an estimated one million visitors to the city. One of the festival's biggest events is Pride's Got Talent, a talent competition that is open to everyone, irrespective of gender, gender history, sexuality, disability or ethnicity. Contestants can take part in either the popular music or caberet categories, and as always, it's bound to be an amazing show. Most of the events have yet to be announced but you can expect awesome afterparties and a number of alternative off-shoot events, from raves to protests and debates.
Where to stay: Partner hotels for Pride in London include The May Fair hotel, near Buckingham Palace, Edwardian Hotels London and the LaLiT London.
World Pride NYC
This year, New York marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising — a riot which sparked the modern gay liberation movement — and is appropriately hosting the world's largest gay pride celebration. World Pride is held in a different host city every year, celebrating the LGBTQ community on an international level. With a theme of "Defiantly Different", three million people are expected to attend this year's NYC event, over the 30 days of the festival. There will be more than 50 events to enjoy, including a three-day cultural experience called Pride Island, where music and community take centre stage. The line-up is yet to be announced, but previous headliners have included Cher, Ariana Grande, Kylie Minogue and Janet Jackson. Events you won't want to miss include a PrideFest street party, a rally to celebrate the Stonewall Uprising, an ice hockey tournament, and of course, the famous Pride Parade. New York is hugely popular for tourists throughout the Northern Hemisphere summer months, so book early to avoid missing out on flights and accommodation.
Where to stay:
The Arlo SoHo and Arlo NoMad are both WorldPride 2019 partners, and a great option for a stay during the festival. At the forefront of the "micro room" trend, the rooms are small, but smartly designed — why spend a lot on a room when you're going to be out partying anyway?
The Berlin Pride Celebration, technically called Christopher Street Day — in homage to the Stonewall Riots — is one of the largest pride events in Europe. As a city with a rich queer history, Berlin's LGBTQ+ scene comes out in force to celebrate every July. First held in 1979, the festival has grown to attract up to half a million people for the parade. With no shortage of music and dancing, the parade route starts at Kurfurstendamm and Joachimsthaler Strasse and ends with a final rally at the Brandenburg Gate. This year's motto is "My Body, My Identity, My Life" — so get out there and celebrate freedom and human rights.
Where to stay:
The Axel Hotel is a popular gay hotel in the Schoneberg district, known for being "hetero-friendly", but unabashedly queer. You're sure to feel right at home here.
● Auckland Pride runs until February 17.