How Philly and beyond are celebrating Pride Month in person this year

By: - June 13, 2021 6:30 am

By Michele Zipkin

PHILADELPHIA — With COVID-19 cases steadily falling in the Philadelphia area, many Pride events are happening in person this month.

While there won’t be a Pride parade in Philadelphia this year, Philly Pride Presents is planning a Pride festival for the first weekend in September at Penn’s Landing. Since case rates, and subsequently safety protocols, are subject to change, the organizers are playing things by ear.

Until then, there are plenty of options for celebrating Pride in Philadelphia and surrounding areas, both in physical and virtual locations. From drag shows to art exhibits, this year’s local and regional Pride offerings are nothing short of diverse.

While Pride Month is a time of celebration, it is also a time to commemorate and educate oneself about the Stonewall riots and the work that our LGBTQ+ elders, largely trans women of color, have done and continue to do to fight for safety and equal rights.

Various drag shows, ongoing 

There are many ways to enjoy drag this Pride month. Catch queens from the Philly Drag Mafia at two events: drag brunch hosted by Brittany Lynn at the Wayward brasserie on June 13, and at Drag Tea at the Sofitel on June 26. Grab your tickets fast because the first three iterations of the show sold out. Proceeds will go to William Way. Check out Tabu’s resident drag queens at their weekly drag brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and the biweekly competition Cutthroat Queens, hosted by Onyx Ondyx, also at Tabu.

Doylestown Pride June 12-19

This week-long pride celebration includes a drag performance, concerts, outdoor film screenings, an educational event on the Stonewall riots, and community pop-up events. The Rainbow Room will host an outdoor queer youth open mic on June 16, and the Pride Music Party will take place on June 19, featuring performances from Froggy, Lizdelise and Sixteen Jackies. For more info on the event schedule, visit the Doylestown Pride Festival website.

Toms River Pride, June 13 

Hosted by Exit 82 Theatre Company, the 3rd annual New Jersey Pride event will consist of live performances and drag shows, family and partner-oriented activities, educational resources and local business promotions. All events will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a drag show fundraiser set for the evening of June 12. More info and updates can be found on the Toms River Pride Facebook page.

“With the privilege to celebrate comes a reminder that there is still work to be done to make our society more inclusive, like ensuring our transgender and POC brethren are protected and valued,” organizers and Exit 82 Theatre Company founders Billy Cardone and Keely Davenport said in a press release.

Image via The Philadelphia Gay News

Black Girl Magic, June 19

Philly drag queen VinChelle is bringing back Black Girl Magic live at Voyeur this Juneteenth for the first time in over a year. Enjoy performances by veteran and up-and-coming drag queens Sir Donyx, Poochie, Mae Rose, Marcha Pisces, Avery Goodname, Phi’ly Jawn, Mz Peaches, Deej Nutz and Lisa Lisa. Proceeds will benefit the organization COLOURS. For tickets and more information, visit Eventbrite.

Lehigh Valley Pride, August 15

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center will be organizing a Pride event to take place in person this year on August 15. This outdoor event will feature performances by drag queens Kylie Sonique Love and Ariel Versace, as well as musical performances from Erin Mckeown, Crys Matthews and Regina Sayles. In line with the theme of “You are included,” the event will incorporate on-stage ASL interpretation, ADA restrooms and reserved seating for senior-age adults and people with disabilities. Additional information can be found at bradburysullivancenter.org/pride.

Creative Resilient Youth and the Youth Artist Program Art Exhibit, now through June 27 

The youth collective Creative Resilient Youth and the Young Artist Program are hosting their collaborative exhibit  “Roots Before Branches” from June 3-27 at Cherry Street Pier. The exhibit is the pinnacle of the Young Futurist Studies Series, led by Ras Stanford of the mental health collaborative Deep Space Mind 215, where members of CRY and YAP participated in workshops on Afrofuturism, world building and the culture of youth artist activism. The exhibit is free and open to the public Monday to Sunday from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. For more information, visit the Roots Before Branches Facebook page.

Moving Forward When the World Stopped: Queer Life 2020-2021, now through June 30

William Way LGBT Community Center produced this virtual art exhibit that walks viewers through a timeline of events and experiences from the past year. The works, created by 28 Philadelphia-area artists, encompass themes ranging from the hardship of living through the pandemic, how our relationship to technology has transformed and the capacity for communities to endure. Check out the exhibit at waygay.org/.

Cocktails for a Cause, ongoing through June 30 

Several Philadelphia establishments are participating in Cocktails for a Cause to raise money for Attic Youth Center, William Way LGBT Community Center, Philly Asian Queer and GALAEI. Lola’s Garden, Juno, Parks on Tap, Morgan’s Pier, Harper’s Garden, Craft Hall, The Garden at Cherry Street Pier and Rosy’s Taco Bar will participate in this fundraising effort, offering special cocktails that correspond to the colors of the Philadelphia Pride flag, which sports black and brown stripes. For more info, visit phillygaycalendar.com/.

Femme, masc, nonbinary meet-ups hosted by GALAEI  

The QTBIPOC social justice organization GALAEI introduced some new programs lately, so if you need to connect with your fellow femme, masculine or gender nonbinary folks during Pride (or any time), you can do so through TINGS — the organization’s trans, intersex, nonbinary, gender nonconforming services. Members of the org host meetings geared toward those who are femme (Tuesdays except the first Tuesday of the month), trans-masculine (Fridays), intersex (every first Tuesday) and gender nonconforming (every fourth Friday). Info regarding times, registration and access can be found here or on the GALAEI Facebook page.

PrideFLIX; The Virtual Pride Film Festival, now through July 7  

Not ready to venture out into the world yet? Relax and enjoy LGBTQ films from the comfort of your own home through PrideFLIX, an offshoot of the queer film festival qFLIX. The series launched June 1, and consists of documentaries, feature-length and short films. Info about tickets and show times can be found on the PrideFLIX website.

Michele Zipkin is a reporter for the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared

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