With WorldPride happening in New York City this year for the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, there are a gazillion events to spend your time and money at. Obviously, both of those are limited, so we’ve rounded up some of the best picks for you to commit to. You’re not going to be able to be everywhere at once, but if you stake your claim at some of these places, we’re sure you’re going to be happy you took our advice.
From theater happenings to fundraisers, to boat parties to sex parties, there’s something here for everyone.
For the dancing queen:
Pre-game Pride Island Day 2 and brush up on your Madge on board a party boat that takes you around the island of Manhattan. DJs Ty Sunderland and RuPaul’s Drag Race season 10 winner Aquaria help you express yourself to the music of the Queen of Pop all night long.
Horse Meat Disco is one of the best regular parties happening in New York. With a bevy of sweaty shirtless dudes grinding to the classic disco beats of yesterday, this is a great way to kick off your WorldPride weekend. Just don’t go too hard. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
The iconic Webster Hall is hosting some of the best WorldPride events this year after just reopening a few weeks ago. Ty Sunderland is bringing his brand of inclusive pop music raging to the space, for a rave that is sure to be dotted with queer celebs and full of lots of top 40 bangers you want to twerk to.
Our favorite Sunday tea dance is returning for one day only, for a very special Pride edition sky high on top of the The Standard in the Meatpacking. The cute boys of Occupy the Disco return to the turntables to
Not only is Madonna making an appearance by belting out a few of her greatest hits, but the DJs lined up for this event are simply the best in the business. Legends Abel and Morabito are teaming up to play this once in a lifetime experience, culminating our queer history on the piers of New York City. Sold out, but if you really want to be there, you’ll find a way.
Sure, it’s in East Williamsburg far away from the rest of NYC Pride, but this is where some of the hottest trade will be – especially trade visiting from out of town. The ticket price is steep, but this will for sure be one of the greatest opportunities to find a stranger for a one night affair that make your WorldPride experience the most memorable ever.
Meanwhile in Manhattan, our good friends over at TenzMag are helping throw a day rager that is sure to be full of lots of hot tricks and turns. Produced by Yamil X and Louie G, the party is taking over the Copacabana in the heart of the city and steps away from Hell’s Kitchen. There will be all types of music to make you move, plus exotic dancers and bottle specials to get you turned up.
For the activist:
Relive that Carrie Bradshaw wedding fiasco by stepping into the New York Public Library for the Stonewall 50: Love & Resistance Exhibition. This exhibition, ongoing until July 13, illustrates this history through the photographs of Kay Tobin Lahusen and Diana Davies, two pioneering photojournalists, who captured the pivotal events of this era and changed the ways us queer people perceived ouselves. Featured alongside these images are other items from the Library’s vast archival holdings in LGBTQ history, including ephemera, periodicals and much more.
This exhibition ongoing throughout the summer at the New York Historical Society highlights the ways in which nightlife has been critical in shaping LGBTQ identity, building community, developing political awareness, and fostering genres of creative expression that have influenced popular culture worldwide. Serving as oases of expression, resilience, and resistance, LGBTQ bars, clubs, and nightlife spaces were hard-won in the face of policing, unfavorable public policies, and Mafia control. The exhibition begins with gay bars in the 1950s and 1960s continues through the rise of the gay liberation movement and the emergence of LGBTQ clubs as places of community activism.
10. Queer in the City: A Celebration of Stonewall 50 and World Pride – June 19th
Support the work the National LGBTQ Task Force, an organization fighting for the freedoms of LGBTQ people at the government level, and come out for their annual NYC Pride fundraiser at Nowhere Bar.
NYC Pride’s Human Rights Conference is a gathering of activists, artists, educators, journalists, policymakers, students and others engaged in LGBTQIA+ human rights around the world. This two-day conference provides a unique opportunity for a global dialogue about human rights, ranging from performances to presentations, politics to policies, and activism to academics.
Probably the most activist thing you could do during WorldPride is the Queer Liberation March, a march created by the Reclaim Pride Coalition who has had an issue with the way Heritage of Pride runs NYC Pride for a few years. Retracing the steps of the original Christopher Street Liberation Day March of 1970, the group will gather in Sheridan Square, march all the way up 6th Avenue, and end with a rally in Central Park’s Great Lawn. No corporate floats are allowed to participate, and NYPD aren’t welcome to police.
And while many are frustrated with the corporatization of Pride (it’s not cheap bringing together millions of people, you know), the official march is still the best way to celebrate. Whether you’re strutting down 5th avenue or on the sidelines cheering it roll by, it’s exciting to see so many people – LGBTQ or otherwise – gather and acknowledge the long road we have had to travel to get to where we are today. This year’s grand marshals — the cast of Pose, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, the Gay Liberation Front and The Trevor Project — are just as diverse as the people marching.
For the music lover:
Ladyfag’s queer music festival is returning to the Brooklyn Mirage for two days this year. Honey Dijon headlines Friday, with Gossip headlining the second day. Other acts we’re excited for are Mykki Blanco, Allie X, Pussy Riot, DJ Katie Rex and RuPaul’s Drag Race season 11 winner Yvie Oddly.
Grace Jones is headlining. That’s it. That’s the description.
Let your true colors shine bright when singer and LGBTQ advocate Cyndi Lauper takes the stage to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall with a performance at the We Party Pride Festival at the Jacob Javits Center. The event will also feature Beyoncé choreographer Chris Grant and performers from STOMP as the opening acts. Proceeds from the event will benefit LGBTQ+ charities, including the Stonewall Gives Back Initiative and LIFEBeat.
“I’m really excited about doing this special set for LIFEbeat at the We Party WorldPride event,” Lauper said in a statement. “Let’s have some fun and rip the roof off the Javits Center together!”
If you’re bummed you didn’t snatch Pride Island Day 2 tickets when they were being sold, don’t fret. NYC Pride has created another opportunity for our community to close out the month long celebration with a bang in Times Square of all places, featuring musical performances by incredible queer talent like Melissa Etheridge, MNEK and Jake Shears, with ally Deborah Cox. Madonna who?
For the ball diva:
Inspired by the 80s ball scene in New York City — which was made iconic by the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning— there’s a thriving Northern Vogue ball scene flourishing across the pond in Manchester, UK.
This electrifying documentary celebrates the personal and political stories behind the thriving scene, and how we seek aspirational outlets, safe spaces, respect, and visibility in the face of marginalization. Meet the House Mothers and members who go to battle on the runway, all the while exploring personal and political issues. But no matter who takes the crown, Deep In Vogue reminds us of the inherent joy within the freedom to express oneself fully. And turn some stunning looks while doing so.
House of Yes, Qween Beat and MeanRed present a special pride edition of House of Vogue with MikeQ and special guests.
The Latex Ball is returning for the 29th year, and this year they are paying homage to the abundant amount of “legends, icons, stars, statements and spectators lost due to AIDS, transphobia, and other challenges” that plague our community. They will pay homage to those we will never forget, by celebrating them through the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s most successful exhibition ever, Heavenly Bodies.
For the ladies who like ladies:
“Thousands of Dykes take the streets each year in celebration of our beautiful and diverse Dyke lives, to highlight the presence of Dykes within our community, and in protest of the discrimination, harassment, and violence we face in schools, on the job, and in our communities,” a statement from the organization reads.
“Any person who identifies as a dyke is welcome to march regardless of gender expression or identity, sex assigned at birth, sexual orientation, race, age, political affiliation, religious identity, ability, class, or immigration status.”
This party isn’t just for ladies, but as one of the most inclusive official NYC Pride parties it was first and foremost created for the women in our community. But everyone is welcomed, as this is one of the most radically inclusive parties on the schedule for WorldPride.
For the drag queen lover:
Don’t be a drag, just be a queen! No literally. Hang out with some of New York’s hottest drag queens as they celebrate WorldPride at The James New York in NoMad and raise money for the Stonewall Community Foundation. Watch drag makeovers happen in real time as six guests are given the full drag illusion by the NYC queens.
Wig is a fascinating documentary that explores the origins and the influence of the historic Wigstock drag festival through rich archival footage, as well as provides a look into the contemporary drag movement that the festival served as a foundation for. Wig is a celebration of New York drag culture, and those personalities and performances that contribute to the ways we understand queerness, art and identity. With Lady Bunny, Charlene Incarnate, Flotilla DeBarge, Kevin Aviance, Neil Patrick Harris, Willam, Linda Simpson, Naomi Smalls and Tabboo! VIP pre-screening reception before from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, with a question and answer portion after.
This is one of the most charged queer experiences to grace the calendar of WorldPride. Gathering in the historic park of Tompkins Square Park, where Lady Bunny’s Wigstock was invented, a gaggle of gender fucked queens and kings sashay their way to Stonewall during rush hour on a Friday. From full beat mugs to chest hair poking out of the cleavage of a thrift store sun dress, all types of drag are welcomed and encouraged during this parade of radical free expression.
Everyone’s favorite Trixie and Katya host this “Looks & Laughs” show during WorldPride. They are joined by Asia O’Hara, Naomi Smalls, Kim Chi and crowned queens Aquaria, Violet Chachki and newly crowned winner Yvie Oddly! Ohh… and randomly Icona Pop will be there to give you a special performance. So random but gay as fuck so count us in!
Broadway’s Peppermint is bringing a new one-woman show to The Gramercy Theater, that will be featuring a full live band and special guest Cazwell. The RuPaul’s Drag Race alum is sure to delight and dazzle audiences, just in time for WorldPride.
For the theater buff:
13 Fruitcakes depicts the story of Orlando, a fictional character, who inspires and encourages people to start fighting against social injustice and oppression by telling them stories about great gay ancestors, highlighting 13 noteworthy LGBTQ figures and their impact throughout history: from Eleanor Roosevelt to Hans Christian Andersen to Alan Turing to Leonardo da Vinci. The production cast is comprised of Korean actors – including ‘More’ Zimin, the most prominent drag performer in Korea (pictured above).
The Criminal Queerness Festival, an official WorldPride partner event, takes place June 13 to July 7 at the IRT Theater. The inaugural festival explores the criminalization of LGBTQ communities in the 70 countries where it is still illegal to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, and/or transgender.
“The Criminal Queerness Festival is the first program of its kind, promoting the stories of LGBTQ playwrights from countries that criminalize same-sex relations,” said National Queer Theater founder and Artistic Director Adam Odsess-Rubin in a statement. “Around the world, we lose so many stories to censorship, violence, and fear. WorldPride is the perfect platform to showcase these artists’ work for a global audience and raise awareness of human rights and freedom of expression.”
This year, the Criminal Queerness Festival will feature the work of four LGBTQ playwrights originating from Egypt, China, Tanzania and Pakistan. Together, these pieces represent the common cause of equality shared by all LGBTQ people, wherever they may reside in the world.
Hilarious actor Drew Droege is bringing his new one man show Happy Birthday Doug to the Soho Playhouse for a special one-night only performance. Coinciding with WorldPride, the show profiles Doug who is turning 41. He’s visited by friends, nightmares, a few exes, and even a ghost. Imagine a gay Christmas Carol/ modern day exorcism set in a wine bar in Silverlake. Welcome to the party!
For the sexual deviant:
Harder is an underground dance party for everyone no matter what your age, gender, sexuality, or fetishes may be. The only rule is to treat everyone with respect. There will also be a very special performance by drag monster CHRISTEENE.
Jake Resnicow and Alan Piccus are bringing that Berghain flavor with this monthly party, that does attract a sexy crowd that get into some pretty hot and heavy antics on the floor and in the dark room. We’re sure that with WorldPride happening, the crowd will be more pumped and full of fresher faces than ever before. Invest in the VIP so you have access to the dark room area behind the stage. Trust us, it’s worth it.
NYC Inferno is a monthly sex party for queer friends, fuck buddies and lovers of all kinds. This is an inclusive queer party that welcomes all genders of people, including trans-people. On the night before the Queer Liberation March, there is a very special bonus Inferno celebrating the reissue of Larry Mitchell and Ned Asta’s extraordinary homo-fable-manifesto The Faggots & Their Friends Between Revolutions which explores queer resistance and solidarity. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for location.
Alexander Kacala is a commentator on LGBTQ culture. A contributing reporter at NBC Out and The Advocate, Kacala hosts his own queer pop culture podcast, The Fayme Report. You can follow him on Instagram here.