Photo Source: https://www.misterbandb.com/gay-events/france/paris/gay-pride
Paris, June 30, 2018. Over 500,000 people from every corner of the planet will crowd the streets of central Paris at the end of June to celebrate gay pride at the 41st Marche de Fierté. It’s a definite be there, or be square event, a French spectacle, and a reason to visit Paris in early summer.
This year’s parade starts at the Place de la Concorde in the heart of Paris at 2 pm, proceeds along the Rue de Rivoli, past the Louvre, through the Châtelet-les-Halles district, and ends up at the Place de la République, where festivities will continue into the night. It will be an all-day event that you can watch from a café or join in anywhere along the route. Gay or straight, all are welcome. It’s a fun, raucous time, and a chance to experience Paris in a whole new way.
Paris is second only to New York in the ranking of Gay Capital of the World. It has a strong LGBTQ community, which includes its long-term mayor, Bertrand Delanoe (2001 – 2014). His legacy and popularity might give one an even deeper appreciation of Paris:
“20 March 2008: Bertrand Delanoë was elected as Paris’ first Socialist mayor in recent times in March 2001. Since then he has survived an assassination attempt, failed to secure the Olympic Games and seen a state of emergency declared when riots engulfed the city’s suburbs. He has also instituted a series of popular cultural initiatives and has never kept his homosexuality a secret. Easily re-elected in March 2008, the mayor has been short-listed for the 2008 World Mayor Award.”
Other legendary gay figures, including James Baldwin, Marcel Proust, Jean Cocteau, Yves Saint Laurent, Gertrude Stein, and Cole Porter, have called Paris home. Gay marriage was legalized only in 2013, so all is not perfect on the gay rights scene in France. However, France has a deeper history of gay rights than most countries beginning in 1791, when gay sex among “consenting adults” was decriminalized. It was the first Western European country to do so.
“We are gay, we are proud, we want legality”
Is Paris truly a gay friendly city?
According to Bryan Pirolli, co-founder of The Gay Locals, an LGBT-friendly tour company that offers tours of Paris, “It’s good to be gay in Paris because no one really cares that much…I never feel like I stand out. It’s historically such a gay mecca, so everyone is used to it and there’s less prejudice.”
Gilles Bry of Paris Gay Village, an association that gathers volunteer members who are involved in promoting LGBT tourism in Paris, says, “Parisians are very open-minded. In Paris like in the rest of France, we don’t have too many problems of homophobia.”
Paris to Host the Gay Games 2018
From August 4 to August 12, 2018, Paris will also be hosting the 10th edition of the Gay Games, ten days of sporting events “open to everyone regardless of the level.”
According to the website for the games, they are expecting 10,000 participants from over 80 countries. The games celebrate “diversity, respect, equality, solidarity and sharing.” https://www.paris2018.com
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité
So, we can say, perhaps that Paris is true to its word, its motto of liberty, equality, brotherhood (and sisterhood), and this is clearly seen at the Marche de Fierté.
The Paris Gay Pride Parade is a great opportunity to be part of the Paris community, so if you’re there, don’t miss it!
Guest Post & Photographs by Seattle travel writer, Mary Kay Seales. Visit her website at: www.marykayseales.com