Pride parade prep guide

By Danielle Simpson-Baker aka The Sexpot Therapist

Pride Month is here, and with it comes one of the most anticipated, most vibrant and most colorful elements of its celebration: the Pride parade! If this is your first time attending a Pride parade, you're in for an unforgettable experience filled with love, laughter, and a sense of community like no other. And we here at HUD want you to have the safest and best time possible, so here's your ultimate guide on what to wear and bring to your first Pride parade!

What to Wear

Embrace the rainbow

You are not obligated to wear rainbow colors BUT Pride parades are all about celebrating diversity and inclusion, and the rainbow flag is the ultimate symbol of this. Incorporate the rainbow into your outfit with a bold rainbow T-shirt, a multicolored skirt, or even just rainbow accessories like bracelets and hats. Don’t be afraid to go all out – this is the perfect occasion to let your true colors shine! (Note: Again, you do not have to wear the rainbow if you don't want to – you are queer enough either way.)

Comfortable footwear

You'll be on your feet a lot, whether you're marching in the parade or just enjoying the festivities. Opt for comfortable shoes like sneakers or sandals that can handle a day of walking and dancing. If you want to add a little spice, look for shoes with colorful designs or glitter.

Weather-appropriate clothing

Check the weather forecast for the day of the parade – if it's going to be hot and sunny, wear light, breathable fabrics like cotton. Don't forget your sunglasses and a hat (and sunscreen!) to protect yourself from the sun. If there's a chance of rain, bring a lightweight, colorful raincoat or poncho.

Express yourself

Pride is all about self-expression and celebrating who you are. Wear something that makes you feel fabulous and confident. This could be a shirt with a bold statement, a dress in your favorite color, or even a costume that represents a part of your identity. Glitter, face paint, and body paint are also great ways to add some sparkle to your look!

What to bring

What’s the vibe (that is, what to expect)

Vibrant atmosphere

Expect a lively, colorful, and joyous atmosphere. Pride parades are a celebration of love, diversity, and acceptance. You’ll see people of all ages, backgrounds, and identities coming together to celebrate.

Crowds and noise

Pride parades are typically crowded and can be quite noisy with music, cheering, and festivities. If you’re sensitive to loud sounds, consider bringing earplugs to make the experience more comfortable.

Performances, floats, and vendors

Enjoy a variety of performances, including music, dancing, and speeches. Parades often feature elaborately decorated floats representing different LGBTQIA+ organizations, businesses, and community groups.

Community spirit

Feel the strong sense of community and support. Pride parades are about coming together to celebrate and advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and connect with the community.

Emotional moments

Be prepared for emotional moments. Pride parades often include tributes and remembrances for LGBTQIA+ individuals who have fought for equality or lost their lives. These moments can be deeply moving and inspiring.

Safety tips

Know your limits

Understand your own tolerance levels when it comes to drinking (and other substances) and stay within them. Don’t feel obligated to go all out if you don’t want to! Listen to your body and take breaks when needed.

Stay hydrated

The sun, drinking, and using other substances is a great combination for dehydration, especially when you add physical activity to the equation. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Buddy system

Stay with friends who can look out for you and vice versa. If you’re feeling unwell or overwhelmed, let someone you trust know immediately.

Carry safe supplies

If you’re using substances, make sure you have safe and clean supplies. Avoid sharing with others to reduce the risk of infections or other health issues.

Be aware of your surroundings

Pride parades can be crowded and overwhelming. Be mindful of your environment and avoid isolated areas. Stay within well-populated and well-lit areas.

Seek medical help if needed

If you or someone you’re with feels unwell or is experiencing a negative reaction, don’t hesitate to seek medical help. There are often medical tents or volunteers at Pride events who can assist.

Respect local laws

Be aware of and respect local laws when you’re out partying. Staying informed can help you avoid any issues (legal or otherwise) and keep your experience positive.

Attending your first Pride parade is an exciting and liberating experience. By wearing something that expresses your true self, bringing the essentials to stay comfortable and safe, and having an idea of what to expect, you’ll be ready to fully enjoy the celebration. Embrace the vibes, connect with the community, and make unforgettable memories. Happy Pride!

Danielle Simpson-Baker is a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern in Florida and a Board Certified Sexologist with the American Board of Sexology. Danielle holds an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy and is currently working toward a dual certificate in Sex Therapy and Education. She also runs a sex-positive Instagram page (@thesexpottherapist) that has amassed more than 23,000 followers since its inception in 2018; with that following, Danielle started a virtual sexual wellness clinic called Sex(pot) Therapy, LLC. Danielle provides sex therapy, coaching, and consulting, as well as a host of sexual wellness products for every person’s needs!

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