Rosemary / New York, NY / 2018

My first Pride. I went with some queer friends I met on Tumblr in 2010, who have since become long lasting IRL friends. Watching the parade itself was the most joyous celebration I have ever been a part of. There is nothing better than singing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” with thousands of strangers on the streets of the city.

Liz Sullivan and Tara Trakin / San Francisco, CA / 2018

I’ll never forget turning the corner to see Dolores Park and seeing it packed to the edges with happy, sweaty, sparkly queer folks. We found a tiny spot on the lawn and spent the next several hours grinning like fools and looking around in awe. It wasn’t my first Pride, but it was my first after coming out, and it was our first Pride together as a couple.

Laura Saladin / New York, NY / 2018

There’s no big, sweeping emotional story to accompany this photo. This was just the first Pride I was able to properly celebrate. I had been out for a while, but my schedule always got in the way (work, travel, heartbreak, etc.). So after a whole month of chasing the perfect Pride event, we finally found it: a party at an AirBnB on Christopher & Gay St. the day of NYC Pride Parade. We were happy, we felt hot, and we partied a little too hard for a Sunday. This is my favorite photo of the day. Pictured: Caroline (rainbow jeans), Kelly (kissing her), Mae (cutie with the orange cup), and me (so happy I couldn’t keep still) having the literal gayest time.

Kylie / Los Angeles, CA / 2018

This was at the Our House party the Thursday evening of LA Pride weekend 2018. I got there early with friends so I could get excellent photos of me before I drank too many vodka sodas but hung out with some of my favorite queer friends all night long. I yelled to my friend Alex “TAKE MY PICTURE!!!!” and struck a pose, which ended up becoming one of my favorite photos of me. I have always been unapologetic but this is a photo of me that is truly peak me: at a queer event, wearing my favorite Wildfang button up and old Pin jacket (RIP), just being myself with my friends.

Linnea / Guerneville, CA / 2017

That’s me on the left, and my wife Sara! Notice we are each sporting our gayest threads— me in the t-shirt I got at the SF Giants Gay Day, and Sara repping Fun Home! This was a special Pride because 1) I grew up in Guerneville, but never went to Pride as a closeted Christian kid and 2) Guerneville is basically a gay resort town year-round, and is chock full of queer history! I love this picture because of these reasons— and it was a gorgeous day, we were surrounded by community, and relaxing under redwood trees. Pure bliss!

Barb Morrison / New York, NY / 1990

L to R: Lee Baron, Hopey Rock, Barb Morrison, Amy Hausman and Julie Taylor

The five of us have been friends for almost 30 years. The year this photo was taken, we were yelled at and spit at by Christians protesting the parade in front of Saint Patrick’ Cathedral. At the time, I don’t think any of us could have imagined that same-sex marriage would ever be legalized or that we might someday hear a Obama say the words “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender” in a speech that would go into every American’s living room. We will continue to fight for equality and until then none of us can rest.

Emily (and Jeanne) / San Francisco, CA / 2016

This is so important because it was two weeks after two of my friends were among the 49 killed at Pulse and I made a last minute decision to fly across the country to celebrate Pride with a girl I met on OKCupid. It was excellent to be surrounded by that much love and support on the other side of the country especially when people found out Pulse was my home bar. It was also my first Dyke March which was so powerful. Jeanne and I are still together, about to celebrate three years in a long distance Florida to Oregon relationship!

Tierney / Chicago, IL / 2018

Completely by accident, my wife Jillian and I managed to plan our wedding in Chicago last year to be the day before Chicago Pride! Our friend Noa suggested we attend in our wedding attire, which we thought was the best idea ever -—so we did! We headed to Pride after a post-wedding brunch with a loving contingent of family and friends, to watch and walk alongside the parade. As we walked, we were stopped by several other queer couples, who asked us if we had just gotten married, and shared that they were getting married soon too, which was absolutely beautiful! It was the perfect way to end our fantastically gay wedding weekend.

Casey / Toronto, ON / 2009

This was my first really big Pride festival, and it’s actually still the biggest one I’ve ever been to. Like many of us, all of the old Pride photos have my ex in them, and this photo is no exception. Kelly was my first real long-term girlfriend and you can tell we had been out late partying the night before this photo was taken cause we look all sleepy. You can read my interview with her on Autostraddle if you’re an A+ member!

Alexis / Washington, D.C. / 2017

I went to Honey Groove festival and only took one picture and that’s only thanks to Rayceen Pendarvis asking me to after I got my ticket checked through. I went straight after my hell job, like took buses and trains instead of going home and just being thankful I wasn’t at work because I NEEDED to see Big Freedia and Be Steadwell live and I damn near lost my mind at this place. This isn’t the “official” Pride in DC and I could never go to that because I refuse to be the one chocolate chip that gets lost in the sea of vanilla ice cream. At Honey Groove, it’s predominantly black and there are few places I’ve ever felt so seen and safe and at home. And bless everyone for just letting me be obviously and absolutely enthralled by their presence. I didn’t go last year because of hell job but nothing is gonna stop me this year. I think I fell in love with at least fourteen people every thirty minutes. It was one of the best days of my life.

Liz Knarr / San Francisco, CA / 2017

This was the first time my best friend Analyssa and I went to SF Pride (and my first Pride ever!) We spent most of the time drinking and hanging out with other gays in Dolores Park, and Analyssa got too stoned to go out to Mango. She abandoned ship, but I persevered and danced my socks off all evening! It was a perfect first Pride.

Vicky / Madrid, Spain / 2017

In 2017 World Pride was in Madrid!! The first picture is me playing drums with my all-female, “straight-friendly” (aka hella gay) batucada in the parade, and the second photo is with my girlfriend partying afterwards. I was super proud to be part of World Pride, as part of the parade and as a volunteer recycling warden the second day. It was great that people could experience how gay-friendly Madrid is.

Heather / New York, NY / 2015

I went to a lot of Prides in Atlanta when I lived in Georgia, including my very first Pride in 2006, which I attended as “an ally” — but 2015 was the first Pride I went to after I moved to New York City. It was pouring down rain but Stacy and I went anyway because we wanted to join the Dyke March. In all my entire life, even working every day as a professional lesbian on the internet, I’ve never experienced anything like it. The joy, the rage, the sense of community, the drum line, the topless lesbian volunteer marshalls at every intersection with their arms locked together, separating us from traffic and on-lookers and even the police who were there with their barricades. I felt like a part of something ancient and eternal that day. I cried. I laughed. I also caught a terrible cold. Totally worth it.

Kait & Ro / Chicago, IL / 2015

This was one of our first Prides together. It was right after the Supreme Court decision granting marriage equality. At the time it was so emotional. Now four years later, we’re making Pride plans as a married couple. ❤️

Valerie Anne & Nic / New York, NY / 2017

New York City’s Pride parade has always been so special to me, because it was my first pride ever, even before I was out to myself, and it has become an annual tradition. I’ve become more and more true to myself as the years go on, and while the first year I kind of ducked around a corner to watch for a few minutes on my own before scurrying away, I now have more and more friends to go with every year. This city is where I learned how to celebrate who I am, and the parade is a yearly reminder of how far I’ve come.

KaeLyn, Waffle, and Remi / Rochester, NY / 2017

This was Remi’s first Pride! We marched in the parade with the local chapter of the ACLU of NY. Remi had a great time waving to everyone on the sidewalk and, in true Pride fashion, partied a little too hard and promptly passed out at the Pride festival after the parade.

Jess / London, UK / 2018

This was my first pride, I’d come out only 3 or 4 months before and I was having a bit of a hard time with it because it wasn’t even like I had been in the closet , I just hadn’t known and it was a bit of a shock you know knowing everything you thought your future would be like was wrong and I was with some friends who weren’t very close to me but are now all my best friends. Now I’m the outset and proudest lesbian. I really loved my first pride, it felt magical and like it was a massive party! I will always remember it.

Analyssa Lopez / Los Angeles, CA / 2018

This was my third Pride with my best friend Liz, and our second in LA. We danced, we drank, we hung out with other A-Campers, we mostly avoided the WeHo Boystown scene, and I even managed to not hook up with my ex! Another successful Pride in the books.

Bree Peacock and Rachel Molinari / Toronto, ON / 2014

Rachel and I met up at World Pride in Toronto about a month after A-Camp 5.0 with some fellow Blackheart cabinmates and had an amazing time. These pictures were taken either the day of or the day before we became an official couple (she asked me when Mel, Jane, and I dropped her off at the airport. Mel and Jane drove around the airport drop off area three to five times lovingly staring at us while we stood there awkwardly saying goodbye). We now live together and will be celebrating our five-year anniversary this June. Love you, Rachel! 😘

Liz Droge-Young / Providence, RI / 2017

2017 was my first Pride after realizing I was bi. A handful of close friends and the over 300 million Twitter users were the only folks I was out to, but I was itching to let more people know. So I started posting stuff like this to social media — bi Pride nails, bi Pride eye shadow, bi Pride lip, bi Pride eyeliner. I don’t think that anyone who wasn’t queer picked up on anything, but finding out I had other friends in het-passing relationships felt made coming out feel even more like coming home.

Chandra / Vernon, BC / 2017

The town I live in is fairly small and conservative, and has never held a Pride. But a couple of years ago, after a lobbying campaign by some dedicated members of the local queer community, city council finally agreed to install a rainbow crosswalk downtown. After it was completed, a mini community festival was held that was the closest thing we’ve ever had to a Pride event. I’m proud of my friends who spoke up passionately to move the idea forward, and those of us who showed up in person and online to be visible in a place where it’s not always easy to be out. It may be one tiny step compared to some other places, but it’s a start, and one day maybe a big Pride parade will make its way over this crosswalk!

Cleo / Chicago, IL / 2016

This is my husband and I, getting ready to march with my church (which felt like a minor miracle — to find a church home where I could be completely authentic when I didn’t think I needed one). It was my second Pride parade and the first one where I wore bi pride colors. I bought my bi Pride t-shirt specifically so I could hold my husband’s hand without freaking out that everyone would assume I was a straight ally. Wearing it at pride was a revelation — I hugged and hi-fived so many fellow bi+ folx (and I am not normally into touching strangers). It was my entry point into a secret Pride within Pride.

Esme Baldwin / Dublin, Ireland / 2018

2017 was my first year after moving back to Dublin and my first ever Pride! I went out on a limb and went on my own. It was a really exciting day and also the night I met my girlfriend, Emma.
In 2018 we were able to go together and celebrate our anniversary and look forward to doing the same again this year.

Laneia / Albuquerque, NM / 2008

My very first Pride was the Kelka meetup in Albuquerque, NM! We called this meetup Kelka Pride — it was complete with registration, dinners, hiking, pie, crafts, matching shirts, state sashes, an extremely horny cocktail party at a private club, an enormous papier-mâché unicorn and of course, marching in Albuquerque’s Pride parade. I’d just come out and had never ever been around so many queer women before. Also this was where I first met Bren and her future wife Carrie! It was a fever dream that changed my entire life and I’m forever grateful for all of it.

Emerson / Atlanta, GA / 2016

I love this picture of me, because I haven’t had the best time at Pride in the past thanks to my (at the time) undiagnosed disability, but I was having a great time when I took this selfie. I look super uncomfortable in photos other people have taken of me at Pride and they don’t bring back great memories. This was the one time I actually took a selfie when I was feeling *good* and it shows! I haven’t been to Pride in a few years because of my disorders getting worse, so this was actually the last Pride I went to. Now that I have diagnoses and mobility devices, I’m so excited to go back to Pride and take lots more selfies!

Reneice / Los Angeles, CA / 2018

Celebrating Pride at Dodger Stadium last year with my friends Brittani Nichols, Theo, Jedi, Carmen Ríos, and Gretchen! It was my first time ever seeing queer couples on the kiss cam and there were rainbow fireworks and it was so so gay in all the ways!

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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1156 articles for us.


  1. Ashleigh Mierau, is that shirt for sale??? where can i get one???

    Also. Barb Morrison, that photo is FULL of hot ppl!

  2. I love all of these! And it makes me so glad I made the effort to find and submit my picture. I’m pretty psyched to be part of this amazing group.

  3. I might fail at this so apologies if this is a broken link, but here’s our family at 2019 DC Pride. This was the first one I’d been to in probably 10 years (It got kinda white-male-y for my taste) but this is the first one I took my daughters to. I don’t know how much of the “celebrating people like Mommy and Momma, and how anybody can love whoever they want” stuff sank in past the rainbowsplosion of it all, but it really did feel magical to have us all there together, watching from a park with other queer families.

    View this post on Instagram A post shared by Meigh McNamee-Mahaffey (@lulamaedc) on Jun 8, 2019 at 8:14pm PDT

  4. Shoutout to Hanah from Hawaii for divorcing an asshole and living her truth!!!!

  5. “Pull my hair and tell me I’m pretty” is honestly my sexual orientation.

    • extremely same, strongly encourage screen printing a shirt for yourself, it does wonders for my life when i’m out and about in queer spaces ;)

  6. These are presh! I seemed to only take pics of Gritty at Philly pride lmao

  7. Al

    Everyone looks fabulous and happy. We are a good looking community that autostraddle!

  8. Also – I have a word picture to paint of my pride experience 2 weeks ago at the Aurora IL Pride Parade (Aurora is a kinda conservative west suburb between-ish my liberal Chicago neighborhood and my parents’ very conservative far west burb).

    Things my 74 yo mom said at her first ever Pride Parade:

    – What does that flag mean?
    – What’s a lipstick lesbian?
    – I can’t believe it – we go to that theater, good for them for being here
    – How long have they been holding Pride?
    – I just don’t know if our library would march in a Pride Parade, good for the Aurora library
    – What was the Stonewall riot?
    – Look at that, that’s quite an outfit (said multiple times, with varying degrees of approval or disapproval)
    – What does PFLAG stand for?

    And that led to this conversation:

    – Mom: Well, I just don’t know what would have happened if you’d seriously dated a woman. I just don’t know how I would have handled it.
    – Me: The thing I know about you is that you keep showing up. It probably would have been uncomfortable (Midwestern understatement of the year) but we would have muddled our way through it.
    – Mom: Just like we always have.
    – Mom: I would have NEVER disowned you. You know that right? Dad too. WE would have never.
    – Me: dissolved into a puddle of mush, because yes, I knew that. But it was really nice to hear.

    And especially because
    I had been pretty shocked by my mom’s reaction when I came out as bi almost 30 years ago. My mom always supported gay rights so I thought she’d be cool but she was pretty shocked and appalled to have a queer daughter. We had one or two uncomfortable conversations and then never talked about it for like 25 years. This is culturally appropriate for midwestern WASP women but it also made me sad.

    So I’m so overjoyed by how well my mom has responded the last few years as I’ve started being more openly bi. It’s pretty amazing.

    • Aw, I love this story! As someone who lives in Chicago (raised in the burbs), I’ve been curious about how both the Aurora and Buffalo Grove parades went this year… haven’t heard a whole ton, but that’s probably because I’m not asking the right folks — ahhh. Am so glad you got to have this experience!! : )

      • It was really the perfect starter Pride for my mom. It was advertised as family friendly (which bugged me because I always see tons of families at the big parade) but it seemed to me that the organizers were focused on limiting the alcohol and nudity, not on keeping out groups or people who might make the straight folks uncomfortable.

        There were dykes on bikes, drag queens, trans groups, crazy amounts of feathers and body glitter and lots of trans and bi pride flags but no leather groups, no puppy masks, no bare breasts, no go go dancers. In that way it seemed really tame to me. It was also a lot less commercial than the one in Boystown. It had a small town feel – most of the groups didn’t have fancy floats and were local groups. Both my mom and I were surprised by how many local businesses and organizations participated. There was a group of LGBTQ informed / friendly therapists. That part was really astonishing. And there was a lot of representation from the Democratic Party.

        • Oh, wow — so glad to hear your take on this. Really appreciate it! What an event to witness. Totally agree w/ your point on the “family-friendly” nonsense, and I love that there were LGBTQ informed/friendly therapists! Glad your mom was able to attend with you : )

  9. Y’all are so wonderful, I feel so blessed to a part of this community. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  10. indianapolis pride 2019! italian hands, inflatable lobster, bi paraphernalia. it’s a good summary of me as a person

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