St. Louis Gay Pride

By: George Adelman

June is that time of the year when proponents of love are busy spreading color and joy around them. Yes, you guessed it right; it’s the pride month. Once only known as a time for beach holidays, now this summer season comes each year as a period when love is honored, and diversity is welcomed. It witnesses people clad in rainbow-colored attires holding pride flags and chanting rousing LGBTQ slogans parade around cities all across America to highlight the struggles of sexual minorities and how far they have come in their fight for inclusion. In essence, June serves as a promise of love for all.


Pride in St. Louis

As mentioned before, most American cities celebrate pride; however, not with the same fervor and meaning. Some places in the States revere pride more than others because of their instrumental role in the LGBTQ history, and St. Louis is unquestionably one of them. Home to the Gateway Arch, the Missourian city, is known for its many free tourist attractions, but none offer the excitement one gets to experience during the festive month of June.

The annual pride festival is held on the last weekend of June at Soldier’s Field Park in downtown’s bustling Gateway Mall. The festivities kick off on Saturday, but the official parade begins at noon on Sunday and lasts for about two hours. People dressed in vibrant clothes flock towards the gathering site to be a part of the monumental event. The famous St. Louis Gateway Arch frames the backdrop of the procession, making the movement much more prominent.


History of Pride and St. Louis 1980

Pride a nationwide drive conducted to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots. The first-ever pride celebrations were held at Washington University in 1979, where a large number of St. Louisans became part of the movement. After coming back from Washington, many independent St. Louisan LGBTQ groups began working on the city’s own pride festival. Out of all the cohorts, two committees came out triumphant and were able to stir up citizens to have their very own pride fiestas in the Missourian city; The Celebration Committee and The Magnolia Committee. While the former group focused on planning multiple events held throughout April, the latter party channeled all its energies into conducting just one march on the 20th of the same month at Central West End and Washington University. From that point on in the year 1980, pride fest is celebrated in St. Louis every year with massive crowds in attendance (though not in April).

The jubilation in the St. Louisan air during the pride fest is palpable. Participants rally around in flashy outfits, hand in hand with their partners, celebrating love, diversity, and equality. If you wish to witness an awe-inducing show of camaraderie, based on an unwavering commitment to banish hateful bigotry and replacing it with love accessible to all, then you must visit the Midwestern city at least once and be a part of the remarkable St. Louis Gay Pride.


How to Get to the Festival?

Since the pride fest happens at the central location of Soldier’s Memorial in Downtown St. Louis, the public can reach the site via the city’s elaborate transit system, which includes MetroLink and MetroBus. If someone doesn’t want to travel in crowded buses, they can hail a cab to get to their destination. Street parking is also available close to the venue, and the meter is free on Sundays, making driving an appealing option to get to the festival.