June means Pride Month for LGBTQ people around the world, and this year Houston will celebrate its 40th Pride celebration. Born from the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969 in New York, a group of LGBTQ people, famously led by transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson, fought off police who had been raiding the fledgling bar intent on harassing LGBTQ customers. That riot turned into protest marches and those evolved into what is commonly known as the Pride parade. Although the parade has taken on more of a celebratory tone, the political activism of LGBTQ equality plays a major role during this annual celebration.

Pride Houston is much more than a parade. As one of the original “gay meccas” that blossomed in the wake of the riots, Houston’s Pride has become one of the largest in the country; attracting people from across the region and world. If you want to partake in the full experience, you’ll need these five insider tips.

VIPride, 8:30pm-11:30 pm, Downtown Houston - The Parade and Festival are free to the general public. However, if you have a larger budget you can purchase a $150.00 VIP pass. The ticket is considered a donation and will get you VIP bleacher seating, open bar access, private bathrooms and a swag bag. You also can attend the Pre-Parade Reception. Not a bad way to celebrate on a hot night in June. Tickets can be purchased at pridehouston.org. 

  1. If you don’t have the cash for a ticket but want to have a truly VIP Pride experience, you can volunteer. The parade is fueled by the power of volunteer hours. Not only can you give back to the community, you can walk in the parade itself. Parade sponsors are also always looking for folks to walk with them so check to see if your company or favorite LGBTQ organization is looking for marchers. You’ll probably get a free t-shirt out of it too!

  2. #DearPride – For the first time, Pride Houston is working with Pride Portraits on a campaign where people post their Pride stories online. The project is about LGBTQ visibility and community. It is an exciting way to get to know the local community and get a deeper perspective on Houston. Take a few minutes to share your story and hear about a few others.

  3. Rainbow on the Green, June 22 7pm-9pm - Discovery Green, a sprawling park in the middle of downtown Houston, is hosting this event for the 9th year in a row. The event is FREE and this year it features Deborah Cox, Edward Salles and the Patternist. You’ll probably catch a few drag queens performing as well.

  4. Official Pride After Party – From dancing in the streets to dancing to the beats. The Pride After Party is the icing on the cake to a great festival and parade. Once again, Rich’s Houston will host the big after party. With DJ’s inside and on the famous patio, you can keep things moving until the wee hours of the morning.

  5. These are just a few of the opportunities for locals and visitors to experience Pride. There is a Brunch and Beatz and Tea Dance on June 25th. In the days leading up to Pride you can two-step at Pride in the Country at Neon Boots on June 16th. Check out the hottest fashions at Rock the Runway on June 20th.  Get leathery at Unleashed on June 21, or spend an evening with the ladies at the Eden Party on June 22. For information on all these Prideful happenings go to pridehouston.org.