Sometimes you need an excuse to take that mmuch-needed vacation you’ve been pushing off forever. Here are 11 gay events giving you a great reason to book that flight to a far-off destination.
If these 11 fabulous happenings are in your backyard, even better! You won’t have to travel far to experience the fun and you’ll get to play tour guide to the thousands of hot gay tourists in town for the weekend. From Pride festivals to bear weeks to drag conventions, there’s something for everyone on our list.
Check out these 11 not-to-be-missed gay events in 2018:
1. Winter Party Festival (Miami, Florida, Feb. 26 – March 6)
Winter Party is a week-long festival of dance and social events, produced to raise critical funds for the National LGBTQ Task Force. Every year thousands flock to Miami to enjoy pool parties, networking events and a huge rager on the shores of South Beach. Just make sure to pack your suntan lotion so you’re prepared for all the sweaty dancing under the scorching South Florida sun.
2. Sydney Mardi Gras (Sydney, Australia, March 3)
The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is an annual LGBT pride parade and festival in Sydney, Australia, attended by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world.
Last year, an estimated 250,000 spectators took to the Sydney streets to watch more than 12,000 participants take part in one of the world’s biggest celebrations of the LGBT community.
This year’s event promises to be even bigger than before because Cher is headlining the afterparty. Count us in!
3. gCircuit (Bangkok, Thailand, April 13 – 15)
The gCircuit Festival is the largest gay circuit party in Asia and takes place during Songkran, the Thai New Year. The three-day festival attracts thousands of guys from all over Asia and the rest of the world for pool parties and dance events. Also, Bangkok is an amazing destination for LGBT travelers.
4. RuPaul’s DragCon (Los Angeles, California, May 11 – 13)
If you’re a RuPaul’s Drag Race fan, this is a must for your annual calendar. Spearheaded by RuPaul and World of Wonder Productions, RuPaul’s DragCon provides a platform for fans of all ages and backgrounds to meet and interact with world-renowned celebrities and icons in a friendly and accessible SoCal environment.
5. São Paulo Pride (São Paulo, Brazil, June 3)
São Paulo Gay Pride is considered the biggest and best gay Pride parade in the world. In fact, it holds the title of “largest Pride” in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The starting point for the parade is in front of the Museum of Art of São Paulo, right in the middle of the city’s main drag, Avenida Paulista. The focal points of the parade include 25 or so themed floats, called Trio elétricos.
The Popular São Paulo gay club The Week will be rolling out its annual hymn to hedonism with the Eterna Festival.
6. NYC Pride (New York, New York, June 15 – 24)
This year, visit the birthplace of Pride and the world’s number one destination for LGBT travelers: New York City.
On June 28, 1969, the LGBT community famously rioted following a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar at 53 Christopher Street. Protests the following nights became a watershed moment in the modern LGBT rights movement and the impetus for organizing LGBT Pride marches on a much larger scale.
Over the years, NYC Pride’s purpose has broadened to include recognition of the fight against HIV and to remember those we have lost to illness, violence and neglect. In 2016, 350 unique contingents representing a diverse array of non-profits, community organizations, corporate partners, small businesses and activists marched together.
Last year, NYC Pride launched a new three-day LGBT cultural experience: Pride Island. From legendary soul singers to indie pop bands, this new inclusive experience creates a central hub for the LGBT community to celebrate Pride.
7. Provincetown Bear Week (Provincetown, Massachusetts, July 7 – 15)
Provincetown Bears hosts nine days and nights of pool parties, beach outings, dance parties and leather events in one of America’s greatest gay beach destinations. The week is perfect for bears or their admirers, jam-packed with lots of opportunities to mix and mingle in the sandy shores and cruisey watering holes of Provincetown.
8. Outfest (Los Angeles, California, July 12 – 22)
Los Angeles’ largest and longest-running film festival just happens to be gay! That’s right. Founded in 1982 as the “Gay and Lesbian Media Festival and Conference,” the name was changed to Outfest in 1994. Today, Outfest is the leading queer film organization with a stated mission of promoting equality by creating, sharing and protecting LGBT stories on the screen. The films shown at Outfest become the queer films talked about all year, so get a head start on your friends and make it out for a fabulous film festival in the home of Hollywood.
9. Pines Party (Fire Island, New York, July 27 – 29)
The Pines Party is the jewel of New York’s queer nightlife calendar, bringing thousands of gay men to the shores of Fire Island Pines. A charitable event that’s the pinnacle of every season, raising money for the community and the Stonewall Community Foundation that helps LGBT organizations grow.
10. Gay Games 10 (Paris, France, August 4 – 12)
Since 1982, the Gay Games have brought together people from all over the world with diversity, respect, equality, solidarity and sharing. With sport as a common theme for inclusion, the Gay Games are open to all, young or old, athlete or artist, experienced or novice, gay or straight.
Paris will play host for Gay Games 10, taking place Aug. 4 to 12. Thousands of athletes from around the world will descend on Paris to participate in over 30 sports. It’ll be the third time the event has taken place in Europe.
And mark your calendars: The Gay Games head to Hong Kong in 2022.
11. Taiwan LGBT Pride (Taipei, Taiwan, October 27)
Held in Taipei, Taiwan LGBT Pride is the first one in Chinese-speaking society and the second biggest in Asia. It’s organized by Taiwan LGBT Pride Community, a nonprofit organization funded by Taiwan LGBT non-governmental organizations and gender groups.
Throughout Asia, Taiwan is one of the most liberal societies towards its LGBT community, so Taiwan LGBT Pride attracts groups and individuals from neighboring countries, including Japan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and more.
Unlike parades in the United States and Europe, Taiwan LGBT Pride is less commercial. As gay marriage will soon come to Taiwan — a first for Asia — this year’s celebration will most definitely have an air of politics and celebration.