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Information about Gay Pride in Europe

Gay Pride Parades are growing in popularity throughout the world. One place that has always had a strong celebratory tradition, though, is Europe. Every year across the continent, gay and lesbian paradegoers march in celebration of LGBTI identity. Here’s a brief overview of Pride-related events in Europe.

Eastern Europe has a long, if somewhat contentious history of Gay Pride Parades. In Russia and many of the ex-Yugoslav states, homosexuality is still illegal and highly stigmatized. Many Northeastern European countries, though, do have a stronger LGBTI presence and do host annual Pride-related events. One of the oldest and largest Eastern European parades is Warsaw Pride, which was first held in 2001. Since then, the parade has grown to an attendance of over 50,000. Other significant parades take place every year in the Baltic countries of Latvia and Lithuania. Still-- being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is a dangerous thing in many Eastern European countries.

Things are a bit better in the West. France holds parades in most of its major metropolitan centers, but of course, the biggest one is in Paris, which boasted an attendance of 800,000 in 2006. Italy also has a long and storied history of Gay Pride demonstrations, with marches dating back to the ‘70s. Today, a series of “national observations” are held in Italy during June. The largest of these observations is in Rome, which drew 500,000 attendees in 2018. The Western European parades, though, are held in Madrid. In 2009, Madrid Pride drew 1.5 million attendees, which would make it the biggest such event in European history if not for Europride two years earlier, which drew 2.5 million.

Parades are also common in the North. Germany hosts parades evey year on the third Saturday in June, with the largest two taking place in Berlin and Cologne. Major events also take place in the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland, with Iceland’s annual Pride Parade drawing up to 100,000 marchers, about one-third of the island’s entire population. Probably the largest Northern European Pride Parade, however, is Pride London, one of dozens of major Pride-related events that take place in the United Kingdom every year. The bustling event had over 1 million attendees in 2018, and continues to expand and grow every year.

Pride-related events are a European mainstay. Giving members of the LGBTI community a chance to express themselves, these events typically draw large crowds and are a great way to show support and solidarity for gay people the world over.