Photos: Philadelphia celebrates Pride Month with march and festival

Thousands marched through Center City to Philadelphia’s Gayborhood with a record-breaking 400-foot Pride flag and one simple message: “Be You.”

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People marching for Philly Pride 365

Thousands of people marched through Center City to the Gayborhood for Philly Pride 365 on June 2, 2024. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

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Thousands marched through Philadelphia on Sunday celebrating Pride Month and raising awareness of prejudice toward the LGBTQ community, letting folks know “Gay is good.”

Galaei’s Philly Pride 365 highlighted the continued fight for LGBTQ rights in the region and worldwide, uniting attendees with one message: “Be You.”

Speakers addressed the massive crowd from a decked-out U-Haul van, courtesy of the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, before unfurling a 400-foot Pride flag that draped over the thousands who marched through Center City.

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With a mic in hand, singer-songwriter and activist Samantha Rise led chants and recognized young queer people living in Philadelphia.

“I got the opportunity to work with young people… who were like, ‘Why don’t you try on a different pronoun? Why don’t you think a little bit more about your gender expression? Are you sure you know who you are?” Rise said, “because you spent your whole life in a world that’s trying to erase you, that’s trying to shrink you, that’s trying to make you believe that you’re less than what you are.’”

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“It was young people… that showed me just how full of love, how full of joy, how full of rage and how full of future I could be.”

Democratic local and state leaders took turns highlighting the city’s queer community, including Rue Landau, who was elected the city’s first openly LGBTQ council member last November.

“This is no doubt, not just one day for Pride, this is every single day of the year and I promise to be with you every single step of the way,” Landau said.

Rue Landau
Councilmember Rue Landau addressed the crowd from the Bearded Ladies Cabaret moving truck, saying she is pushing for the city’s queer community to be represented “in every single area that we possibly can be in this city.” (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Members of Philadelphia’s religious communities also showed support, including Rev. Jeffrey Jordan of the Whosoever Metropolitan Community Church. He said he only had one job that morning, which was to tell the crowd, “You are beautiful.”

“As a man of faith, I believe in the Bible and the Bible says you are beautifully and wonderfully created,” Jordan said. “You are beautiful. Not only today, but 365 days of the year. You are beautiful and I encourage you to be you. Be the gay you. Be the queer you. Be the butch you. Be the femme you. Be the dyke you. Be the trans you. Be you.”

Rev. Jeffrey Jordan
Rev. Jeffrey Jordan of the Whosoever Metropolitan Community Church encouraged Philadelphia’s queer community to do one thing: “Be You.” (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

On Saturday, a drag queen story time reading at the National Constitution Center set a Guinness World Record for the largest such event, organizers said.

The number of American adults who identify as LGBTQ has more than doubled in the last 12 years, according to a Gallup poll. The latest results show that 7.6% of U.S. adults align themselves with the LGBTQ+ community — up from 3.5% in 2012.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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