June is an extraordinary month that holds dual significance: it’s not only National Caribbean American Heritage Month, but it’s also Pride Month, a time to honor and support the LGBTQ+ community. The roots of Pride Month can be traced back to the United States, where the first Pride marches were held on June 28, 1970, commemorating the monumental Stonewall Uprising. This event marked a turning point in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, and since then, June has evolved into a global platform for empowering LGBTQ+ communities.
While Pride Month originated in the U.S., its spirit and impact extend far beyond its borders. LGBTQ+ communities worldwide, particularly in Europe and the Americas, have made significant strides in achieving greater freedom and rights over the years, including recognizing same-sex marriages and unions in some countries. However, when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, the Caribbean region faces unique challenges.
Historically, Caribbean countries have grappled with deeply entrenched homophobia rooted in religious beliefs inherited from colonization. These ingrained attitudes persist at both legal and social levels, making progress slower in this region.
Despite these ongoing challenges, the resilience and spirit of the LGBTQ+ communities shine through during Pride Month. It serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, love, acceptance and unity prevail. So, here are four fantastic places where you can immerse yourself in the festivities and vibrant celebrations of Pride Month within the Caribbean community.
Puerto Rico Pride — As a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico has both decriminalized same-sex intimacy and legalized same-sex marriage. It has perhaps the most vibrant Caribbean Pride Month celebrations, with the main event taking place in early June in the capital San Juan. In 2023, this was on June 4th but the Pride parties continue in Boquerón the following week.
Curaçao Pride — Similarly to Puerto Rico, Curaçao’s LGBTQ+-friendly laws are a result of being part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Curaçao has a lively LGBTQ+ scene and celebrates 10 years of Pride this year! Celebrations last from June 7–12, 2023. There are brunches, parties, performances, and parades.
Caribbean Equality Project (New York) — The Caribbean Equality Project in New York will be joining NYC Pride on June 25, 2023. It will be their 8th year joining the march. They host events all year, including a monthly support group for Caribbean LGBTQ+ immigrants.
PrideFête (Wilton Manors, Florida) — There’s nothing Caribbean people love more than a fête (a festival). PrideFête celebrates everything that is both Pride and Caribbean, creating an inclusive space for communities who may not feel as safe and free in their home countries. It will actually be held outside of Pride Month, on August 12, 2023.
Additionally, consider visiting the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, where exhibits are being hosted in June dedicated to both Pride Month and Caribbean American Heritage Month, offering an opportunity to celebrate and support these communities.
Pride Month serves as a powerful reminder of the progress and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ communities worldwide. While the Caribbean has a long way to go in terms of acceptance, there are signs of immense hope.
As we celebrate Pride Month and Caribbean American Heritage Month, it’s essential to acknowledge the resilience and courage of these two communities, including where they intersect.