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Pride celebrates all of the achievements that the LGBTQ+ community has gained in the last few decades in their efforts to obtain full human rights. Coming from the United States I have never been a stranger to Pride festivities. My family felt that it was extremely important to show our support for the community and in Italy I have made it a point to do the same. But like so many other holidays and events, Pride seems to show how very different the two countries are. If you are interested in celebrating Pride 2019 in either country this guide will help you sort out the major differences and similarities between the festivals in Italy and the United States.

Bigger and Better

Pride was originally founded in New York City 50 years ago, so obviously, the U.S. has a bit more experience with the celebrations than Italy does. The only way to describe a U.S. Pride is bigger and better! Italy has many smaller Prides around the country but only three major parades in the cities, which are Roma Pride, Milano Pride, and Palermo Pride. All three of which are rather large festivals that stretch out for the length of almost the entire city. Being an avid Roma Pride lover, I recognize the effort that goes into the organization of their Pride. That being said, the parade pales in comparison to NYC Pride or San Francisco Pride or even Capital Pride. The length of NYC Pride stretches for the entire city and this year is expected to have over 4 million attendees. There’s no way to compete with that!

Easier to Participate

Something that I appreciate a bit more with the smaller-niche style Prides in Italy are that it is easier to participate in them. My first Roma Pride, I was absolutely gobsmacked that my friends and I were allowed to march in the parade without prior registration. In the bigger Prides in the United States, it is a bit more exclusive. To participate in the parade, one would have to register as a group a few months in advance. Otherwise, you’re stuck looking on from the sidelines, which can get a bit boring. I appreciate what America has accomplished with their Pride festivals but I much prefer the inclusivity of Italia’s Pride. You end up having a better time because you interact with more people and get to actually dance and sing during the parade. Altogether that just makes it a more memorable experience.

Volunteers Welcome

A similarity between the two styles of Pride is that volunteers are ALWAYS welcome! Volunteers are the backbone of Pride festivals. From security to emergency services, to good old fashion free labour, volunteers make Pride go ’round. Without them, there would be no celebration. I believe this late in the game, it would be impossible to register as a volunteer for any of the upcoming Pride parades but there’s always next year and you should know the perks. First and foremost, you will always be given food and drinks for your services. Which comes in handy during the hot summer months. Make sure you utilize the drinks offered and stay hydrated at all times. Secondly, most parades will offer you free entry into their other events. Whether that be something outside of the guise of Pride week or during. Doesn’t matter either way you will get a free opportunity to experience LGBTQ+ culture. Lastly, despite the fact that you’re working there Pride will always be fun. There is no such thing as a dull moment at the festivities and you will get the chance to dance and sing like everyone else! So are you really working at all?

LGBTQ+ Icons

A major benefit from going to a Pride parade is getting to meet or watch some of the biggest gay icons of our day in age. From famous drag queens to actors in the LGTBQ+ community to just plain celebrity supporters. Everyone seems to get involved with Pride because it’s one of the most fun and meaningful celebrations in the world. There’s plenty for an LGBTQ+ icon to do during the festivities. Some preform, some do stand-up comedy and some just dance around on someone’s else float and sign autographs. Now while you’re more likely to run into the more popular LGBTQ+ icons like RuPaul or Cher at a New York or San Francisco Pride, there are still plenty of great celebrities and drag queens that attend Italian Pride. So make sure you keep your eye out for them!

Message Stays the Same

The beautiful thing about Pride is that the message behind it stays the same on a worldwide scale. Equality and inclusivity is the reason that people go out and march in parades and have festivals. To show that love is beautiful no matter who you are. It doesn’t matter whether you are in Italy or the United States the message stays the same globally. So enjoy Pride 2019, and remember that you are celebrating all of the progress that the world has made in equality.

Where are you celebrating Pride 2019? Let us know!

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