I spent most of my adult gay life working as a bartender during Pride, so it was never a holiday that I really got excited for. I love IML and I love Halloween, but Pride seemed like just another amateur-hour excuse for people to get wasted.
It’s only been the past few years, probably since the Obergefell decision, that I truly ventured out in celebration and endured the Pride masses. I had heard that New York was chosen to host World Pride, but my anxiety around crowds turned me off from the event until it was announced that Grace Jones would be headlining.
For those who are unaware, World Pride is an event licensed by InterPride, which is an organization devoted to promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues on an international level through parades, festivals and other cultural activities in selected cities. Host cities are selected by the members of InterPride at its annual general meeting, and the inaugural WorldPride was held in Rome in 2000. The event serves as a mechanism to drive business and highlight queer culture in LGBTQ Mecca’s across the world.
This year World Pride was held in New York City for the 50th Anniversary of Stonewall, and as I previously mentioned, Grace Jones was selected to headline the Saturday Pier Party. My exposure to Grace had been very limited to fashion and James Bond, but envisioning this queer Icon performing to a group of gays at a once in a lifetime event was, for lack of a better word, ICONIC. Grace was my driving force to go to New York and as a new fan to her music, she did not disappoint. Ms. Jones performed for almost two whole hours, interacting with the crowd and donning geometrical body paint as an homage to her previous work with Keith Haring. Grace was one of many stars drawn to NY World Pride’s energy, including Lady Gaga, Bette Midler, and Madonna (or as Heklina would slowly pronounce, Mah-Dah-Nah).
Oh, and it wasn’t just a diva fest; there was plenty of SEXXX to be had! World Pride NYC signaled the return of Hustlaball NYC, a kink positive sex party that unfortunately had to shut down its New York satellite when Rentboy was seized by the Department of Homeland Security. This year, Hustlaball NYC featured over 20 porn performers who bared it all on two stages, and the sexual festivities carried on throughout the weekend at Brut and New York’s Eagle, which had a line down the street and around the block every night. For those who don’t particularly enjoy crowds, there was plenty of hotel sex to indulge in, featuring an international array of uncircumcision.
As someone who is not really into Pride as a holiday, I had an amazing time at World Pride and would recommend going checking it out at least once in your life. The next World Pride will happen in 2021 and it will be the first time ever that the event is hosted in two countries (Copenhagen, Denmark & Malmö, Sweden), which gives plenty of time to save money and book accommodations. •
World Pride 2019 was held in New York and commemorated the Stonewall riots, which happened half a century ago.