15 Experienced Pride Attendees On The Most Important Thing To Pack For Pride
Due in part to the Stonewall Riots in New York City on June 28, 1969, June has become the month in which we don't just celebrate the queer community, but pay homage to those who paved the way in making a difference in the freedom that the community has today. Of course, we still have more work to do.
"In 2017, and especially this year in the wake of Orlando, Trump, and a host of other unexpected and disappointing sociopolitical developments in the U.S. and globally, Pride has never had so many layers of meaning and importance," Matt Wagner, Account Director Target 10, an LGBTQ marketing & consulting agency, tells Bustle. "It’s about politics, celebration, mourning, visibility, authenticity… but most of all, it is about community: coming together and being amongst family, friends, brethren, and allies — the incredible diverse tapestry of humanity that comprises the LGBTQA community — and supporting one another in whatever way is most needed. Over the last 10 years I’ve probably attended 50 Prides all across the country, and the vibe is consistently like no other I’ve experienced at any other event, no other festivities, truly no other experience. Pride is as unique, versatile, and resilient as the community is, and as such it will continue to serve every and any purpose for which it is needed. Pride is life, and through it, the heart of the LGBTQA community beats strong."
I spoke to 15 experienced Pride attendees to see exactly what one should always have with them if they're going to enjoy Pride to the fullest. Here's what they told me.
1. Nenad, 28
"I've been going to pride as an LGBTQ ally for a few years now, and being in Salt Lake City, I've had a chance to not only experience it a few times, but also to see it grow into an amazing event where even the young generation of Mormons get involved.
There are a few absolute must have things when going to Pride. First and foremost, bring sunscreen, and not just on you when you go out the door, but bring the bottle with you. Last I heard you should reapply sunscreen about every two hours, and if you've never been to Pride, I doubt you'll want to, or even be able to leave your house and return in two hours. This was a hard learned lesson my first time, when I got a light sunburn, since the only available spots to sit down were in the sun.
Going with point one, you should also bring a bottle or two of water. Utah has our Pride parade downtown, so it's easy to jump into various convenience stores and bars for a drink to cool down, but bring at least one bottle of water with you. It would be even better if you left it in the freezer the night before, so that it slowly becomes drinkable, yet cool throughout the day.
Lastly, my other tip would be to bring a great attitude. Pride to me is about supporting friends, family, and the community in openly and fully being themselves. It's about everyone in the city coming together to show that we will not stand for discrimination in the LGBTQ, or any other community. It's still insane to me how big the Salt Lake City one has gotten, and I've never ran into any issues, and always have a great time, mainly because I come with a good attitude."
2. Jen, 40
"Sunscreen, booze, and beads. And maybe a snack. Lots of hydration beverages for the recovery."
3. Corey, 26
"Make sure to bring water! I'd also recommend packing makeup/glitter for touch-ups so you can keep the outer manifestation of your inner unicorn looking cute! Pack light so you can dance enough to celebrate your Pride adequately! Bring money so you can donate to the many organizations working for the benefit of queer folks here and everywhere! Most importantly: bring love in abundance!"
4. Colleen, 32
"Sunscreen, layers, WATER!"
5. Rain Dove, 27
"Buy a CLEAR backpack. They are lifesavers! You can pack it with water, sunscreen, a couple easy snacks, umbrella for sun/rain, change of socks (refreshing at the end of a march), a sweatshirt (if it gets cold), and sunglasses, plus tons of glitter markers. A clear backpack makes people feel safer because it isn't a security issue. Plus it looks cool."
6. Aaron, 29
"Definitely sunscreen, some killer shades, and before you go obviously put on a jockstrap."
7. Amanda, 43
"First of all, your fav LGBTQ and/or Straight Ally person that has no complaints about crowds or parades. Absolutely NO complaints are allowed on such a day of celebration. Sunscreen for sure, and if you're as pale and nerdy as me, an umbrella for those moments of much needed shade. Sunglasses ... perhaps two pair, as even the most minimal of wardrobe changes during any event that spans day to night is mandatory. Fav lip balm or red lipstick (why not look fab whilst celebrating?). Having a hair band on hand for those especially hot Pride celebrations is a must. Lots of H2O (and perhaps a lil nip o' something a tad more exciting)! Comfortable shoes OR lots of band aids for those who insist on wearing their most Pride worthy Kinky Boots. Something to wave, be it a flag, boa, sign, or other fun accessory. And perhaps some bubbles to blow around, if you're feeling feisty. But most of all ... YOUR PRIDE!"
8. Mattie, 33
"Some sort of battery pack for your phone, since mine always runs out halfway through the day and there's never anywhere to charge it... and I also prefer some sort of fanny pack (this year I have a camo one, because I am militaristic) to store my baubles because backpacks are too big, leave strap sweat marks, and sometimes aren't allowed in to various venues, etc. if you're out and about all day. Plus fanny packs are amazing."
9. Michael, 24
"This summer will be my 4th year attending NYC Pride. Two things that I think are a must:
1. Sunscreen. Most, if not all, Pride events are held outside. If you're going to be out all day in the sun, you wanna make sure you don't look like a lobster the next day! Not a great look.
2. A fanny pack or a very small purse/bag. Most of the ticketed pride events (Dance on the Pier, Teaze, etc.) will not let you bring in a full-on bag or backpack. At the same time, if you're wearing an outfit with not a lot of pocket space (like a Romphim, for example), you're gonna want something small to carry your necessities. American Apparel (RIP) and Urban Outfitters have a bunch of really small, cute fanny packs that you can bring. Also, you will get flyer handouts from just about EVERYONE, so if there are any you actually want to hold on to, you'll have a place to put them!"
10. Sunny, 50
"I’ve been in the pleasure products industry since 2000 and have gone to many Pride events — from Folsom Street to LA Pride Parade and Festival — and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s always have a condom with you. My fav? Sir Richard’s; the leading, non-toxic condom brand free of harmful chemicals (parabens, spermicide, or glycerin), PETA-approved and vegan-certified, and they go a step further and donate a condom for condom purchased."
11. Farrah, 39
"I'm 39 and genuinely practical. My only two suggestions are sunblock and water or any type of hydrating beverage. Numerous times I felt like I was on verge of collapse from the heavy crowds and heat — safety first! Enjoyment later! Happy Pride!"
12. Christopher, 28
"Sunblock, sunblock, sunblock. It can’t stress that enough. But if it’s rainy, then umbrella, umbrella, umbrella. And not one of those cheap ones you get for five bucks on St. Mark’s Place. You want it to last all weekend!"
13. Lisa, 39
"I've been going to Pride for more than a decade. Most important thing? Sunblock, followed by Chapstick, a backpack to carry all your stuff and purchases, a portable battery charger, deodorant, unopened bottled water, and sneak in a flask if you can."
14. Kelli, 48
"I'm a Brooklyn based comic and I've been performing at Pride events for almost two decades and that means I've attended almost every kind of pride event you can imagine. Big city prides, small town prides. Night Prides. Day Prides. My thoughts on what to bring:
Water. Climate change + June events = dehydration. Some of the Florida folks have realized we can be just as proud in, say, October, but until that happens at your local Pride, DRINK. Especially, if you are consuming alcohol and/or using drugs. If the event won't let you bring in water, you can probably still bring in a water bottle of your own that you can refill when you have a chance. If you don't want to ruin your lipstick, bring a straw although if you are customarily worried about lipstick getting ruined, you probably know that.
Sunscreen. You need it for you, of course, but what's a better way to flirt than say 'my, you're getting a little red, would you like me to apply some sunscreen on your ears... nose... whatever.'
Harm reduction kit for those cute shoes. Far be it from me to tell people not to wear cute shoes to pride but if shoes give you blisters and/or make your arches ache bring along some band aids and some NSAIDS.
An umbrella but ONLY if you know how to maneuver it in a really tight crowd. Otherwise you might poke someone's eye out. Practice in Times Square if you need to.
A resume. Because someone wants your fabulous self with ALL its fabulosity!
A small fold up tote to take home the swag!
Backup phone battery (so many photos, so little time).
Put everything in ziplock bags before you put them in your backpack, so in case of rain you're not totally worried about everything in your bag
In case everyone's phone dies, and you get separated from your peeps, it's good to select a 'last ditch' meeting place. The car or a cafe is a good choice!
TO AVOID AT PRIDE: GLITTER, especially cheap glitter. It's essentially tiny thin metal shards and doesn't mix well with direct sustained sun. If you want to have a weird painful pattern of sunburn wear a whole bunch of cheap glitter on your face and scalp. The kind in makeup doesn't have the same problem and usually works fine."
15. Alex, 26
"Sunscreen: Lots of it. Dear god, I cannot stress applying sunscreen enough. Pride happens in summer, and it's hot, it's muggy, and the sun can be brutal. PUT. ON. SUNSCREEN... and then reapply. I'd also recommend wearing a light sun hat or visor as an extra precaution. Because you know what's not cute? Having a painful, beet-red sunburn in the middle of Pride.
Water: There's so much direct sun, alcohol, and generated heat at Pride that we tend to get dehydrated much quicker than you'd anticipate. I highly recommend bringing water and spray bottles with you, or better yet, a CamelBak if you've got one!
Band-aids and Neosporin: You're probably going to be outside surrounded by hundreds of thousands of parties for the majority of your time at Pride, so it's a good idea to bring some basic medical needs like band-aids and Neosporin for small cuts, scrapes, and burns.
Gum/Mints: You never know when you're going to spot that certain person at Pride who you think is gorgeous, and with whom you are going to want to make out with hardcore.
A spare outfit: Honestly, the chances of getting wet at Pride are pretty high, so I'd also advise bringing a quick-change outfit just in case.
Fanny pack/Light backpack: But where to put all of your Pride accouterment, you may be asking? My personal favorite is a medium to a large fanny pack, but a light backpack works great too!
GLITTER: Because when is glitter not needed at Pride?"
No matter where you celebrate Pride this year, just make sure you're prepared. You don't want to be stuck in the blistering summer heat without sunscreen (did you gather that you need sunscreen yet?), water, or cheap glitter. Sure, it will still be fun, but not has fun as it could have been had you prepared.