By Chris Frederick
Managing Director, Global Events at Out Leadership
Former Executive Director of NYC Pride, host of WorldPride 2019
Every two years the world descends on a selected city to experience the world’s largest LGBTQ event called WorldPride. Since its inception in 2000, WorldPride has unified a global LGBTQ community to celebrate as one, honor our history, and advocate for issues that affect us worldwide. In total there have been six host cities: Rome, Jerusalem, London, Toronto, Madrid, New York, and now Copenhagen. I was fortunate enough to lead NYC Pride through the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and WorldPride 2019 and it was an experience that forever changed me.
The beauty of WorldPride is that each experience is unique to whichever city is hosting. Madrid was able to lean in on its expansive public spaces. Toronto had a great mix of public and private funding. I grappled with having to replicate the gigantic success previous WorldPride’s had seen. European and Canadian Pride celebrations are a different breed to their counterparts in the United States. A more accepting culture of public events, more government funding, and overall bigger spaces to absorb the expansive crowds. As the events grew closer, I realized that WorldPride is exactly what you make of it and in its roots, that’s what makes it so magnetic every other year. While a rough framework exists for all, what makes the experience truly special is the once-in-a-lifetime chance to supersize a Pride experience in an iconic location with a global audience.
WorldPride continues to evolve and grow into a reimagined experience with every new host city. That power of reimagining, evolving, and recreating every two years is what makes WorldPride stay relevant and powerful for an entirely new audience. As Copenhagen WorldPride comes to a close, we will now look to Sydney as the next host for WorldPride 2023. While challenges will be ever-present, WorldPride will continue to play an important role in connecting our global community, bringing visibility around a new set of issues, and introducing the global LGBTQ community to the Asia Pacific region in a way only Sydney can.