When I approached the park gate, which was decorated with a vibrant banner and a lineup of security personnel inspecting bags, it was pouring rain. Two girls to my right had their faces painted with more colors than I could count, and a man in front of me was sporting a pink tutu underneath a blue poncho.
I could hear the music coming from a distant stage. A short while later, the rain clouds vanished and the sky was illuminated by a rainbow. It was the Milkshake Festival in Amsterdam, not your normal music festival or a Gay Pride event. A event “for everyone who love,” Milkshake Festival is held the week before Amsterdam’s annual Gay Pride celebration (raises hand).
The majority of significant LGBT artists have performed here, from Peaches and Mykki Blanco to crossover indie acts like Hercules and the Love Affair. There are people of all shapes and sizes, as well as brilliant colors, outrageous costumes, amazing performances, half-naked dance parties, and drugs. It’s lovely and untamed! Additionally, it does more than just celebrate LGBT pride; it also promotes and honors queer culture in a way that only a uniquely diverse, independent festival can.
The political significance of many Gay Prides has decreased as more and more equal rights have become a reality (particularly in the last few years). Gay Pride festivals in the West were once occasions to be visible and loudly demand equal rights. That’s not to say it’s completely disappeared (read on), but nowadays, many of our Gay Pride events focus on headlining musicians, parades, parties, and lots of skin.