The following post was written by Sarah, a high school senior currently interning with the City’s Office of LGBT Affairs.

Philadelphia has a great thriving LGBTQ+ community, and June is when this truly shows.

Despite having grown up in suburban Philadelphia, I didn’t know how LGBTQ-friendly Philly is until last year. As soon as I found out, I made a goal to attend my first Pride Parade before I graduated high school. Luckily, I was able to go to last year’s Pride Parade.

I met up with a few other GSA members from my school, and we took the regional rail from our quiet suburb into Philly. Everyone else on the train was as equally decked out in rainbow clothing as we were, and my excitement only grew as the train came closer to Philadelphia.

As we walked through Philly, I knew I was in the right place. All around me were people in colorful makeup, crop tops, and Pride flags. As I went through the crowded Gayborhood, we saw the Flaggots practicing and drag queens interacting with event goers as queer music played everywhere.

Close up headshot of LGBT Affairs intern Sarah.My friends and I chose a spot along the parade route, and then the parade began. As I watched the floats come by with people dancing on them and throwing out free things into the crowds, I cheered them on and caught as many freebies as I could. After the parade, my friends and I stayed around to watch performances on the stage in the Gayborhood. We also made sure to take pictures at various queer spots. Even as the rain and cold came, our spirits still couldn’t be dampened as we walked back to the train station together.

I couldn’t have asked for a better first Pride, and now I’m eagerly looking forward to this year’s celebrations.