What to know about Boston Pride Month 2021

The annual Pride Parade is a no-go, but plenty of activities — both in-person and virtual — are still happening this month.

Scenes from the annual Boston Pride Parade. Marilyn Humphries/Globe File Photo

Boston Pride, the group responsible for the largest Pride celebrations in the area, has chosen the theme “The Rainbow After the Storm” for this year’s festivities.

The theme is fitting in some regards, given that the pandemic spoiled Boston Pride’s opportunity to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020. But the metaphorical storm may not have completely passed: In February, Boston Pride made the decision to cancel the annual Pride Parade, the centerpiece to its monthlong celebration, due to the ongoing pandemic.

Furthermore, since last year, a coalition of LGBTQ activist groups have criticized Boston Pride for not being sufficiently inclusive to Black and transgender members. (Boston Pride currently has zero Black board members.) Earlier this week, Boston Pride announced that it would delay a planned Boston mayoral forum after three candidates said they would be dropping out in order to attend  a separate Zoom event intentionally being held at the same time by some of the same activist groups.


“The new theme ‘The Rainbow After the Storm’ acknowledges the tough and painful year our community has had and that better days are ahead,” Boston Pride president Linda DeMarco said in a statement. “Boston Pride is also continuing to work on transforming the organization to better represent the entire community. We must continue to support and look out for each other as we fight for justice.”

Though there is no parade to look forward to, there are still plenty of Pride month activities to take part in over the next few weeks.

The festivities begin on Friday with the annual raising of the Pride flag at Boston City Hall at noon. Boston Mayor Kim Janey and Attorney General Maura Healey will deliver remarks, while the national anthem will be sung by recent Boston Conservatory grad Aaron Patterson.

Over the weekend, there will be both in-person and virtual events worth checking out. On Sunday, Quincy Pride Festival will be held at Pageant Field, complete with drag performers, LGBTQ vendors, food and drink service, an adorable puppy contest, and more outdoor fun. Over in Everett at Encore Boston Harbor, Men of Melanin Magic will be hosting an 18+ outdoor Pride celebration on Saturday, complete with live performances by the House of Escada (from the HBO Max show “Legendary”), Haus of Snap, Just JP, and Candace Persuasion.


For those staying inside for the time being, Pride Boston is also promoting nationwide virtual Pride events throughout the month of June. Kicking off the socially distanced schedule is “OUTLOUD: Raising Voices,” a three-day concert event in the LA Coliseum that will be streamed online from June 4-6. The show will feature more than two dozen performers and will be headlined by former “American Idol” contestant Adam Lambert.

The activities continue into next week, with Tuesday marking the annual Pride Lights ceremony, an annual remembrance of lives lost during the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Featuring remarks by several public officials and a performance by the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, the Pride Lights ceremony will be virtual. However, people can still visit the lights display in Blackstone Square Park in person anytime after June 6.

Also next week, Boston Pride will host a virtual movie night featuring the Pixar movie “Onward,” and its seventh annual Pride Night at Fenway Park, where the first 500 people to purchase tickets through the organization will receive a commemorative T-shirt.

Outside of Boston Pride-sanctioned events, there are many organizations, including local restaurants and breweries, that are running Pride-related promotions. Many of them are also donating proceeds from these events and promotions to causes like BAGLY, the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth; the It Gets Better Project; and GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.


Among the highlights are a pair of June 6 drag brunches at a Dorchester Brewing Company and Bambara Kitchen & Bar, a June 10 Pride dinner at the Liberty Hotel, and Pride beers sold by Sam Adams and Night Shift Brewing.


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