You’ll find one serious party at the world’s largest Gay Pride parade in São Paulo. The first Parada de Orgulho GLBT de São Paulo was organized in 1997 and brought together 2,000 people on Avenida Paulista. Cut to 2008 and there were 3.4 million people dancing behind trios elétricos (floats) for 3.5 kilometres for seven hours. The last one Gay Parade was in June 2014 and brought together 1 million people.A non-profit organization, the APOGLBT’s mission is to fight for a more just and inclusive society, which recognizes equal rights for all. The association has served to promote citizenship and self-esteem of LGBT by conducting and encouraging activities of all kinds.
The theme for the 2014 parade was “A winner country in one without homophobia, lesbophobia and transphobia - for the approval of a law for gender identity”. This is especially appropriate.
What started out as a small gay celebration has matured through the ages to include several events along with the parade. There is now a cultural fair as well as a period of debates on gay issues. A Citizenship Award is given to an individual who as worked to promote diversity. There is also a lesbian walk and a Gay Day the Saturday before the parade.
Parade participants meet up around noon at the Museu de Arte Moderna de Sao Paulo on the Avenida Paulista. The parade starts sometime between 2-3 pm. It is 2.6 miles long (4.2 km) and runs down Avenida Paulista to Rua da Consolação and ends at Praça Roosevelt around 10pm. It is incredible to think this parade can last 8 hours.TIP: Don’t miss the warm-up. Get there as early as you can. Have fun with the many shows put on by DJ’s, Drag Queens and their carnival-like outfits, music concerts and much more.
Before the start of the parade DJs and Drag Queens put on several shows along the parade route. The Drag Queens are expert at playing the crowd and that can make for some funny entertainment. The highlight of the parade is the up to 25 floats called trio eletricos. These wired-for-sound behemoths are up to 2 stories tall with DJs playing lively Brazilian music. The government, gay nightclubs and unions sponsor these floats.The parade is viewed by gays, lesbians, straight, young old, families and couples. Everyone comes together to acknowledge the trials and struggles of the gay population. The crowd is friendly and fun-loving and up for a good time.
The Gay Pride Celebration including the Gay Pride parade is one of the largest events in São Paulo, second only to the Formula One Race. Up to 1 million Reals are invested in this celebration annually. In 2006, the parade was considered the biggest parade in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. Gay Pride week is a boon for the city too as approximately $150 million USD pours in during the festivities. Up to 400,000 tourists flock to the city for this celebration.
Each Gay Pride event revolves around a theme decided by its organizer the APOGLBT,Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgrender Pride Parade Association.
A full month of events is planned for the Gay Pride celebration. One of the more popular exhibits is The Cycle of Debates. It runs for 10 days and focuses on gay issues. Some of the recent debates include gay culture and artistic interventions.The Lesbian and Bisexual Walk also takes place during Gay Pride week. The theme for 2010 was “Being a Lesbian is a Right! Autonomy and Freedom for a World of Equality”.Approximately 2,500 walkers join in and the walk is divided up into segments. Some lesbians walked under the hip-hop flag and others joined in with Afro-Brazilian religious followers.There was a section for marchers with disabilities as well as unionized workers. The event is organized by Liga Brasileira de Lésbicas ( Brazilian lesbian league). The largest event of Gay Pride week is the parade.
Gay Pride Parade
The parade begins around 2-3 pm at the Museu de Arte on Avenida Paulista and ends 2.6 miles and approximately 8 hours later at Roosevelt Square in Downtown Sao Paulo. It is backed by the governments of the State of Sao Paulo as well as the city of São Paulo.They provide excellent security with up to 2,000 policemen as well as medical facilities with 55 nurses and 46 doctors on standby. The federal government also supports the parade and many politicians show up to ride on a government-backed float.
Participants in the parade consist of Drag Queens in elaborate and beautiful costumes, gays and lesbians wearing Gay Pride garb and incredible floats called trio elétricos. The Drag Queens along with local DJs work the crowd prior to the parade playing popular music and putting on shows that interact with the public. When the parade starts they will take their places amongst the other marchers. The floats, some of which are two stories high, blast popular and traditional music along the parade route. They are decorated to represent different themes from victims of HIV/AIDS to people with special needs.The week long event is a combination of serious study in the plight of gays and lesbians as well as a celebration of the community as a whole. The city is quick to embrace the culture and is happy to celebrate side by side with the gay community.