Gay Pride Month: More Than Hookups, Drink Specials & Networking Events
June is LGBT Pride Month and New York City Pride Weekend is coming up (June 25–26). Are you ready? Pride weekend in New York is an awesome celebration of sexual and gender diversity, and it’s not just for those in the LGBT communities. Pride includes all sorts of events—see the official calendar here—as well as parties and specials at a ton of restaurants and bars around the city. It’s a great time to meet new people (wink wink, nudge nudge), network, and show a lot of love. One of the components of Pride (and LGBT-affirming organizations in general) that has continued to grow is the emphasis on safety: sexual, gender-based, emotional, and physical.
We’re all familiar with the fight in the gay community against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. What some people don’t know is that after many years of decreased incidence (in other words, how many new cases each year) of HIV, in the past few years incidence of HIV has started to go back up. There are a couple of ideas being circulated about why this is, but the good news is people and organizations are responding by working even harder to encourage safer sex. Sober sex, partner selection, and condom use are all ways of minimizing the risk of transmitting HIV and other STIs (sexually transmitted infections).
So while you’re busy tossing back Cosmo’s and rainbow appetizers, passing around your business card and finding a hookup for tomorrow night, don’t forget that part of loving yourself and others is staying safe. As far as ways to do this during Pride weekend, my personal favorite is a good, old-fashioned parade. The “booty” (yes, pun-intended) available as a mere spectator of the parade is unbelievable, and will hold you over at least until next year’s parade. Many of the floats in the parade are run by health-promotion organizations and one can easily leave the parade with hundreds of condoms, dental dams, rings, female condoms and lubricants (yes, lube is helpful in minimizing risk, it’s not just for having fun!), not to mention educational pamphlets.
Interested? Check out a few of our favorite sites with further info:
By Dr. Laila