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Pride Month
Photograph: Unsplash/Allie

The best LGBTQ+ things to do in New York

We've got all of our picks of the best parties, events, performances and more LGBTQ+ things to do in NYC.

By Shaye Weaver
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June is Pride Month, which means the LGBTQ+ community is ready stand up for equal rights and party like never before. If you’re looking for LGBTQ+ things to do, we have your back — we’ve assembled the best parties, performances and events that'll have you dancing, singing, learning and feeling heard.

RECOMMENDED: Pride Worldwide 2021

Best LGBTQ+ things to do

festivals in nj
festivals in nj
Photograph: Shutterstock

NYC Pride March 2021

LGBTQ+

After last year's largely virtual affair, this year’s NYC Pride celebration promises to be a mix of both in-person and virtual events. After the rally and the street festival Pride Fest, the Pride March will take place on Sunday, June 27 with rainbow-clad activists and allies taking to the streets in support of global LGBTQ rights. Here's your guide to one of the most epic things to do in the summer in NYC. 

New York, New York Susanne Bartsch
New York, New York Susanne Bartsch
Photograph: Courtesy Susanne Bartsch

“New York, New York!” by Susanne Bartsch

Nightlife Sony Hall, Midtown West

A risqué cabaret vaudeville extraordinaire by nightlife maven Susanne Bartsch is set for Friday nights in June at Sony Hall. The full, sit-down show that's a cross between a night at the opera collides and a burlesque circus, has table service and bites and includes performances from nightlife icons like Joey Arias, Amanda Lepore, Opera Gaga, Dirty Martini, Lola Von Rox, Neon Calypso, Laszlo Major, Leonid the Magnificent, Julie Atlas Muz, Fou York and more. Music will be provided by DJs Amber Valentine and Tommie Sunshine. After each show, there's an after party DJ that turns the room around at 10pm.

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FagSigns Mobile Drag Unit
FagSigns Mobile Drag Unit
Photograph: Courtesy FagSigns

Mobile Drag Performance Unit

LGBTQ+ City Point, Downtown Brooklyn

A new mobile drag show will make its way across Brooklyn this month in time for Pride.

The inaugural series of the Mobile Drag Performance Unit (MDPU)—presented by FagSigns, a Brooklyn-based neon signage company that serves the LGBTQ+ community—is made possible via a converted 12-foot trailer that acts as a mobile stage with a DJ booth, outfitted to be the perfect stage for nine incredible drag performances.

See Brita Filter, Lagoona Bloo, DJ Lady Simon (June 12); Robyn Banks, Robin Fierce, Lola Michele Kiki, Hibiscus, DJ IVENCHY (June 19); and Scarlet Envy, Xunami Muse, Essa Noche, DJ Loyaalteee (June 26). 

You can see them at Albee Square in Downtown Brooklyn at 2pm, the Walt Whitman Library/Stonewall Houses, located in Fort Greene at 4pm; and the DUMBO Archway at 7pm on June 12, 19 and 26. On June 26, the performance in Dumbo will instead take place on Dock Street.

The MDPU was created to help restart NYC's nightlife by highlighting the drag industry.  

"Drag is an art form that actualizes transformation in society, acting as the paratroopers of the LGBTQ+ community who represent social equality using entertainment and theatre as vehicles to reach the public," explains FagSigns GEO (Gay Executive Officer) Matthew Day Perez. "Mobile Drag Performance Unit, thanks to the support of the Downtown Brooklyn + Dumbo Art Fund’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, is a colorful and bright way to celebrate Pride, the re-emergence of New York, and bring the community back together again after a year of isolation."

 

Showfields
Showfields
Photograph: Courtesy Showfields

Get glitzed at Showfields

Brooklyn-based eco-friendly footwear brand ILYSM is teaming up with biodegradable glitter company BioGlitz to with a free Glitzing Station at Showfields (11 Bond St.). From June 5th-27th,  BioGlitz x ILYSM will be open to the public noon-7pm daily for shopping, glitzing, events, and free gifts while supplies last, all in celebration of Pride Month. Come get your face or body “glitzed” by a team of professional artists so you can shine bright.

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Grandma Loves You
Grandma Loves You
Photograph: Courtesy Charlotte Chauvin

Grandma Loves You

Things to do The City Reliquary Museum and Civic Organization, Williamsburg

Hang out with your fantasy grandma for a day of drag, music, comedy, and queer shopping with your fantasy grandma. Enjoy additional backyard performances by Inappropiate Patti, Daddy Ho, and Uncle Freak, and a queer shopping bazaar featuring local vendors. No RSVP necessary, just stop by.

29th Annual Dyke March

LGBTQ+ Bryant Park, Midtown West

Join the thousands of dykes in their annual illegal takeover of Fifth Avenue in a demand for lesbian rights—complete with fearless marshals, tyke-toting mamas, topless chanters, unrelenting old-timers, screeching teens and at least one life-size vagina puppet to scare the gawking tourists. The march is for self-identified women only, but supporters are encouraged to come and cheer from the sidelines. This year, the march will focus on protesting the violence, discrimination, and harassment Black and POC LGBTQ+ folx face in New York City and beyond. The official afterparty will be held by Hot Rabbit at 3 Dollar Bull from 7pm on.

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Hebro Pride Happy Hour

Avail yourself of the open bar at this rooftop party for LGBT Jews and their friends on June 23 from 6 to 9pm. DJ Nandi will provide music. Tickets are $20 and you must be fully vaccinated to attend

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vogue class at Ailey Extension
vogue class at Ailey Extension
Photograph: Kyle Froman, courtesy Ailey Extension

Online Voguing with Pride Workshop & Mini Ball

Dance Online,

Take a 90-minute class on vogue basics and classic and current trends in runway modeling with Cesar Valentino and once you've gotten it down, you can get a taste of ballroom culture and put your new skills to the test during a mini-ball, where you'll compete for prizes. Participants are encouraged to dress in bright colors and wear heels. If you haven't had enough, you can pop, dup and spin into Cesar's weekly All Styles Vogue class on Saturdays at 4:30pm.

Robyn
Robyn
Photograph: Courtesy Heji Shin

The Robyn Party

LGBTQ+ 3 Dollar Bill, East Williamsburg

Dance all night in dedication to Swedish Pop Goddess Robyn, and all her classics, b-sides, remixes and rarities for Pride. You'll go on a "wondrous journey of danceable beats" from your favorite queer icons, including Janelle Monae, Madonna, Lizzo, Carly Rae Jepsen, Mariah Carey and Betty Who with some Scissor Sisters, Lil Nas X, Prince, David Bowie and Big Freedia (and of course, more Robyn)! Drag diva Vanna Deux will be in the house, too, so brace yourself for her Robyn-inspired fierceness. The party will take place in the backyard this year.

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Drive ‘N Drag
Drive ‘N Drag
Photograph: Courtesy Voss Events

Drive ‘N Drag Saves 2021

LGBTQ+ Randalls Island Park, Randall's Island

Drive ‘N Drag Saves 2021 is back with RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 13 finalists GottMik and Rosé, who will join other queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race, including Season 10 winner Aquaria, the luminous Asia O’Hara, the incredible she-hulk Kameron Michaels, the seductive Violet Chachki, and the spicy Vanjie, on their mission to save the world from the debacle that was 2020. This time around, audience members can ditch their cars and enjoy the show from 8x8 socially distanced party patios. These VIP patios are much closer to the stage and queens, allowing for a true outdoor concert vibe. Multiple shows will run all weekend long. Food and beverages are available via Gourmet Food Trucks and limited-edition merchandise featuring your favorite queens will be available, too.

Classic Harbor Line Cruise Sail
Classic Harbor Line Cruise Sail
Photograph: Courtesy Classic Harbor Line

Classic Harbor Line Pride Sail and Brunch

Things to do Classic Harbor Line, Chelsea

Classic Harbor Line's New York Harbor Pride sails (benefitting the Hetrick-Martin Institute) launches on Saturday, June 26, from Chelsea Pier 62 at 1pm for a two-hour excursion that takes you south on the Hudson River past One World Trade Center, Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty aboard schooner Adirondack or schooner America 2.0, which will fly a nearly 400 square foot Pride Flag. It's $75 per adult with 100% of net ticket sales goes to benefit transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming youth programs.

Classic Harbor Line's Pride Brunch Sail aboard the Schooner America 2.0 follows on Sunday, June 27, departing Chelsea Pier 62 at 10:30am for a two-hour brunch with a view of these same landmarks. $150 per adult includes a prix fixe individual brunch and one complimentary round of Pink mimosas, Bloody Mary's, beer, wine, champagne and soft drinks. Two-thirds of net ticket sales goes to benefit the Hetrick-Martin Institute.

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Not Another Second exhibit
Not Another Second exhibit
Photograph: Courtesy Not Another Second

Not Another Second

Art The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Heights

"Not Another Second" is an exhibit that offers a candid glimpse into the lives of 12 LGBTQ elders through a series of compelling portraits that intersect personal experiences of living during a time when being themselves was a crime. Shot by noted German photographer Karsten Thormaehlen also celebrates their personal journeys on deciding to live openly, as well as finding love and companionship. Each moving portrait is accompanied by the number of years lost living in the closet and not as their true, authentic self. This exhibit is a collaboration between nonprofit SAGE, Watermark Retirement Communities and Brooklyn’s iconic new luxury senior community The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights. The portraits will be viewable via AR and through free public and socially distanced viewings of the Not Another Second exhibit at The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights will take place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from January 19th through March 2021. A reservation must be made to view the Brooklyn exhibition of Not Another Second. To book and reserve your timed ticket, visit www.notanothersecond.com.

nicky doll
nicky doll
Photograph: Courtesy Ruflections

"Ruflections"

Daniel Nardicio, Taylor Shubert and Sam Benedict are back with "Ruflections," a cabaret series starring Ru Paul’s Drag Race contestants that was filmed on Fire Island Pines at its most notorious show house, Reflections at 73 Bay Walk. The series features French chanteuse Nicky Doll from Season 12 in a stripped-down live show called “Covergirl: An intimate night of acoustic covers with Nicky Doll,” which introduces her in a new light—as a cabaret singer, song interpreter and raconteur—backed by Tim Young and band. It airs on Stellar Pride week June 24, 25th and 26th at 8pm.

Jan Sport from Season 12 and now All-Stars season 6 will star in "A Jantastic Birthday Celebration" for her 28th birthday. It'll featuring her powerhouse vocals, backup dancers and surprise guest stars. It'll air on Pride weekend as well June 24-26 directly before Nicky’s show.

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NYPL
NYPL
Photograph: Courtesy Shutterstock

Pride Month at NYPL

The New York Public Library marking Pride Month with the following online programs:

  • 6/10 | 7 PM: Queer Love in Color: Jamal Jordan with Blair Imani: Photojournalist and former New York Times multimedia journalist Jamal Jordan shares his photographic celebration of the love and relationships of queer people of color in this event presented by LIVE from NYPL.

  • 6/14 | 5:30 PM: TeenLIVE Author Talks: Chella Man and Adam Eli: Authors and activists Chella Man and Adam Eli discuss their books Continuum and The New Queer Consciousness, both published as part of the Pocket Change Collective, a series of small books with big ideas from today's leading activists and artists. 

  • 6/21 | 7 PM: Let the Record Show: Sarah Schulman with Kwame Anthony Appiah: Sarah Schulman, author of Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987–1993, discusses her comprehensive history of the organization and its role in American AIDS activism with writer and philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah in this event presented by LIVE from NYPL.

Branches across the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island (the boroughs served by The New York Public Library) will host virtual programs myriad for adults, kids, and teens. Information about these events can be found at https://www.nypl.org/events/pride

The Library has created a new list of recommended reads this year celebrating books that speak to the experience of Trans, Nonbinary, and Gender Nonconforming people. The list includes titles for Adults, Teens, and Kids.

Pride Month Virtual Service Hour

Food Bank For New York City is holding a special Pride Month Virtual Service Hour on June 30, during which volunteers are invited to join us via Zoom to write personal letters to benefit New Yorkers living with HIV in collaboration with our partners at GMHC. June marks the 40th anniversary of the HIV epidemic in the US, so there’s never been a better time to show up and stand up for this community.

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Brooklyn Prospect Heights
Brooklyn Prospect Heights
Photograph: Shutterstock/Tupungato

Proud Voices, a free, queer festival

This walking tour-audible exhibition hybrid of curated
queer art is a unique, immersive way of celebrating the queer community in Brooklyn. When you sign up, you'll get a map of the queer-owned and queer-friendly businesses in the neighborhood taking part. When you reach these locations, you scan a QR code in their windows to play the curated queer artist and their audio track (a song, poem, or spoken word). Artists involved include Lily Ali-Oshatz, Lesbian Herstory Archives, Staceyann Chin, Kyle Carrero Lopez, Maia Macdonald, Olaiya Olayimi, Soo Intoit and Julia Weldon. This runs through the whole month of June.

The First Rainbow AR
The First Rainbow AR
Photograph: Flowcode, 8th Wall, and Arlene

QR to AR Experience at Christopher Park

"The First Rainbow" is a web-based, virtual augmented reality experience to honor the birthplace of the Gay Civil Rights Movement and celebrate Pride. Technology companies Flowcode, 8th Wall, and Arlene invite people to head to Christopher Park to see a virtual colorful rainbow and a vintage marker that educates users on the historic nature of the park as the birthplace of Pride. The web-based experience requires no app to download. Visitors simply scan a Flowcode QR code with their phone’s camera on signs placed in Christopher Park or click a link shared to them by friends and/or on social media to engage with the experience, no matter where they are. The activation kicks off at Christopher Park in NYC on Thursday, June 10th and will be shared digitally and on social media throughout Pride Month. You can also view the experience here, and share on social at #FirstRainbowNYC.

 

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