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11 Recovery-Safe Pride Events For Sober Queer Folks

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Editor's Note

If you or a loved one is affected by addiction, the following post could be triggering. You can contact SAMHSA’s hotline at 1-800-662-4357.

From the very beginnings of Pride, the LGBTQIA+ community has been connected to bars and nightclubs. Unfortunately, this has caused drug and alcohol use to become a normalized part of the LGBTQIA+ community — and that isn’t fair to the growing number of queer and sober people who just want to celebrate Pride Month too.

If you’re looking for a sober way to celebrate Pride Month, we’ve got you covered with events you can attend or ways to throw your own sober Pride event.

If you want to participate in a Pride event outside of your home, check out these sober events:

1. Gay & Sober’s Pride Celebration (New York City)

If you live near the city or feel up to traveling, non-profit Gay & Sober will host The Pride Celebration on June 27, 2021! The day’s events will include a free, completely sober Pride Fest Block Party during the day and a ticketed (but still sober) Dance on the River event that night. On the following day (June 28, 2021), the organization will also throw a Pride RoundDown event at Fire Island.

Gay & Sober’s events happen every year, so even if you can’t make it in 2021, it’s definitely worth adding to your bucket list of sober Pride Month events to check out!

2. Denver Pride 5K (Denver, CO)

For members of the LGBTQIA+ community who enjoy more athletic events, Denver’s annual Pride 5K is happening on Saturday, June 26, 2021! This year, participants can opt to attend in-person or virtually, and 100 percent of the proceeds go back to the LGBTQIA+ community.

Denver’s Pride events are supposedly some of the best in the United States and span the entire weekend, so you can always make a trip of it and celebrate all weekend long!

3. Pride = Health (Los Angeles, CA)

The Phoenix, a sober active community, is hosting their own sober Pride event, Pride = Health, on Saturday, June 26, 2021 at the AT Center in Los Angeles. This event is specifically geared towards members of the LGBTQIA+ community in recovery and will include dancing, burgers, photo booths, and surprise performances.

Tickets cost just $10, but the event page says no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Furthermore, The Phoenix is also hosting another Pride event on Sunday, June 20, 2021 at Will Roger’s Beach.

4. #ChooseYourPride Events (Vancouver, Canada)

Each year, the Vancouver Pride Society partners with the non-profit Last Door to plan out some substance-free Pride events during Pride Month. Because heavy COVID-19 restrictions remain in place for most of Canada this year, however, the Vancouver Pride Society has opted to throw a mixture of virtual and in-person events for what they’re calling #ChooseYourPride.

While not every event for #ChooseYourPride is sober-friendly, many of them are — especially the virtual events.

5. Sober Pride Panel (Virtual)

On June 18, Soberocity will host a virtual Sober Pride event via Zoom. This year’s panel will include nonbinary trans author, Claire Rudy Foster, singer/songwriter Brennan Villines, YouTuber and Sober Queer Activist, Allie K. Campbell, The Sober Gay Podcast’s hosts, Dillan Gay and Aubrey Lee, and more. During the event, each panelist will share their journey of navigating sobriety within the queer community and provide personal advice to all newly sober individuals present on the call.

This is a completely free event, but participants must register in advance via EventBrite.

6. Local Pride parades

In many cases, locally-hosted Pride parades in smaller communities don’t allow alcohol at the parade itself. While you can always double-check with the local organizations hosting the parades, chances are participating in a parade is a great way to participate in a Pride event without the temptation of substances.

If attending a large event isn’t in the cards for you this year, you can always throw your own sober Pride event too!

If you’re looking for ideas, here are some suggestions to throw your own sober Pride party:

7. Host an LGBTQIA+ movie marathon

Who doesn’t love a good movie night with your favorite snacks and group of your closest friends? Movie marathons are easy events to host and everyone can have a good, sober time together in the process. You can ask all of your friends to bring their favorite LGBTQIA+ film, or you can look at Rotten Tomato’s list of the best LGBTQIA+ films for some inspiration.

Once you’ve picked the movies, just prep your living space or backyard and enjoy a night of movies and fellowship! Or, if your friends can’t all gather in-person, you can do a virtual movie night by using TeleParty.

8. Create a Pride-themed art gallery

Art is an incredible form of self-expression, and nearly everyone enjoys creating artwork that comes from the heart. You and your friends can channel your inner artist and create your own works of art, then display them for everyone to enjoy. Depending on the people you plan to invite, you can make it an art free-for-all or create some structured parameters for everyone to follow. Either way it will be a fun night (or day) to remember!

9. Start a Queer book club

Whether you’re a bookworm or just someone who appreciates supporting creatives in the queer community, a book club can be a great way to celebrate Pride Month with your friends while also putting your brain to work. Your friend group can decide if you want to read the entire book before you meet or hold smaller weekly events throughout the month where you discuss select chapters. This type of event can be a great way to connect with your queer friends on a whole new level while you also learn more about yourself in the process.

Like the idea but not sure what book to pick? Book Riot has a great list of novels by queer authors.

10. Make a new Queer pen pal

Snail mail isn’t dead yet. In fact, the organization Buddies in Bad Times has a Pride Pen Pal event you can sign up for. The organization tries to match people across generational lines, so you may end up learning a lot from someone or mentoring a much younger version of yourself. Either way, connecting with the LGBTQIA+ community in this way can be a great way to celebrate Pride and keep it going all year long.

11. Test out your LGBTQIA+ knowledge at trivia night

If you and your besties love trivia, a queer-themed trivia night can be a great way to celebrate and learn a thing or two about the history of Pride at the same time! Talk with your friends in advance to decide the style of the night and whether you’ll work in teams or individually.

Your friend group can even create a fun prize or hilarious title for the winner and make this an annual event.

Despite what people may believe, Pride and sobriety can absolutely go hand-in-hand! Whether you go to a sober Pride event or throw your own substance-free Pride Month bash, the important thing is that you live your truth and celebrate in a way that feels most comfortable for you. Happy Pride, my friends!




Photo by Carlos de Toro @carlosdetoro on Unsplash

Originally published: June 9, 2021
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