Celebrate Pride Month with Confidence: A Guide to Staying Safe

HomeCelebrate Pride Month with Confidence: A Guide to Staying Safe


Rebecca Edwards

Security Expert, Safety & Tech Reporter

June 08, 2023Share Article

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It’s Pride Month, and this year may have more in common with the riot and protest roots of Pride than the joyous, rainbow-splattered celebrations I’ve always been part of. With almost 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills up for review in state legislatures and the Human Rights Campaign declaring a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people, it’s important to know how to celebrate safely this year.

Where we got our safety tips
We’ve referenced our own experiences and expertise, have reached out to other LGBTQ+ people and organizations, and talked to former law enforcement officers and other public safety experts to compile resources and tips to help everyone stay safe at Pride parades and other public celebrations.

In this articleStay safe at a Pride paradeStay safe in big crowdsStay safe in an active shooter situationMore Pride safety resources

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Tips to stay safe at a Pride parade
The parade is a highlight of Pride celebrations in cities across the country. If you’re feeling nervous this year about attending because you’re worried about protests or potential acts of violence, here are some ways you can stay safe—and gain back the confidence to celebrate with vigor.

Travel in groups—there is power (and safety) in numbers.
Have an exit strategy or plan in case things go sideways.
Determine an emergency meet-up spot in case you get separated from your group.
Follow instructions from event organizers and law enforcement.
Stay hydrated and pack essentials like sunscreen.
Look out for each other—enable Find My or another location app for the day so everyone in your group can keep track of one another.
Set regular times to check in with your group. If you spread out, plan to text or check-in every hour or so.
Trust your instincts. If something or someone seems off, get out of the situation as quickly as you can.
Practice inclusivity and respect—for Pride participants and even detractors. Resist the urge to engage in aggressive language, shouting, or other interactions.
If you’re drinking alcohol, don’t overindulge, don’t accept an open drink, and don’t leave your drink unattended.
Enjoy celebrating!

Help make Pride safer in your townWant to learn strategies to de-escalate situations in public? The Anti-Violence Project is hosting a virtual training on situational awareness and intervention tools.Tuesday, June 1512:30–2:00 p.m. (EDT) Learn more and register

Tips to stay safe in big crowds
Pride celebrations can draw big numbers, and unfortunately, big crowds carry their own dangers. Here are some tips to avoid potential crowd crush.

Identify all exits, whether or not the event is at an indoor or outside venue.
Have an exit strategy and review it with everyone in your group.
Identify barriers like walls and fences that people could get pushed against and stay clear of those areas.
Follow instructions from event organizers, security, and law enforcement.
Make sure you have breathing room. You can cross your arms in front of your chest or use the boxing stance (detailed below) to help protect your diaphragm and rib cage and create space for you to take a breath.
Stand like a boxer—think Rocky or Muhammad Ali. This stance centers your body, provides balance, and makes it less likely that you’ll fall.
Move with the crowd. This may seem counter-intuitive, but you may not be able to fight the surge. Get in your stance, protect your diaphragm and carefully let yourself be carried along until you can find a way to move toward the edge of the crowd so you can get out.
If you do fall, try to get up as quickly as possible.
If you can’t get up, don’t lie flat on your back or stomach. Lie on your side. This protects your internal organs if someone else steps or falls on you.
Help others who need assistance, if you’re able.

Check out our TikTok with more tips to stay safe in a big crowd.
Find LGBTQ+ safe restroomsOur YouTube Queen, Katie McEntire tells you all about Refuge Restrooms and how this app helps everyone find a safe place when they’ve got to go. 

Tips to stay safe in an active shooter situation
Unfortunately, we’ve seen active shooters attack LGBTQ+ nightclubs and public parades. While active shooting incidents aren’t likely to happen, they’re nearly impossible to predict. Whether it’s Pride Month or an Independence Day parade, it’s important to know what to do if someone opens fire.

Get to know the venue before the event, if possible. This helps you identify exits, protective barriers, and other elements to include in your active shooter response plan.
Create an active shooter response plan for yourself and anyone else you’re attending with. The plan should include what you do before the event, during an active shooter incident, and after law enforcement arrives.
If you have children in your group, make sure they know the plan and where to meet up if you get separated.
Run away from the sound of gunfire. Don’t take time to grab your stuff before getting away from the shooter.
Find cover and hide if you can’t run away. Try to get out of the attacker’s line of sight and hide behind something solid and sturdy.
Lock and barricade doors, if applicable.
Close window coverings and turn off lights if you’re able to hide in a room.
If you can’t run or hide, fighting is your last resort. If you choose to attempt to disrupt the attack, make sure to commit to your actions, be aggressive, recruit others or find items you can use as weapons, and be prepared to cause serious or lethal injury to the attacker.
After you’ve taken care of yourself, help others get to safety if you can.
Once law enforcement arrives, stay calm and follow their instructions.

More Pride safety resources
The more you know, right? Having resources that can help you out in a dangerous situation and preparing in advance for events can be the difference between tragedy and having a really great time. We’ve put together online resources, apps, and helpful products to make sure your Pride is safe and spectacular.

Online resources for a safer Pride

Anti-Violence Project Pride safety tips
Pride Safety 101 from Them
San Francisco Police Pride safety tips

Apps to help you stay safe at Pride

Refuge Restrooms
ANJEL Tech bodycam app
Noonlight personal safety app
Pride app for LGBTQ+ owned and friendly businesses
Solace transitioning help app
TripIt safe travel app

Products to help you stay safe at Pride

Nightcap reusable drink spiking prevention cover
She’s Birdie personal safety alarm
Test My Drink drug detecting strips
Only Human Pride reusable water bottle
WATERFLY Crossbody bag

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Written by

Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past decade. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month poring over crime and safety reports and spotting trends. Her expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more.
You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like NPR, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, HGTV, MSN, Reader’s Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of podcast, radio and TV clips in the US and abroad.

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