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A Handy Guide to São Paulo Gay Pride, the Biggest Pride Celebration in the World

A Handy Guide to São Paulo Gay Pride, the Biggest Pride Celebration in the World

A Handy Guide to São Paulo Gay Pride, the Biggest Pride Celebration in the World

This biggest Pride celebration in the world is happening this weekend. Going? We've got you covered!


If you’re feeling Pride on a big scale this year, there’s only one place to go: São Paulo.

With over 12 million residents, São Paulo is not only the biggest city in Latin America, but in the entire Southern and Western hemispheres. And the LGBT community celebrates Pride on just as grand a scale! 2018’s annual Pride Parade will be the 12th year São Paulo has held the record as the biggest Pride celebration in the world. This year, officials expect that over 3 million people will take to the streets for the “Parada do Orgulho,” bedecked in glitter, jockstraps, and over-the-top drag.

But São Paulo’s Pride celebration is more than just a party: it’s also a site of fierce advocacy. This year’s theme—"Elections: Power for LGBTI +, Our Vow, Our Voice"—shows that, on the eve of an October general election, LGBT Brazilians are organizing to fight to make their voices heard.

See, São Paulo has served as a hotbed of LGBT political action since the '70s, helping Brazil make leaps and bounds in terms of sexual and gender minorities, with queer citizens earning over 100 of the same rights and protections as non-LGBT people in 2011, as well as marriage in 2013. On top of that, Brazil’s innovate program to combat AIDS—which engaged sex workers in the dialogue about sexual health, and which moved away from ineffective abstinence-only tactics—is, today, recognized the world over as one of the most effective anti-AIDS programs ever. And this is not the first time LGBT advocacy groups in São Paulo have organized Pride parades around important issues. Past themes have included transgender rights and advocating for a more secular state.

However, LGBT people continue to suffer serious underrepresentation in politics: out of 581 Brazilian members of congress, only one is openly LGBT. This yields a precarious position for the community, since a win for conservatives in October could mean the rolling back of LGBT rights, the legalization of gay conversion therapies, a halt to the discussion of transgender student’s needs, and restriction the definition of a family to exclude LGBT people.

So, wanna lend your voice to the celebration of joy and LGBT power at São Paulo’s pride? The parade takes place on this Sunday, June 3 at 10 am, and meets in front of the MASP (Museu de Arte de São Paulo) on Avenida Paulista. The LGBT Pride Parade Association of São Paulo (APOGLBT), who organize the event, offer the following tips:

-Keep and eye out for thieves. Be careful with electronics and credit cards
-Watch out for heat exhaustion! Keep hydrated, especially if you’re drinking
-Opt for public transport over cars

However, the fun doesn’t end with the parade! São Paulo is filled with LGBT-friendly bars, clubs, and hotels, especially in the “gayborhoods” of Frei Caneca and Largo do Arouche. Once you’re there, there’s a million things to do!

Parque Ibirapuera

This enormous urban park is the most-visited in all of South America. Aside from more beautiful gardens you could see in a week, the park also offers most of the famous São Paulo museums: The Museum of Modern Art (MAM), Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Afro-Brazil Museum.


This São Paulo neighborhood is the heart of Japanese culture in South America. Yes, you read that right! There is a rich East Asian culture in Brazil, and Liberdade (“freedom”) is its epicenter. Try the sushi—it’s the best on the continent!

Museu de Arte de São Paulo

The most important collection of European art in the southern hemisphere, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) bring centuries of art history to the heart of São Paulo. What’s more, but every year the collection is inspired by a theme. 2017 was “the stories of sexuality,” and 2018 is “stories of the Afro-Atlantic.”

São Paulo has a culture not to be missed: Samba. Street food. Enormous food markets. Walking around the city, one word will come to mind: vibrant. Check out the CEAGE market (or CEAGESP)—one of the biggest in Latin America—for mountains of fresh fruits, flowers, and local food made right in front of you.

Follow the São Paulo LGBT Pride Parade on Twitter for more info, and sign up for the Facebook event here!

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