Philadelphia is one of the country’s most LGBT-friendly cities with a long history of tolerance. In 1965, four years before the Stonewall Riots in New York ignited the worldwide modern gay rights movement, a group of protesters began an annual July 4th pride march in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Since then, Philadelphia has been a seat of progress and activism for the LGBT community.
The gay population in Philadelphia is a highly visible and important part of the city. There are many clubs, bars, lounges, bookstores, boutiques, restaurants and shops catering to the gay community. Stroll through the Gayborhood, a section of Center City’s Washington Square District, and you’ll see rainbow flags adorning the street signs as well as incredible architecture and a charming community feel. Eat at an LGBT-owned restaurant in the Gayborhood and snap a photo by one of Philadelphia’s LGBT murals.
Philadelphia is home to gay pride events, including OutFest, the largest National Coming Out Day festival in the world, history and significant sites including:
Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room – the country’s first and oldest gay and lesbian book store.
Barbara Gittings Gay & Lesbian Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia – The “mother of the LGBT movement,” Barbara Gittings, spent most of her life in Philadelphia and edited the nation’s first lesbian publication and advocated for more gay and lesbian literature in libraries.
The William Way Community Center – Began as the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Philadelphia in 1974 to support and advocate for the LGBT community.
Each year the city is host to many highly visible and important events, such as Equality Forum, Blue Ball, Pride Parade and OutFest, the largest National Coming Out Day festival in the world. Annual Philadelphia LGBT events include:
qFLIX Philadelphia – Independent LGBT film festival screening films from around the world, annually in March.
Philadelphia Black Pride Celebration – annually in April.
PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival – takes place during International Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in June and features live music, DJs, food and drinks. A festive parade, the signature event, runs from the Gayborhood to Penn’s Landing.
Outfest – celebrating National Coming Out Day with a block party and street festival, annually in October.