Rippling rainbow flags, famous floats and bold costumes meet brighter faces at the Las Vegas Pride parade, the evening kickoff of a weekend of LGBT events hosted and celebrated by local organizations and residents.
This month, Pride returns to Las Vegas after a year of virtual programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cities like New York and LA held their Pride celebrations in June, but here, Pride’s official activities run October 8–11, this year at Craig Ranch Park, in conjunction with LGBT History Month and cooler weather in the Valley. October 11 is also National Coming Out Day, a day to support LGBT people owning their sexuality.
Brady McGill, president of Las Vegas Pride, says that even with pandemic restrictions in place (masks are required for all attendees of the official festival), the events are tailored to feel like those of years past. “Though it may seem like there would be some changes or considerable differences, it really feels like it’s coming together like a normal year,” he says. “It really feels normal, all things considered.”
A bounty of performances, vendors and local organizations will be available to Pride attendees, including the kickoff nighttime parade October 8 at 7 p.m. on the streets of Downtown and transgender drag performer Jiggly Caliente October 9 at 5 p.m. Other official and unofficial events include:
• Alyssa Edwards: Memoirs of a Traveling Queen, featuring stories from the drag performer and RuPaul’s Drag Race star, October 7 at the Westgate.
• ClexaCon, an entertainment convention geared toward LGBT women, transgender and nonbinary fans and creators, October 7–10 at the Tropicana.
• Women’s Pride Parade afterparty, focused on women but open to all genders, October 8 at 9 p.m. at the Urban Lounge (107 E. Charleston Blvd.).
• He.She.They x Bodywork official pride afterparty, featuring performances by Kim Ann Foxman, Bored Lord, A.C. Esme, Brock G and others, October 8 at 10 p.m. at Downtown’s Discopussy nightclub (512 Fremont St.). Admission is free; to get on the guest list, visit bit.ly/3B7DqMg.
• Pride closing party, a disco celebration featuring Neek Lopez & The Disco Divers, October 10 at 10 p.m. at Park on Fremont (506 E. Fremont St.)
• Also, Meow Wolf at Area15 will be selling limited Pride T-shirts for $25, with a portion of the proceeds going to Henderson Equality Center.
Ticket prices and information for most events can be found at lasvegaspride.org/pride-festival.
Celebrations like Pride allow LGBT individuals in Las Vegas to fully express themselves, says Stewart Black, sponsorship chair, marketing director and director at large on the Board of Directors at the Nevada Gay Rodeo Association, which celebrated its 45th anniversary earlier this month.
Rodeo’s history in the Nevada LGBT community stretches to October 2, 1976, he says, when the first LGBT Rodeo was staged in Reno. After years of pushback and opposition to an LGBT-centered rodeo, the NGRA now hosts yearly benefit rodeos, the proceeds of which it donates in full.
“Rodeo provided that comfort and that family,” Black says. “It started out as an event where they were trying to get together to be [their] authentic selves and to be able to be cowboys and cowgirls without the stigma.”