Liz Galst 3 minute read

Green your LGBTQ+ Pride


During LGBTQ+ Pride month, millions of people come together to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, champion their rights and sing out in celebration at fabulous parades, parties and festivals all around the world. As with any big, potentially very glittery gathering, it’s possible to make Pride events as easy on the environment as they are on the eyes. 

“Just like there’s a runway challenge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, what about a sustainability challenge with yourself for Pride?” says eco drag queen and National Geographic Traveler of the Year Pattie Gonia, who’s working with Denver's Pride organizers to reduce the environmental impact of their June 22-23 events. 

Activist Pattie Gonia holding a Pride flag
Outdoor enthusiast Pattie Gonia:  “We need to know how beautiful this planet is, because we fight for what we love.” (Dayna Turnblom/Pattie Gonia)


While Pattie points out that corporations, not just individuals, should do their bit to protect the planet, “I want to inspire people to always try to do something more sustainable,” Pattie says.

If you want to up your environmental game this June and beyond, there’s much you can do, no matter what niche you fill in the Pride ecosystem.

Women riding bikes with rainbow flags attached to them at a Vietnamese Pride festival
Using bicycles as a mode of transportation can help keep your Pride green. (Getty)

Participants and spectators: Take public transit to events, if possible. Upcycle, borrow or thrift that special outfit. And when those earnest folks with computer tablets and clipboards come around, register to vote, so that on Election Day, you can voice your support for a cleaner, healthier environment.

For sparkle and shine, check out certified biodegradable eco-glitter, and avoid dousing yourself and your event in microplastics. The tiny, toxic, everlasting shards can end up in the snows of the Arctic and even in someone's testicles

Group leaders: If your crew needs a sound system, portable solar generators can bump up the beat without polluting the air and compromising anyone’s breathing. 

Plastic party favors are so yesterday. Eco-revelers at Mardi Gras in New Orleans now throw edible or recyclable products to the crowds — including biodegradable glitter packs and beads made from upcycled paper — instead of conventional Mardi Gras beads, which are often coated with toxic metals like lead and clog up storm drains after parades. 

A shirtless man at a Pride parade covered in silver glitter
Glitter is a staple of Pride, but you can make your sparkle more environmentally friendly by choosing eco-glitter. (Getty)

Instead of a float pulled by a gas-powered car or truck, consider good, old-fashioned walking or marching, which burns no fossil fuels. The same goes for bicycles, unicycles and pedicabs. (Electric floats are in the works, though probably not ready for this year.)

Organizer of the whole shebang: If you’re a leader of a Pride event, thank you! Here are some tips to consider, and you can learn more from groups like Out in Climate. 

Donate leftover food so it feeds people instead of going to the landfill, where it will produce the dangerous greenhouse gas methane. Check out dance floors that turn your crowd’s moves into clean electricity. Reach out to venues you use about their sustainability plans to find out your options and encourage them to make sustainability a priority all year long.

And when you need to ferry your Pride grand marshal down the parade route, consider a sleek and stylin’ electric convertible — or even a pedicab. What better way to show off your care for the planet we adore?

“Pride is an expression of love,” Pattie Gonia says, “and of wearing your queerness and color on the outside.” 

Who says that this year, and for years to come, you can’t also make that color green?

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