Philly Ranked Among Nation’s Worst Cities to Celebrate Pride

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There’s lots of chatter around town questioning Philadelphia’s Pride — and I’ll admit some opinions are founded — but there’s something irksome about being called out  nationally for being one of the worst cities for gay Pride.




Gay app Jack'd polled users (aged approximately 18-30) in anticipation of Pride month to determine the best and worst cities in the nation to attend a Pride festival. No surprise, San Francisco topped the list, with Detroit (really?) and Oakland (wha?!) not far behind. San Antonio got the No. 1 slot in the "least fun" category, and Philadelphia comes in at No. 8. (See the full lists below.)

Here are some other statistics from the study:

  • 41% of respondents said they would attend a Pride event in 2014.
  • Only 2% indicated they would use Pride in 2014 as an opportunity to come out.
  • 17% said they wouldn’t attend Pride because they were concerned about what others might think.
  • 57% said they would celebrate either by watching the city’s main parade or attending a street festival.
  • 59% of respondents planned not to attend an event, while 57% of respondents still claimed that celebrating Pride is important.

Check out the list of best and worst cities to attend Pride below:

BEST CITIES

  1. San Francisco, California
  2. Detroit, Michigan
  3. Oakland, California
  4. Orlando, Florida
  5. Seattle, Washington
  6. New York, New York
  7. Baltimore, Maryland
  8. Brooklyn, New York
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10. San Diego, California

WORST CITIES

  1. San Antonio, Texas
  2. Jacksonville, Florida
  3. Jackson, Mississippi
  4. Nashville, Tennessee
  5. Miami, Florida
  6. Charlotte, North Carolina
  7. Boston, Massachusetts
  8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  9. Dallas, Texas
  10. Houston, Texas

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  • Brian Martenis

    Looked like everyone was having fun. Maybe that’s just me. Ha. Guess it’s all a matter of perception.

  • judethom

    There has always been a problem with Philly Pride marches and parades. For starters, people here have always hated marching in public. This goes back to the early Pride marches (when they were not called parades). Shockingly, there’s still a closeted aura in the city. Years ago the numbers of marchers–actual marchers–fell far, far below the numbers of marchers in other major cities. One year in the late 1970s, Boston had 100,000 marchers and Philly could only muster 15,000. This has never changed. Traditionally, people in Philly (on Pride Day) show up at the very end, at Penn’s Landing, or at the concluding festival, wherever it is, and then the numbers get big, but only then. We live in a very odd city.

  • tbroadway

    Who voted on this. They are crazy. Detroit REALLY??? I think Philly is a very Gay friendly city.

    • area517

      Please tell us your knowledge of Detroit so as to justify your juvenile response.

  • Tark Blimtrep

    I’ve lived in other cities, but I grew-up here, and I’ve never understood Pride festivals anywhere. I mean so, I’m gay. I’m not ashamed, I’m out, but it’s only part of what defines me. Do we need intelligence festivals? I’m proud to be intelligent, so I march in a parade? I get marching for rights or against discrimination, but as the concept of “gay” becomes more and more mainstream, what is the point of celebrating a human trait?

    • Tilghman Lesher

      You are correct that as we get closer to having full equal rights, there is less reason to have Pride. However, those who are perhaps a bit older than you remember the time that we could not hold our heads up high and be publically out, because the world would discriminate against you. In fact, the more that we come out of the closet, the easier we make it for others to come out of the closet (especially at ever younger ages). Not all of the United States is as progressive as Philadelphia. You should try to be a proud out gay man in the rural South, for example. Some rural areas are good about it. Some aren’t. We still have a ways to go for equality.

  • Joe

    Pride could be so much better. The only reason I went this year was because I got a free wristband. Yet if you say anything that’s construed as “negative” you’re attacked by the organizers and their friends. On their Facebook page they’ll delete your comments and/or block you. They say “if you don’t like it then volunteer and help” but when you try and volunteer they ignore you. I have a friend who repeatedly tried to volunteer and got nowhere. They need a fresh outlook on things, from the godawful 1990s-style website to the entertainment. They hired an alleged comedian who’s only known for being pathetic on a “reality” show with Joan Rivers and her daughter, and she was not remotely entertaining. And why does “Betty” have to perform EVERY SINGLE YEAR? I have to admit, the Village People was somewhat entertaining, although only 2 of the original 6 are still in the group. But they can do better. NEWER. FRESHER. It’s sad when younger LGBT people are so excited about Pride in New York or Washington, DC instead of in their hometown.

    • Onassis St. James

      You are so right, the responsibility really lies with the organizers, and if they don’t like it, maybe they should step aside. There is never any real draw to get people to come out. Third-rate comedians and artists from an era before many of our gaybies were even born, are not going to bring out huge numbers. It’s embarrassing that they keep working the same broken model year after year and are unwilling to accept change.

  • Scott J

    I think this poll showed how negative young gay youth are in Philly.

  • Carlos Rivera-Mejías

    I agree with Joe. I also have contacted certain organizations and locals to help and nothing. I wanted to photograph the event for FREE and post photos so local orgs and all to use, and no one got back to me or allowing me access.

    I was RIGHT next to the stage, and the staff helping was just getting in my way. I felt like they were doing it on purpose. They weren’t keeping people off the stage area; they’d allow “certain” people to pass.. it seemed like it was because they knew them.

    Another issue I personally find is that the gay community in Philadelphia is not totally friendly. Thank goodness for the younger generation that seems more friendly. I’ve been attending pride in PHL for three yrs now, and I must say that last yr. I saw a major change from the previous yr. There were a lot more younger people out, and everyone was friendly; that is what we need. We need to be a COMMUNITY, and stop beating each other down.

    If it wasn’t for the performers, I probably wouldn’t attend pride. It’s all advertisements.. add some fun activities or things people can do; some interactive stuff. I agree the web site needs a bit of updating, and ease of use. It’s like a 90 bulletin. I’ve also tried to get into the William Way Art scene and nothing. It’s difficult to have my stuff scene.

    The Village People were good, so that was fun. Betty…. well not really my type, so I left after that. The comedian was alright, but she was more or less talking to the crowd and just filling in time. The tall guy with the funky outfits could do as well and he prob. does it for free.

    There’s much that can be discussed. Aren’t there weekly meetings people can attend? I think it’s during the wk, so i can never go, but if they have a forum or a page to submit into that would be great.

  • Brian Jason Turner

    I have attended the festival every year since 2007. This year was the first time I attended the parade and it was nice. Pride needs a facelift, new website and more transparency with planning. It almost seems like all of the shots are called by a few. They need a fresh voice. Can the festival be held somewhere else?

  • Luke

    Philly Pride festival and weekend have been super fun when I attended! This poll is nonsense. I would always make an effort to go to Philly Pride. Philly LGBT community has awesome events and people! Philly is very gay friendly city in my experience. Village People were great and enjoyed them. It would be good to get more celebrity performers if possible, but the event and weekend itself is incredibly fun and supportive of Equality. I would put Philly at or near top of list.

  • Chuck Volz

    It is particularly irksome to see negative comments from people who have never volunteered their time notwithstanding the fact that they freely volunteer their opinion (or attend with a “free” wristband). Philly Pride meetings are always advertised and anyone is free to walk into a meeting at the William Way Center, voice a constructive criticism or propose an interesting idea, and volunteer to work at the next event, OutFest, Sunday, October 13, which, incidentally, is the largest N.C.O.D. event in the World. It is hard to see how we can be more transparent or open. There is already a new website, Joe and Brian, at phillygaypride.org., and some of us are attending workshops to learn how to edit something entirely new, and it will be up and running for OutFest. There are a myriad of reasons to attend and be “out,” if, for no other reason, to remind straight society that there are LGBT individuals, as we cannot be distinguished by pigment or accent, and therefore far too easy for many to stay closeted. And as we attain full equality, let me remind everyone that the reason to attend Pride events is not diminished: “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.” I don’t know who votes in these polls, but plenty voted with their feet on June 8. We would have needed a shoehorn to fit anyone else in at the Festival.

  • Sebastian

    I totally agree with the results of the survey. I have not been to a Philly Pride event in years. I am just surprised it did not rate higher as being one of the worst cities And it is not only this event but the city in general. When compared to NYC or DC, Philly has never and never will been on par with them.

  • Irish856

    Ask the Bar owners what they all think… They all put big bucks into it… and then the parade takes everyone out of the gayborhood
    Once you get to Penn’s Landing there is no place at all to get out of the sun or rain… no transport back to the gayborhood and once you tour the booths once or twice, not much else to do
    I get that there really is not a place near the gayborhood so perhaps transport back and forth would help

    I realize that a TON of work goes into the event… but perhaps allowing new ideas would freshen it up.
    The person in charge is afraid of outsiders helping… so we have been ignored and we have left.

  • P Sanders

    As one of the Regional Directors of the
    Northeastern United States for InterPride, the International Association of LGBT Pride organizers I am shocked for a couple of reasons. 1) Philly Pride is one of the hardest working group of VOLUNTEERS that I have experienced. They are committed to not only the LGBT Community of Philadelphia, but in PA, The US and undoubtedly the world. 2) The fact that your magazine has chosen to use “Jack’d” as a reliable resource to ascertain poll results is flawed. Jack’d while it serves it purpose for some, leaves out how many members of the LGBT community – certainly the L & T and most of the B as well. To run an article bashing one of the most visible LGBT event in your city based on this is not only poor journalism in my opinion, it causes bigger issues in terms of community engagement and support. 3) I know the main organizers of Philly Pride and I am certain that they would love the community input and even more so the support to put on the event. This includes not only manpower for the day of the events, but also fundraising and sponsorship. How many of the people who voted against Philly Pride have things like matching gift programs with employers and designated for Pride – the survey states that 57% of the respondents found pride to be important – I know that NO pride organization gets 57% of their communities support….but imagine if everyone gave and extra $5.00 each year Pride could grow and expand in ways never seen. This is just food for thought for the greater community, but support needs to come from places like GPhilly, which I don’t recall even seeing at Pride this year, please correct me if you were there. If you have any questions in regards to pride I would be happy to address them. My email is paul.sanders@interpride.org