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Pittsburgh Pride month kicks off with two big LGBTQ festivals

Pittsburgh has countless ways to celebrate Pride Month. But the two biggest festivals honoring LGBTQ people and culture are this week.

Pittsburgh Pride Revolution is a four-day festival taking place Downtown, on the North Side and in Bloomfield. Swissvale People’s Pride is a one-day event in Swissvale. Both feature live music and a march to advocate for LGBTQ rights.

Nationally touring singer and activist Shea Diamond headlines People's Pride
People's Pride
Nationally touring singer and activist Shea Diamond headlines People's Pride

Pride Revolution, the larger of the two, is a successor to the long-running annual Pride festival operated by the Delta Foundation, which dissolved in 2020 amidst criticisms it sidelined transgender people and LGBTQ people of color. It’s the second year for the festival under its current lead organizers, including Dena Stanley, founder and executive director of the group TransYouniting, and Duane Binion, executive director of True T.

The biggest single Pride Revolution event is likely to be Saturday’s Stand Up, Fight Back March, which organizers expect to draw 30,000. Stanley said the march has a special significance in a year that’s seen a spike nationally in legislative efforts prejudicial against the LGBTQ community.

“We are once again in the midst of fighting for our civil rights like we did 50-odd years ago, to be in this space and be able to have the voice that we have,” said Stanley. “So we right now are not only celebrating who we are and celebrating being able to stand resolute in ourselves, but we’re also fighting for the rights of our people and to make sure that these folks in Pittsburgh and in Pennsylvania know that there is 30[,000] to 40,000 people standing behind us, and if you think that you’re going to take our rights away here, then think again.”

Grammy-nominated singer Jessie J headlines Pride on the Shore.
Pittsburgh Pride Revolution
Grammy-nominated singer Jessie J headlines Pride on the Shore.

Pride Revolution begins Thursday with Too Hot for July, a party at KLVN Coffee in Larimer, featuring singing star Saucy Santana. Friday’s Ball on the Bridge features drag performers from Pittsburgh’s ballroom scene in a contest on The Andy Warhol Bridge, as well as Pride on the Shore, a ticketed concert and party at Stage AE, headlined by Grammy nominee Jessie J and drag star Trixie Mattell. A North Side event, in Allegheny West Park, follows Saturday’s march with more music and vendors, and the festival closes with a Sunday-afternoon street fair program in Bloomfield. All events except for Pride on the Shore are free.

More information about Pride Revolution is here.

The one-day People’s Pride is also free and is billed as Swissvale's first-ever Pride event. It’s organized by SisTers PGH, which for the previous five years held Peoples Pride in Allegheny West Park, drawing upward of 800 attendees. The group welcomes all, even as it centers Black and brown trans and queer people.

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The move to Swissvale, which serves as the group’s home base, is part of an effort to improve life for LGBTQ people in communities outside of Pittsburgh, said SisTers founder and executive director Ciora Thomas.

“It’s like yeah, we did this in Pittsburgh, now let’s touch these different boroughs that have their own laws, their own legislation, that may never have been exposed to LGBTQ people,” Thomas said. “LGBTQ people live in these communities but never felt safe to come out in these communities.”

The festival includes a march that begins at 10 a.m. at Edgewood Towne Center and ends at Dixon Elementary School. The school grounds are the site of an all-day music festival, headlined by nationally touring singer and trans activist Shea Diamond.

More information about Peoples Pride is here.

Bill is a long-time Pittsburgh-based journalist specializing in the arts and the environment. Previous to working at WESA, he spent 21 years at the weekly Pittsburgh City Paper, the last 14 as Arts & Entertainment editor. He is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and in 30-plus years as a journalist has freelanced for publications including In Pittsburgh, The Nation, E: The Environmental Magazine, American Theatre, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Bill has earned numerous Golden Quill awards from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania. He lives in the neighborhood of Manchester, and he once milked a goat. Email: