19 Major LGBTQ Events in Philadelphia in 2019

PHILADELPHIA, February 5, 2019 – Rainbow flags wave all year long in Philadelphia, thanks to a lineup of exciting LGBTQ events taking place in the city throughout 2019. Major festivals fill the calendar, beginning with two multi-day events, LGBTQ film festival qFLIX and Philadelphia Black Pride, in March and April.

Warm weather brings two of the city’s biggest queer celebrations, the 31st annual PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival in June and mega National Coming Out Day bash OutFest in October. Live performance highlights include Martha Graham Cracker, starring in an original scripted work, Lashed But Not Leashed, at the Kimmel Center; the songbirds of the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, dedicating an evening of song to Stonewall during Pride month; and icons Mariah Carey and Elton John, bringing to town their showcases of tunes that have fuelled LGBTQ clubs and piano bars for decades.


Here’s a look at what to expect from Philadelphia’s LGBTQ scene in 2019:


Parades & Festivals:


1. qFLIX – Philadelphia’s only LGBTQ film festival shows the latest and best queer-centric indie flicks on screens across Center City. The week also includes a chance to get out and mingle with other film buffs at networking events and meet-and-greets with some of the films’ stars and directors. March 25-31, 2019. qflixphilly.com

2. Dining Out for Life – For one night only, approximately 200 regional restaurants donate 33% of every diners’ check to local HIV/AIDS nonprofit Action Wellness. It’s the easiest and most delicious way to give all year. April 18, 2019. diningoutforlife.com/philadelphia

3. Philadelphia Black Pride – Visitors come from far and wide for this four-day event that emphasizes the strength and resilience of the queer African-American community. A host of citywide events that range from family picnics to woke discussion panels to various nightlife activities aim to focus on community building. April 25–28, 2019. phillyblackpride.org

4. New Hope Celebrates’ Pride Festival – Everyone heads to Bucks County for an early taste of Pride each May. The centerpiece of the parade is the 100-foot-long rainbow equality flag that makes its way along the event route, which begins on one side of the Delaware River, in Lambertville, New Jersey, and ends on the other, in New Hope, Pennsylvania. An outdoor Pride Fair and a host of events throughout town and at The Raven Resort keep the party going all night. May 18-19, 2019. newhopecelebrates.com

5. Philadelphia Dyke March – Dyke-identified people and allies hit the streets of Philadelphia with protest signs and raised voices calling for more visibility and equality for marginalized queer voices within the pride community. The march begins and ends at Louis I. Kahn Park, where a stage is set up for fired-up oration, live bands and gender-bending burlesque and drag performances. June 8, 2019. facebook.com/philadelphiadykemarch

6. PrideDay LGBT Parade and Festival – Philadelphia celebrates Pride and commemorates the 50th anniversary of Stonewall with one of the biggest and rowdiest festivals along the East Coast. The party begins with a colourful procession from the Gayborhood to Penn’s Landing, where the day unfolds around a stage hosting special celebrity guests, drag performances and local and national musical acts belting out tunes for a rainbow-clad crowd. June 9, 2019. phillygaypride.org

7. Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference – The world’s largest free trans-specific health conference returns to the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The three-day itinerary is packed with workshops, panels and networking mixers geared toward nurturing community and educating transgender folks and allies on issues of health and well-being. July 25–27, 2019. transphl.org

8. OutFest – Not content to have just one Pride-centric festival, Philadelphia honours its LGBTQ community with a second Gayborhood hoopla in fall to mark National Coming Out Day. Philly’s OutFest is the largest celebration of its kind in the world, spanning a dozen city blocks that are packed with game booths, food, drink and merchandise vendors, dance parties and drag shows. October 13, 2019. phillygaypride.org


Performing Arts:


1. Blue Heaven – FringeArts spotlights a variety of young LGBTQ and ally talents in its two-day comedy festival, Blue Heaven. Headliners include Michelle Buteau, Jaboukie Young-White of “The Daily Show,” Cole Escola, who plays the sassy twink waitress in Hulu’s “Difficult People,” rapping cabaret artist Champagne Jerry and Catherine Cohen, hosts of a weekly variety show at New York City gay bar Club Cumming. Queer-centric podcast Food 4 Thot will also be on hand for a live taping of the catty gabfest that takes on politics, pop culture, relationships and race. February 1-2, 2019. fringearts.com

2. Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus (PGMC) – PGMC keeps their pipes warm all year long with a string of musical events across two venues for their 37th season. They swing by the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion for two shows: a joint effort called Together with their sibling chorus, ANNA Crusis Women’s Choir (February 10, 2019) and Anthem, a sing-along featuring campy and beloved gay anthems from the ’70s to today (May 3-4, 2019). Then it’s onto the International House for the blush-worthy adult-themed cabaret, Risqué (March 22-23, 2019) and, during Pride month, Stonewall to mark the 50th anniversary of the New York City uprising that catapulted the LGBTQ revolution (June 22, 2019). pgmc.org

3. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – After a sold-out performance in Philadelphia in 2017, the extraordinary dancers of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater return to the Academy of Music with two days of brand-new works and classics, including Ailey’s seminal piece, Revelations, a celebratory look at the African-American cultural experience. March 1-2, 2019. kimmelcenter.org

4. Rent – The Merriam Theater hosts eight performances of Jonathan Larson’s beloved rock musical. Loosely based on Puccini’s La Bohème, the work follows a group of intrepid young artists as they try to make it in New York City in the midst of the HIV/AIDS crisis. March 5-10, 2019. kimmelcenter.org

5. Lashed But Not Leashed – The incomparable Martha Graham Cracker stars as herself in this scripted musical comedy that’s full of original tunes. Feeling unlucky in love, the hairy, golden-voiced songbird decides to ditch her singing career for a quieter role in academia—that is, until a handsome stranger comes along to revive her dreams of finding true love. March 14-16, 2019. kimmelcenter.org

6. Mariah Carey – The elusive chanteuse comes to the new Met Philadelphia on the heels of her critically acclaimed album, Caution. The tour promises a mix of new and old hits, and enough costume changes and sexy male dancers to keep her gay lambs squealing. April 3, 2019. themetphilly.com

7. Cole Porter’s Broadway: Too Darn Hot with David Charles Abell – The Philly POPS present an evening of the loosely closeted 20th-century composer’s greatest hits. Led by guest conductor David Charles Abell, the setlist includes piano bar standards like “Too Darn Hot,” “Night and Day” and “Easy to Love” sung by Jason Danieley and jazz and blues songstress Catherine Russell. April 12-14, 2019. kimmelcenter.org

8. Indecent– Straight from the Great White Way, this regional premiere by Pulitzer-winning playwright Paula Vogel tells the true story of the 1923 Broadway debut of God of Vengeance. The drama, written by Sholem Asch, broke ground and ignited a controversy when it was revealed that the story depicted a lesbian love affair. May 22-June 23, 2019. ardentheatre.org

9. Untitled Project #213– Barrymore Award-winning actor Steve Pacek utilizes music, clowning, dance and theater magic to tell his deeply personal story of finding love again after heartbreak. The one-man show returns to the local stage after creating buzz at the 2010 Fringe Festival. May 31-June 3, 2019. theatrehorizon.org

10. Elton John – The legendary bespectacled singer-songwriter hits the Wells Fargo Center on his global Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. The dazzling two-night spectacle is a musical journey through The Rocket Man’s career, featuring iconic hits like “Tiny Dancer,” “Daniel” and, of course, “Philadelphia Freedom.” November 8-9, 2019. wellsfargocenterphilly.com


Art Exhibits:


1. Long Light: Photographs by David Lebe – Philadelphia College of Art (now, University of the Arts)-trained photographer David Lebe gets his first major retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building. The exhibition showcases, among other things, his 1994 documentation of his and his partner’s daily struggle with AIDS, shots from 1987’s Great March on Washington for LGBTQ rights and more experimental offerings that utilize a technique called light painting to make his images, many of which are homoerotic in nature, almost jump out of the frame. The exhibition offers a fascinating look at private gay life in the pre-Instagram age. February 9-May 5, 2019. philamuseum.org