With Pride Month 2018 just a few weeks away, a lot of you will likely be heading off to different pride events all across the world! For many of you, this might even be your very first Pride! While Pride is a time to celebrate and embrace our identities, ourselves, and each other it’s also important that you look after your own safety and well-being to make sure Pride is nothing but positive for you!
Here are some basic tips for how you can kee safe at Pride:
🌈 Preferably go to whatever festivities you’re attending with friends who you can trust. There’s more safety (and fun) in numbers than there is going alone. However, if you don’t have anyone to go to Pride with then make sure to at least tell someone you trust where you’ll be going. Consider checking in with them regularly or plan to call/text/message them at a certain time to let them know that you’re okay or that you made it home safely.
🌈 Be prepared and take only what you need. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you leave. Don’t take a large amount of cash and make sure that any cash you do take is in a secure spot (front pants pocket, in your bra, a front-facing fanny pack, etc). Bring your own bottled water and consider bringing hand sanitizer and a travel pack of tissues. If it’s going to be chilly where you are during Pride, be sure to also bring a jacket. If you’re planning to (or think you might) have sex, be sure to bring protection. If you have any kind of illness or condition that requires medication, make sure to bring that with you too in case you need to take a dose.
🌈 Don’t take opened drinks from strangers and don’t leave whatever you’re drinking unattended. If it doesn’t come from an unopened can or bottle that you brought or bought yourself, don’t trust it. It’s incredibly easy for someone to slip something in your drink when you’re not watching it.
🌈 Stay hydrated and fed. Depending on what events you’re attending, there will probably be street vendors around selling food. Alternatively, you can also bring your energy bars or other portable snacks with you.
🌈 Wear sunscreen. Even if it’s not hot out, the sun is still shining and staying in the sun for extended periods of time is bad for your skin. This goes for people of ALL skin types and colors—people with dark skin need sunscreen, too. A waterproof sunscreen with SPF 50 and above is ideal. Make sure to use it not only on the exposed areas of your body but the areas hidden by clothing, too, and if you’re planning on being outside long enough for your sunscreen to wear off take the bottle with you.
🌈 Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Check the weather for the day(s) you’re planning on attending Pride and plan your outfit accordingly. Wear shoes that you can spend an extended amount of time in, preferably ones that are sturdy and closed-toed so your feet don’t end up getting trampled and you don’t get hurt by stepping on anything sharp.
🌈 Know what your limits are if you plan on drinking or taking any drugs. Be extremely cautious about taking any drugs from strangers and, again, do not take unopened drinks from people you don’t know. If you don’t have experience in drinking or drugs, really consider whether the Pride event you’re at is a safe place to do it for the first time.
🌈 Don’t drink and drive. Don’t do drugs and drive. If you’re planning on drinking or taking any other substances at Pride, make sure that you have a way home figured out before you even leave the house. Have a designated driver if you’re attending Pride with a group, download a ride-sharing app, or have the number to a local cab company programmed into your cell phone.
🌈 If you go to Pride with a group of people, set up a designated meeting spot in case anyone gets separated from the group. Make sure everyone in your group has the cell numbers of everyone else in the group and keep your phones on in case you need to contact each other for help.
Don’t ditch your group or disappear with strangers, especially not without letting your group know where you’re going and who you’re going with. If someone in your group wants to go somewhere with a stranger try to dissuade them and convince them to just swap contact info with them instead. If they still want to go then get not only the stranger’s name but also preferably snap a picture of them with your phone. Designate a time to have your friend call you to let you know they’re okay.
🌈 Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing anything you’re not comfortable with. Similarly, be alert to your surroundings and the people around you and keep an eye out for anyone else who might be getting cornered or treated unfairly. Stand up for yourself but also stand up for others, too.
Pride events can be fun and wonderful but don’t forget that they’re also large crowded gatherings filled with lots of unknown people and it’s important to be alert and stay safety-oriented at Pride just as much as you would at any other well-attended event!