This New York City post is a special edition – a round-up of all the events & celebrations I was a part of during Pride Week! The rainbow glitter may have settled from the Parade, but I am feeling even more inspired by our diverse community & our collective strength in the days since. It is extra long & extra full of photos, as this time of year means a lot to me.
As I mentioned previously, the week literally kicked off in the most ideal way for a queer woman – a Hayley Kiyoko concert. Read about our night & what I wore HERE. The crowd we attended the show with was one of the highlights of the event. A gal in our section literally applied glitter eye make-up for us during the concert itself. I wish that people dressed like it was Pride during the other eleven months of the year. The plethora of rainbow outfits & bright flags tied strongly around shoulders like capes pulls at my heart strings as one of the most visible representations of our community.
Before heading to our event the following night, Steph helped me search for a weekend outfit at OTHERWILD. I have wanted to visit this store for years, since my cousin recommended I check it out. We only had a few minutes to browse, so I immediately beelined for THE “LESBIAN LOOKS” SPORTS BRA. I am debating whether I should invest in the matching bike shorts as well.
Full disclosure: my decision to purchase was directly influenced by ALI BIRD in THIS PHOTO. I cannot wait to return to this shop. They specifically signify that their “business model [is structured] to support ethical practices, advocacy and activism”. Therefore, OTHERWILD, is an establishment I want to support all year round.
On the subject of brands who actively support our community, Steph & I were graciously invited by the team at KENNETH COLE to celebrate at their TIED WITH PRIDE party in Soho. I wore my LOVE TO ALL T-SHIRT that I last featured on the blog HERE; the proceeds from the shirt specifically benefit the HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN. I was thrilled to learn this month that the KENNETH COLE team was not only actively supporting the HRC this year as well, but their team has been partnering with organizations since the early 90’s to benefit the LGBTQ+ community. It is significant to note the brands who have made their heritage one of support & acceptance. The designer himself spoke at the event, declaring “basic human rights is what our brand has always stood for.” The editor from OUT MAGAZINE assured the crowd that “KENNETH COLE has been here from the very beginning.”
Another beautiful moment from the night was Caitlin Kinnunen performing a moving rendition of “Dance With You”, a song from her upcoming Broadway musical THE PROM, hitting the stage next fall. It is guaranteed to be an iconic hit for any person in a queer relationship, who simply wants to do the normal things in life (dance, hold hands with, kiss) with their chosen loved one. I cannot wait to support the production! The campaign for THE KENNETH COLE KAM SNEAKERS focused on featuring real LGBTQ+ couples living in New York City, while the sale of the sneakers itself directly benefits HRC. While this pair also comes in black, THE WHITE KAM SNEAKER with the rainbow stripe down the back is my current favorite.
SHOP THE KENNETH COLE PRIDE COLLECTION FOR MEN & WOMEN!
My best friends from Boston College headed to the NEW YORK ATHLETIC CLUB for happy hour on Wednesday night. I have never witnessed such a stunning view of Central Park & it is a yearly tradition that I look forward to all winter. One of the main reasons I love my college friends, apart from their understanding of my incessant picture taking, especially during the week I discovered my love of HUJI, is that they have been extremely supportive of my sexuality & my relationships. I try to remember that many are not as fortunate in their coming out process with family & friends.
After we finished our second bottle of Whispering Angel, we headed to a private performance featuring TAYLOR BENNETT at LUDLOW HOUSE. This rising rapper from Chicago has been transparent about his bisexual identity intersecting with his music. He also happens to be the younger brother of Chance the Rapper. We jammed to his latest single BE YOURSELF, where his song proudly proclaims, “You know, deep down / We’re all our own kind / You know, diamonds take pressure / Diamonds take pressure”. Considering the amount of discrimination our community is faced with, under this current administration especially, this line struck a chord with me. These prejudice circumstances will not break us but fortify us for a lifetime of activism. It was an extremely unique experience, and I was grateful that my friends were able to attend too! We were having too much fun out & about, so we headed to CUBBYHOLE for one more beer, which turned into an elaborate dance party that was one of the best parts of my week.
Thursday & Friday evening were spent with my family at a two-part Broadway show; I will share more details on that soon! It is important to note that my parents & my grandparents made a point of taking my siblings to plays & musicals as we grew up. It may be a stereotype that gay people love the theatre, but I am extremely thankful that they collectively made the arts part of our childhood. I have heard that one of the best ways to develop empathy in children is to encourage them to read fictional stories; the act of reading from another person’s perspectives can naturally increase this emotion. I believe the same could be said of a show in the theatre, as one watches another world come to life. Immediately after the show on Friday, a big group of us headed over to HENRIETTA HUDSON. We planned to stay for one or two drinks & ended up dancing for three hours. Although we didn’t arrive early enough to benefit from their open tab offer, I was super happy to see that BUMBLE sponsored drinks for those who were out in the beginning half of the night! What a thoughtful gesture during a celebratory week. We ended the night, as we evidently often do, at CUBBYHOLE for a final PBR before bed.
A bottomless brunch with frozen margaritas shook off the hangover on Saturday morning. After too many laughs with my Boston College best friends, I headed to THE STANDARD EAST VILLAGE, one of my top locations in New York City, to meet Steph, my cousin, Ryan, & her roommates, Sab & Michael. The minute I saw the email from IT GETS BETTER PROJECT that HAYLEY KIYOKO was hosting a benefit to raise money for this noble organization that empowers LGBTQ+ youth on a global scale, I texted the group that we needed to buy tickets. A chance to support our younger community is important, especially during Pride.
After writing a WHOLE POST about attending her concert, you can imagine my shock & surprise at actually getting to meet HAYLEY. I was snapping glam shots of Ryan against the balcony, when Steph saw Lesbian Jesus in the flesh walking by. She casually asked her if she wanted to take a picture with Ryan & our group metaphorically/figuratively lost it. She was very patient as we snapped our photos & it was one of the most fabulous parts of Pride. My outfit consisted of my rainbow emblazoned purse, a Wildfang blazer from a few seasons back, vintage jeans, & the aforementioned “LESBIAN LOOKS” SPORTS BRA. It is one of my favorite outfits ever.
The rest of the afternoon zipped by with an impromptu photo shoot in the street, a dinner delivery from my favorite Thai restaurant, & listening to EXPECTATIONS. Our crew went out to China Chalet that night, a club in Chinatown that was only playing Pride Anthems. I typically try to avoid paying cover charges, but the music kept us laughing, scream-singing, & dancing all night. It was absolutely worth the $25.
Marguerite & I hosted a party the morning of the Pride Parade at our apartment last year that we declared one of the best celebrations we ever had. We decided to have another one this year, where we provided mimosas & bagels & shots for our guests. Steph brought a plethora of rainbow body glitter that everybody wanted to use. I can honestly say it was one of the best days of my whole life. My brother, Sean, came with several of his friends & quickly befriended mine. My best friend from Long Valley, Sara, literally postponed her move to Chicago in order to attend. How I got lucky enough to deserve a friend like Sara I will never understand. I met a couple new people, which made the party even more important to me, as it proves that our circles can always expand in New York City, if we make the effort.
The Parade was a blur of rainbows & glitter, as it always is. These photos fill me with joy because there is love pouring out of them. It is an honor to openly celebrate with my friends & my family & my girlfriend, especially as I read about ISTANBUL PRIDE, where participants in their walk were met with rubber bullets & police detainment. Our country is not without its issues, but I believe we will continue to collectively fight – with our votes, with our wallets, with our presence – for our freedoms that we are all worthy of.
It has been rewarding to create identity-based stories over the past several weeks: MY VISIT TO THE STONEWALL RAINBOW CROSSWALK, MY FIRST HAYLEY KIYOKO CONCERT, MY PROUD RAINBOW BACKPACK, & MY REFLECTION ON PULSE. It has forced me to think about the importance of fighting for our rights, while also celebrating in equal measure. Above all, I will continue to choose love; I choose love by loving my girlfriend, loving our community, & loving myself every day of the year.