Philadelphia kicks off Pride Month with a weekend of events

By Emily Leopard-Davis

With Philadelphia Pride and the start of Pride Month now upon us, Tyrell Brown, Executive Director of GALAEI, recently sat down to talk with AL DÍA News about the plans for Pride and beyond.

Brown has been the Executive Director of GALAEI since March 2023, after serving as the organization’s deputy director. Prior to their work with GALAEI, they worked as a preschool teacher for 12 years, and also in retail and community activism.

Their background in education, and specifically work with queer and trans children of color is what got them involved with GALAEI.

“That was when I was called into GALAEI. It was actually during the summertime. They asked me to come in and put together their first summer camp,” Brown said.

GALAEI was founded over 30 years ago by activist David Acosta, to provide resources to queer Latinx men during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In the years since its founding, it has expanded to include programs and resources for the greater queer, BIPOC community in Philadelphia, while still working in HIV prevention.

The programs offered are Prioritizing Our People (P.O.P.), Student Power, Leadership and Activism Together (S.P.L.A.T.), and Trans, Intersex, Non-binary and Gender Non-conforming Services (T.I.N.G.S.).

GALAEI’s role as Philadelphia Pride’s primary organizer is new this year. In 2020, the in-person Pride march and festival were canceled due to COVID.

The following year, Philly Pride Presents, the organization that had put on the Philadelphia Pride March and Festival for 28 years, suddenly dissolved itself. This was in response to outcry from the community about several posts on the group’s Facebook page.

One depicted the Stonewall Riot as a small group of cops having to defend themselves against hundreds of demonstrators. In reality, it occurred when patrons fought back during a police raid of the bar. The post was also called out for transphobia for describing the patrons as “those dressed as women.”

Another post, which marked Memorial Day, included a photo of the Blue Lives Matter Flag with a rainbow stripe instead of a blue one. This reignited criticisms of the organization’s relationship with the police. In 2016 they tried to give the Greater Philadelphia Gay Officer Action League (GOAL), the Grand Marshall award. GOAL declined after backlash from the community.

In 2022, Philadelphia Pride was organized by the PHL Pride Collective, which included members of GALAEI like Brown.

Planning started in 2021, but was moving slowly. Four plans had been suggested, with one of the four being thrown out. Eventually Brown reached out to their sibling, Maso, who helped them turn the document they had into a pitch. It was then presented to GALAEI’s former Executive Director and the rest of the PHL Pride Collective.


To kick off the weekend, the Office of LGBT Affairs is hosting its annual Pride flag raising event at City Hall from noon to 1 p.m. This event will include raising the More Color, More Pride flag and speakers from the community.

The “Love, Light, and Liberation” Pride March and Festival will be held on Sunday, June 4th. The march will start at 10:30 a.m. at 6th and Walnut, traveling down 6th Street to Washington Square.

The festival will take place in the Gayborhood from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. It will feature the same sections as last year, like Sober Vibes and Kiki Alley, with a few new ones added.

Brown emphasized the resource festival aspect of the event, which is highlighted especially well with the P.O.P. Wellness section.

It will feature tents from healthcare nonprofits, hospitals, and therapists as well as Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) where people can get STI testing or a Mpox vaccine. There will also be therapy dogs.

Brown stated that the interactions at these tents will go past just handing someone a card with information, they will get a direct link to care and even be able to talk to someone day of, such as the therapists who will be there from Mazzoni Center and Therapy Center of PA.

There will be over 200 vendors for participants to check out that range from small businesses to nonprofits and schools.

Two of the added sections are Bailar Con Amor (To Dance With Love) and Vice. Bailar Con Amor was developed by Jorian Rivera-Veintidos, P.O.P. program manager, as an “an ode to Afro-Latinx culture and dance.” AL DÍA will have a booth in this section.

Vice is in memory of Maso, one of the organizers of last year’s Pride festival. It will have resource tables and shops.

Details about all of the sections can be found here.

Some of the changes came from feedback the group received. This includes moving the Decompression Zone to a quiet street that’s adjacent to the festival and changing entry to it.

“It’ll be a soft entry, a controlled entry so we can maintain the integrity of that space. So no one’s going to walk down with a boombox. Or go down there with a cigarette and start smoking because it’s a smoke free space,” Brown explained.

They added that the Youth and Family section will have similar infrastructure for a similar reason as things like smoking and alcohol won’t be allowed in it.

Ebony Ali, the S.P.L.A.T. program manager, who is in charge of this section described it as “essentially a family and youth wonderland.”

“We’re going to have bounce houses, we have dunk tanks, we’re going to have a show, we’re going to have Drag Story Hour. Free Mom Hugs will be there,” Ali explained.

Ali added that there will be a clown on stilts and cotton candy, as well.

“It’s basically going to be a big carnival,” they said.

There will also be four times the amount of food trucks available.

“This year we actually have like 20 food trucks, in comparison to last year where we were running up to it and we only have like 5,” they said.

The fifth truck ended up being a friend of Brown’s from the Masala Kitchen who was able to get their (food truck) license just in time. Masala Kitchen will be back this year, too.

Brown explained that the lack of options for food at the festival last year caused people to have to go a ways away from the event to find something to eat, possibly ending some people’s time there prematurely. This is something they would like to avoid this time around.

The festival will be staffed by around 200 volunteers, all trained and coordinated by Hazel Edwards, T.I.N.G.S. program manager.


Pride 365 was formed this year to create programming for the community at large, with a focus on people of color.

Each one of the events under Pride 365 will be a resource festival with the goal of bringing direct resources to people.

“There’s also the tacit resource. When you have a huge resource festival one of the most unspoken rules about it is the community aspect of us being together and how that is an implicit form of protection, it’s an implicit form of organizing, and it is a resource,” explained Brown.

Another part of the program’s goal is to help people find other organizations in the city that they would benefit from, but may not have known existed.

Two such events taking place the weekend after the festival are the Alternative Proms, one for ages 16 to 20 and one for people who are 21+. The 21+ event will take place at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Saturday, June 10 from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. The 16 to 20 event will take place at the same location and date from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets for it can be found here.

Registration for the age 16 to 20 event can be found on GALAEI’s website.

Related News

PHILADELPHIA IS SET TO MAKE HISTORY WITH DEBUT OF OURFEST: AMERICA’S FIRST PARADE (AND FESTIVAL) DEDICATED TO NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY * Pride 365: A Program of Galaei announces new OURfest National Coming Out Parade and Festival/Resource Fair on National Coming Out Day Weekend October 6-8, 2023 * Philadelphia, PA - Pride 365: A Program of Galaei presents the inaugural Philadelphia OURfest: National Coming Out Parade and Festival/Resource Fair, the first National Coming Out Parade in the United States. OURfest stands for Our Uniting Resilience and these new events are being created to amplify the resilience of our people, our individual journeys in coming out, and how we hold and take up space everyday. OURfest: National Coming Out Parade will take place on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, from 5th and Market to Broad and Locust. OURfest: National Coming Out Festival will take place on Sunday, October 8, 2023, from 12:00pm to 7:00pm, with resource fair and family zone from 12:00pm to 5:00pm, and last call for mobile bars/food trucks at 6:30pm. OURfest looks to make history as the only parade in the country dedicated and inspired by National Coming Out Day. Come to Philly for the parade and festival, but stay for the weekend. LGBTQIA+ community members across the United States are invited to make their travel plans now for three days of events - with a kick-event being planned for Friday and many other events to be announced. Philadelphia region organizations and businesses are invited to be part of this historic weekend by hosting their own events all weekend long - before and after the parade and festival. Sign-ups are now open for the parade, festival and the weekend. For more about OURfest and how to sign up for the parade and festival, visit For a full list of all LGBTQIA+ events in the Greater Philadelphia region on that weekend, make sure to visit Philadelphia is a city of historic firsts - and the organization that broke records in June for “largest Gay Pride march and festival in Philadelphia history” and “largest Gay Pride Flag in Pennsylvania history” is ready to do it all over again. And yes, that 200 foot beautiful all-inclusive rainbow flag will be out and proud once again in the streets of Philadelphia. After a few years of pride programming being in flux, Galaei, a historic organization serving queer, trans, black, brown, indigenous, and people of color, has taken up the mantle for programming under the banner of Pride 365. This new program provided the Philadelphia Gay Pride March and Festival with new leadership, new stability and a renewed sense of community and purpose. Now, after the pandemic and a three year absence, Galaei’s Pride 365 Initiative will bring new life back to National Coming Out Day/Weekend in October - and present a new line-up of events with the new OURfest parade and resource fair/festival. “We developed Galaei’s Pride 365 Initiative to redefine and elevate Pride Month Month in June - and we are excited to do the same thing in October for National Coming Out Day/Weekend,” said Galaei Executive Director and Community Organizer Tyrell Brown (they/them). “Gay Pride and National Coming Out are crucial opportunities for our communities to join together in celebration and reflection, to find family and togetherness, to have access to resources, and to share the love, art and joy that are hallmarks of our community.” “Pride in June has roots that were in protest and a stand for justice and equality for our larger LGBTQ+ community. We created a march where the entire LGBTQ+ community could participate, march together and raise up our voices. For National Coming Out, we see this is a key opportunity to share and celebrate our collective and individual stories of coming out. The parade allows for our community to experience and enjoy a visual display of how far we’ve come, to watch a moving and powerful show together, and to take a moment to enjoy the story of our coming out.” They added, “While there are similarities in that both are unifying, joyous, and celebratory, the distinction exist between them in that one is for enjoyment, while the former (“Love Light and Liberation” Pride March) was a public stand for all that we need and deserve from an advocacy standpoint that extends beyond visibility.” “Galaei is proud to be at the forefront of bringing both Pride and National Coming Out back from the pandemic, but even more so we are honored to help redefine what each of these means to our community now and moving forward.” OURFEST: NATIONAL COMING OUT PARADE OURfest: National Coming Out Parade will take place on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, from 5th and Market to Broad and Locust. The parade will feature a mix of curated and designed floats, community organizations and live performances that spotlight the vibrancy of the LGBTQIA+ community in Philadelphia, the suburbs and across America. Look for themed sections to showcase youth and families, sports and recreation, professional leaders, pioneers and grand marshals, arts and culture, drag artists, and other groups. The community cheer section features the record-breaking 200 foot rainbow flag that debuted in June during Pride Month. The final route for the parade is being finalized and will be shared in a future update. Also, look for a parade line-up to be shared closer to the event! OURFEST: NATIONAL COMING OUT RESOURCE FAIR AND FESTIVAL Pride 365 and Galaei bring together the city's top LGBTQ+ organizers to produce a dynamic festival - and one of the single largest outdoor festivals of the year in Philadelphia. After a three year absence, the Gayborhood will come to life again in honor of National Coming Out Day/Weekend. OURfest: National Coming Out Festival will take place on Sunday, October 8, 2023, from 12:00pm to 7:00pm, with resource fair and family zone from 12:00pm to 5:00pm, and last call for mobile bars/food trucks at 6:30pm. The festival will spread out across the Gayborhood from 13th and Walnut down to 13th and Locust, across Locust to 12th, then from there to 12th and Spruce, with other select roads closed around the festival footprint. This new resource fair and street festival will feature art and music from the community, in a celebration that combines the uniqueness of Philadelphia and showcases the diverse talents of Philadelphia’s LGBTQIA family, friends, and neighbors. The vibrant location of the Gayborhood, the stronghold of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community, provides a historic backdrop for 200+ grassroots organizations, CBO’s, nonprofits, artists and makers, entertainers, restaurants and bars, food trucks, vendors and small businesses to provide innovative programming, dynamic structure, community resources, education, food and drink and family fun. The full lineup will include performances, speeches and the awarding of our first annual Mx, Ms, Mr, OURfest 2023. Within the larger festival, Galaei has worked with community partners to build a variety of fun and vibrant places for everyone. Youth and Family Programming will be an expansive space curated by several local organizations, including The Attic Youth Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence, Galaei’s SPLAT program, Philly Family Pride, and the William Way LGBT Community Center. This space is alcohol and smoke free and will feature age-appropriate and safe youth and family programming to celebrate all generations of Philadelphia Pride. Brown said, “As one of the most forgotten parts of our community our festival places intention around how we care for and make space for queer youth and families.” Look for bounce houses, game trucks, resources, chest feeding and changing stations, and more. This year’s festival continues with unique food and beverage experiences. Sober Vibes will be hosted at Writer's Block Rehab and co-facilitated by Galaei’s POP program with a dedicated space for sober folks. This bar will have a menu of mocktails and alcohol free beverages. This is a space that centers around adults who do not drink alcohol, and simultaneously is not geared towards family and children, however, they will be welcome in the space. Food Truck Market, in partnership with The Food Truck Lady, will bring together some of the East Coast’s best and tastiest food trucks and mobile vendors to keep everyone happy and fed while they enjoy the day’s celebration. This area will create a buffer between the party goers and youth/sober areas - and offer food and drink at a variety of price points. In keeping with Galaei’s dedication to highlighting Queer and Trans Black and Brown traditions and forms of expression, Galaei is proud to present “Bailar con amor,” an ode to Afro-Latinx heritage art, dance and expression. Kiki Alley will return with a celebration space highlighting the rich culture and history of the Philadelphia ballroom community. This dedicated dance space will be a love letter to everything that is vogue. The Philadelphia Muses Stage will feature a diverse lineup of local performers and producers, including DJ sets by Sway Philly and BOS Philly, plus the presentation of the first Ms, Mx, Mr OURfest 2023, with additional bands, choirs and other entertainers. This will be a stage festival goers will not want to miss! OURstage will debut with a collaboration of producers and acts that do not have a traditional brick and mortar. This stage will celebrate OUR diverse artistic expressions. VICE (*18+) will be an ode to Galaei’s dearly departed sibling Maso, with a co-produced and curated space for exploration. There will be workshops for kink and consent, resource tabling, and shops to purchase leather and giveaways of safe sex items. The Decompression Zone, in conjunction with Disability Pride PA, is a space for attendees seeking an accessible, low-sensory respite from festivities. This area will feature comfortable seating, tables, accessible bathrooms, a cooling station, a wheelchair charging station, adult changing station and low-level music. This provides a space for elders, those living with disabilities, and others seeking rest and relaxation during the event. Community services will include medical tents for onsite medical needs such as dehydration and minor injuries. These medical services are provided by doctors and nurses from Bebashi and Mazzoni Center. Therapists for folks who are in mental health crisis or may be over stimulated, individuals trained to administer narcan, security managers, staff to answer all day of questions, Sign language and Spanish interpreters, and de-escalation specialists that will move to any point in the festival grounds or at the bars that they are needed. POP Wellness will feature local cbo’s to offer a one stop pop up wellness and resource station, linkage to testing, linkage to care and resources via case management opportunities. Attendees will be able to stop by to set an appointment, and speak to a case worker about linkages to resources, such as housing, healthcare, education, and employment. Corporate Way will be a space for selected vetted businesses that have supported the parade, festival and weekend. This space offers room for tabling, but ensures that the core festival beyond this area is centered around the larger OURfest community. Please stay tuned for a full list of vendors, food trucks, entertainment times, stage line-ups and more coming the week of the event. For more information on volunteering, participating, or sponsoring the festival, please visit our website, or email ABOUT GALAEI Galaei is comprised of a talented staff of black and brown, nonbinary, and trans organizers, who at our building and in the lgbtq+ community are committed to getting resources, providing empowerment, volunteer opportunities, and assistance to all while prioritizing the most marginalized in our QTBIPOC community. Galaei believes in celebrating pride year-round as queer and trans people because celebrations of our joy and love are implicitly an act of defiance against those who seek to oppress us. We are committed to using our events to educate, provide resources, and facilitate spaces of empowerment and love. ABOUT PRIDE 365 Every PRIDE festival is a crucial opportunity for our communities to join together in celebration, find family, get resources and share the love, art, and joy that are hallmarks of our community. Pride 365 is a new program of Galaei that seeks to elevate the experience of every Pride every year. By combining the unique and vibrant location of our Gayborhood, the stronghold of our queer businesses, supporting small queer and trans business owners, providing innovative programming, dynamic structure, and intention around how the space is curated, we endeavor to have a space for everyone.