Metro Weekly

Capital Pride to host WorldPride in Washington, D.C. in 2025

D.C. representatives successfully lobbied to host the global Pride event after Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, was forced to withdraw its bid.

WorldPride 2017 parade in Madrid – Photo: Malopez 21, via Wikimedia.

InterPride, an international association of over 400 Pride organizations representing over 70 countries, has announced that the Capital Pride Alliance has been selected to host the global LGBTQ event WorldPride in 2025, following developments in August that led original host Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, to withdraw its bid

“As you may recall, we put together a bid last fall in 2021, and were bidding against Kaohsiung Pride,” Ryan Bos, the executive director of Capital Pride Alliance, told Metro Weekly, noting the significance of Kaohsiung City’s selection as the first city in East Asia to host a WorldPride celebration. “And basically, during the negotiation process with InterPride, Kaohsiung Pride withdrew their bid.

“Since then, as the runner-up city, we had been in conversations with the board of InterPride about our previous candidacy. And the decision was made to put the vote before the membership of InterPride to decide whether or not to continue to have a WorldPride in 2025,” says Bos, noting that the member organizations have already begun talks about 2026 WorldPride hosts as well.

“We just had our InterPride annual meeting and world conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, last week. We sent a delegation of six individuals to basically campaign and present our case that there should be a WorldPride in 2025, and that DC was ready and wanted to host.”

While details are still being ironed out, preliminary plans for the celebration, which will run for a two-week-long period from May 22 to June 8, 2025, will encompass the 34th-anniversary celebration of DC Black Pride, as well as several other local Pride events celebrating various communities, such as Trans Pride, Silver Pride, and Youth Pride — all of whom will be partnering with Capital Pride to “shine a spotlight and bring visibility to our community here in the nation’s capital,” says Bos.

In keeping with tradition, as the host city, D.C. also plans to host opening and closing ceremonies, a Pride parade, a large-scale festival and concert, a human rights conference co-produced by Capital Pride and its partner organizations, a sports festival analogous to the Gay Games — for which D.C. has been passed over as host city twice — hosted in partnership with Team DC, the District’s umbrella organization for LGBTQ sports leagues, LGBTQ history tours, and a march and rally from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol.

WorldPride 2025 will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first Pride celebration held in the nation’s capital, making the selection of Washington, D.C. all the more meaningful for organizers.

“CPA is thrilled and honored to have been awarded the privilege of hosting WorldPride 2025. We thank InterPride for the opportunity to share the best of the Washington region with visitors from around the globe, particularly during the 50th Anniversary of Pride in D.C.,” Bos said in a press release. “WorldPride provides an expansive platform to further the fight for civil and human rights by inspiring changemakers, while collectively celebrating our achievements, diversity, and resilience as a local, national, and global community.”

“The 50th anniversary commemoration of Capital Pride will be interwoven with the WorldPride DC 2025 calendar,” notes Bos. “As we know, here in D.C., we have ‘Pride 365,’ so, as we do every year, we can expect events and programs throughout the entire year to honor and acknowledge that milestone.”

Bos said that attendees of WorldPride DC 2025 can expect D.C.’s famed Pride Festival and Concert, and its Pride Parade, to draw crowds more than double or even triple the size of a typical Capital Pride celebration, potentially even drawing millions to the District of Columbia over the two-week period. Capital Pride will also encourage local community groups and Pride partner organizations to hold their own pop-up events or block parties that play to the District’s unique identity and strengths. 

“We will be engaging partners to have plenty of parties and educational events. Obviously, D.C. has such a cultural, rich cultural fabric with our museums and all of our organizations, and we will be providing many opportunities for folks to celebrate in the way that they feel most comfortable,” says Bos. “We’ll have a process where we encourage community organizations, partners, businesses to organize their own events and be part of the official WorldPride DC 2025 celebration. So there will be opportunities for them to submit their events for them for inclusion within that framework.”

Members of the Cuban delegation at the WorldPride 2017 parade in Madrid – Photo: Malopez 21, via Wikimedia.

Capital Pride Alliance plans to unveil more specific details about its plans for Capital Pride 2023 and future Pride celebrations, including WorldPride, in the coming months. Organizers encourage those who are interested to follow Capital Pride Alliance’s social media accounts and visit WorldPride DC 2025’s official website, www.worldpridedc.org, to stay up-to-date on the latest news.

Organizers may also get some ideas or inspiration for possible events after attending next year’s celebration of WorldPride 2023, which will be held in Sydney, Australia, and hosted by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Ashley Smith, the board president of Capital Pride Alliance, told Metro Weekly that organizers have been in talks with the city and will be engaging with entities, including but not limited to, the National Park Service and U.S. Park Police, as well as surrounding jurisdictions and public safety officials, to discuss how to carry out the various events that will be occurring not only in D.C. but in nearby parts of Maryland and Virginia due to capacity restrictions and logistical concerns.

“We’re going to need community involvement,” Smith says. “We’re going to need community volunteers. We’re going to need everyone to be a part of this celebration. We will need all of the community input we can get. So if somebody has an idea, shoot it to us. Will we go with every idea? We can’t promise that, but at least share it with us so we can have it in consideration. But no idea should be left unturned. It should be brought to the table.”

Smith says the honor of being chosen to host WorldPride 2025 — which will mark the first ever global-level LGBTQ event the District has ever hosted — is a significant development for Washington, D.C., which typically gets written off as just a political city that’s the center of the federal government.

“The federal government is based here and the federal government obviously has been the bedrock in D.C., but it’s not the only thing,” he says. “We have one of the largest LGBT communities in the country. What this will do for the city is bring awareness of what the local community already knows, how great this city can be. Do we have our quirks, and things to work on? Yes, but the city is a great place to live. I think D.C. is a true melting pot of a lot of different ethnic backgrounds. And I think this affords us the opportunity to highlight those communities in way we have not been able to in the past. So many of us are transplants here, but we’ve stayed and we’re not planning to turn and walk away. So it’s really about: how do we communicate that and display that for the world to see?

Marchers at WorldPride 2012 in London – Photo: Tom Morris, via Wikimedia.

“This is an opportunity that put us on a stage that we’ve never been on, from the LGBTQIA perspective. We’ve obviously been in the international spotlight politically, but this is going to take it to a whole other level,” adds Smith. “And the financial impact for D.C. is going to be through the roof. It’s absolutely a win for the city as well.”

Smith said that organizers are still in the process of developing a theme for WorldPride 2025. He also noted that, while some InterPride members had expressed concerns about whether future political developments in the United States might make holding an international LGBTQIA Pride event difficult, he does not foresee a possible future change in political leadership affecting the city’s ability to host such an important global event.

“Sometimes the country is very up and down politically, but I don’t think the national government will have that much of an impact,” he says. “We would hope that whomever is in office would be inclusive. But while there’s no guarantee of that, we will still have to work with the city. The city will still have a mayor and Council. We will still be a city of our own, and the federal government is the federal government.”

Mayor Muriel Bowser jubilantly celebrated the District’s selection as host for the global LGBTQIA event.

“Pride in D.C. is a manifestation of our D.C. values, an opportunity for people to celebrate themselves and for our entire community to celebrate diversity and inclusivity,” Bowser said in a statement. “I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate 50 years of Pride in DC than hosting the largest LGBTQ+ event and bringing together people from around the world. We are ready and excited to host WorldPride in the greatest city in the world. We’ll see you at the Pride of our lifetime in 2025.”

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!