The Media's Weirdest Pride Coverage of 2023

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
July 3, 2023

Pride Month, the annual celebration of all things LGBT and beyond, has come and gone. All we have left now are the internet archives of Pride's most devoted fans: the mainstream media.

Here are some of the strangest takes.

"We're coming for your kids—kidding!"

NPR, "Ahead of Father's Day, We're Hearing Voices of Dads From Different Backgrounds":

Kayden Coleman is one of the dads we're hearing from this week in honor of Fathers Day. The educator and transgender dad talks about what being a father means to him....

COLEMAN: Especially for someone like me who is also Black, also low-income, things of that nature. Especially 10 years ago, people weren't interested in learning about transmasculine people navigating pregnancy. So I had to do a lot of advocating for myself, and I experienced a lot of pushback and discrimination within the medical system based off of preconceived ideas of what a pregnant person is supposed to look like.

CBS News, "Gender-Affirming Care For Trans Youth: Separating Medical Facts From Misinformation":

Gender-affirming care is a broad term for many distinct treatments provided to children, teens, and adults. Puberty blockers, for example, are medications that inhibit puberty by suppressing the body's production of sex hormones, while hormone therapy is the administration of testosterone or estrogen to alter secondary sex characteristics.

One common misbelief heard when legislation is discussed is that gender-affirming medical interventions are provided immediately to any trans or nonbinary kid who walks into a gender clinic....

The age at which trans minors receive gender-affirming hormone therapy depends on the patient's ability to provide informed consent for the treatment, which can happen when they're as young as 12 or 13 years old....

Most medical centers require individuals to be at least 18 years old for bottom surgery and chest, or "top," surgery, though some do perform top surgery on younger teens if the patient, their parents, and health care providers agree the procedure is appropriate.

ABC News, "'Genocidal': Transgender People Begin to Flee States With Anti-LGBTQ Laws":

Susan has a 7-year-old transgender daughter, Elsa, whose parents asked that she be referred to by a pseudonym for safety reasons, who they say may one day need such care.

Elsa's parents describe her as wise beyond her years. She had expressed that she was a girl from an early age and guided her parents through her gender journey – asking to wear dresses, change her name, and to be referred to as a "daughter" by her parents.

"When she was 3, one day, she told me, 'I'm a girl person,'" Susan said in an interview with ABC News. It was National Daughters Day, "and she said, ‘Can I be your daughter?’ – which made me cry.

But it wasn't all controversy. The media were there to put a Pride spin on everyday life:

New York Times, "What Financial Planning Looks Like for L.G.B.T.Q. People":

Of course, I knew people were given money for their weddings, but this seemed like an abstract, heterosexual concept to me: free money, for loving someone? In my experience, nothing about being a lesbian came without, at minimum, a metaphorical price tag.

But that’s just my experience. In June, which is Pride Month, many people honor the history, struggles and joys of L.G.B.T.Q. people. It’s also a time to celebrate the ways we are different and how we relate to the world around us — which got me thinking about money.

Washington Post, "10 Recipes For Pride Month as Colorful as the Rainbow":

The gay tea dance originated in New York and spread across the country in the 1950s and '60s. "At a time when same-sex dancing was criminalized and club raids were common, the afternoon soirees functioned as discreet spaces for gay and lesbian people to socialize safely," Post style reporter Janay Kingsberry wrote. Thankfully, there have been a number of advancements for LGBTQ+ rights since then — along with some setbacks — and I for one am looking to celebrate this Pride Month to the fullest.Should you want to throw your own tea dance and hark back to the original inspiration of afternoon tea with snacks and beverages, here are some recipes that are fun and colorful to celebrate LGBTQ+ pride this month....

Pride started as a riot, so should you want to light something on fire, this take on the fruit salad is the way to go.

There were achievements to celebrate:

NBC News, "Pride 30: Drag performers Who Made 'Herstory'":

Now that the centuries-old art of drag has become a preferred target in the current culture warfare, we chose to dedicate this year’s annual NBC Out Pride 30 list to the performers who have put this art form on the map. …

Lady Bunny got her start go-go dancing with her friend RuPaul while living in Atlanta in the early 1980s. The pair moved to New York City together in 1983, and Lady Bunny spent much of this period in the city’s nightclubs, a place where other "club kids" were experimenting with outrageousness, gender, art and fashion. In 1984, Lady Bunny organized the first Wigstock, an annual drag queen festival in Manhattan’s East Village neighborhood. With a wide-ranging and diverse oeuvre, Lady Bunny is now considered one of the most legendary drag queens working today.

The media were there for the highs:

Washington Post, "LGBTQ+ Pride Month Reaches Its Grand Crescendo on City Streets From New York to San Francisco":

Thousands of effusive marchers danced to club music in New York City streets Sunday as bubbles and confetti rained down, and fellow revelers from Toronto to San Francisco cheered through Pride Month’s grand crescendo.New York’s boisterous throng strolled and danced down Fifth Avenue to Greenwich Village, cheering and waving rainbow flags to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall uprising, where a police raid on a gay bar triggered days of protests and launched the modern movement for LGBTQ+ rights.

New York Times, "'Padam Padam': You Hear It and You Know It’s Pride":

Kylie Minogue’s latest single appears to be on the fast track to gay-classic status. We asked D.J.s booked for Pride events to weigh in on the track’s devoted cult following.

… and the lows.

MSNBC, "Drag Queens Describe a Pride Month Like No Other":

While many are celebrating Pride Month, the community remains under attack. Stephanie Ruhle sat down with a roundtable of drag queens on those threats and what America doesn’t understand. Rosé, Julie J, Nicky O and Mariyea join.

Bloomberg, "Pride Planners: How We’ll Celebrate Despite Anti-Drag, Anti-LGBTQ Laws":

In America’s ever-more-polarized political environment, annual celebrations of diversity are as fraught as ever. Here’s what’s happening with festivals big and small in states inundated with anti-LGBTQ legislation.

ABC News, "Target Faces Criticism From Artists Involved With Pride Month Products Over Response to Boycott: 'Quick to Fold'":

Kennedy Davenport, a drag queen, rejoiced when she learned last year that she would be featured on apparel in the forthcoming Pride collection at Target.

"You never imagine opportunities like this," Davenport told ABC News, comparing the breakthrough to her previous role competing on the TV show "RuPaul's Drag Race.

"For Davenport, elation turned to disappointment last month when Target announced it would remove some Pride products from stores in response to anti-LGBTQ harassment faced by employees, she said. Davenport says she does not know whether products with her image were removed.

CNN, "Pentagon Cancels Drag Show at Air Force Base as Pride Month Begins":

The Pentagon forced an Air Force base in Nevada to cancel a drag show at the start of Pride Month that had already been approved, according to three officials familiar with the situation.

The drag show at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada was scheduled for June 1 and recognizes the importance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members and civilian personnel. According to a military official, it would have been the third annual drag show held at Nellis, known as "The Home of the Fighter Pilot" and the Air Force’s center for advanced fighter training.

Despite the previous two events being held at the base, this one was not allowed to move forward after the Pentagon intervened on Wednesday, according to two defense officials, forcing the base to cancel the event or move it to a different location.

There was plenty of coverage of the media's favorite villains:

And tons of… unique opinion pieces:

New York Times, "Yes, We’re in an L.G.B.T.Q. State of Emergency":

I recently spoke with several leaders of L.G.B.T.Q. groups and historians who have documented the community’s history, and they all raised the alarm about the severity of what we’re seeing.

There have been other periods of backlash against the queer community, including with the passage of oppressive legislation, but this one has moved with alarming political calculation and efficacy.

"This is a terror campaign against our community," said Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and chief executive of GLAAD, the pre-eminent L.G.B.T.Q. media advocacy organization.

CNN, "Opinion: How to clap back against anti-LGBTQ attacks this Pride month":

Here’s how to clap back against the anti-LGBTQ vitriol this Pride:...

Encourage passive allies to step up and become active ones. Change your social media profile image to the Progress Pride flag and consider that a starting point, not the sum total of expressed allyship. Honor that symbol by calling out misinformation about LGBTQ people that others share on social media....

Young adults can check out Maia Kobabe’s "Gender Queer," the most banned book in America in 2022, and André Aciman’s "Call Me by Your Name," about a romance between two young men....

For every handful of rainbow glitter we throw at a fabulous pride celebration, let’s spend time helping to correct the record and defend LGBTQ family, friends and community members against the onslaught of attacks. Don’t underestimate the inherent power of that bedtime story, that emailed article, that conversation struck at the bus stop or dinner table. It may just be the catalyst that tips us into a safer, brighter and more equal future.

And finally, there was the reason for the season—sales:

New York Times, "Gay Pride? There’s a Candle for That":

Every year, millions of people flock to Manhattan festooned in rainbows and feathers and leather to celebrate the annual Pride March. Many of them will traipse down Christopher Street, home of the Stonewall Inn, the epicenter of the modern gay rights movement in New York.

But have you ever stopped to wonder what that smells like? What scents waft through the air, mixed with the ever-present aromas of summer in the city?

No? Well, there’s a candle for that. It smells like jasmine and sandalwood.

NPR, "LGBTQ+ Creatives Rely on Pride Month Income. This Year, They're Feeling the Pinch":

Leggett, the nonbinary designer behind the gender-fluid sustainable clothing company Official Rebrand, said companies that usually reached out to them for sponsored partnerships ahead of Pride Month have not approached them this year.

After talking with their peers, Leggett said they realized, "it wasn't just me."

"It's just been a really stark contrast from years before," they said. "Every single year, my friends and I and my colleagues always get these additional jobs."

In recent years, businesses big and small have seen June as an opportune time to position themselves as inclusive and to show their support of LGBTQ+ communities with Pride Month campaigns. Brand allyship has come in the form of collaborations with queer influencers and creatives with significant online followings.

Until next year!