Festivals & Events

Santo Domingo Pride Parade

Pride parade at the Malecón in Santo Domingo

Photo: Carlo E. Loaces

Once a year, Santo Domingo hosts the DR’s biggest Pride Parade, where drag queens, gays, lesbians and all members of the rainbow take over the streets of the Colonial Zone and walk with their rainbow flags held high.

If you find yourself in Santo Domingo during pride month, don’t miss this colorful event, where you can see for yourself how lively the Dominican queer community is, and how hard they’ve fought - and continue to fight - for visibilty and human rights.

 

Looking for more LGBTQ+ venues and events? Check out our guide to LGBTQ+ travel in the Dominican Republic.

What to know about Santo Domingo Pride Parade

An annual parade of queer performers and community in a cavalcade of vans, motorcycles and crowds on foot, singing, dancing, drinking, and cheering. Expect dazzling drag queens, glittering costumes, enchanting performances and an absolutely electric atmosphere. You’ll also see vans and pick-up trucks packed to the roof with groups of lower-key members of the LGBTQ+ community, daring to see and be seen and just generally having a great time.

 

The parade kicks off near the Colonial Zone and winds to a park near the Malecón - a stone esplanade that follows the Rio Ozama river as it winds through the center of Santo Domingo. Once at the park, the parade transforms into a live music concert featuring a stage surrounded by a constellation of little ‘kikis’.

 

Afterparties are hosted throughout the city. If you don’t get invited to a private afterparty first, look out for one of the commercial ones - event companies like Draguealo and GAFlabs take over night clubs for the night, for the local LGBTQ+ community to dance, drink and sing the night away with pride.

 

Established in 2007, the Santo Domingo parade is an opportunity to bring the LGBTQ+ community together, unified in a walk for pride, for justice, for absent friends, and for human rights. As of 2021, LGBTQ+ Dominicans do not enjoy many of the rights of straight couples, including the rights to marriage or civil partnership, or adoption. While a few laws have been introduced since 2000 that ostensibly prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, the community is still far from equal rights in law or in practice.

 

During Pride Month though, and especially on the day of the Pride Parade, support for the community is on display throughout the capital. For the past few years, as a symbol of solidarity with the Dominican LGBTQ+ community, the US embassy unfurls the rainbow flag around the time of the parade.

Pride parade in Santo Domingo

Photo: Carlo E. Loaces

You are included

This midsummer afternoon event is open to all, and as the parade criss-crosses through streets thronged with allies and non allies, the crowd grows as onlookers get swept up in the euphoria.

 

Anyone and everyone is welcome to join - including tourists and allies. Just walk into the parade, bring your voice and your pride in (or support for) the LGBTQ+ community. Falling as it does in the middle of summer, you’ll see plenty of tourists joining in on this joyful event.

 

It’s not your typical Dominican parade or carnival, since not all Dominicans (who might otherwise want to) can march openly - most of the members of the community prefer to be in the shadows because of their conservative families.

 

This annual parade is a vital reminder to the nation’s political leaders and religious community that there is an LGBTQ+ community that is among them alive and active, in every class and occupation - doctors, workers, students and teachers. And while most of the LGBTQ+ community keep a low profile in public, they also support their queer friends and family through social media, calling for equal rights.

 

Expect to see plenty of photojournalists snapping photos, as well as a police presence.

Pride parade in Santo Domingo

Photo: Carlo E. Loaces

When is the Santo Domingo Pride Parade?

The Santo Domingo Pride Parade is held on the last Sunday of Pride Month (June), kicking off at 3pm.

 

The Santiago Pride Parade usually happens on the weekend before or after that, making it possible for performers and community to participate in both.

Pride parade in Santo Domingo

Photo: Carlo E. Loaces

Where to go

The Pride Parade usually kicks off on one of the main avenues near the Colonial Zone, often Caamaño Deñó Av. (Avenida del Puerto), and ends in a park near the Malecón, usually Parque Duarte.

Want more?

Want to keep the party going? Check out our guide to Dominican LGBTQ+ nightlife, where we’ve listed the best gay and gay-friendly places to have a drink, dance, and even a sauna where you can drink in the nude and meet some locals!

Rainbow flag at pride parade in Santo Domingo

Photo: Carlo E. Loaces


Written by Diego Angeles.

 

Published November 2021.


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