When Craig Cippolini attended his first gay pride parade in Baltimore in the early 1990s, it was a small affair, lasting only 10 minutes, he said.
"This was before marriage equality, before Ellen DeGeneres, before Will & Grace," Cippolini said, referring to the American television talk show host and television program, respectively. "I wanted to lend my voice as a gay citizen."
Today, Cippolini is the marketing director of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, D.C., one of the many groups participating in Saturday's Pride Parade in the U.S. capital, as pride overall has evolved into a global, month-long celebration of equality.
Pride month was sparked by a police raid of the Stonewall Inn, a Manhattan gay bar, in June 1969. Members of the city's LGBT community rioted in the streets. A year later, the first pride parades took place in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, commemorating the anniversary of the riots.
In Washington, the annual Capital Pride Parade will take place Saturday, marshaled this year by Judy and Dennis Shepard, founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. The foundation — a nonprofit advocating for LGBT rights — is named for their son, a gay college student killed in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998.
"This is a way to express everything about yourself in the most positive way," Judy Shepard told The Washington Post. "I love that so many allies and friends and co-workers are so positive on the sidelines."
Last year, the parade garnered 200,000 attendees. Capital Pride Alliance spokesperson Peter Morgan said they anticipate the parade continuing its trend of increasing attendance, as it generally has every year since its 1975 inception.
Morgan said the Washington Capitals ice hockey team, fresh off their Stanley Cup victory Thursday night, are expected to have a float in the parade, although it is unknown if any players will be in attendance.
The celebrations are not limited to the United States. Tel Aviv, Israel, played host Friday to the Middle East's largest celebration of pride, as 250,000 people took to the city in celebration, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
In South America, Sao Paulo drew thousands of attendees at its own pride parade, despite the political turmoil and violence present in the country. According to LGBT advocacy group Grupo Gay de Bahia, 387 Brazilians were murdered in connection with homophobia in 2017.
"We still have to fight to get acceptance in the outside world," Cippolini said. "There's still a lot of homophobia and transphobia from outside."