History of Phuket Pride
Many countries, cities and towns todays enjoy a pride celebration or awareness day, week or month. These events may include parades, parties, speeches, offering support and encouragement to other LGBT people.
Phuket Island's Pride festival starting at the beginning of the millennium when Poonsak ” Khun Dang ” (red) Sanchan, owner of the famous Boat Bar in Patong Beach, convinced several gay business owners to support a gay pride time in Phuket. The first celebrations were modeled after the gay celebrations that the Singaporeans Gay Community held in Phuket due to the intolerance of the Singaporean Authorities.
The very first celebration was small, but the celebrations grew steadily until now when thousands of visitors come to participate in the festival along with thousands of Phuket residents.
The Pride festival was supported financially by local businesses, some of them Gay/Lesbian, some of them run by straight supporters who recognize the value of the LGBT tourists visitors and local community .
Past business owners from Paradise Soi who have been Chairs of Phuket Pride were Khun Bon from My Way bar and Khun Tangmo from Tangmo Group.
In the beginning, the Pride festival was a four day event centered in Patong Beach. It included a variety of activities; the main event being the parade, which grew to well over one kilometer in length. The parade included various organizations and businesses that sponsored floats and musical groups. All with uniquely fashionable costumes; providing an afternoon of fun and entertainment for all. The parade was usually held on the last day of the festival and ended with a beach party and a raffle drawing with many prizes donated by businesses and individuals. All moneys raised during the festival were given to local charities.
Currently, PLU Club organizes the Pride Celebraiton with all funds raised are donated to local HIV charities or to local HIV/AIDS Community Support Programmes.
Phuket Pride is now a weeklong celebration with the goal of incorporating something for everyone, from sporting day events such as Beach Volleyball, Pool competition or a day out out on secluded Islands. Besides these daily activites, there are also a sit down Gala Dinner,Grand “Big Night Out” and on the last day, our Grand Parade. Throughout the week the owners of the gay bars in Soi Paradise also lay on special parties and shows.
The spirit of fun also extends into much of the broader community. Many supporters come to participate in many of our festival activities and at night there is also a heightened feeling of fun and enjoyment in the straight bars and clubs on Bangla Road.
While places such as Phuket Town don’t have any formal celebrations, those in Phuket Town and other places tend to celebrate their Pride in the own special way. We are one large community of wonderful and fabulous individuals enjoying their lives in celebrating Pride “Hand in Hand in Thailand.”