Pride Goes Virtual as COVID-19 Forces Global Cancellations

PRIDE

Pride organisations across the globe unite to organise a ‘Global Pride’ event on 27 June.

While June and July are traditionally marked by pride celebrations in the northern hemisphere, this year’s COVID -19 outbreak means the usual mass gatherings will have to be scrapped.

San Francisco became the latest to cancel its Pride festival, which would have been the city’s 50th-anniversary celebration.  

However, a number of pride organisations have banded together to utilise online platforms in order for the LGBT community to still celebrate.

On June 27, Global Pride will use online platforms to deliver a Pride in which everyone can participate, wherever they are in the world. It will include musical performances, speeches, and key messages from human rights activists. The event will be live-streamed, and people will be invited to join in the event from home.

The streaming platform has yet to be confirmed. 

The Global Pride live stream will start with East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, moving through timezones to the western United States, said Steve Taylor, spokesman for the European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA). 

“We need community and connection more than ever,” said J. Andrew Baker, Co-President of Interpride. “This gives us an opportunity to both connect and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community’s resilience in the face of this pandemic and the true spirit of Pride,” continued Baker. “Pride 2020 represents a milestone for Pride events, with many honoring the 50th anniversary of their first gatherings and marches, such as New York to the first Gandhinagar Pride this year and we would not let that pass without recognition and celebration.”

Kristine Garina, President of the European Pride Organisers Association and Chair of Baltic Pride in Riga, Latvia, said: “The unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 mean that most Prides will not take place as planned in 2020, but we’re determined that this won’t stop us from coming together as a united, strong LGBTQIA+ community to celebrate who we are and what we stand for.”

“For millions of people around the globe, Pride is their one opportunity each year to come together and feel a part of a community, to feel loved, connected and to know they aren’t alone. It’s essential this year that as Pride organizers, we ensure there is still the opportunity to connect, even if we are connecting from home.”

“Annual Pride events in the United States engage and unite 20 million people who gather to celebrate the strength and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community and to raise awareness for social justice and equal rights of all individuals,” said Ron deHarte, Co-President of the United States Association of Prides. “Through the pain and disruption caused by the novel coronavirus, we will deliver a virtual message of hope, comfort, love and we will have an opportunity to show our appreciation to first responders everywhere.” 

Ernie Yuen, President of CAPI and a member of the Global Pride organizing committee, said that more detail would emerge in the coming days and weeks, saying that the need to ‘respond urgently’ to this global crisis was key.