Summer is just around the corner. This is usually a sign of many cities celebrating Pride month with large festivals, however, this year there will be no Pride festivals in cities like Los Angeles, or Chicago during the month of June. The coronavirus pandemic has put plans of these celebrations on hold with some cities cancelling their pride events while others are postponing them out of respect for social distancing guidelines. Even with the introduction of new guidelines to open the country back, plans for Pride outdoor festivals are unlikely to occur during the month of June.
The latest cancellation in Pride events cuts the deepest for the LGBTQ+ community. For San Francisco, this year was to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Pride in the City by the Bay. In a press statement on April 14th, San Francisco Pride Executive Director, Fred Lopez said:
“This was not a decision we arrived at lightly. Far from it: Our staff has been in frequent talks with our board, our production team, our partners at many departments of City Hall, officials at other Pride organizations worldwide — and most of all, our LGBTQ communities. We have heard from people who urged us to cancel, and from those who implored us not to.
Since the coronavirus first emerged, we have held out hope that the situation would shift, and we would be able to gather later this year. Well before the first shelter-in-place order, our team began to balance our excitement for Pride 50 and evaluate possible alternatives. With heavy hearts, we have decided not to go forward with the Parade and Celebration in 2020.”
There may be an alternative, though. Like many workplaces and the late-night talk shows, Pride may be getting the online treatment. Many cities are considering virtual Pride events in place of the outdoor festivals which have become synonymous with the yearly event. Through the partnership between Interpride and the European Pride Organisers Association, a “Global Pride” event is scheduled for June 27 as an online celebration. According to Time Magazine, organizers are planning a 24-hour live stream event which could include speeches from human rights activists, workshops with activists and high-profile entertainment to be announced.
One person who is volunteering to make Global Pride a reality is LGBT and AIDS activist, Cleve Jones. Jones posted on his Facebook account on Wednesday, an announcement stating his involvement and a call for help from various tech sector companies.
In the press release from SF Pride, organization officials confirmed their involvement with Global Pride as well as other plans to celebrate Pride:
While the board and staff are disappointed not to showcase the physical celebration so many had hoped for, SF Pride plans to join a constellation of Pride organizations worldwide in a “Virtual Global Pride” on Saturday, June 27. SF Pride will be announcing additional collaborations, primarily in digital formats, to commemorate Pride throughout the summer. These alternate celebrations, presented alongside other community organizations and supporters, will roll out throughout the coming weeks and months.
What are your thoughts on an online “Global Pride?” Will you be participating? Let us know in the comments.