Last June, 5 million people flocked to New York City to celebrate World Pride, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. But Pride is going to look a lot different this year.
Organizers across the country are pivoting a month’s worth of marches and festivals into virtual experiences. The good news? Many of these events have been reimagined as benefits or donation drives. Rob Smith, CEO and founder of gender-neutral clothing label The Phluid Project, said this is a long-overdue turning point for the way we celebrate Pride.
“This is an opportunity to shift focus away from the spectacle of Pride and onto the heart and soul of the community and the movement we serve,” Smith said. “The reality is that the parade model is broken.”
According to Smith, the focus at parades in recent years has been more on corporations and the most privileged communities on the queer spectrum — instead of those who are still fighting for their voices to be heard. “Celebrating virtually affords us the opportunity to use digital and social media to be intentional about visibility and representation across our entire community,” he said. In some cases, virtual pride will bring festivities to those who haven’t had access to it before. “If you are a non-binary kid in rural America, you’ll be able to experience Pride the same way as everyone else for the first time.”
The most valuable part of virtual Pride (and a lesson for future Prides) is the impact. These benefits and donation drives will provide an unparalleled platform to direct support for LGBTQ+ people affected by COVID-19. “We are a community of artists and creative people who are impacted at a greater degree than other collective groups,” he said. “This is our chance to support the members of the queer community who are most impacted by the pandemic.”
There are countless virtual events being organized across the country throughout the month of June. Mark your calendars for these headlining events.
Pride 2020 Drag Fest
Pride 2020 Drag Fest will feature over 100 drag performers during a three-day digital festival (June 19-21) to raise money for drag artists. The event, produced by GLAAD and NYC Pride, will be hosted by activist and NYC City Council candidate Marti Gould Cummings.
Beyond the Shelter
The performing arts community is coming together for a June 4 Pride kickoff party hosted by New Alternatives, an organization that aids LGBTQ+ homeless youth in transitioning out of the shelter system. The livestreamed event will feature appearances and performances by a diverse cast of Broadway, dance, and opera stars, including Tituss Burgess and Alex Newell.
New York City Pride
New York City, home of the country’s largest Pride celebration, will still celebrate Pride the last Sunday in June — but this year, it'll be on-air. Dan Levy and Janelle Monáe will headline the virtual event on June 28.
Global Pride 2020
On June 27, Pride organizations around the world will come together for Global Pride 2020, a 24-hour livestreamed event featuring musical and artistic performances, speeches from activists and campaigners, and addresses by public figures. The lineup will be announced in early June.