As the weather warms and everyone’s ready to play outside, those of us in the LGBTQ community and who support it get ready for Pride celebrations across the country. From coast to coast, parties and parades and shows spring up and bloom in a riot of color and joy from roots that go deep down to the dark days of the Stonewall riots of 1969.
This year, as we’re all kept out of public areas by the coronavirus, many of us are wondering what’s going to become of our cherished Pride events. Organizers in different cities, monitoring public health updates, have to make the tough call about whether to move forward with plans that have been in the works all year. Many Pride festivals have already decided to cancel or postpone. There’s a very real possibility that the LGBTQIA community will be celebrating in the fall—or on our own, with no festivals at all, for the first time in 50 years.
Don’t Lose Hope—Pride Is in All of Us
Today, we wanted to offer a message of hope and support to our many clients and the community around our practice who are gay, bisexual, lesbian, trans, and every color in the rainbow flag, as well as to their friends and family who are straight allies. It’s hard to think about not being able to come together, to be visible and loud and filling the streets of cities everywhere. The LGBTQIA community fought battle after battle for every basic right, for safety, for dignity. The idea of celebrating Pride apart from each other, in our homes, hurts on many levels.
We understand. It wouldn’t be helpful for us to be overly optimistic right now, of course. Respecting our queer clients and friends means acknowledging that reality. But in the spirit of the resourcefulness that has always marked the LGBTQIA community, we thought we could offer up some ideas for connection and celebration this Pride season, no matter what these next few months bring. We may be physically apart, but we can still come together in love and unity!
10 Ways to Celebrate Pride—No Matter What!
1. Virtual events!
Let’s jump right to the most obvious and point out that it’s likely that every city’s Pride organizers around the world will be working on ways to create large-scale performances and parties online. Get on your local Pride mailing list now (if you aren’t already) to keep up with new developments. The best part? You can celebrate Pride around the world this year for nothing but the cost of your internet connection.
If we’re still staying at home, the quiet time is a great opportunity to deep-dive into the roots of the movement. For example, did you know that the Stonewall Inn was run by the mob in 1969—and that it was common for Mafia families to run gay bars at the time? If you’ve never studied the mid-century gay community and the roots of the gay rights movement (especially if you’re a straight ally), now’s the time to understand what life was like for queer and trans people at the time and why Pride is such a huge accomplishment.
3. Honor your trans siblings
Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera were trans women sex workers who were instrumental in the Stonewall uprising, so there’s no better way to honor the anniversary of their courage than by reaching out a loving hand to living trans people today. Donate to a trans-rights organization, learn more about gender concepts and pronoun use, or simply send a “Happy Pride” card or message to a trans friend, reminding them that you see, value, and support them.
4. Celebrate the entire rainbow
Pride festivals are often criticized within the community for centering and catering to white, thin, able-bodied, cisgender gay men who are well-off while marginalizing everyone else. If you don’t know what the many different Pride flags represent, or are confused by the more recent visibility of [asexuals, demisexuals, aromantics, and other queer groups, it’s the perfect time to get some clarity and love all those brilliant hues! Also, check out this video about why intersectionality matters so much.
5. Buy from queer artists and business people
Brighten your space with queer art, sport a Pride pin, seek out service professionals who are part of the community—this goes double if you’re a straight ally with disposable income. Many queer businesses are small and will be hard-hit during these times, while other LGBTQIA folks will be turning to side hustles to survive.
6. Make a queer Pride playlist
So many queer musicians have created irresistible party anthems! Compile your favorites into a dance party list and put it on whenever you need a burst of joyful energy (or an excuse to dance around your living room in your improvised finery).
7. Organize a virtual Pride-themed watch party
Have a virtual watch party to catch up on TV or movies that center queer culture and history. Netflix has created the Watch Party extension to allow groups of friends to co-watch shows and chat throughout.
8. Work to end “straight as default”
Most of the world operates under the assumption that someone is straight unless they declare otherwise, which makes it harder and riskier for anyone to come out. Try asking, “Do you have a partner?” instead of “Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?”, and break the habit of making jokes like “He’s going to be popular with the ladies someday!” about small children. As much fun as a good dramatic reveal can be, most queer folks would rather that talking about their identity was downright ordinary!
Whenever we can, however we celebrate, queer Pride in 2020, we wish you a happy and fulfilling season full of connection, community, and joy!