As spring gets into full swing and the weather gets lovely, it’s time for a beautiful season -- Pride season! All around the world, LGBTQIA people, their loved ones, and allies fill the streets with rainbows, costumes, and music. It’s also a time to remember and honor the elders who paved the way for gay civil rights, who fought for AIDS education and research, and who came out and formed community when it was much less safe to do so.
Last year, the pandemic and its widespread shutdowns meant that Pride was more subdued, with in-person events cancelled. In 2021, with vaccinations widely available and COVID numbers going down, but with very real health risks still out there, what will Pride look like? How can you celebrate safely?
There’s No One Right Answer
It’s important to remember that everyone’s risk tolerance looks different-- and not just because of COVID-19. Being out and celebrating queerness in public spaces is safer for some people than others.
Fortunately, most cities that typically have big Pride parades or celebrations at least have a mix of in-person and online events, and are trying to be inclusive of people who are still keeping some social distance. New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. are offering hybrid celebrations, while Los Angeles is keeping its events virtual.
How to Celebrate Pride, Wherever You Are
No matter whether you’re able or willing to go to an in-person Pride event, or whether or not your community has a celebration at all, there are lots of ways to enjoy Pride season in 2021. If you or your loved one has just come out as queer, transgender, or nonbinary, it’s especially important to know that you can connect with the LGBTQIA community to celebrate your very first Pride. Here are some ways to do it:
Enjoy a socially-distant, outdoors event.
If you do live in or near a city with a big Pride celebration, you might still be able to enjoy an awards ceremony, art display, party, or other outdoor event even if there’s no Pride parade or central festival.
Honor Pride’s origins.
Pride started as a way to commemorate the Stonewall riot on June 28, 1969 in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, at the Stonewall bar. A Black transgender performer and gay rights activist, Marsha P. Johnson, started the protest and is considered by many to be the “mother” of Pride. Learning about the history and origins of Pride, holding a candlelight vigil on June 28th, or supporting a queer activist organization like the Stonewall Community Foundation, are all great ways to pay tribute to those who came before.
Raise your awareness.
Pride season is the perfect chance to spend some time learning, whether you’re the family member of a transgender person you want to support, or a newly-out queer person learning about LGBTQIA history. If you have questions about the transgender transition process, gender affirmation surgery, or other gender affirmation medical procedures like hormone therapy, Dr. Fischer is presenting a free virtual event on June 17th from 5:30-6:30 PM. It’s a great way to support your loved one’s transition or get your own questions answered.
Get a rainbow high!
There are countless flags and sets of colors to represent everyone in the LGBTQIA spectrum, and it just feels joyful to dress up in bright colors or decorate your spaces with the original Pride rainbow or the flags that best represent you.
Take a virtual tour around the world.
Check the Global Gay Pride Calendar not just for events near you, but for places you dream of visiting. Chances are good that many of them will have virtual parties, live streams, and other ways to join their Pride festivals online.
Throw your own parade or party.
If your neighborhood is welcoming, invite some friends and neighbors to join you for a mini-parade. Wear costumes, wave flags, play some music, and don’t forget to do some potluck snacks on your stoop or in your yard when you’re done. If that doesn’t feel safe, have some people over for a backyard Pride barbeque or a pajama brunch party.
Whatever you do, we hope you’ll make some time to celebrate Pride in 2021. We may not be able to have our usual festivals or parades yet, but it’s still good for our hearts and souls to get together with our communities to play, learn, laugh, and remember. And we hope we’ll see you on June 17th for Gender Affirmation 101. Happy Pride, everyone!