The devastating coronavirus pandemic has seen the postponement or cancellation of hundreds of Pride events around the world in recent days. In response, a virtual Global Pride is set to take place on Saturday, 27 June.
In many parts of the world, the months of June to August are seen as the traditional LGBTIQ+ Pride season. In South Africa, several events including Free State Pride and the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival (along with Knysna Pride) have been postponed due to the spread of coronavirus. Durban Pride 2020, which usually takes place at the end of June, is also likely to be cancelled or postponed.
The planned Global Pride will avoid the challenge of people gathering in their thousands by instead using 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.
InterPride and the European Pride Organisers Association – the world’s biggest international Pride networks – are working with national organisations in Canada, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and regional networks in southern Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America, to bring communities and Pride organisations together for this Global Pride event.
“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.”
As the InterPride Regional Director for Africa, Cape Town Pride’s Matthew Van As will help facilitate the African part of the production.
“Global Pride is going to open a window into Africa,” said Van As. “It will show the whole world what Pride means in an African context. Global Pride will also give a chance for Africa to add their voice on an international platform to highlight what is happening on the African continent. For many people in Africa, Pride is not about visibility but more about personal empowerment. This Global Pride will allow people to feel this empowerment and still maintain their safety.”
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 organisers, we ensure there is still the opportunity to connect, even if we are connecting from home,” added Garina.
Ron deHarte, Co-President of the United States Association of Prides, said: “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 organising committee, explained that more detail would emerge in the coming days and weeks, insisting that there is a need to ‘respond urgently’ to this global crisis.
Dana Marsh, President of Fierté Canada Pride, said: “It’s easy to feel isolated right now, especially with so many of our local Pride celebrations announcing cancellations or new dates. Pride celebrations bring our communities together in a show of solidarity and unity. Now, more than ever, we need to be loud and proud!”
Pride organisations from around the world are encouraged to participate. Prides can express interest to participate at this link.