Over 120 Pride events around the world have been canceled or postponed in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Although this news is devastating, LGBTQ leaders are finding new ways of creating community in the digital age that may result in the most inclusive Pride celebration the world has ever seen.
InterPride and the European Pride Organisers Association announced they’re working with international, LGBTQ organizations to present Global Pride 2020, a live-streamed festival scheduled for Saturday, June 27.
This means the event will be accessible regardless of disability, location, or socioeconomic status. Anyone with an internet connection will be able to participate. For many Pride events around the world, this level of accessibility will be a first.
Although the queer community prides itself on radical inclusivity, Pride events around the world are lacking accessibility. Entrances might not be wheelchair-accessible; rallies may forgo an ASL interpreter, and video presentations might not offer closed captioning. There is rarely enough thought given to how sensory stimuli in large crowds affect people who are neurologically atypical, and there are seldom spaces created to help them feel safe while celebrating.
It’s easy to forget in liberal, city centers that same-gender sexual activity is still considered a crime in more than 70 countries around the world. By creating a visible international platform, Global Pride will provide virtual queer spaces in areas that might otherwise have none.
A live-streamed event will amend many of these problems by creating a level playing field for people of all abilities and origins. But, these fixes are bandaids for bigger systemic and societal problems. However, we should use this year’s Pride as an example to address future inclusivity and accessibility issues.
In a statement about this year’s digital Pride, InterPride co-president J. Andrew Baker said, “We need community and connection more than ever. 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.”