Coming Together While Physically Apart
By Jorge Solario and Jessie DeStefano
“No matter how hard the backlashes our community faces, we exist, persist, and resist, and we will never be silenced,” explains Patrick van der Pas, the Global Pride Project Manager. Boston Pride Committee member, Perri Mertens, designed the Global Pride logo, around these themes that are always relevant to the community, but are especially timely during the pandemic. Credit: Perri Mertens.
When the pandemic hit, it quickly became apparent that Pride events around the world would not be able to proceed as planned. As official cancellation statements piled up, Pride organizers gathered online to figure out how to celebrate Pride within the confines of the new normal. Leaders of the global Pride movement were determined to find a way to facilitate the celebration of queer identities. “As LGBT+ community members, COVID-19 is not going to stop us from celebrating our lives and identities,” Julian Sanjivan, Co-President of InterPride, the international association of Pride organizers, explains.
The idea for an online “Global Pride” was born, and a committee was formed, with representatives from around the world. The team immediately got to work, planning the online event, with content from communities around the world. It quickly became apparent that, to be truly global, the event would need to be 24 hours long, both to create space for every interested Pride to participate and to ensure equal accessibility across all time zones.
The Global Pride team meets via Zoom multiple times a week to plan the event. Credit: Steve Taylor.
In addition to featuring performances from international artists, the event will have a strong human rights focus. World leaders, including the President of Costa Rica, Prime Ministers of Norway and Luxembourg, and Prince of India, will deliver speeches. As Natalie Thompson, Global Pride Co-Chair, explains, “Global Pride exists because the work we do is too important to let a pandemic derail us. ‘Pride’ is not just about the festivities, but a rebellion/protest/riot. It shows that we will never be silenced as long as members of this collective still endure racism, sexism, xenophobia, and persecution. This work matters.”
Not only does Global Pride create space for queer people around the globe to come together in community and celebrate their pride, it also serves as a fundraiser for the many Pride organizations that are struggling to stay afloat as a result of the pandemic. Many Pride organizations are nonprofits that operate on a limited budget. As such, they are heavily reliant on income generated through their sponsorships, event ticket sales, and donations. With traditional, live Pride events being cancelled, these sources of income have dried up. All funds raised by Global Pride will be distributed to Pride organizations suffering from the economic impacts of the pandemic.
All Pride organizations were invited to submit content, and the Global Pride team brought on international partners and contributors. According to Sanjivan, “Global Pride 2020 brings together fantastic talent and world leaders from all corners of the globe on a single platform for 24 hours while celebrating who we are. It is an opportunity for many around the world to be included during this difficult time while we help fundraise for the many Pride organizers affected by the pandemic.”
Matthew Van As, a Global Pride organizer representing the African Pride network, describes the event as “a space where each community gets to represent themselves on a global platform to show the world what makes them special.” Boston Pride will be one of the many participants doing just that. The Boston Pride content will feature QWAM (Queens with a Mission), a local, all-male-identified dance crew focused on championing self-confidence. Linda DeMarco, President of Boston Pride and Co-President of InterPride, enthused, “We are excited to be able to represent our Boston community in this international event. It was important to us that we feature a local group, and we are thrilled to help QWAM share their mission with a global audience.”
Global Pride will take place on June 27, 2020. It is produced by InterPride, the international association of Pride organizers, the European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA), US Association of Pride (USAP), Fierté Canada Pride, the Consolidated Association of Pride Organizers (CAPI), the UK Pride Organizers Network, CSD Deutschland, Svenska Pride, Orgullo Latinamericano, and the African Pride Network. For information on how to view Global Pride, visit http://www.globalpride2020.org.