For members of the LGBTQ+ community all across the world, June 1st marks the beginning of Pride Month. The month has become synonymous with a myriad of celebrations, big parades and crowds of people celebrating their identity. This year however, due to COVID-19, all in-person Pride events had to be cancelled. Said cancellations have done nothing to deter the spirit of the community and this month-long celebration of queer history and culture has moved online.
Before attending any of the online events, it is important for us to acknowledge that Pride is more than just a vibrant parade. It commemorates the Stonewall Riots – six days of rioting in response to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a well-known gay bar in New York City. Starting on June 28th, 1969, several hundred queer individuals led by two trans women of colour – Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera – fought against police violence and for their rights in a world that continuously oppressed them.
Exactly one year later, thousands flooded the streets to celebrate the riots and the slow improvement of LGBTQ+ rights in the United States, which in turn led to the eventual decriminalization of homosexuality in a number of other countries. In turn, consider paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of the very first Pride by visiting the online Stonewall Forever monument. It is a six-part exhibition that tells the story of the queer community, from life before Stonewall to present day activism, complete with videos, stories, and real-life experiences of LGBTQ+ people.
In the end, Pride is about giving queer people a platform – a chance to been seen and see others like them. Holding events online actually makes the event more accessible to the community. Whether it be due to disability, location, or just not being out, many people have never had the chance to experience Pride. This year, those factors aren’t preventing one’s attendance, allowing for a more global celebration.
The following are numerous pride events, Canadian and otherwise, that are available for everyone – LGBTQ+ identifying or allies – to attend and take part in.
Canadian Pride Events:
The largest Pride event in Canada and 10th largest globally, Toronto Pride is offering a constant stream of content. From LGBTQ+ trivia and Drag Bingo to Family Pride Fridays, there is a large array of events to choose from, of which one will definitely catch your eye. In an attempt to highlight Pride Festival Weekend – June 26th to 28th – Toronto Pride is offering a representation of what normally occurs in person during this time:
June 26th: Trans & Non-Binary Rally
June 27th: Dyke Rally and Drag Ball
June 28th: Online Pride Parade
Click here for more details surrounding the events.
Victoria Pride Week is being held from June 28th to July 5th. Though the actual Pride Week events are going to be revealed later this month, the Victoria Pride Society is still running other functions. While continuing to release their e-magazine, they are also streaming drag shows every Saturday night at 8pm until July 11th, highlighting local drag queens on their YouTube channel.
“Be Strong, Be Proud, Be You” is the message this year’s Saskatoon Pride is trying to highlight. With events such as Spark Your Pride, a day long event dedicated to sharing LGBTQ+ stories and sparking conversations about the community’s history, and Virtual Pride in the Park, a two hour concert highlighting local and national artists, the message is sure to be spread. Ending with the Virtual Parade on June 20th, the Pride Celebration is bound to be amazing. For more information, check their website.
International Pride Events:
New York Pride:
Being the largest Pride celebration in the world and the home of the very first Pride parade, NYC Pride has a number of events, ranging from those centered around queer art and music to politics and human rights.
June 9th-29th: Criminal Queerness Festival
June 19th-21st: Pride 2020 Dragfest
June 28th: NYC Pride Broadcast
If any of these events spark your interest, check here for details.
Global Pride was created solely due to Pride being virtual this year. Organized by EuroPride, in partnership with several other Pride organizations, Global Pride is a 24-hour stream of LGBTQ+ content on June 27th. With musical and spoken word performances, addresses from heads of states, and activist speeches, it is going to be an international Pride extravaganza you won’t want to miss. Click here for more.
Together For Pride:
An event organized by the Seattle Pride community, Pridefest, and Gender Justice League, Together For Pride is a three day event (June 26-28) with one organization being highlighted each day. These events include Pride Karaoke, activist interviews and drag shows.
June 26th: Trans Pride, programmed by Gender Justice League
June 27th: 12-hour Pridefest livestream
June 28th: Seattle Pride
Check out the Seattle Pride’s website for more.
This, of course, is a non-exhaustive list. There are plenty of other Pride Celebrations occurring throughout the month and after, whether they be across the world, such as Dublin and Madrid Pride, or right here in Canada, such as Vancouver Pride. Just remember, regardless of all the virtual events, there is no “right” way to celebrate Pride. Whether you decide to attend all or none of these events, the way to honour this community’s history is up to you. Stay safe, stay proud, and happy pride.