June 08, 2020

Large-scale events, such as Pride, have been canceled or postponed due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) concerns and movement restrictions, although some have opted for virtual events.

Pride month is an annual celebration of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community held in June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City, N.Y., US. The uprising is largely seen as the beginning of the modern LGBTQ movement.


COVID-19 Affects Pride Events in 2020

Pride organizers and LGBTQ organizations will likely postpone or cancel large physical events in the long term despite countries lifting movement restrictions implemented to curb the spread of COVID-19. While most LGBTQ groups and Pride organizers around the world made the call to postpone or cancel in-person pride events scheduled for June through August, organizers are waiting to see if restrictions will be further lifted in time for pride events scheduled for later in the year. In Europe, the European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA), reports that at least 500 LGBTQ events, including pride parades, conferences, and festivals are currently canceled or postponed. In the US, a country with a high number of pride events, the situation is similar. Some cities are not currently issuing event permits for special events and large gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. Indy Pride, a non-profit that holds pride events in Indianapolis, Ind., US throughout the year to raise money to support a number of advocacy initiatives, announced the cancellation of all physical events through the end of the year. Despite the gradual easing of restrictions, many cities have limited the number of individuals allowed to congregate in a given area and/or are maintaining social distancing measures.


Most LGBTQ groups and pride organizers around the
world have postponed or canceled in-person pride
events during June.


Inaugural Virtual Global Pride Event

In response to challenges introduced as a result of COVID-19, some organizations have opted to host virtual events. These virtual pride events allow members of the LGBTQ community and allies to engage in celebrations of gender diversity and to connect with others in the community. InterPride, an international association of organizations that create and manage pride events, is collaborating with EPOA and national Pride networks in several countries to hold the first global LGBTQ Pride event on June 27. Global Pride 2020 will host speakers and performers from around the globe to celebrate diversity and equality.


Changes to Pride Events Will Likely Affect LGBTQ Community Programs

The COVID-19 restrictions will likely pose challenges to LGBTQ organizations in terms of visibility and funding in the medium term. Many LGBTQ businesses and groups rely on proceeds from pride parades and events for a major portion of their yearly revenue or to donate to LGBTQ community centers. Canceled events may cause small LGBTQ businesses that depend on pride event-related revenue to seek aid or permanently shut down. In some countries, LGBTQ individuals’ only perceived safe place to express their identity is LGBTQ bars and nightlife venues. Additionally, extended closures and reduced revenue of non-LGBTQ businesses will likely affect their ability to donate to community programs specifically for LGBTQ individuals for the foreseeable future. Popular venues that have already announced their closure due to the coronavirus disease pandemic include Legends, a hotel bar and nightclub in Brighton, UK; Stud, the oldest gay bar in San Francisco, Calif., US; and Menz and Mollyz, an LGBTQ bar in Halifax, N.S., Canada.



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