Like many in the LGBTQIA+ community, I was devastated to find out that most summertime Pride celebrations were going to be canceled because of COVID-19. I mean, I get it — the very nature of Pride necessitates huge crowds, close contact, and waaaay too many bodies. Still, my heart sank at the realization that for the first time in forever, I wouldn’t be twirling with my girls come June.
But, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that you can’t really put the kibosh on Pride. Not only is it something that lives inside all of us 365 days a year, but the spirit of the season is about more than just a parade or a dance party. It’s about coming together and making as much noise as possible. It’s about saying we’re here, we’ve always been here, and we will continue to be here no matter what may come.
So, now is the time for all of us creative, resilient, and strong queer folks to brainstorm our way toward a successful Pride 2020. There’s no denying that it won’t be the same, but hopefully it’ll still honor where we’ve been and where we’re going. Check out some of our ideas below.
Stuck indoors for Pride this year? Then I suggest decking out your home with all the Pride gear you can find. I’ve been noticing that a lot of LGBTQIA+ charities are putting together “Pride Boxes” stuffed full of flags, pins, and other fun queer accessories, so you may want to do a little Googling to see if your local charities are putting any of these kits together. Otherwise, gather your supplies from a queer-owned business, like TomboyX, Bianca Designs, The Phluid Project, or Flavnt.
If you want to kick your decorating up a notch, you may want to consider investing in some LGBTQIA+ art. It’s a fantastic way to queerify your space while also giving back to queer artists (many of whom have been hit particularly hard by the financial strains of the quarantine). My favorite places to shop for affordable, accessible, and downright gorgeous queer art are Etsy and Society6, though you should feel free to buy from wherever you like.
Music is an integral part of any Pride celebration, which is why you’ll definitely want to make a collaborative Pride playlist with your friends. Though you may not be able to rock out to your favorite queer tunes en masse this year, sharing the songs that echo back your identity to you can be a really powerful thing. Plus, we’ve been getting suuuuch good songs from the Divas these past few months (Dua Lipa! Gaga! Katy! Ariana!) it would be a shame not to show them some love.
Since Pride is all about celebrating the strength, resiliency, and beauty of the LGBTQIA+ community, why not throw some coin at the orgs, nonprofits, and causes that support us on the reg? We’ve spotlighted a few of these groups before, but there’s no shortage of organizations that could use your donations. And though it’s totally fine to give to national organizations, I prefer to keep things local to the folks working right in my own community.
Pride is all about serving lewks — personalized style signatures — that radiate the fierceness and joy of being exactly who you are, so don’t for one minute think you’re getting away with not turning it this season, honey. Bring out the bolts of cheap tulle, the glitter, the feather boas, the bright leather straps and let your creativity run wild. Post pics on social media or keep the creations for yourself, it’s all about expressing your identity in whatever multi-colored language you know best.
Who says you have to celebrate Pride alone? If you’ve got the planning wherewithal (and, you know, a vehicle) you might just be able to take the celebration to the streets. Or, at least a parking lot. Here’s the idea: Gather a handful of your queer buddies, task them with outfitting their cars with Pride gear, and organize a socially distant parking lot extravaganza. You could even organize an LGBTQIA+ motorcade through your community. Being with others is such an important part of Pride, so this could be a nice way to be together without being together.
There is no better time to dive into the fascinating world of queer cinema than right now. So, queue up your favorite streaming service and explore the LGBTQIA+ options it has to offer. If you’re looking for some suggestions, some of my recent faves are Strangers by the Lake, 1985, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, God’s Own Country, Paris is Burning, The Handmaiden, BPM, and Moonlight.
Prefer to keep things a little more literary? Well then, you may want to put together a special queer book club for Pride. Choose some fantastic LGBTQIA+ reads, gather your bookworm buds, and jump on a video call to discuss. Bonus points if you keep the group going after Pride season is officially “over” (though we all know Pride never ends).
Challenge yourself to learn some new queer history, especially the stories of those within the community who are different from you. It’s vital to learn as much as we can about the struggles our people have faced throughout the centuries and the strategies they’ve employed to overcome them. The fight continues with us, and there is no better way to prepare ourselves for it than to draw on our own history. If you’re looking for a place to start, I’d recommend checking out the educational resources at GLSEN.
As is always proper etiquette when enjoying a drag show, don’t forget to tip your kings and queens this Pride season. Many of these performers are going to be missing out on a lot of money-earning opportunities this year, so it’s important for us to show up and show out for the folks that always work it out for us on stage. A lot of the performers we follow on Instagram have started to include their PayPal and/or Venmo information in their bios, which makes it easy to keep the tips flowing all summer long.
My favorite thing in the entire world is dancing with my LGBTQIA+ family. When we’re packed in a cramped space losing our minds to Donna Summer or Lizzo or Blondie or Kylie, there is no place I’d rather be. We’re free: to move, to flirt, to bop, to kiss, to twirl til the vodka kicks in. So, I say dance wherever you may be. Spin with your arms wide open. Fly through a room and lose yourself in the truth of who you are. And know that we’ll dance together again soon, blazing the world electric under the light of a bright neon moon.