When COVID-19 struck hard in mid-March and it quickly became apparent that more than 500 Pride celebrations globally would be forced to cancel their in-person events, Pride organizations around the world pooled their resources to create Global Pride, an online-only celebration spanning every time zone over a 26-hour time period. Hosted by Todrick Hall, and scheduled to begin on Saturday, June 27, at 1 a.m. ET, Global Pride is using a digital platform to “deliver a Pride in which everyone can participate, wherever they are in the world.”
The event is a livestream and will feature musical performances, speeches, and messages from key human rights activists. It’s organized by InterPride, the European Pride Organisers Association, and national organizations from the U.S., Canada, U.K. and other nations.
“We need community and connection more than ever,” J. Andrew Baker, Co-President of Interpride, said in a statement at the time of the event’s announcement in May. “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. Pride 2020 represents a milestone for Pride events, with many honoring the 50th anniversary of their first gatherings and marches, such as New York to the first Gandhinagar Pride this year and we would not let that pass without recognition and celebration.”
“Annual Pride events in the United States engage and unite 20 million people who gather to celebrate the strength and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community and to raise awareness for social justice and equal rights of all individuals,” said Ron deHarte, Co-President of the United States Association of Prides. “Through the pain and disruption caused by the novel coronavirus, we will deliver a virtual message of hope, comfort, love and we will have an opportunity to show our appreciation to first responders everywhere.”
“Every Pride organizer in the world can tell you a story of someone whose life changed when they visited Pride, and so with so many Prides being cancelled or postponed, as organizers we felt we had a responsibility to come together and deliver Pride online,” said Kristine Garina, President of the European Pride Organisers Association and Chair of Baltic Pride in Riga, Latvia. “We’re tremendously excited for the potential for Global Pride to bring people together in the biggest Pride there has ever been.” She added in her statement that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic “won’t stop us from coming together as a united, strong LGBTQIA+ community to celebrate who we are and what we stand for. Global Pride will show the LGBTQIA+ movement for the very best it can be, showing solidarity at a time when so many of us are mourning and strength when so many of us are feeling isolated and lonely. Above all, we will show our resilience and determination that Pride will be back bigger and stronger than ever before.”
Julian Sanjivan, Co-President of InterPride, added that “by taking Pride online, not only are we making sure that LGBTQIA+ people everywhere can still experience the joy and community of Pride, but we also for the first time are enabling people to take part in Pride wherever they are. This means people who aren’t out, or who are living in socially conservative countries, can take part. The support of these incredible world leaders and performers will mean so much to marginalized LGBTQIA+ people everywhere.”
Since the original announcement, there have been massive demonstrations in cities throughout the world, sparked by the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. The protests are calling for an end to systemic racism, racial profiling, and police brutality. Accordingly, the organizers of Global Pride adjusted the theme of their event to focus on the importance of racial justice and uplifting the Black Lives Matter movement.
The event will help to amplify Black voices, acknowledge the international response to the deaths of Floyd and other Black individuals, and follow Black Lives Matter’s calls for racial justice.
“As a Black woman in the LGBTQIA+ community, I feel we must confront the systemic racism and violence facing my Black brothers, sisters, and nonbinary siblings, in the larger culture and within the LGBQIA+ community,” Natalie Thompson, co-chair of the Global Pride organizing committee, said in a statement. “I could not think of a larger platform than Global Pride to do this.”
Among the public figures scheduled to speak are former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Icelandic President Guðni Jóhannesson, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the United Nations’ Independent Expert on protection against anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination Victor Madrigal Borloz, Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign, former U.S. Congressman Barney Frank, Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, and European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli, among hundreds of others.
Artists who will be performing and/or speaking include Laverne Cox, Adam Lambert, Alex Newell, Big Freedia, Kesha, Rita Ora, The Village People, Betty Who, The Kinsey Sicks, Deborah Cox, Leslie Jordan, Martha Wash, Pussy Riot, the Pussycat Dolls, Courtney Act, Pabllo Vittar, Jake Shears, Ava Max, Olivia Newton John, Kristine W, The Dixie Chicks, Thelma Houston, Bright Light Bright Light, Steve Grand, Scarlet Skylar Rae, Rachel Sage, LeAnn Rimes, Russell Tovey, and Calum Scott, and dozens more.
“I am proud to work beside so many diverse colleagues from around the world,” Thompson said. “Our community knows well that we must confront hate and prejudice head-on. We have been watching an epidemic of violence against trans people of color — mostly women — in the past decade and this larger discussion must be inclusive and all-encompassing. All Black Lives Matter.”
“Fifty years ago, grassroots organizations came together to plan the first Gay Liberation Day that changed the world, incuding the Daughters of Bilitis, Gay Liberation Front, Mattachine Society and Lavender Menace,” Michelle Meow, the executive producer for Global Pride, said in a statement. “The production of Global Pride has been planned in the same grassroots manner, but with a 21st century technological twist. LGBTQIA+ people from around the world will come together virtually during this crisis of racial injustice and a pandemic.
“A 24-hour production like this wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the incredible and diverse contributions of people who understand the revolutionary impact of our visibility. From the support of folks like Daniel Cloudt and the YouTube/Google team to our talented queer siblings like Todrick Hall to the many international leaders to the Prides where it is not only a political act but a dangerous one to come together in community, I believe our LGBTQIA+ ancestors would be proud of what we are creating together.”
On the east coast in America, Global Pride commences at 1 a.m. on June 27. But no matter where you are in the world, you can determine the event’s starting time by visiting www.globalpride2020.org/watch.
The site also lists where you can stream Global Pride, whether it be through their website or via YouTube, Facebook, Revry, or iHeartRadio.
An updated schedule of more than 800 performers, speakers, and their appearance time relative to your timezone is available at www.globalpride2020.org/schedule.
For full, up-to-the-minute information, visit www.globalpride2020.org.
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