The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Pride organisations worldwide with hundreds of marches and events cancelled or postponed. But that doesn’t mean Pride is canceled!
It is still a time for celebration and community. The only thing that has changed this year might be how we celebrate. We need Pride and the ability to connect with LGBTQ2+ people now more than ever, especially while social distancing.
If you are looking for ways you can celebrate and commemorate Pride during COVID-19, check out our following suggestions:
1. Participate in a virtual pride event
Global Pride 2020 is a live-streamed international Pride festival scheduled for Saturday, June 27. It provides an opportunity for the LGBTQ2+ community around the world to come together and celebrate diversity and equality during these challenging times.
2. Take action to end conversion therapy
Conversion therapy is the damaging practice of denying LGBTQ2+ identity and dignity and trying to coerce people to change their identity. For decades, activists across Canada have been demanding the end to this horrific practice. This scarring and damaging process is based on a lie. It hurts children, adults and tears families apart.
At long last, the federal government announced in March 2020 the introduction of Bill C-8 to end the practice of conversion therapy in Canada. Head to PSAC’s website to send your MP a letter to make sure your local MP votes in favour when this legislation comes forward soon.
3. Support local and national businesses that are LGBTQ2+ owned and LGBTQ2+ friendly
Purchase from LGBTQ2+ -owned bars, restaurants, and small businesses. You can also be a conscious shopper and check in with other favourite stores to make sure their policies are inclusive.
4. Enjoy LGBTQ2+ films and TV shows
Although film and television still lags behind on representation, there are some great films and TV shows that you can watch and discuss this month. Want some suggestions? Head to Rotten Tomatoes 200 Best LGBTQ Movies of All Time.
5. Support LGBTQ2+ art and culture
The LGBTQ2+ art community is vibrant and influential. Enjoy exploring LGBTQ2+ art and culture in all their forms. Find your own personal favorites to adore. Consider seeking out LGBTQ2+ artists who are not well known.
6. Volunteer for an LGBTQ2+ organization or initiative
Many LGBTQ2+ organizations exist on not only a national level, but locally too. These groups and initiatives not only work tirelessly to host Pride events each June, but also work to raise awareness for the community all year long. Consider volunteering to help one of these organizations thrive.
7. Donate to an LGBTQ2+ charity
One of the most important ways to celebrate Pride is to uplift the LGBTQ2+ community through donations. There are many great charities to choose from! A local LGBTQ2+ youth center is one of the many. These often-underfunded centers are safe havens for youth coming of age with queer identities. You can also find other charities to donate to through websites like Canada Helps.
8. Educate Yourself
Reading a book, visiting a museum or a watching a documentary on LGBTQ2+ history are great ways to learn more about LGBTQ2+ issues. There are so many resources out there to learn about Pride Month and LGBTQ2+ history overall.
Do you know why June has been chosen as Pride month? The Stonewall Riots, which many consider to be the beginning of the modern LGBTQ2+ rights movement, occurred in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969.
9. Be an Ally
If you don’t identify as LGBTQ2+ yourself, making sure you are an ally to your loved ones and colleagues! When someone in your life tells you that they are LGBTQ2+, it can be difficult to know how to respond but you should recognize the importance of your response and the impact it may have.
Talk with a younger and older member of the LGBTQ2+ community about their experiences. We all have a lot to learn from one another, so make June a month for meaningful conversations about identity across generations.
10. Become an advocate
Support equal civil rights, gender equality, and LGBTQ2+ social movements. Challenge homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia. Issues like LGBTQ2+ youth homelessness and the alarming murder rates of transgender women of color are major obstacles that deserve a lot more attention. There’s a lot to be fighting for.
Happy Pride to all our USJE members!