ON APRIL 20, 2020, Heritage Pride and the City of New York announced that the NYC Pride parade was canceled for the first time in its 50-year history. The decision was made to protect the safety and wellbeing of the community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this means the way we celebrate Pride this year will shift, it does not mean that Pride is canceled altogether.
NYC Pride 2020 will be a new experience with virtual events broadcasted via social media and televised shows. The essence of Pride will not be lost, and the reimagination of the event will in no way diminish the importance of coming together and supporting the community.
“New York City is the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. We’ve come a long way since the first Christopher Street Liberation Day March 50 years ago, which is a testament to the bravery and resiliency of LGBTIA+ New Yorkers in the struggle for equality,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on April 20. “While this pandemic prevents us from coming together to march, it will in no way stop us from celebrating the indelible contributions that the LGBTIA+ community has made to New York City or from recommitting ourselves to the fight for equal rights.”
The move to make NYC Pride virtual was not an easy decision. The event is a haven for the LGBTQ+ community and supports businesses — a top priority, especially during this time of financial uncertainty and unprecedented challenges. In a statement, David A. Correa, interim executive director of Heritage of Pride, shared, “We may not fill the streets of New York City this year, but LGBTQIA+ people carry pride with them all year long. I have no doubt that we will be together again soon.”
With that in mind, here’s how you can still celebrate Pride in NYC this year and back local organizations and businesses that need your support now more than ever.
Criminal Queerness Festival 2020
When: June 9-29
Where: The full schedule of listings can be found here. All events are held on Zoom, Facebook, and Youtube.
Criminal Queerness Festival provides a platform for writers, artists, and activists who bring to stage stories from the queer community. Shining a light on issues that are often sidelined, NYC Pride is promoting this event brought to us by the National Queer Theater and Dixon Place in alliance with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. With workshops, panels, readings, and online cocktail parties, this year’s theatrical event promises a wide range of entertainment and education.
Here are some of the highlights:
Queer and Disabled: Examining the imagination — Brought to us by Christopher “Unpezverde” Núñez, a visually impaired choreographer and artist, this dance and movement workshop aims to reimagine the queer body through a sensory experience. All are welcome, and no previous dance experience is required.
When: Wednesday, June 17, 2:00 PM ET
Performance of She He Me — This production is the first Arab transgender play and focuses on the true stories of three people who have challenged gender norms and fought for equitable treatment.
When: Sunday, June 21, 4:00 PM ET
Maid in America — This short film was produced by Migguel Anggelo, who is a Venezuelan-born and Brooklyn-based artist. It explores the blend of Latino, queer, and immigrant identities.
When: Sunday, June 28, 7:00 PM ET
Black Queer Town Hall
When: June 19-21, 6:30-8:00 PM ET
Replacing Drag Fest, this event is supported by GLAAD and NYC Pride and is produced by The Only Productions. With performances, roundtable discussions, and fundraising opportunities for #BlackLivesMatter, Black LGBTQ organizations, and local Black LGBTQ drag performers, this event is the largest digital drag festival during this year’s Pride. More than 100 performers are scheduled to perform daily from 6:30-8:00 PM ET, and the festivities will stream on NYC Pride and GLAAD’s Facebook pages. Venmo profiles and donation platforms will be clearly displayed during the drag performer’s scheduled time and contributions are encouraged.
Runstreet virtual Pride 5k art run
When: June 20-28
Where: Anywhere in NYC
Don your rainbow running gear for a solo 5k around the neighborhood. A portion of ticket sales for Runstreet will benefit the Callen-Lorde LGBTQ Community Center, which is a global leader in LGBTQ healthcare. Be sure to tag your running selfie with @Runstreet to enter the photo contest.
Savor Pride is this year’s culinary event, and it will benefit God’s Love We Deliver, which donates nutritious, high-quality food to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses. It’s being held outdoors and brings together LGBTQ+ and ally chefs with an exciting menu, demonstrations, and discussions.
When: June 22, 6:00 PM ET
The LGBT Community Center of New York City is going virtual with its Garden Party this year and encouraging us to hold our own soiree. The virtual event will have inspirational food and cocktail/mocktail menus and a suggested playlist, as well as performances, stories, special guests. You can register for the event here.
When: June 26 from 5:00-8:00 PM ET
Where: Live on Facebook, YouTube @NYCPride
In partnership with GLAAD and the National LGBTQ Task Force, NYC Pride is leading The Rally, which is presented by journalist Ashlee Marie Preston and actor Brian Michael Smith. Streaming on Facebook and YouTube the virtual event will give a stage to speakers, such as Ceyenne Doroshow, Annie Segarra, Edafe Okporo, Leandro E. Rodriguez Ramos, and many more who will take a stand against police brutality and discrimination.
Sharing with NYC Pride, Ashlee Marie Preston stated, “The current socio-political climate around LGBTQ rights is similar to that of the 1960s; but our commitment to shattering systemic barriers that impede our ability to thrive is exactly the same as it was for our foremothers — Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Poisonous policies, patriarchal power, nor the pandemonium of a pandemic will thwart our progress. I’m constantly reminded by the indomitable Miss Major Griffin-Gracy that after the dust settles, we will still be here!”
The event will also showcase performances by the likes of Michael Blume. You can register now for the Rally here.
NYC Pride Special Broadcast Event
When: Sunday, June 28, 12:00-2:00 PM
Where: ABC, check your local listing
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Pride March held in 1970. NYC Pride invites you to dial into a very special broadcast that will showcase a huge range of stories of unity and strength from the LGBTQ+ community. Being one of the country’s largest digital celebrations, Carson Kressley and WABC7 anchors Ken Rosato and Lauren Glassberg will host with correspondents Sam Champion and Kemberly Richardson helping in the field. We’ll also be treated to Dan Levy, who will be acting as one of the many grand marshalls, and performances by Janelle Monae, Billy Porter, Deborah Cox, and more.
How you can support and donate
Outside of directly supporting local LGBTQ+ businesses, there are a few organizations that you can donate to and help. For more information on programs and fundraising specifically related to COVID-19 and the LGBTQ+ community here’s a good resource.
The Ali Forney Center — “Our mission is to protect LGBTQ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.”
The Audre Lorde Project — “The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non Conforming People of Color center for community organizing, focusing on the New York City area.”
Black Trans Advocacy Coalition — “The Black Trans Advocacy Coalition (BTAC) is the only national organization led by black trans people to collectively address the inequities faced in the black transgender human experience.”
Emergency Release Fund — “The mission of the Emergency Release Fund is to ensure that no trans person at risk in New York City jails remains in detention before trial.”
GMHC — “GMHC fights to end the AIDS epidemic and uplift the lives of all affected.”
Immigration Equality — “Through direct legal services, policy advocacy, and impact litigation, we advocate for immigrants and families facing discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status.”
LGBTQ Fund — “The Freedom Fund secures the liberty and safety of people held in jail or immigration detention, focusing on LGBTQ individuals.”
Marsha P. Johnson Institute COVID-19 Relief Fund — “Our goal is to raise enough money to provide 100 Black trans people in need with $500 no strings attached to support their needs.”
National Centre for Transgender Equality — “The National Center for Transgender Equality advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people.”
NYC Pride — “Your donation will support annual programming and events that help inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate our diverse community.”
Point of Pride — “Point of Pride works to benefit trans people in need through gender-affirming support programs that empower them to live more authentically.”
Prism Foundation — “Prism Foundation is a grassroots philanthropic organization that provides funds and leverages resources to empower the Asian & Pacific Islander LGBTQ+ community.”
SAGE — “We’re a national advocacy and services organization that’s been looking out for LGBT elders since 1978. We build welcoming communities and keep our issues in the national conversation to ensure a fulfilling future for all LGBT people.”
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project — “We seek to increase the political voice and visibility of low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming. SRLP works to improve access to respectful and affirming social, health, and legal services for our communities.”
TRANScend — “TRANScend Community Impact Fund will address the disproportionate impact of HIV within Transgender communities with a specific focus on supporting grassroots organizations.”
Trevor Project — “It’s especially important to support LGBTQ young people during Pride, because many are isolated from welcoming communities and resources, and sometimes struggle to feel Pride in who they are.”