One thing that has become increasingly clear over the past few months: Pride this year will not resemble the massive parades, celebrity-hyped parties or anti-corporate protests we’ve grown accustomed to in the past decade.
With nearly 500 Pride festivals called off around the world, 2020 marks the first time in half a century that the LGBTQ+ community won’t hold physical gatherings. Organizers have made clear Pride won’t be canceled, even as they race against the clock to answer the big question: What exactly will Pride 2020 look like?
Back in January, America’s major cities were gearing up for record-setting crowds at events set to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first Pride marches. The covid-19 pandemic has invariably pushed communities big and small to move online, but digitizing a global event as multifaceted and dynamic as Pride has no historical precedent. The logistical challenges are nearly as great as the opportunity virtual pride presents to open up events to a wider and more inclusive audience. In years past, a closeted teen in the rural Midwest would have no access to a glitzy Condé Nast party in Manhattan. In a way, they do this year.
As we enter Pride season, with a screen-fatigue-inducing number of virtual events on the docket, we’re finally getting a picture of what virtual Pride entails. “Live stream” is the key word for dozens of events, from concerts and drag shows to DJ sets and film festivals.
Here’s when and how to watch the marquee and most creative LGBTQ+ events happening this month.
When: Nightly at 9 p.m. EDT
Where: Follow Club Quarantine on Instagram for Zoom passcodes.
As lockdowns went into effect across North America, underground queer nightlife found a new venue on Zoom, with Club Quarantine quickly emerging as the pandemic’s most sought-after dance event. Recent celebrity sightings include alternative pop futurist Charli XCX, model Kiko Mizuhara and actress Hunter Schafer — and Pride brings even more surprises. After hosting the official launch party for Pride Toronto on June 1, organizers plan to keep the energy running high every night with a hush-hush lineup of international DJs and performers. The biggest perk? No lines around the block.
Lambda Literary Does Pride
When: Tuesday and Thursday evenings through June
Where: Get tickets here.
Actor Wilson Cruz kicks off a month of readings and discussions presented by the nation’s top LGBTQ+ literature organization. Lambda Literary Does Pride features a high-profile roster of queer authors and actors. For the first reading, Cruz will commemorate the legacy of author and activist Paul Monette (June 4). Highlights to follow include “Pose” star Ryan Jamaal Swain reading the work of Edmund White (June 16) and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hilton Als in conversation with Jane Wagner and Lily Tomlin (June 30).
Beyond the Shelter
When: June 4, 8 p.m. EDT
Where: Streaming live on New Alternatives’ Facebook page.
Queer nonprofits such as New Alternatives, which helps LGBTQ+ homeless youth transition out of the shelter system, typically net much of their operating budgets during Pride month fundraisers. This year New York City’s performing arts scene has banded together to throw a live-streaming party to get the organization back in the black. The lineup for Beyond the Shelter, hosted by director/choreographer Matthew Johnson Harris, shines a spotlight on more than two dozen actors, musicians, dancers, opera stars and more.
50 Years of Pride
When: On view through 2020
Where: View the online exhibition here.
In 1970, a small band of protesters marched down Polk Street, starting the summer tradition of San Francisco Pride — one of the largest annual LGBTQ+ gatherings in the world. To mark the event’s golden jubilee, the GLBT Historical Society culled through archives to put together an online photography exhibition. It documents how Pride has evolved from “a largely white, male, middle-class gay gathering” to a more inclusive celebration, curators write in the accompanying historical survey. Later this year, they hope to unveil the real-life gallery show at City Hall.
When: June 13, 10 a.m. EDT
Where: Watch live on the Capital Pride website.
This year, the streets of Washington won’t see any revelry quite like the destination Capital Pride festival. But the first-ever Pridemobile Rainbow Blast hopes to make its own splash on a tour through each of the city’s eight wards, documenting how residents show their true colors even when socially distanced. Along the way, the live-streamed Pridemobile will incorporate DJs and drag performers, and bestow prizes to the best-decorated storefronts and homes in Washington. It’s one of the many virtual events Capital Pride has in store, so if a roving virtual party isn’t up your alley, check out the full calendar.
Pride 2020 Drag Fest
When: June 19–21
“Largest digital drag festival during Pride 2020” seems like the sort of quarantine brag you’d hear from Big Apple queens. And that’s exactly how organizers — Heritage of Pride with support from GLAAD — pitch this three-day extravaganza. With more than 100 drag artists slated to perform, their claim sounds spot on. Fans can look forward to emerging and established queens showcasing a wide variety of drag styles. The New York City-centric festival gives out-of-work performers a much-needed stage to perform on. Get your virtual wallet ready, as queens will be accepting Venmo tips throughout each of their sets.
Out Now Live
When: June 22
Building on the popularity of Themfest, an ongoing series of virtual quarantine events, queer outlet Them plans to host a star-studded Pride live stream. What sets “Out Now Live” apart from other streaming Prides is the savvy media team behind it, with on-trend talent curated by Them editors and musical performances presented by fellow Condé Nast publication Pitchfork. Expect to see Princess Nokia, Hayley Kiyoko, Asia Kate Dillon and Antoni Porowski make appearances alongside such “Drag Race” favorites as Aquaria, Shangela and Bob the Drag Queen.
Trans Pride Seattle
When: June 26–28
Where: Access the events on Trans Pride Seattle’s website.
The largest annual gathering of trans and gender diverse people in the Pacific Northwest typically draws thousands to Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. This year, however, the Gender Justice League hopes to create a similarly affirming experience online. You can expect virtual grass-roots Prides like Trans Pride Seattle to have a slightly more DIY quality, though activists promise to keep the creativity of the community in focus with workshops, performances and a trans film festival developed in partnership with the Three Dollar Bill Cinema, a nonprofit dedicated to queer media representation in the Emerald City.
When: June 27
Where: Live stream on the Global Pride website.
More than 100 volunteers in every corner of the world banded together in April to produce a free-to-view 24-hour live stream, spearheaded by InterPride and the European Pride Organisers Association. Taking a cue from New Year’s Eve broadcasts, Global Pride plans to move from time zone to time zone, with a long lineup of performances and celebrity cameos complemented by multimedia submissions from LGBTQ+ communities. Global Pride is rolling out teasers of the event all month, with Pabllo Vittar, Ava Max, Olivia Newton John and the Dixie Chicks among the first wave of performers announced alongside speakers including queer leaders Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India and Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.
New York City Pride
When: June 28, 12 p.m., EDT
Where: The special airs nationally on ABC Live.
How do you translate the nation’s marquee Pride celebration into an engaging network broadcast? Heritage of Pride, organizers of Manhattan’s massive parade and the Pride Island music festival, have answered that question with star power. Musician Janelle Monáe, multitalented performer Billy Porter, “Schitt’s Creek” creator Dan Levy and comedian Margaret Cho are among a few of the queer icons participating in the two-hour special, produced in partnership with ABC7 New York. It caps a month of online events sure to secure a chapter in the pandemic’s history books.