By Dirk Smith

It is no doubt that 2020 has had … a lot. It seems like things have just been going non-stop, as if the roller coaster operator just left the thing on all night. The biggest topic of discussion, of course has been the effects of Covid-19 on our society. We’ve all been affected by it in some way, with self-quarantine procedures, face masks, economic closures, social distancing and so much more. This year is historic in a way because some of the world’s biggest events have been unceremoniously cancelled or postponed. Oktoberfest 2020 is cancelled, EuroGames 2020 is cancelled, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are taking place in 2021 and almost all the Pride Festivals and Christopher Street Days have been … you guessed it – cancelled.

However, if there is anything positive to come out of this, it’s humanity’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances. So while we won’t be having any gay pride parades marching through the city this year, the rise of teleconferencing with services like Zoom and Skype have allowed us to come together, to unite within the comforts and quarantines of our own homes. (Don’t forget to put on pants!)

As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, many people have found their communities and social connections online. This has included the online organization of pride events and festivals. Certainly an entirely new level of organization, this has made pride even more accessible to all. This is especially true for communities and people that might have been unable to attend a pride event in person for various reasons. Virtual Prides have been a source of hope, positivity and togetherness in a year that has been full of so much drama.

Virtual Pride events will include things such as a Virtual 5k where participants can raise money for their favorite LGBTQI+ charity by using treadmills or socially distanced spaces; interviews with queer writers, musicians, actors, drag queens and other celebrities; workshops about diversity and inclusion; virtual drag performances, drag queen story time, virtual pride parades, activist rallies, pageants and so much more. Covid-19 might be keeping us inside but it certainly isn’t going to dampen our spirits.

With the #BlackLivesMatter peaceful protests now going global, the LGBTQI+ community is really starting to come together again as we support each other and our allies. We are seeing the entire LGBTQI+ global community become more strongly united than it ever has been.

As we reflect back on our successes and look toward the future to ensure equal opportunity, accessibility and justice for all, that is certainly a positive part of 2020 if you ask me. And now that I remember that it’s only June, we have another six months’ worth of positive happenings to work toward this year!