For Pride 2020, Skyscanner teamed up with Roxanne and Maartje of the LGBTQ+ travel blog Once Upon a Journey to help spread the word that Pride is not cancelled this year – it’s just going to look a bit different. Read on as Roxanne and Maartje explore what this year’s Pride celebrations will look like, what Pride means to them and how we can all celebrate from home together.
Pride started as a rebellious protest in a gay bar, but this year, we can’t go to a gay bar. We can’t conquer the streets with our Pride flags and fabulous outfits. We won’t come home after clubbing covered in glitter-sweat that isn’t our own. We won’t travel to countries with massive marches and parades. We will likely be in lockdown, at home. Or we will be very slowly coming out of lockdown, with no significant physical event happening anytime soon.
However, this strange new reality doesn’t have to be a bad thing because new ways of celebrating Pride are on the rise. Pride is not cancelled – it’s just going to look a little different this year!
Pride 2020: virtual celebrations across the world
So maybe this year’s celebration won’t include physical Pride parades, but there are so many new ways in which we can celebrate together. While hundreds of prominent parades are cancelled or postponed, thousands of online events have been created in their places – and it’s highly likely that introverted, disabled and other often-excluded LGBTQ+ people are actually quite excited to participate in something more accessible from home! Most of these events can be joined from anywhere in the world as long as you have access to a mobile device/computer and an internet connection. If you’re joining from one of over 70 countries where homosexuality is punishable, it’s a good idea to use a VPN for safety reasons.
So, what are the best virtual celebrations happening this year? We’ve created this list in chronological order, but please note that many more digital events will be popping up over the next few weeks!
On 18 June, we’re helping to launch Skyscanner’s very first Travel with Pride – a webinar series celebrating all things LGBTQ+ travel. We’ve asked a selection of the LGBTQ+ community with a passion for travel to talk to us about how they travel with pride. Panels will discuss everything from the challenges and importance of LGBTQ+ travel to the impact of the coronavirus on LGBTQ+ businesses, travel and communities. We hope to see you there, so register for your seat now!
Pink News is organising a four-day extravaganza from Thursday, 4 June to Sunday, 7 June. The event will include virtual panel discussions, music sessions, drag tutorials and Q&As with celebrities, influencers and activists.
Manchester Pride has listening groups throughout the entire year to hear YOUR input. On 5 June, they are hosting a Women’s Listening Group, during which they want to listen to all of the women in attendance to help determine how to serve women better.
A virtual quarantine celebration for youth on 7 June! This Pride celebration will be hosted by the one and only, Poison Waters. Acts will include (but will not be limited to) Jinkx Monsoon, Alice Phallus, Clare Apparently, Dahlia Hearts, Destiny Smokez, Jo Dayne, Lulu Luscious, Mynx DeMilo, Nae Nae Dominatrix and The TurnBack Boys.
From 8-14 June, Puerto Vallarta’s LGBTQ+ Allies and their businesses will be coming to you LIVE on Facebook. There will be a myriad of different events, including DIY tutorials all weekend long – and did we mention it’s all live?! You can interact, watch and even donate to your favourite hotspots all weekend long.
On 11 June, SpeakOut will host a powerful, hour-long virtual festival that celebrates queer power and performance during the pandemic, with a dozen of SpeakOut’s LGBTQ+ activists, creatives and speakers. Stay a bit longer and treat yourself to the 30-minute dance party!
Unite UK is hosting a digital Pride from 19-20 June. The digital extravaganza will consist of a day of panels, music and giveaways to foster a sense of community in these uncertain times. Panels will be accessible via Zoom (tickets will be available to buy soon), and all music will be live-streamed by @unite_uk1 on Instagram.
On 20 June, Indy Pride will host a virtual event instead of their usual physical gathering! Details are coming soon, but you can already get your tickets and save yourself a spot.
On 20 and 21 June, the Northalsted Business Alliance will bring Boystown to the world by live-streaming the Chicago Pride Fest® and celebrating the love, life and diversity of Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community. Lineup and more details are coming in June!
This is not your average ‘virtual’ run! Get out and do a 5K in your neighbourhood while practising safe social distancing, and post a photo or two of the beauty, street art or nature on your jog and tag @Runstreet on Instagram. Register now and do your Virtual Pride 5K any time between 20 June and 28 June 2020. If you’re not a runner, you can walk, too. Or, if you’re not into art but are into running, join this NYRR Virtual Pride Run 5K Powered by Strava instead!
Atlas Obscura has set up an impressive Wonder From Home initiative – and on 25 June, they will host a live virtual event via Zoom. The event will incorporate music, comedy, storytelling and other acts to bring some of that Atlas-Obscura-style wonder to life. Follow and share the hashtag #wonderfromhome for inspiring stories, more incredible online experiences and live streams with the Atlas Obscura community.
InterPride, the European Pride Organisers Association and national Pride networks in several countries are creating a live-streamed festival on Saturday, 27 June. The event will last 24 hours, so every time zone will get to enjoy a little Global Pride!
San Francisco will also host a virtual event on 27-28 June. More details have yet to be released, but be sure to keep an eye out.
On Sunday, 28 June, New York City will host a virtual event on WABC Channel 7 and the ABC News Live streaming channel. More details are coming soon, but performers will include Dan Levy, Janelle Monáe, Billy Porter, Deborah Cox, Wilson Cruz, Margaret Cho, Luíza Sonza and Miss Richfield 1981.
Vancouver will host a virtual Pride event from 27 July through 2 August. Their new website and app with more information will be live in June. As far as we know, highlights are meant to include a Virtual Pride Parade Live Stream, Public Disco, Pride Ball, Drag Story Time and Symphonic Pride: Pride and the Vancouver Symphony.
Celebrating Pride from home
As bloggers and influencers, Pride month is usually a super busy time for us because we have to choose where we’ll travel to and how we’ll celebrate. We also always have to miss out on a lot of celebrations because we simply can’t be everywhere! So we’re excited to see how this year’s Pride month will unfold. In a way, you can be everywhere this month, from the comfort of your own home.
One thing has already been decided: we’re making a rainbow recipe for every day of Pride month! When we’re not travelling, we’re cooking – and we have gone a little crazy over the last few months. And obviously, we’ll watch a lot of LGBTQ+ Netflix!
We’ll also be creating more rainbow content from our home. We have done a couple of rainbow-shoots recently, from sprinkle lips to paint splashes, and will continue to do so even after Pride. Visibility matters! You can’t be what you can’t see.
We know not everyone can go full rainbow in their home,* but we want to try to spread the rainbow-love from ours all over the world. So that hopefully, one day, we do live in a more free society where we’re all accepted.
*This Pride, consider donating the money you would’ve spent on transport, clothes, drinks, etc. during parades and other events to LGBTQ+ charities instead. You can support helplines that assist LGBTQ+ people who are in abusive environments during the COVID-19 pandemic – because some LGBTQ+ people are not safe in quarantine. Some cannot dress up for Prides nor attend virtual celebrations because it might endanger them within their own home. It’s a great way to be there for your LGBTQ+ siblings, even if you can’t do so physically.
What Pride means to us and how we’re celebrating this year
The meaning of Pride isn’t lost – we can still change the world for the better from our homes. With our social channels, via our network, we can spread the message that LOVE IS LOVE. We can still let our voices be heard and fight intolerant ways of thinking – and in an even safer way this year. Pride is about celebrating how far we’ve come, but it’s also a time to stand with what we still need to fight for. That is what Pride is to us. It’s a beautifully complex thing – a celebration and a protest. There’s both happiness and sadness, and that’s a good thing. We’re conquering the world with LOVE, and we won’t stop!
We’ve asked a few friends and Skyscanner employees what Pride means to them and how they will be celebrating Pride this year – and we got some great answers.
My partner and I are having a Pride-themed dinner on Saturday, 13 June. There will be Pride t-shirts from last year’s march, a ridiculous Pride rainbow hat, rainbows and Pride messages in chalk on the steps outside our flat and rainbow-themed food (think rainbow salad and cookies).Lisa, Skyscanner Employee
For me, Pride is all year round. It’s about being visible with my partner in public; it’s not shying away from my identity and what makes me, ME. Pride month is my favourite time of year. Although we won’t get to see our fellow LGBTQ+ community and our army of allies in the streets this year, I can’t wait to recreate it online. Because community and support are SO essential, and Pride is the perfect time to remind everyone of that.Jenna, Skyscanner Employee
Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, our Pride plans are now cancelled, which means we will have to get very creative at home this year. There’s no doubt it will include more than a few drinks, donning our best rainbow-covered Pride gear, sticking on a Pride playlist and jumping on a virtual Pride party with all of our friends. We are so grateful for Zoom! We will also celebrate by looking back at our past Prides, and we’ll share our stories and favourite memories with our audience. The “partying element” of Pride aside, it has been great to observe how different countries and cities celebrate Pride, especially in places like Cape Town, where we weren’t even expecting to find a Pride event. It’s incredible to see and learn about how much it has grown. In a way, it’s actually a positive thing that we have all of this extra time to revisit our previous Pride experiences, reminisce, plan for the future and reflect on the true meaning of Pride.Sion and Ben, The Globetrotter Guys
I bought some new Pride-themed jewellery (mostly earrings) so that I can emanate Pride vibes over all of my Zoom calls.Deborah, Skyscanner Employee
I’m going to bake a rainbow cake. It feels like a nice way to involve my whole family, something the kids would be keen to partake in – and a cake is always associated with celebration. (Not to mention continuing to support my lockdown bod!)Christina, Skyscanner Employee
I spotted a Pride garden gnome in the supermarket today. It’s called “Pride Gnorman.” So that’s how I’ll be marking Pride this year!Harley, Skyscanner Employee
This year, the US is running the national census. I plan to take part in the #seeUScensus social media campaign to call members of the LGBTQ+ and Latino/a community to participate in the US census to ensure that we are seen and counted. They have a lot of great information on how participating in the census can directly impact the community, so I’d highly recommend others check it out!Maria, Skyscanner Employee
To me, Pride is not only celebrated a couple of days a year. What Pride means to me is being free to be who you are and to love who you want to love. When I have a boyfriend, it’s normal for us to show affection in public and walk hand in hand. And in a way, it’s weird that a small gesture like this can also be a statement. I’ve had looks from people, whispers, comments, but it never discourages me from stopping doing what feels natural and what is my right as a human being.
One of my Pride heroes is Willem Arondeus. Willem was an openly gay Dutch artist who joined the Dutch anti-Nazi resistance movement during World War II. He participated in the bombing of the Amsterdam public records office to hinder the Nazi German effort to identify Dutch Jews. Eventually, he was caught, and before this execution, he asked his lawyer to “tell the people that homosexuals are not by definition weak.” I know not everyone feels as comfortable to fight on the front lines of human and LGBTQ+ rights as Willem did. But I think taking pride in who you are and being unapologetically yourself is already an excellent first step and a significant contribution to the cause!Maurice Addams, @not_beyonce
Celebrate with Skyscanner
Though times are tough for travel, Pride 2020 is not cancelled. Skyscanner is here for it along with the rest of the world – and they want to celebrate with you. Be sure to join us for the Travel with Pride webinar on 18 June from 2 p.m. GMT to hear a series of influential LGBTQ+ travellers discuss everything from LGBTQ+ representation in the travel industry to being a better LGBTQ+ ally. We even have an international drag panel to finish! Click here for more details and to register for your seat.
Alongside the virtual Travel with Pride event, Skyscanner’s Inclusivity team has also put together a Spotify Pride playlist featuring classic LGBTQ+ anthems, inspired by some of the best parades around the world. Listen to it below, and let’s press play on Pride 2020!
About the authors:
Roxanne and Maartje are a lesbian travel couple based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. They are the creators of the blog Once Upon A Journey, a platform that helps LGBTQ+ (especially female) travellers to travel all around the world. On Instagram, they inspire travellers with beautiful pictures. They believe travel is for everyone and are determined to showcase beauty everywhere.
In addition to their travel blog, they’ve recently launched a food blog with vegetarian and vegan recipes.