September 16, 2020
As the Global Pride Month kickstarts today, we face a new challenge that came like no other. That is – maintaining social distancing norms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the LGBTQ community is just determined that COVID-19 is not going to ruin their spirits. This is mainly because Pride is very important for the queer people who are attending it for the first time. So friends, here we officially start with Virtual Pride.
— Tamara ♡ ᵇˡᵐ (@pacinosangel) May 31, 2020
As per the growing trends of digital presence, Pride is going online via platforms like Zoom. It is safe to say that social media is going to turn more shades of the rainbow. The goal, however, is to provide a safe space for the community to communicate and grow. Hence, most of the organizations hosting online events will be focusing on moderating comments to ensure homophobic content is removed.
These online events may not be the same as the previous in-person celebrations, but on the plus side, Pride can be celebrated in countries(Uganda and Nigeria) which are actively hostile to the existence of LGBTQ people.
“Right now, nobody knows what to expect. We are lowering the expectation of how much we’re going to raise. Our original goal was to increase the fundraising that we had last year by at least half and ideally to double it. Instead, our plan now is to just aim to maintain what we raised last year.”
– Mahdia Lynn, executive director of Masjid al-Rabia, a small Muslim community centre for LGBTQ in Chicago
History of Pride
It all started on June 28, 1969, when the police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in New York. This led to bar patrons, staff, and neighborhood residents to riot onto the street outside. The movement continued for six days with protests and clashes. The message was loud and clear; to give the LGBTQ community their rights and dignity. Brenda Howard, a Bisexual activist, also known as “The Mother of Pride” organized Pride the next year to commemorate the events of June 1969 revolt. In the following years, more organization and structure established.
“It’s become the cornerstone of LGBTQ communities. It’s our Patrick’s Day, it’s our 4th of July, it’s a symbol of everything that is achieved so far.”
– Jed Dowling, the festival director of Dublin LGBTQ Pride
— typosaurus #DefendPressFreedom (@artofseajay) June 1, 2020
Global LGBTQ Community Response to Virtual Pride
The COVID-19 has caused a ripple effect that has left us all affected severely. Vulnerability is increasing with people losing their jobs and homes. These tough times ensure that as a community we all come together to support and celebrate the community. Also, We should reflect on the future for social changes. Living in isolation and practicing social distancing is not easy but due to creative and innovative ideas, everything is possible. Thus, we are bringing together the community celebrating Virtual Pride, one click at a time.
One of the world’s biggest international Pride Networks, Interpride, and the European Pride Organisers Association, is organizing a “Global Pride” to be celebrated online on June 21.
How are Brands celebrating Pride
Many international brands are continuing their commitments to give back and support the LGBTQ+ community. In favor of Virtual Pride Celebrations, Brands such as GLAAD, the Trevor Project and It Gets Better Project is creating rainbow-themed Pride collections. They will then donate proceeds to LGBTQ supporting organizations. Cosmetics brand NYX is hosting a virtual Pride March on Instagram. Brands like Puma, Levi’s, and the Banana Republic are launching Pride-themed collection to show support for the LGBTQ community.
With recent events, we see Black Pride is most important to us than ever before. With the rise of black consciousness and gay liberation, it has become more essential to include communities that have been heavily stereotyped and left out previously. The voices were in silence and left out for a long time. Virtual Pride, therefore, aides in bringing the community together. With online sessions, in a way, a lot will be heard, without diving into borders of racism.
Pride was started by a black trans woman who threw a brick to protest police violence, and now going into Pride Month 2020 we have the chance to turn around and help protest police violence with the black community. It's our turn to make our history.
— Comrade Dylan ☭ (@sometimesdyl) May 30, 2020
If winter comes, can spring be far behind
While we are all unsure as to what our future may look like in the post-COVID-19 world, the community has never been this close on social media before. At these times, visible allies to the queer community make a huge difference in terms of championing LGBT rights at work as well as supporting LGBT family members and friends. With the need of the hour being practice of social distancing, we should ensure that we are in this pandemic together. The key factors that we should keep in mind right now are to provide social, emotional, and cognitive support. Lack of support and stability may lead to an increase in the rate of risk for depression, substance abuse, and suicide within the LGBTQ2+ community.
Remember, there is always a Rainbow After the Rain.
Celebrating Pride from home
Keeping in mind the current scenario of COVID-19 Lockdown in mind, Fifty Shades of Gay went out of the way to curate a Virtual Pride like series- “India’s Pride Live”. Here our focus is to give a platform to the LGBTQ community to express themselves in what they do best. Our intent behind this move was to keep the Pride Spirits high despite these stressful times. This series commenced from 25th April 2020 with our IGTV videos.
LGBTQ Fashion Stars
Our first guest of the series is Deepen Sharma, from Myntra Fashion Superstar. He talks about androgynous queer fashion while he shows us how to do a quick gender-fluid glam in this exclusive video. You can watch his episode by clicking here: LGBT Fashion Superstar
Following him, the next episode showed Anwesh Sahoo, Mr. Gay World India 2016. He shows how to create fashionable outfits out of things that you might already have at home. He also gives us fashion tips that could help you no matter the situation. You can watch his episode by clicking here: India’s First Pride Live
Voices of Transformation
The third guest is none other than India’s first trans woman beauty pageant winner is Nitasha who speaks about how she is managing COVID-19 lockdown along with tips on how to handle stress and anxiety while always at home. You can watch her episode by clicking here: Voice of TRANSformation – Nitasha
The fourth guest is Meera Singhania, who is a trans woman. She debunks some of the most common and sometimes hilarious myths about trans people. You can watch her episode by clicking here: Bursting Myths Around Transpeople
Our fifth guest is Bonita, Miss Trans Queen India 2019, second runner up. She talks about her journey into modeling while providing a complete guide on how to become a trans supermodel. You can watch the episode by clicking here: What It Takes To Become A Trans Model
Drag Queens for the Win
Our sixth episode is really special to us as it was a beauty parade by India’s Most Fashionable Drag Queens. You can watch the episode by clicking here: Indian Drag Queens Take Lockdown Challenge
The seventh episode is about Prashant Priyadarshi(Bahaar), who is a drag queen. He takes you through the basics of drag makeup. He also talks about how drag is different from many other artforms and his coming out journey. You can watch the episode by clicking here: Basics of Drag Make-Up
For one for our recent episodes, Ikshaku Bezbaroa takes us through the process of transforming into the gorgeous Kushboo, his drag persona. He also lip-syncs his favorite song, in the middle of his transformation which makes you want to have fun along with him. You can watch the episode by clicking here: Extreme Drag Transformation
Music, Food and More
Next, we had DJ Antara, who is a lesbian and creates crazy awesome groovy tracks to blow your mind. You can watch the episode by clicking here: Lesbian DJ Antara
For our tenth and eleventh episodes, Pooja prepares delicious chat and hot chocolate using only vegan ingredients. She combines delicious flavors into a mouth-watering, healthy & vegan chaat. You can watch the episode by clicking here: Vegan Bisexual’s Chat. For her recipe on Vegan Hot Chocolate, You can watch the episode by clicking here: Vegan Bisexual’s Recipe of Hot Chocolate
Tune in to our Social Media handles every weekend for more #FSOGPrideLive videos!
Next Read:Life As A Lesbian In The Middle East