by Joe Siegel
The decision of various Pride organizations to cancel June’s annual series of parades and festivals due to the fear of attendees spreading COVID-19 continues to impact LGBTQ media in various ways.
Michael Yamashita, the publisher of San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter, said the cancellation of the city’s Pride will be “devastating.”
“It's the year's biggest issue and helps to carry us through the third and fourth quarters,” Yamashita said. “It's the same for any LGBTQ business where Pride is canceled. This year is our Pride's 50th anniversary, so it's particularly painful for San Francisco.”
San Francisco Pride will be part of the Global Pride virtual celebration on June 27 and will be sharing their content with BAR, according to news editor Cynthia Laird.
Los Angeles is also forgoing its annual Pride celebration. Christopher Street West — the organization that produces L.A. Pride — announced the cancellation of their festivities last month. In solidarity with activists protesting racial injustice, CSW then just planned to participate in a peaceful protest march set for Sunday, June 14.
Initial reports stated that CSW was helping in the organizing of the march. But that changed on June 9 when CSW officials announced on Twitter that they didn’t coordinate with Black Lives Matter leaders before publicly announcing the solidarity march scheduled to take place on the date when the L.A. Pride March would have been held. “For that, we apologize to the Black Lives Matter organizers,” CSW said in the post. “Conversations did continue and grew to later include leaders from Black Lives Matter L.A., and subsequently, an Advisory Board of Black LGBTQ+ leaders has formed to lead the upcoming All Black Lives Matter solidarity march.”
The Los Angeles Blade is making the best of an unusual situation, according to editor Troy Masters. “We are partnering with [WABC-TV] for an ABC7 broadcast and doing a month of special issues that will also allow us to offer something to the many street vendors who will not otherwise be able to reach the community,” said Masters. “I'm trying to sell them and we've had some success pivoting. We are doing our own weekly streaming chat and the sponsorship for that sold very, very well. It will be a hit but not as big of a hit as we had feared.”
Since annual Pride parties have been cancelled or postponed, Lavender Magazine in Minneapolis is creating a series of 100 “Pride @ Home Parties,” which are also fundraisers for Avenues For Youth, a local social service agency. From June 26-28, the parties will be hosted with the help of “party starter kits” for sale. The magazine is encouraging people to party via Zoom or in driveways with neighbours at a safe social distance. Photos will be taken at each event and will appear in Lavender’s Pride in Pictures issue on July 30.
Philadelphia Gay News ran a June 3 story about the cancellation of that city’s Pride. “Our inability to gather in person this year is devastating,” said Celena Morrison, the city’s executive director of the Office of LGBT Affairs. “At a time when our community — and our entire country — is suffering such great pain in the wake of COVID-19, the economic devastation caused by the virus, and nationwide protests over the killing of unarmed Black people, the loss of a celebration like Pride stings even more. But I know our community will come out of this stronger.”
Philly Pride planned to go virtual on Sunday, June 14, following a trend in online celebrations. “In the issue before Pride, we’ll basically do an events roundup, and then our Pride issue will be the week after, so we’ll have more content and our ad reps have more time,” noted PGN editor Jess Bryant. “Two weeks was not a lot of notice.”
|Dallas Voice's Tammy Nash|
Tammye Nash, managing editor of the Dallas Voice, added, “The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on Pride celebrations around the world, and other Pride-related events here in North Texas have not escaped unscathed. The North Texas Pride celebration, usually held in mid-June, has been moved to September, and the Dallas Arts District’s Pride Block Party, also scheduled for June, has been cancelled. … Houston Pride, originally scheduled for June 27, has been postponed to a yet-to-be-determined date this fall.”
New York City, which holds one of the most attended Pride celebrations in the world, has also been at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. LGBTQ media outlets in the city are still proceeding with their Pride coverage.
“We plan to mark Pride in our June 18 issue,” said Paul Schindler, Gay City News editor and associate publisher. “And we know that among many virtual events being planned, the organizers of the various Pride events in NYC — the main one in Manhattan as well as the borough events in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island — plan to participate in the Global Pride virtual event being organized by InterPride and the European Pride Organisers Association for June 27, so we will be out in time for that.”
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