Upon hearing the news, I was quite shocked that NYC Pride was cancelled for June. We’ve been celebrating Pride for 50 years now and this is the first time since the Stonewall Riots that the LGBTQ+ community cannot march together. Although many in the community are going to be sad, disappointed, and disheartened by this decision, I think this gives us an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to reaffirm the spirit of Pride.
NYC Pride was never meant to be a worldwide corporate funded parade where balloons and glitter fill the streets. While it’s certainly grown to become an iconic event celebrated around the world, it didn’t start out like that. You see, the Pride March came out of the Queer Liberation Movement right after the Stonewall Riots. This was when the LGBTQ+ community could not meet in public. We had our own constraints of “social distancing” — not because of a pandemic but because of the homophobic societal norms of the day. Handkerchiefs were used as codes for men to meet each other. Dark alleys, dive bars, and dimly lit parks, are where we would have to meet. We didn’t have any elected leaders fighting for our rights let alone our right to exist. We were cast into the darkness because the world wasn’t ready to accept us.
It wasn’t until the brave trans women, trans men, men, women, and gender non-conforming people of the day said enough was enough. They fought for their acceptance. Then, they organized. Since then, millions of LGBTQ+ individuals have become organizers, activists, and even elected officials. It’s in our very nature to take action into our own hands to create a better path forward.
Let us not forget where the spirit of NYC Pride came from. After the dark times, our community becomes resilient. We’ve shown the world that we are here, we’re queer, and we’re not going anywhere! Once this pandemic is over, we’re bound to bounce back stronger than ever. For the next time we have a Pride celebration, we can create a truly unique experience — the dawn of a new era.
Take care of yourselves and each other. Our community depends on it. #LoveIsLove #QueerLiberation #NYCPride ✊🏽🏳️🌈