June is Pride Month, a time for the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate themselves, their history, and the progress that's been made -- and is still yet to come.
However, it's no secret this year is different.
Addressing COVID-19 meant holding virtual events to encourage social distancing. The death of George Floyd brought to the forefront the need to continue the fight for equality and justice for Black and brown Americans. We must make it clear that black lives matter. That black trans lives matter. This year, we celebrate Pride with a renewed (and improved) understanding of our roots. The Stonewall Riots that Pride month commemorates were led by Black and brown queer people of color yet these people remain the most marginalized within the LGBTQ+ community.
For these reasons, this year, we encourage everyone to think about our LGBTQ+ history, progress, and its ties with the civil rights movement. And although there is no Pride march or official in-person events taking place, there are still ways to celebrate Pride, link virtual arms with community, and honor the progress we've made while gathering strength for work the work ahead of us. With this in mind, we've created a list of ways to observe Pride. From supporting queer Black-owned businesses to joining virtual Pride parties, here's how you can commemorate.
How to celebrate & honor Pride this year
1. Support Black-owned businesses. Following the pandemic, many businesses have been hit hard financially -- and stepping up to support BIPOC-owned businesses is a great way to show your support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Here's a list of NYC businesses you can consider supporting.
2. Reflect at The Stonewall Inn. While you may not be able to go in-person to commemorate those who took part in the Stonewall Riots at Christopher Park, you can do so online here. The virtual exhibit allows you to explore the memorial in an augmented reality with a few virtual additions, like soundbites from the protests and interviews.
3. Tune into Pride 2020 DragFest. Streamed online, this event will host over 100 drag performers over a three-day period starting June 19. This is a great way to not only get in the celebrating mode, but you can also help support the drag community in doing so.
4. Watch NYC Pride online. The parade may be cancelled, but NYC Pride is still on! This virtual event will be hosted by Dan Levy and Janelle Monae.
5. Have your own Pride party. Whether it's a virtual party with your friends, or whoever you live with, you can still have your own party. Apps like Zoom or Google Hangouts can help you host a big virtual party.
6. Join Apicha CHC for our Pride events. Throughout the month of June, we'll be hosting several virtual events, including drag performances, fitness workouts, and guided yoga. If you're interested in joining us, click here.
7. Support queer artists & performers. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, but queer artists and performers who rely on their trade have seen their financial stability plummet. You can help fellow LGBTQ+ folks in the art and entertainment industry by purchasing art, merchandise, and paying for any of their scheduled virtual performances.
8. Start a queer book club. If you're a book lover, starting a queer book club with your friends is a great way to connect during this time, and read queer literature and nonfiction. Here's a list of LGBTQ+ books to get you started.
9. Watch LGBTQ+ films & shows. If you haven't already, there are so many great queer films, documentaries, and shows to see. Maybe this month you want to learn more about LGBTQ+ history, or want to see more QPOC romances on the big screen. From "Moonlight" and "The Favorite" to "A Fantastic Woman" and "Portrait of a Lady on Fire," there is no shortage of queer films to watch. You can read a list of suggestions here.
10. Educate yourself. Now more than ever, it's vital to understand the history behind LGBTQ+ rights, and the leaders who helped progress the movement to where we are today. And it's important to know that LGBTQ+ rights have gone hand in hand with civil rights from the get go. If you don't know much -- that's okay. It's never too late to start learning about LGBTQ+ history, culture, and pioneers. Here's list of nonfiction books to help you get started.