Pride is not canceled

Get to know the organizers behind Global Pride 2020

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Images courtesy TargetCue!

Pride is not canceled. After hearing the devastating news of over 400 canceled or postponed Pride celebrations due to the pandemic, Interpride and the European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA) are working with the international Pride community to throw the biggest celebration yet: Global Pride 2020. A live-streamed event on Saturday, June 27, 2020, Global Pride will broadcast everything from musical acts to speeches from notable human rights activists. 

To carry off such a sweeping event, volunteer-run Interpride marshaled a coalition of seasoned Pride organizers and activists to form a Global Advisory Council. North America’s Interpride is run by three co-presidents: Linda DeMarco, who sits on the board of directors of Boston Pride, Julian Sanjivan, executive board member with Heritage of Pride and NYC Pride March director, and J. Andrew Baker, the Geneva-based vice president of governance for Fierte Canada Pride and president of Fierte Simcoe Pride. 

Across the pond, EPOA is spearheaded by President Kristine Garina, who also sits as chair of the Baltic Pride in Riga, Latvia. Garina acknowledged a lot of the hurt that is felt worldwide by having to cancel Pride. “The unprecedented challenges of COVID-19,” said Garina, “mean that most Prides will not take place as planned in 2020, but we’re determined that this won’t stop us from coming together as a united, strong LGBTQIA+ community to celebrate who we are and what we stand for.”

Baker also had words of comfort for the global LGBTQ community: “We need the community and connection more than ever. [Global Pride 2020] gives us an opportunity to both connect and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community’s resilience in the face of this pandemic and the true spirit of Pride.”

While a lineup isn’t available yet, Global Pride 2020 will feature programming from around the world. Interpride PR frontwoman and legendary activist, Cathy Renna, likened the event to worldwide New Year’s Eve broadcasts. “We’ll start in Australia and then move west all the way to Los Angeles,” said Renna. Global Pride 2020 will feature programming from national Prides in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, and from regional Prides such as Oceania, Asia, Africa and Latin America. We can expect to see programming throughout the month of June, said Renna, all culminating on the last Saturday of the month. 

Interpride organizes the world into 60 regions and hopes to schedule programming to represent each region, said Renna. Global Pride 2020 “will give us an opportunity to uplift Prides that many don’t really know of or understand [due to language barriers]. Pride is often criticized for just being a party. But, if you go to Poland or Hungary, you’re actually taking your life in your hands in many ways. Region 16 is Africa, a place [with the exception of South Africa and Cape Verde] where it is actually illegal to be openly gay. So, I think it’s a real chance to highlight the global Pride community.” 

Renna did all the media for World Pride last year and noted that, while World Pride is surely an inclusive celebration, people still had to travel to New York. “This is going to be a World Pride that everyone can participate in wherever they are, as long as they have Internet access.” As far as accessibility, Renna said that Global Pride 2020 may be the first Pride people with physical disabilities are able to attend. Interpride and EPOA are taking other disabilities into account as well by having programming with captions for the hearing impaired. There will be broadcasts in different languages as well, so translations will be supplied. “It’s a really fascinating, unprecedented undertaking,” said Renna. 

Global Pride 2020 comes at an auspicious time as well. Many cities across the United States — such as Philadelphia, New York, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles — will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pride. Following the Stonewall riots in 1969, the Gay Liberation Front in New York put together Christopher Street Liberation Day, kicking off the first Gay Pride march in history. 

PGN Publisher Mark Segal remembers the first march: “I was proud to be part of the very first [Pride march],” said Segal, “It was an amazing event 50 years ago. Now, 50 years ahead, we’re trying something that has never been done before. It will be great to feel that experience along with many others who will be part of that. [Pride] is still a form of activism and communication and defiance. Some of those governments have actually banned Pride and [the people] continue to march. Just as we did that very first one when we told the city of New York that if you don’t give us a permit, we’re marching anyway.”

Of the historical significance of Global Pride 2020 for New York, Baker said, “Pride 2020 represents a milestone for Pride events with many honoring the 50th anniversary of their first gathering and marches, such as New York to the first Gandhinagar Pride this year and we would not let that pass without recognition and celebration.”

“Nothing can get in the way of Pride,” said Segal, “including a virus.”