Organizations and community members celebrate Pride 2020 virtually

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Finishing line at the 2019 5k run, courtesy of Heather Raquel

In the wake of COVID-19-related cancellations of physical Pride celebrations, many community organizations and leaders are acknowledging Pride month by organizing virtual events, such as festivals, drag shows and educational programs. Amid nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, organizations and QTPOC individuals are facilitating Pride events that celebrate Black lives and support the Black Lives Matter movement. Even if community members cannot march down the street for Pride, they can still celebrate and stand with the Black community. 

MOBIFest, a free wellness festival for queer communities of color 

Philadelphia Black Pride promoted and engaged in this year’s MOBIFest, and even though it streamed live on June 4, the virtual festival is still available to view. Mobilizing Our Brothers Initiative is a series of community-driven events for “gay and queer men of color to see their holistic self while promoting community, wellness and personal development.” Featuring DJ sets, musical and ballroom performances and comedy routines, this year’s MOBIFest participants include rapper Saucy Santana, soul and R&B musician Mykal Kilgore, comedian and actor Paris Sashay and drag queen and comedian Harmonica Sunbeam. MOBIFest can be viewed here: https://mobi-nyc.com/mobifest 

Free Library events, various dates  

The Free Library of Philadelphia is hosting several virtual Pride events, including Drag Queen Trivia with Brittany Lynn on June 11 at 11 a.m., Virtual Happy Hour and LGBTQ+ History with Lili St. Queer on June 11 at 5 p.m. and a Virtual Moment of Pride on June 17 at 4 p.m. In the latter, a Free Library staff member will educate children about loving themselves and those around them via songs, stories and mindfulness. All Free Library Pride events can be found here:  https://libwww.freelibrary.org/calendar/tag/free-library-of-pride 

Outsports Pride 2020 virtual events, various dates   

The organization Outsports is organizing several virtual activities to celebrate Pride, such as a talent show with NFL player Ryan Russell and Olympic champion Eric Radford, to name a few participating Outsports members. The organization will hold other Pride events, including a webinar for sports players about working with one’s team members to enhance connections to the LGBTQ community. The talent show will take place on June 11, and the webinar on June 16. More information can be found here: https://www.outsports.com/2020/5/14/21256952/virtual-pride-outsports-lgbt-celebrate-webinar    

Drag Queen story time with Icon Ebony Fierce, June 12

In the spirit of Pride events for kids, Philly’s own Icon Ebony Fierce is partnering with Philadelphia Family Pride to host a digital Drag Queen Story Time. As part of the running series, Icon will read children’s stories to youngsters on June 12 at 11 a.m. They will also be accepting tips via Cashapp ($iconebonyfierce), Venmo (@iconebonyfierce) or Paypal ([email protected]m) Tune in here to catch the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/252013692887800/ 

VinChelle via VinChelle’s Facebook page

“Black Girl Magic Philly: Revolutions,” a virtual drag show in support of Black Lives Matter, June 13

Philly’s beloved drag queen VinChelle, creator of Black Girl Magic, organized a drag show in support of black lives, to be streamed on June 13 at 8 p.m. Broadcast via VinChelle’s Facebook page, two dozen Black drag queens, kings and nonbinary entertainers will perform their acts, and will donate a percentage of their tips to Black Lives Matter. In an interview with Billy Penn, VinChelle said about the drag show, “It was already planned, and then this all happened. During this time, I didn’t know if I wanted to do it or not. But all the performers said, ‘We need to do this.’” Catch the show at https://www.facebook.com/events/566871070933631/

Virtual Pride Hosted by Trans Minors Rights, June 13 and 14 

The trans youth-centered organization Trans Minors Rights will host its own series of digital Pride events. On June 13 and 14, viewers can participate in a virtual experience via VRchat in which they can make connections, learn about Pennsylvania organizations, watch live streams via YouTube and Twitch and do some dancing. Guests can also play games via Trans Minors Rights’ JackBox Zoom call from 12-8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and enjoy drag shows and discussion panels via the organization’s Twitter page. More information about the events can be found here: https://transminorsrights.org/virtual-pride-2020-info/?fbclid=IwAR1VI3LJUuI2ruYzzeLfKBWEk-l1yFO–TQSzR0F6BbUUzBdUvefWj_PZOw 

The Flaggots at the 2019 Pride Parade

Philly Pride Presents Virtual Pride, June 14 

On June 14 Philly Pride Presents will make available a handful of virtual Pride events. PPP will broadcast the Pride5K, which will take place at 10 a.m. (viewing details TBA); 6ABC will broadcast and stream virtual Pride events at 1 p.m.; PPP will stream its own virtual Pride at 4 p.m., which will consist of photos and short video clips from community members expressing solidarity with and support of Black lives. “It’s our way of showing our support and that we stand with Black Lives Matter,” said Franny Price, executive director of PPP. At 8 p.m., PPP will stream the Miss Philly Pride Pageant, hosted by drag queen Brittany Lynn. More info on viewing PPP Pride events can be found on the organization’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/philly.presents/posts/?ref=page_internal 

Bradbury-Sullivan queer novel miniseries, June 15 and June 22 

Allentown’s Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center is hosting two more virtual installments of its queer novel miniseries, which will feature authors Ilana Masad and Corinne Manning. On June 15, Masad will read from her book “All My Mother’s Lovers,” and on June 22 Manning will read from her story collection “We Had No Rules.” Both books were listed on Lambda Literary Foundation’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ books of May, 2020. Catch the live readings at 7 p.m., but circle back to watch the archived presentations at a later date if necessary. The events can be found at the following links: https://www.facebook.com/events/857481454738105/, https://www.facebook.com/events/315823426078708/  

National Liberty Museum events, June 15-19 

National Liberty Museum is co-hosting a handful of Pride events in conjunction with the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. The Glass Museum houses the exhibit Transparency Retrospective, composed of studio glass pieces that encompass the queer experience, created by queer artists. These events and opportunities include artist background sessions with Tim Tate, Eric Hess and Pearl Dick, a coffee chat with Tacoma-area artists, an LGBTQ trivia night with drag queen Brittany Lynn and a week-long pop-up shop offering Pride-centric merch and art by Transparency Artists. For more info, visit https://www.libertymuseum.org/events-at-nlm/virtual-nlmnight/  

Rosenbach Museum Pride program, June 18   

The Rosenbach’s Zoom program “In Bed with Ishmael: Queer Approaches to Life, Work and the Legacy of Herman Melville” will showcase the museum’s collection of rare books, manuscripts and artifacts of Herman Melville. The presentation will explore the author’s works through “queer theory and a gendered approach to culture,” and take a close look at excerpts of “Typee,” “Reburn,” “Moby-Dick,” “Billy-Budd” and “Pierre.” The event will be held on June 18 at 7:30 p.m. and is free to the public, but attendees must register in advance:  https://rosenbach.org/events/in-bed-with-ishmael/