By Steven Taylor

Pride movement stands up to COVID with ambitious Global Pride event featuring music artists and world leaders.

When Los Angeles Pride announced on March 12th that they were postponing their planned events for June, it confirmed what many Pride organizers across the world were fearing – that the COVID19 pandemic was going to wreak havoc on the Pride movement in 2020.

By the end of March, barely two weeks after Los Angeles’ postponement, 190 more Prides had cancelled or postponed their in-person events including Toronto, Washington DC and Madrid. The impact was being felt the world over, including in Australia, South Africa, the Philippines and across the whole of Europe and North America.

The national and international Pride networks led by InterPride and the European Pride Organisers Association were already stepping up, helping our members craft their communications, think about contingency planning, and consider the long-term impact of COVID19 on their organization.

But then we went an ambitious step further. We announced a huge, online Global Pride to take place on Saturday June 27th, the Stonewall anniversary weekend. Within weeks, news of Global Pride had reached 200 million people and social media was abuzz.

With a huge project ahead of us but no resources, InterPride and EPOA – with our Pride network partners including the US Association of Prides and Fierté Canada Pride – set about recruiting a vast team of volunteers including video editors, production support, fundraisers and public relations professionals. A committee was formed to oversee the project, comprising representatives of every region of the world. California-based producer Michelle Meow – herself a former President of San Francisco Pride – was appointed Executive Producer, charged with the incredible task of pulling the whole thing together.

But just a few weeks on, we announced on May 30th that the event will include speeches, film and performances from Prides and the activists and acts they work with from across the world, delivered in a 24-hour online stream with ‘prime-time’ for each region being early-afternoon. Last week we named the first speakers including Costa Rican president Carlos Alvarado Quesada, Prime Ministers Erna Solberg of Norway and Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg, and Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark – patron of Copenhagen 2021 WorldPride and EuroGames – will also feature.

Pabllo Vittar, Ava Max, Deborah Cox, Kristine W, Olivia Newton John, Dixie Chicks, Thelma Houston, Bright Light Bright Light, and Courtney Act are already scheduled to appear. More names from the world of entertainment including international musicians and bands, and performers from the LGBTQIA+ community, will be announced throughout June.

My colleague Julian Sanjivan, Co-President of InterPride, said, “The support of these incredible world leaders and performers will mean so much to marginalized LGBTQIA+ people everywhere. By taking Pride online, not only are we making sure that LGBTQIA+ people everywhere can still experience the joy and community of Pride, but we also for the first time are enabling people to take part in Pride wherever they are. This means people who aren’t out, or who are living in socially conservative countries, can take part.”

Activism will of course feature heavily in Global Pride. We’ll have content from groups like HRC and AllOut and we’ll be asking people to take action for LGBTQIA+ people facing oppression and discrimination across the world. We’ll remember those we’ve lost to HIV and AIDS and we’ll promote messages around sexual health and emotional well-being.

We’re also hopeful that Global Pride will raise much needed funds for Pride groups around the world impacted by COVID19. Smaller Pride organizations live ‘hand to mouth’, only spending each year what they manage to raise from donations and sponsorship. We’re fearful that many Prides won’t survive the crisis and there could be many fewer Prides in 2021 than were planned in 2020, and Global Pride can play a part in creating resilience for the Pride movement.

People viewing Global Pride will be able to donate directly using various fundraising platforms including Facebook Donate, and money is being raised from a handful of corporate partners who are helping to cover the costs of the event. Global Pride’s committee will announce the total raised and will then invite Prides to apply for financial support.

The show will be streamed on the Global Pride website [], on YouTube and on other platforms to be announced, and will be free to view. Our Executive Producer Michelle Meow said last week: “Pride started as a grassroots coming-together to liberate our people. It’s remarkable that we’re doing exactly that during this pandemic. We are bringing a grassroots presentation of Pride to living rooms and digital devices everywhere. Performers on the global stage are invited to join in this historic event to share their message of affirmation, empowerment, and solidarity.”

The changing shape of the lockdown imposed in many countries is now offering opportunities for some people to come together around Global Pride. People living in countries where lockdown has eased or lifted completely can meet with friends, perhaps in a bar or community center, and watch the show. People must follow the guidance of their government and authorities, but we hope that some people will be able to come together physically during Global Pride, as others watch at home and have a watch party with their friends online.

For the rest of June, all of us on the Global Pride team will be working flat-out to pull the event together and deliver an awesome show on June 27th. It won’t be perfect and it won’t be highly polished, but it will be an authentic Pride show, curated and hosted by Pride organizers from all over the world. Our musicians will make you want to sing and dance and lip-sync along, our speakers will make you think and act and they might even make you cry. Above all, Global Pride will remind you that even in these most testing of times; the LGBTQIA+ community is resilient, powerful and undeterred.

A few friends have asked me why we are bothering. Why not just take a year off from the manic organization of Pride, which consumes most of the spare time of tens of thousands of volunteers around the world? Kristine Garina, President of the European Pride Organisers Association and one of the co-chairs of the Global Pride project, sums it up neatly: “Every Pride organizer in the world can tell you a story of someone whose life changed when they visited Pride, and so with so many Prides being cancelled or postponed, as organizers we felt we had a responsibility to come together and deliver Pride online. We’re tremendously excited for the potential for Global Pride to bring people together in the biggest Pride there has ever been.”

So, as the number of physical Prides impacted by COVID19 reaches 500, mark June 27th in your diary, organise a watch party with your friends, and get ready. Paint your face, wear your favourite Pride outfit, and dust off that post of glitter from last June. We hope you enjoy the show.

Steve Taylor is a board member of European Pride Organisers Association and is leading the communications team for Global Pride.

Follow @globalpride2020 and #globalpride2020 on social media.