Your Big Rainbow Guide to Celebrating Pride in NYC This Year
Every year, New York City hosts one of the world’s biggest and best Pride celebrations. Sadly, many of the usual events—including the NYC Pride March—have been canceled this June due to COVID-19. But the LGBTQ+ community is finding new ways to celebrate inclusiveness, civil rights and self-expression with a slew of virtual events, many of which are being used to amplify Black voices and issues. Here are some of the celebrations to look forward to this Pride month.
First, some background on Pride in NYC
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Gay Pride marches, which occurred the year after the Stonewall Riots. Quick history recap: In the early hours of June 28, 1969, NYC police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. Gay rights activists fought back and their act of rebellion kicked off the modern gay rights movement. The marches began the following year as protests and displays of resistance against the exclusion, harassment and life-threatening violence that greeted the LGBTQ+ community in American life.
9 Virtual Events to Check Out
Things are going virtual this year, allowing us to celebrate Pride while following social distancing guidelines. Here are some of the exciting events coming up.
Black Queer Town Hall (June 19-21)
This online event will feature three days of performances, roundtable discussions on how to dismantle racism and white supremacy, as well as fundraising opportunities for #BlackLivesMatter, Black LGBTQ organizations, and local Black LGBTQ drag performers. It will be hosted by Peppermint, a transgender actress and Bob the Drag Queen, a past winner of RuPaul's Drag Race. You can support the event here and stream it on GLAAD’s Facebook and YouTube.
Broadway Plus (June 19)
Got a burning question for theater’s biggest stars? Join Jenn Colella, Michael James Scott, Chilina Kennedy, Telly Leung and Jay Armstrong Johnson for a virtual question and answer session via Zoom. “You’ll learn about their careers, what they're up to these days, their work with Broadway Plus, and most importantly, their Pride,” says the event page. Reserve your spot for this free Q&A here.
Out Now Live (June 22)
Hosted by LGBTQ publication them., this star-studded bash will include appearances by Cynthia Nixon, Zac Posen, Elton John, Indya Moore, Antoni Porowoski, Naomi Campbell and more. The live broadcast will feature speeches, stories of LGBTQ+ activism and performances by King Princess and Princess Nokia. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for the Ali Forney Center, a New York City-based organization that aids LGBTQ+ youth. Find out more here.
NYPL online book discussion (June 24)
The New York Public Library will be hosting an online book discussion at 6:00 p.m. of Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues, “a groundbreaking work about the complexities of gender.” You can read the book for free online and then join in the discussion here.
Human Rights Conference (June 25)
Hosted by NYC Pride, this one-day event will feature panel discussions and workshops focused on mental health, faith, voting rights and more. Find out more about the conference here.
Virtual rally (June 26)
NYC Pride will also be hosting a virtual rally to commemorate the 1969 rally for “Gay Power” in Washington Square Park. Trans journalist Ashlee Marie Preston and trans actor Brian Michael Smith will host the event. It’s free to attend but register here to stay informed about the lineup and timings.
House of Yes digital dance party (June 27)
The Brooklyn dance club will host a digital dance party for Pride at 8 p.m. RSVP here to get the Zoom link.
Stonewall Inn digital Pride celebration (June 28)
The famous Greenwich Village bar that was raided by police on June 28, 1969, and sparked the protests that led to the global Pride movement will host a digital Pride Sunday celebration on Instagram on June 28.
NYC Pride Special Pride Broadcast (June 28)
NYC Pride will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first Pride March held in 1970 with a two-hour special broadcast featuring performances by Janelle Monáe, Deborah Cox, Billy Porter, Luísa Sonza and more. Schitt’s Creek star Dan Levy will host the show. The event will air on WABC and stream on the WABC website starting at 12 p.m.
How to Support the Black LGBTQ+ Community
Educating yourself, elevating Black queer and trans voices and giving financial assistance are a few ways to show your support. For the latter, find Black LGBTQ-owned businesses to shop from regularly or donate to places that specifically focus on the Black LGBTQ+ community. Here are four organizations to read up on.
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI)
This organization is dedicated to protecting and defending the human rights of Black transgender people. “We do this by organizing, advocating, creating an intentional community to heal, developing transformative leadership, and promoting our collective power,” says its website. Marsha P. Johnson was an activist and self-identified drag queen who was involved in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. “Marsha went by 'Black Marsha' before settling on Marsha P. Johnson. The 'P' stood for 'Pay It No Mind,' which is what Marsha would say in response to questions about her gender.” Learn more or donate here.
The Okra Project
“The Okra Project is a collective that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black Trans people by bringing home cooked, healthy, and culturally specific meals and resources to Black Trans People wherever we can reach them.” This organization pays Black Trans chefs to go into the homes of Black Trans people to cook them a healthy and home-cooked meal and teach them them how to cook at no cost to them. Learn more or donate here.
The Audre Lorde Project (ALP)
The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non Conforming People of Color center for community organizing, focusing on the New York City area. ALP's programs range from support groups to community-based anti-violence programs. Learn more or donate here.
The LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund
This Black-led organization posts bail to secure the release and safety of LGBTQ+ people held in jail or immigrant detention and raises awareness of the epidemic of LGBTQ+ over-incarceration. Learn more or donate here.
On June 27, tune in to Global Pride livestream, a 24-hour worldwide event that will include speeches from former Vice President Joseph Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, prime ministers (hi, Justin Trudeau) and royalty. You can also expect performances from Olivia Newton-John, Rita Ora and the Pussycat Dolls. Global Pride organizers are working with the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement and have said that they plan to use the event to amplify Black voices.