“Pride—It’s All of Us”: Pride Month moves online due to COVID-19

Kington Pride, student groups pivot celebrations to remote delivery in June

The Kingston Pride Board of Directors cancelled in-person events scheduled for June in a statement on April 2.
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After COVID-19 preventative measures brought an end to in-person public events throughout the summer, Pride Month celebrations have been moved online.

The Kingston Pride Board of Directors cancelled in-person events scheduled for June in a statement on April 2.

“This year, Kingston Pride is moving all events to virtual platforms to ensure our community stays safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ian Burns, communications officer for Kingston Pride Inc., wrote in a statement to The Journal.

They’re now in the process of announcing virtual events to celebrate Pride through their social platforms and website, including a Virtual Parade of Pride Spaces on June 13 to replace the traditional street parade. Community members are being encouraged to submit photos and videos of spaces, such as homes and storefronts, that are decorated for Pride.

The virtual pride guide will also be made available this week.

“Our goal as a board was first, to bring as many of the community’s favourite Pride events back again this year as we could, and then to figure out how to make them virtual,” Burns wrote. “It’s been a challenge, but we can’t wait for everyone to join us over the coming weeks.”

He added this year’s theme “Pride – It’s All of Us” was selected to recognize that “pride, as a movement and a community, can never be cancelled.”

“[I]t’s not about what we do. Rather, [P]ride is a reflection of who we are as people and as a community,” Burns wrote. This year’s events will focus on exemplifying what individuals and the community can do to show their pride.

“Through the “Pride Stories: It’s All of Us” collection, we will be recognizing individual members of the LGBTQIA2S* community and listening to their stories,” Burns wrote. 

At the Foodshare for Queer & Trans Black, Indigenous, People of Colour on June 12, individuals will come together virtually over food, build community connections, share experiences, and talk about what they hope to see from Kingston Pride.  

However, Burns also noted that a few events haven’t gone virtual. The City of Kingston will continue to paint the Pride Crosswalk in front of City Hall this year, and City Hall will be lit up in pride colours on June 13.

Acknowledging the move to remote delivery, the AMS said it’s important to continue celebrating the diversity that makes the Queen’s community so unique at all times of the year. 

“Pride Month is crucial for the AMS to celebrate as we represent all students on our campus,” AMS Executive President Jared den Otter, Vice-President (Operations) Alexandra Samoyloff, and Vice-President (University Affairs) Alexia Henriques wrote in a statement to The Journal

They added that their goals include celebrating students and facilitating a campus where they 
all feel welcome, including members of the LGBTQ+ community.

While the AMS participated in Kingston Pride last year, the Society intends to use this year’s Pride Month to highlight diverse voices. By promoting the events organized by its clubs and services, they hope to prioritize programming and support for equity-seeking and marginalized students.

One of these student-led initiatives is Virtual Pride 2020, a Facebook group providing the opportunity for community engagement and pride in the month of June. 

The group was started by Matthew Panetta, Sci ’20, and Alison McCallion, a master’s student studying biomedical and molecular sciences. Taylor Magee, ArtSci ’21, has been assisting with graphics and ideas for daily conversations.

“Pride is such an important celebration for queer people every year—extremely reaffirming for peoples’ identities [and] a safe space where they can be fully and completely themselves,” Magee wrote in a statement to The Journal.

Every day, the group will post a thread topic for members to discuss, including Queer Athletes, Queer Love, and Queer Good News. 

“We do believe in the importance of discourse and discussion, but that’s not necessarily what this group is for,” Magee wrote. “We wanted a nice, simple space for people to enjoy the month [and] post about online events that may be going on throughout the month.”

Individuals interested in participating can request approval from the group, however they 
are expected to abide by a number of rules facilitating an inclusive and respectful environment. Magee added that behavior and participation will be monitored to protect the safety of participants.

“COVID-19 has been an extremely difficult time for every single person on [the] planet. 
We’ve never experienced anything like it,” Magee wrote. “[M]any people, who may already deal with mental health issues, could be struggling even more right now.”

Magee pointed to those who are living at home with families who are disapproving of their identities and who would be upset if they dressed and expressed themselves the way they’d like to. 

“Some people are members of clubs or other queer groups, or have groups of queer friends they heavily rely on [to feel] safe and [enjoy] themselves,” Magee wrote. “[W]e want to ensure everyone still has that [safe] space and can be themselves to the fullest extent possible during COVID-19, while also staying safe and social [distancing].”

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