Image via screengrab Global Pride
Image via screengrab

“Some people would say Pride is canceled, but I would say it has evolved.”

LGBTQ Pride is turning 50 this year, albeit a little short on its signature fanfare. Amid the coronavirus pandemic and widespread calls for racial equality sparked by the killing of George Floyd, organizers have canceled Pride celebrations all over the country.

But activists are using the intersection of holiday and history in the making — including the Supreme Court’s decision giving LGBT people workplace protections — to uplift the people of color already among them and by making Black Lives Matter the centerpiece of Global Pride events Saturday.

“Pride was born of protest,” said Cathy Renna, communications director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, seeing analogies in the pandemic and in common threads of the Black and LGBTQ rights movements.

“Trans women of color have been targeted in what has been called an epidemic, and the Stonewall uprising happened in response to police harassment and brutality,” Renna said in an email.

The first Pride march took place June 28, 1970, a year after the 1969 uprisings at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, which were led by trans women of color. Fifty years later, there’s scarcely a patch on Earth that doesn’t usually host some type of Pride event.

In Minnesota, where Floyd died last month at the hands of Minneapolis police, it was immediately clear that Pride as usual—one of the nation’s largest—would be inappropriate, said Twin Cities Pride board member Felix Foster.

Instead, Pride will include a virtual march of recorded videos, a stretch of silence in honor of Floyd, and solidarity with a march for Jamar Clark, a Black man killed by Minneapolis police in 2015, Foster said.

In northeastern Pennsylvania, the group Queer NEPA is hosting online events and supporting others held by Black activists after rallying in previous years in nearby Wilkes-Barre and raising a rainbow flag at Scranton City Hall.

“Some people would say Pride is canceled, but I would say it has evolved,” said board co-chair Em Maloney.

The widespread postponement and cancellation of Pride celebrations has led to one silver lining: the creation of Global Pride.

Organized by a team of Pride volunteers from all over the world, Global Pride is billed as a 24-hour stream of music, performances, speeches, and messages of support from all over the world. It is being hosted Saturday by Todrick Hall, and will feature activists and politicians, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and entertainers such as Betty Who, Deborah Cox, Laverne Cox, Jake Shears and Martha Wash.

“I remember the first conversation we had about this project, and how so many people thought it would be an impossible task to deliver, especially in less than three months,” said Steve Taylor of European Pride Organisers Association, in a statement. “But yet again the grit and determination of the LGBTQIA+ community has ensured we will have an historic, ground-breaking show that will bring our community together in these trying times.”

How to Watch Global Pride

Anyone and everyone with an Internet connection is invited to attend this streaming event. For those located in the United States, start time is 1 a.m. EST. The event kicks off with performances and more from folks in Hong Kong, Timor-Leste, and Kenya.

You can watch Global Pride on:

“Global Pride is our time to shine, our time to show the enormous and beautiful diversity of LGBTQIA+ people in every corner of the world,” Taylor said.

Additional reporting by Kimberly Lawson.