Get connected during Pride season. (Photo Credit: tumskaia via Adobe Stock)

It’s been over two months since we all became sequestered in our homes, both locally here in North Carolina and around the world. As we inch ever closer to the start of June, many LGBTQ people are beginning to wonder: what will Pride look like this year? And does it even matter?

The answer is, yes, of course, it matters — and potentially even more than ever before. So many members of our communities are isolated from everyone in their lives right now, including older LGBTQ individuals who already experience their own challenges to finding and building community in queer spaces. Equality North Carolina believes that it’s the role of LGBTQ organizations like our own to find ways to reach these people who need community in times of crisis, and figure out what their needs are within this new reality.
Of course, a big part of that is holding virtual calls and get-togethers by connecting through our webcams. At Equality North Carolina, we’ve seen how much this bit of effort means to those who need it most. We’ve seen this through our weekly LGBTQ Elders calls, a dedicated space for older queer folks to come together and just be around other people like them. We’ve also seen this in our monthly meetings for the six chapters that we’ve built out across the state, where people bring both their hope and pain and talk through ways that we can support each other on the local level.

LGBTQ people want to come together right now — and ultimately, that is what Pride is all about.

As your local organizations begin rolling out virtual Pride events in the coming months, I want to take a moment to emphasize how important it is that we all support their efforts and plug in where we can. Beyond just the need for community, many, many of these LGBTQ organizations depend on the Pride season to sustain their work throughout the bulk of the rest of the year. Without that revenue stream, some LGBTQ organizations are facing the prospect of not even surviving the pandemic, let alone being able to meet the needs of their communities in tangible ways. Our current economic crisis is impacting the most vulnerable groups in dire ways and, unfortunately, that also includes many of the groups doing important work across our state.

That’s why, while Pride will no doubt look and feel remarkably different this year than ever before, it’s crucial that we show up for our community. Showing up can look a lot of different ways: you could tune in and share a live stream of your favorite drag queen’s performance, join in on a virtual Pride parade, or — if you’re fortunate enough to have the resources — make a gift to your local LGBTQ non-profit. It’s on all of us to determine our capacities and support our community during this time, even if we can’t physically hold space with them.

That being said, this pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon. Everyone is struggling, and no organization is immune from the economic pain of this moment. I’d like to encourage you to support in any way you can — even if it’s not financially. Volunteer! Do some virtual canvassing as we get closer to the election season. Offer to donate an item or service to an organization’s silent auction.
All of us are hurting, and it’s on all of us to show up for one another in the best way that we can — because that’s what being part of a community is all about. See you on Zoom!