A participant of Pink Dot, an annual event organised in support of the LGBT community, is seen at the Speakers’ Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore, June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Feline Lim

People attend the annual Pride in London parade, in London, Britain July 6, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

After the cancellation of hundreds of Pride parades due to the COVID-19 pandemic, national Pride networks have set up a new digital Global Pride day on June 27 to unite people all over the world in celebration and support.

The 24-hour stream of music, performances, and speeches will feature politicians including U.S. presidential hopeful Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Performances will spotlight challenges LGBTI+ individuals face, many of which have increased since the start of the pandemic.

“A lot of people, especially young people, have had to go back maybe to their families who might not be supportive or they had to go back to their home town which might be a bit more conservative,” said Ramses Oliva, 24, a trans gay man who is an ambassador for charity “Just Like Us” which supports LGBT+ young people.

Some individuals may not be out to their families and have even had “to go back to the closet,” he said.

Participants of Pink Dot, an annual event organised in support of the LGBT community, pose for a photo at the Speakers' Corner in Hong Lim Park in Singapore, June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Feline Lim

“I think that Pride for a lot of us is going to be just this chance to breathe and to … remind ourselves of our identities and how important it is to keep celebrating them, especially during tough times like this.”

More than 500 Pride organizations submitted more than 1,000 pieces of content for Global Pride. A volunteer production team is turning it into a 24-hour stream. 

“What makes Global Pride very unique is that this is the first Pride of its kind where we are really focused on bringing the entire LGBT global community together,” said Natalie Thompson, a chair of the Global Pride event.

It will also amplify black voices and the demand for racial justice from the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I think when people look at Pride who are not necessarily affiliated with it … they see it as a big party. But behind the scenes, there’s so much work that’s being done to help push policies to help address human rights concerns.”

Among those to be featured is the Pride movement in Georgia. Last year organizers of the first-ever Pride event in the capital Tbilisi received death threats.

Georgia organizer Giorgi Tabagari said being part of this year’s global event gave them some security from the threat of attack.

Another participating group is PINK DOT SG, that supports the LGBTQ community in Singapore.

PINK DOT SG committee member Clement Tan said that one of the aims was to show people that COVID-19 would not stop groups from highlighting discrimination.

—Reuters

By Sarah Mills