While there might not be the usual parades, parties, and panel discussions, Pride Month didn’t go anywhere, and there are still plenty of ways you can celebrate it.
Regardless of what you may have heard—there is no such thing as canceling Pride in Pennsylvania. Yes, even in a pandemic.
While there might not be the usual parades, parties, and panel discussions, Pride Month didn’t go anywhere, and there are still plenty of ways you can celebrate it even during the coronavirus pandemic that is still sweeping the country.
Here are some ways you can keep the Pride.
Pride organizations have shifted the celebration online, inviting LGBTQ people and their allies to take part in the fun virtually, with various types of community events. Below are just some of the many online Pride events being offered by groups throughout the state.
Penn State Cheers and Chants — June 18, 5 p.m., Instagram Live event @PennStateLGBTQ
S’mores Hangout — June 25, 5 p.m, using this Zoom link
Participants are encouraged to break out their favorite S’mores recipe and join Penn State’s Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity for a community check-in.
NW PA Virtual Pride — June 27, 2-5 p.m.
Lehigh Valley Pride — Aug. 16
Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center will host the 27th annual event via Facebook. Organizers are asking would-be participants to keep checking back for more information, which will be released as it becomes available.
Take to the Streets
You might have heard the phrase, “The first Pride was a riot,” referring to the events at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in 1969, where LGBTQ people fought back against police brutality and systemic homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.
The spirit of Pride is very much alive this month, as protests continue to take place in streets across the state and nation in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. Protesters are calling for real, substantive change that will address police brutality and systemic racism.
What better way, then, to return to the revolutionary roots of Pride than by getting out there among them and helping spread the word that Black Lives Matter.
Check your local Black Lives Matter group’s social accounts, as well as those of local activists, organizations, and community leaders, to keep up to date on various marches and other actions you can take part in if you’re able.
Just remember to wear a mask and do your best to stay safe as you add your voice to the chorus of people calling for justice and envisioning new possibilities when it comes to policing, prisons, and the treatment of minorities.
You should also attend protests with a buddy, so you can keep an eye on each other, write the number for jail support on your arm if there’s a group organizing bail in your area, wear ballistics-tested goggles and a helmet, and make sure to bring water and snacks. For more tips, consult the “Safety During Protests” guide put out by Amnesty International.
Pro tip: Organizers in Pittsburgh are marching on Thursday to call attention to how the Trump administration is undermining the health of Black trans people. On Saturday, Black Lives Matter Philadelphia is joining New Voices Philadelphia and other organizations for the #SayHerName March for Justice. The Lancaster LGBTQ + Coalition is also hosting an in-person event Saturday to commemorate Juneteenth, World Refugee day and Pride Month all in one.
If you can’t take to the streets, or if you are already out there but wish to add another element to your activism, consider making a monetary donation to a group doing the work. In addition to considering making a donation to the national Black Lives Matter group, or to the Philadelphia chapter, you can also support bail fund programs that go toward getting protesters out of jail so they can get back to the work of organizing the uprising.
Some local bail funds to consider supporting follow.
Based in Pittsburgh, the Bukit Bail Fund was founded by Tomi Lynn Harris, whose son, Frank “Bukit” Smart, Jr., died in 2015 of a seizure while restrained at the Allegheny County Jail.
The Dauphin County Bail Fund is a community bail fund based in Harrisburg for those being held at Dauphin County Prison.
The grassroots organization Lancaster Stands Up has started the Lancaster Bail Fund, which began as strictly a fund to bail people out of jail but has since expanded to also help protesters with legal fees.
The Philadelphia Bail Fund is dedicated to bailing people out of jail as soon as possible, ideally before they are transferred from their holding cell to jail. It is also active in lobbying efforts around prison reform.
The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund also works to bail individuals out of jail who cannot afford to do so themselves. It too works to “advocate for the abolition of bail and pretrial detention in our city,” according to the group’s website.
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Alternatively, you can consider making a donation to a local LGBTQ organization, which help support the community in a number of ways.
That includes such activities as lobbying local government officials on policy issues and votes, providing safe spaces and locations to meet like-minded individuals, and providing resources for those in need of housing, healthcare, and other services.