Local Pride Organizers Announce Virtual and In-Person Events

Queens Pride during Stonewall 50/WorldPride in 2019.
Donna Aceto

Beyond the Reclaim Pride Coalition’s Queer Liberation March and the virtual Heritage of Pride event, a mix of borough-based Pride events and local festivities are on tap heading into Pride month.

The Queens Pride March and Festival is returning in 2021 with “Summer of Pride,” which will include a series of events ranging from in-person to virtual over the summer months. The organization plans on hosting three programs — an LGBTQ roundtable in June, a documentary screening about the history of Queens Pride in July, and an in-person march in August. The group postponed their annual Pride parade due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Queens Pride will not be having our normal annual march in June, but in its place, we will be having a Pride roundtable that we will announce the details of soon,” Queens Pride said in a written statement to Gay City News. “We understand that this is not the normal time of year for the march, but with everything considered surrounding vaccination rates, vaccine hesitancy, and reopening complications/lack of guidelines, we believe that an August event will provide a much more opportune environment for in-person festivities.”

The decision to change the date of the march came down to safety, organizers said.

 “We love this event and know how much this march means to our community here in Queens,” the group said in a statement. “Our Pride march is a much-anticipated yearly event, and we want to make sure that when we do it, we are both being safe and that we are providing the absolute best environment and experience for everyone in Queens.”

Similarly, Mickey Heller, co-chair of Brooklyn Pride, said this year’s Pride festivities would debut later than usual. On June 7, Brooklyn Pride will host a rooftop party at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Out of the Closet Thrift Shop at 475 Atlantic Avenue between 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A couple of days later, there is a virtual “Paint-n-Sip” and drag bingo with Jackie from Screaming Queens. During the weekend, organizers will kick off a mini street festival with live stage performances along Fifth Avenue from Third to Fifth Streets.

Everyone was all smiles at Brooklyn Pride’s twilight march in 2019 — pre-COVID.Donna Aceto

On June 13, attendees can walk along the sidewalks from Fourth Avenue to the waterfront for “Pride Atlantic Avenue,” an event starting at noon and features food, drinks, art displays, and entertainment.

Meanwhile, advocates in Harlem are sticking to a range of online programming that spans from a virtual queer film festival to a fitness challenge. Harlem Pride commences virtually on June 26 at 6 p.m. with a star-studded event highlighting celebrities, artists, community leaders, and comedians. A virtual memorial will be held to help community members honor people who have died of COVID-19, anti-LGBTQ bias, and other causes through the end of June.

In the Bronx, Helen Greenberg, a spokesperson for Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., said the office does not have a Pride event planned for the Bronx. Greenberg said the office is speaking with organizers who might have programming in place of their event. Two years ago, there was a rally, march, and festival to commemorate Pride in the Bronx. 

Brighton Beach Pride is coming back with an in-person march on May 30 at noon on the boardwalk. The event is led by RUSA LGBT — a network of Russian-speaking people, their friends, and loved ones. Last year, due to disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, Brighton Beach Pride moved their Pride festival to YouTube live after previously hosting in-person events.

STARR, a transgender advocacy group, has planned a march for June 27 at 1 p.m. that will start in Times Square and head toward Christopher Street. STARR’s founder, Mariah Lopez, said the organization’s route pays homage to trailblazing late LGBTQ advocates like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Bayard Rustin.

“We chose the route for the historic significance; trans women/sex workers like Marsha/Sylvia found refuge in Times Square years before and after Stonewall,” Lopez said in a statement to Gay City News.

LGBTQ advocates in Staten Island have already started their Pride festivities, including virtual bingo, bowling, and an LGBTQ youth prom. Also, organizers are hosting a virtual “PrideFest” on May 29 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. that will stream live on Facebook and YouTube

Heritage of Pride (HOP), which is hosting a virtual Pride event with “in-person elements,” also has other smaller events, including  a hybrid version of Pride Island, which will feature a dance party virtually and some in-person behind-the-scenes events in the days leading up to the festivities. From June 21 to June 23, organizers are hosting a Human Rights Conference to celebrate diverse voices within the LGBTQ community. HOP is also bringing back its LGBTQ street fair on June 27. During the range of programming, attendees can also expect virtual family movie nights and digital rallies.

The Reclaim Pride Coalition, which is having an in-person march with a live broadcast, will use the livestreamed event to also show pre-recorded interviews and segments from the coalition’s panel discussions in collaboration with the Bureau of General Services – Queer Division.

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