LGBTQ organizers in major US cities are suspending Pride festivals as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a widespread impact.
Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Oakland, and San Francisco are among the areas that have pulled their Pride activities as of late due to the COVID-19 pandemic. San Francisco Pride issued an announcement on September 3 explaining that the LGBTQ Freedom Day Festival, scheduled for October 10, would be cancelled for this year, according to the Bay Area Reporter, while nearby Oakland scrapped its September 12 march and festival due to COVID. Ω
On September 1, parade organizer Tim Frye announced that the Chicago Pride March in October had been cancelled until next year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We really wanted and hoped that there could be a parade in 2021,” Frye wrote in a letter regarding the cancellation. “We don’t feel, though, that we can do it safely for everyone in the parade and the people watching. We must cancel the parade for the second year.”
The Chicago Pride March, which usually runs in late June, was moved to the fall because organizers believed the event would be safer if more people were vaccinated against COVID-19. However, there is still hope for future events.
“We have already scheduled the 2022 Chicago Pride Parade for Sunday, June 26, 2022,” Frye continued in the letter. “We’re going to believe that in June, 2022 we are living in a far safer world than now. We intend to have the best, most joyous, fabulous, memorable Pride Parade ever. Count on it!”
Last month, Atlanta Pride organizers announced a similar move to suspend their annual festival, which was scheduled for October 9 to October 10. In a statement, officials said they are adhering to the CDC’s guidelines against large gatherings amid rising cases of the delta variant.
Prior to the announcement, New Orleans LGBTQ artist Big Freedia and out gay entertainer Todrick Hall were slated to perform at the festival. Ahead of the Pride cancellations in the midwest and the deep south, organizers in Austin, Texas, halted Pride activities until “further notice” due to a rapid increase in new strains of COVID-19.
“It is with an unimaginably heavy heart that we have to announce our Parade and street party, scheduled for this Saturday, are postponed for an indeterminate time,” wrote Pride officials in a press release.
Over the summer, Philly Pride Presents (PPP) abruptly ended its organization and canceled its “Pride-lite” events in the fall for failing to prioritize the voices of LGBTQ individuals of color, reports the Philadelphia Gay News.
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