Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Pride parades, events and other activities have unfortunately had to be cancelled.
Many members of the LGBT+ community are saddened and disappointed by these cancellations. Pride is not just an excuse for a great party (though it is a wonderful celebration of everything the community has achieved). It is a way for the community to connect and network. Many individuals access invaluable support during Pride month. Now, with the publicity of Pride parades waning, these individuals will find it much harder to find the information and support avenues they need.
Why is a virtual Pride important?
Pride month is invaluable to those who may be less visible, or marginalised within society. It gives likeminded people a chance to connect and share their stories. It promotes and publicises that there is support out there for those that need it. Charities such as Stonewall attend Pride events to reach out to the community and promote their services. This, of course, is much more difficult to do when everyone is forced to stay inside and physical events have been cancelled.
While nearly 500 Pride parades have been cancelled or postponed globally, many events have gone virtual. This means the LGBT+ community are able to celebrate digitally. But the fact of the matter is the support and wellbeing focus may be less prominent in many virtual events – with most choosing to provide entertainment instead (and rightly so – who doesn’t want to enjoy a fun event from the comfort of their own sofa?) That’s why charities and wellbeing advocates are working tirelessly to provide online support for the community during these difficult times. Community groups and individuals are organising online forums, chat groups and support networks to help ensure the digital LGBT+ community is supportive, welcoming and diverse.
One major advantage of a virtual Pride is its ability to connect people globally. For example, around 20 million people visit a Pride event in the US. These LGBT+ community members would normally not have the opportunity to celebrate side-by-side those of us here in the UK. Now, with virtual events, people from across the world can celebrate together. This includes countries that are less accepting of the LGBT+ community, where visibility and support is at its lowest. The community, in some ways, has the opportunity to be more united than ever before.
What is a virtual Pride?
It’s a chance for the LGBT+ community to spend time around other like minded people, and celebrate how far the community has come in recent years. There is still a long way to go until there is total acceptance and equality, but Pride provides an important opportunity to showcase this message of love and diversity. It’s a way to increase visibility of perhaps marginalised groups, and show that everyone has the right to be themselves. There is support and acceptance out there for everyone, and Pride beautifully demonstrates that.
These key messages are being demonstrated through virtual events, including guest speakers, performances and online community chats. Celebrity guests and local famous faces are also getting involved in many virtual events.
Why is We Are Wellbeing getting involved?
We understand people are dependent on the services and support provided and promoted during Pride. Some individuals’ wellbeing may suffer as a result of so many Pride cancellations, and we want to show our support for the community by offering wellbeing advice, tips and resources.
We are not trying to be a replacement Pride. It’s simply not possible for us to recreate the atmosphere of a physical event, and we’re not going to try. Instead, we’re going to place the focus on what we do best: supporting one another’s wellbeing. Throughout We Are Wellbeing’s Pride celebration day, we’ll be encouraging the community to engage and connect with our content. Prioritising wellbeing is more important now than ever, and we’ll be giving the community the tools they need to effectively manage their wellbeing and help to look after one another.
Will you be joining us?
Throughout the day we’ll be sharing videos from people within the LGBT+ community, and those who have been touched by their stories. We’re celebrating positivity and asking individuals how they look after their own wellbeing and what support they’ve found helpful.
We’ll also be sharing advice pieces, articles and resources focussing on LGBT+ mental health and wellbeing. It’s more important than ever to share key resources and signpost people to additional support.
Together, we can get through lockdown and see the LGBT+ community thrive.