LONDON, April 1 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Organisations running LGBT+ Pride marches around the world have joined forces to hold the first online Global Pride event in June after hundreds of real-life gatherings were shelved due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Global Pride will be livestreamed on June 27, starting with East Asia, Australia and New Zealand and moving through timezones to the western United States, said Steve Taylor, spokesman for the European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA).
It will include musical performances, speeches, and key messages from human rights activists.
More than 200 LGBT+ rights marches have been postponed or cancelled due to the spread of the coronavirus, according to EPOA, which estimates that up to 22 million people attend at least one Pride in Europe every year.
“Pride isn’t going to be anyone’s most important priority at the moment,” Taylor, who came up with the idea, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Wednesday.
“But the sense of community, love and kinship that Pride gives to people, sometimes for the first time in their lives, is an incredible thing to witness every year and it would be devastating if that couldn’t happen in some way.”
Regional and national Pride networks that represent around 800 marches have signed up to take part and the next stage is to recruit the individual Prides themselves, said Taylor.
“We want this to especially be accessible to people who have never been to Pride, who don’t feel able to go to Pride, whether that’s because of where they live or their family,” he said.
Gay Star News, an LGBT+ news outlet, has held a “Digital Pride” online since 2016, but Taylor said this was the first time physical Pride marches would be held virtually.
The streaming platform has yet to be confirmed.
Organisers said they hoped millions of people globally would take part in what is planned to be an interactive event, with yet-to-be-confirmed online performances in languages including Spanish, French and Portuguese.
“Annual Pride events in the United States engage and unite 20 million people who gather to celebrate the strength and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community,” Ron deHarte, co-president of the United States Association of Prides, said in a statement.
"Through the pain and disruption caused by the novel coronavirus, we will deliver a virtual message of hope, comfort, love." (Reporting by Rachel Savage @rachelmsavage; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit news.trust.org)