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PRIDE season is coming to an end. With the last Parade usually celebrated at the beginning of August, it is time to say goodbye. This year's parades were not happening. The few small gatherings that were taking place were nothing to be shown off and all the rest was happening through digital PRIDE's that just simply wasn't the same experience.
Yes, I enjoy watching a good show but that isn't why I want to go to a parade. That isn't why I haven't missed a PRIDE since I came out.
I am going to PRIDE because I want to be visible. I want to fight for love, respect, freedom equality and pride! I am going to pride to make a stand that there is still work to be done. To show the world that we are here and we are queer.
I am going to PRIDE because it is still necessary to go!
But this year there was no way for any LGBTQIA+ or Allies to go in a way that created this kind of visibility. In some way, it was good because it gave space for Black Lives Matter and especially Black Trans People to really have a stage without any distractions, on the other hand, it created a huge void. A void for all those people who needed to see themselves represented on the street. For all those LGBTQIA+ people who needed a safe public space to go out and really live their truth. Even if it is just once a year.
PRIDE is not only a Parade. It is a space to feel safe and integrated, It is a space where we physically get in touch with hundreds and thousands of other likeminded people that we can trust and be real with. It is a pace to protest the inequality and homophobia that is still happening, but also a space to celebrate the visibility we already achieved. The more our world turns upside down, the more we need these spaces. And I am sorry if I disappoint some people reading this, but I don't believe the digital version is just not able to make this safe and integrative feeling come to life.
Just to be clear! I am not promoting the PRIDE should have happened. I am glad it didn't. With what is going on in the world. It would have been a very bad idea especially because LGBTQIA+ are "particularly vulnerable" to the effects of the virus. But I also see that because of the Parades not happening a lot of people are even more isolated. Especially people who are at risk in the LGBTQIA+ community like HIV-positive people, elderly people without partners, or people with disabilities. With mental health and isolation being already a huge issue in the LGBTQIA+ community this will only increase by not having the safe spaces needed to counterbalance these issues.
So no I don't think a digital Pride is cutting it and leaving people to their own also seems like a bad idea. So the only thing we can do right now is to actually reach out to the LGBTQIA+ people in our surrounding if they are in need or not. Because this crisis is not over and we need all the support we can get to stay mentally and physically healthy while not continuing the battle for equality.
So as an LGBTQIA+ or as an Allie consider who you can support, either through a call, a quick message, a purchase from their shop, a shout out, maybe even a visit if it is safe. Make space for the community even if it is in the smallest possible form between you and the other person.
Let's stay visible!
If you are interested in more behind the scenes content by Andrea Forgacs visit her Patreon page where she talks about her creative business in a weekly podcast available nowhere else on the internet.