Pride in the time of COVID-19

As 300 Pride events, and counting, have been called off across Europe, President of the European Pride Organisers Association, Kristine Garina talks about what this will mean for the LGBTI community, and how we can come together to rise to this critical challenge.

By last weekend the number of LGBTI Pride events impacted by COVID-19 reached 300. In every region of the world, the hard-working and dedicated volunteers who lead these events have had to make the devastating decision to cancel or postpone their 2020 Pride, and in Europe more than 150 have been affected already, including EuroPride in ThessalonikiTbilisi Pride in Georgia, and Baltic Pride in Estonia.

I imagine that everyone reading this blog has been to a Pride march or at least knows of their importance. Every Pride changes lives, and for some people will be the first time in their lives that they have felt loved, included, valued, cherished, and part of a community. And it’s that impact, that opportunity to create love and solidarity, which will sustain the Pride movement through this year and beyond COVID-19.

The challenge ahead

But it is going to be a challenge. Like most civil society organisations in our sector, the vast majority of Prides are poorly-funded and only just manage to raise the funds they need each year to deliver their events. COVID-19 is adding to costs, because some Prides are having to pay suppliers for cancelled contracts, and others are not getting money from funders and sponsors. The impact may be that some Pride organisations become insolvent and close down.

As a consequence, the European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA) has been urging its members to think about financial resilience: how can Pride organisations adapt their plans for 2020 to ensure the organisation can be sustained beyond COVID-19? This might involve frank and honest discussions with funders, municipalities, sponsors and partners. Suppliers might be asked to move contract dates rather than to cancel and incur costs. And for some — perhaps not now, but in the future — it might include asking the community to give financial support. It can also mean considering whether their 2020 event is cancelled or postponed — and being frank in communications with their community. Many Prides are considering online events as an alternative, enabling their LGBTI community to participate, albeit at a reduced level.

At EPOA, we’ve also been signposting our members to the resources from ILGA-EuropeILGA World and other partner organisations. There are some great resources being developed for civil society organisations, many of them relevant and useful to Pride organisers.

The needs of our communities

It’s become clear that the needs resulting from COVID-19 are not just practical and financial but also emotional, as the impact takes a very personal toll on people. We’ve been organising a weekly online ‘meetup’ for our members to come together, chat and socialise, simply providing a place for friends and colleagues to come together. Checking in on each other is really critical at this time.

At a global level we’ve been working with our partner InterPride — the worldwide Pride network — to coordinate our movement’s international response to COVID-19. We have a team with representatives from Pride networks all over the world meeting weekly to discuss the impact in each region, and what resources and support is needed. We are delivering a series of webinars on various topics including crisis communications and mental health and wellbeing.

We’re also now developing Global Pride, which will take place on Saturday 27 June. Over 24 hours, from the far east to the far west, Pride organisations will deliver speeches, human rights activism and advocacy, musical performances and entertainment via a live stream, accessible by anyone with a smartphone, tablet or television anywhere in the world. Every Pride will be included and in the coming weeks we’ll be asking LGBTI organisations to submit suggestions for content they can provide, and we look forward to collaborating with ILGA Europe and its members. Global Pride has the potential to reach millions of people and bring our community together in these unprecedented and challenging times.

Author

Kristine Garina, President of the EPOA

Source

Kristine Garina is President of the European Pride Organisers Association, Co-Chair of Baltic Pride Latvia, and Chair of Mozaika in Latvia. Follow her @kristinegarina

See also

News

Statement: EuroPride Goes Ahead in Belgrade Despite Calculated Obstruction

All at ILGA-Europe send our support and solidarity to the organisers of EuroPride and Belgrade Pride, the LGBTI community in Serbia and the Balkans, who […]
read more
News

Statement on the Ban of EuroPride Route in Belgrade

Today, the Serbian police announced an official ban on the route of the EuroPride march in Belgrade this coming Saturday. On August 28, the Serbian […]
read more
News

ILGA-Europe strongly condemns President Aleksandar Vučić’s statement announcing a cancellation of EuroPride 2022

“Equality, justice and freedom are not matters that can be put aside when political and economic problems arise."
read more
News

Webinar: Working with Volunteers in the LGBTI Movement

On Thursday, 22 September 2022 between 11.00 – 12.30 CEST, ILGA-Europe will organise an online event to discuss different approaches of LGBTI organisations in engaging […]
read more
Blog

How well protected are LGBTI public events in Europe and Central Asia?

Oslo Pride was cancelled on Saturday in the wake of terrorist attack near the city’s largest LGBTI bar, while over 373 Pride participants were detained in the Turkish capital of Istanbul. Meanwhile, after years of mounting tension and attacks in Poland, Warsaw Pride went ahead without any trouble this weekend. Here’s our overview of the state and protection of freedom of assembly for LGBTI people in the region.
read more
Blog

6 tips for LGBTI organisations partnering alongside a business in Pride season

How businesses engage with LGBTI inclusion has changed enormously in the last decade. Today, more businesses actively seek to work together with civil society organisations, while these may find new allies in the private sector. If you are part of an LGBTI group and are considering to collaborate with companies as Pride season kicks off, this blog and our Frontline podcast mini-series are for you.
read more

Organisational development & design

Creating and evolving organisations, groups, collectives and networks is at the core of social change work. There is no universal recipe for success here. A […]
read more
Blog

The 5 trending attacks on the fundamental rights of LGBTI people in the EU

Right now, as the war on Ukraine escalates, democracy, human rights and equality matter more than ever in Europe. In our submission to the European Commission’s annual Rule of Law report, we’ve identified key trends in the systematic attacks on the rights of LGBTI people across EU member states.
read more
Press Release

Rising challenges for LGBTI organisations in Europe and Central Asia, new report finds

A survey of LGBTI organisations across Europe and Central Asia finds they face significant challenges in the face of growing anti-LGBTI forces, and the ongoing […]
read more
Blog

What has 2021 meant to the LGBTI movement in Europe? Listen to our latest podcast episode to find out this year’s highlights

As 2021 comes to an end, we have collected some of the moments, events and trends that have marked the year in the latest episode of The Frontline, ILGA-Europe’s podcast about LGBTI activism and lives in Europe and Central Asia. Read here some of the episode’s highlights and find out reasons to stay hopeful in 2022.
read more
Blog

5 profound lessons we learned from working with disabled LGBTI activists and organisations

Making our work more inclusive is at the core of ILGA-Europe’s purpose. This is especially true in the case of disabled LGBTI people, who continue to be marginalised in our movement. In this blog, we share some of our learnings from working alongside disabled LGBTI activists. If you are part of a queer rights organisation, this may be particularly useful for you!
read more
Podcast

The frontline: Navigating Change as an LGBTI Activist

This episode of our podcast features an enlightening conversation about navigating change as an activist, between ILGA-Europe’s Executive Director Evelyne Paradis and Natia Gvianishvili*, who […]
read more
Podcast

The Frontline: Being an LGBTI Activist Today

Joining us to talk about the reality of queer activism in the current context, the good sides and bad, are ILGA-Europe’s Programmes Director, Bjorn van […]
read more
Podcast

The Frontline: Empowering LGBTI Activists in a Changing World

To introduce our new series on empowering LGBTI activism, Bjorn Van Roozendaal from ILGA-Europe talks about the priorities of our work with activists in a […]
read more
Podcast

The Frontline: The LGBTI Activist Wellbeing Challenge

While a number organisations and groups have already taken concrete steps to address wellbeing, there’s no golden rule on how to approach these challenges. In […]
read more
Podcast

The frontline: How LGBTI Activism Can Be Supported

One thing is always clear, no activist or activism organisation can work alone, and the work needs support. But where can that support be found, […]
read more
News

Join our webinar on community organising for older LGBTI persons

We invite LGBTI organisations, groups and activists involved in community organising to participate in our webinar on ‘Community organising for older LGBTI persons’ on Friday, October 1 at 11 AM (CEST).
read more
Blog

What Pride Reminds: How anti-gender forces and blocks to progress on HIV/AIDS in Europe and Central Asia are intertwined

In moments like these, where even our former allies are using us to advance their own political goals, pride and its value become ever clearer.
read more
Blog

The shocking truth about LGBTI asylum seekers living through COVID-19 in Europe

The COVID-19 pandemic and the political responses to it have hit already beleaguered LGBTI asylum seekers in Europe particularly hard. We report on the alarming impact.
read more
Blog

#SexWork in Europe: “We are still asking for the basic things: housing, work, and respect for our identities”

To mark #InternationalSexWorkersDay on June 2, we talked to Sabrina Sánchez, trans migrant sex worker based in Spain, on her journey, the pandemic and why sex workers rights are central to the LGBTI movement.
read more
News

Join The Hub, ILGA-Europe’s free Resource Sharing Centre for LGBTI activists in Europe and Central Asia

Today we are publicly launching The Hub – ILGA-Europe’s free Resource Sharing Centre for LGBTI activists in Europe and Central Asia.
read more
Blog

How to build a fairer, healthier world during a global pandemic

On 7 April, in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, we celebrated World Health Day with the motto: “Building a fairer, healthier world”. But […]
read more
Podcast

The Frontline: LGBTI communities in Europe: Pushed to the brink

Reporting from country after country provides a glaring clarification that progress which has been taken for granted is not only increasingly fragile, but particularly vulnerable […]
read more
News

Turkish court postpones trial of 19 Pride attendees, infringing their right to fair judicial process

The Turkish courts’ postponement until next April of the trial of 19 people accused of “unlawful assembly” after taking part in an LGBTI Pride march last year is clearly infringing their right to a fair trial, and sending a worrying signal from the judiciary, says ILGA-Europe.
read more
Press Release

Turkey: 19 LGBTI Pride marchers must be acquitted in forthcoming trial

Turkey must uphold its domestic and international commitments, and dismiss all charges against 19 human rights defenders, prosecuted for their participation in a peaceful Pride march at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara in May 2019, says Europe’s largest LGBTI rights umbrella organisation, ILGA-Europe.
read more
News

Joint statement: The only just outcome is the acquittal of the METU Pride human rights defenders

We, the undersigned human rights organisations, believe that the only just outcome in the unfair prosecution of 19 human rights defenders for their participation in a peaceful Pride march on the campus of Ankara’s Middle East Technical University (METU) on 10 May 2019 is their wholesale acquittal at their next hearing on 10 December at 09:00 UTC+3.
read more
Blog

Turkey’s shocking Pride March trial: The story so far

18 students and one academic face up to three years imprisonment in Turkey, should a judgement be made against them on December 10. The charges? Participating in a Pride march. Here’s the story so far, and how you can stand up for the METU 19.
read more
News

Odesa Pride attacked by Ukrainian nationalist group ‘Tradition and Order’

On the 30th of August, Odesa Pride tried to hold a peaceful gathering on one of the central streets of Odesa, Ukraine. Despite the fact that the group Tradition and Order were issuing threats before the event and came prepared to the gathering, where they acted violently, the authorities failed to prevent the attacks and ensure the freedom of assembly of the Odesa Pride participants.
read more
Blog

No One Left Behind: A Fund to tackle LGBTI socioeconomic inequalities

Early in June, ILGA-Europe launched the ‘No One Left Behind’ fund, an initiative to tackle persisting socioeconomic inequalities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. Read on to find out what it is, why we launched it and how we went about awarding 25 grants.
read more
Report

COVID-19 in marginalised groups: challenges, actions and voices

Marginalised groups such as people experiencing homelessness, undocumented migrants, sex workers, people who use drugs, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and prisoners […]
read more