London was fast to adjust to live-stream life, but it was LGBTQ+ artists, entertainers and club-night organisers who led the way. Within days of the lockdown, drag queens were arranging fundraising numbers on social media. Before the first week was out, we had Queer House Party, now a Friday night lifeline for a fractured community who can now dance together over Zoom. And on March 23, when it was announced that the Pride in London parade was to be moved, LGBTQ+ groups started to find new ways to celebrate Pride month online.
One of these groups was the website PinkNews, which has recently announced the four-day virtual Pride for All celebration, which runs from Thursday, June 4 to Sunday, June 7.
There are plans for a Zoom DJ set from Raven Mandella, panel discussions, singalongs and The Great Pride for All Bake Off with GBBO winner David Atherton. But one of the most arduous events on the list is the Virtual Pride March – a parade of pixel-generated displays and animated people, hosted on the PinkNews site. The idea is that you can create your avatar, and virtually ‘join’ the show.
Over the four days, all events will be fundraising for Kaleidoscope Trust, a non-profit that fights against the criminalisation, discrimination and abuse of LGBTQ+ people around the world. Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Kaleidoscope Trust managing director, told PinkNews: ‘As Pride parties become more unsafe, LGBT+ people around the world see their few opportunities to celebrate their community fall away… We are thrilled to be partnering with PinkNews on Pride for All to make sure that everybody, across the globe, no matter how separated they may be, can feel proud of who they are.’
Logging on to join a virtual parade doesn’t have quite the same appeal as travelling down Pall Mall wrapped in a rainbow flag, but it’s only one way to stay connected. On Thursday, you can revive some of that lost Eurovision spirit with a concert from Finnish Eurovision singer Saara Aalto, and on Sunday, take part in a live Twitter panel on the future of safe queer spaces post lockdown. If you still have the actual and literal bandwidth, stay for the finale: a The Big Queer quiz with ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’ star Sum Ting Wong. Now you have to push your sofa to one side and make room for that living room afterparty.