June is LGBTQIA+ Pride Month in honor of the Stonewall Riots in Manhattan in 1969, considered to be the tipping point of the LGBTQIA+ Civil Rights Movement. What started as a single day to celebrate and commemorate the lives lost and freed, is now a month-long celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community's successes and struggles, culminating in gorgeous displays of Pride with parades, parties, and unbridled joy. While this year would’ve marked the 50th Anniversary of San Francisco and New York City’s Pride Celebrations, both have been cancelled. Decisions to cancel two of the largest Pride celebrations were not made lightly, but, given that each event brings hundreds of thousands (if not an extra million expected for San Francisco given the milestone year) of people into each city, it was a necessary one. Keeping the events as originally planned in this public health crisis would’ve been a grave mistake, putting the health and lives of millions at risk (many in the gay community who lived through the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s have noted several parallels between that and the current coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic).
As with graduations, birthdays, and weddings that had been planned for this year, many of us are left to grieve for the loss of our Pride celebrations. Pride is one of the few, if not the only, days we can truly be ourselves and be seen for who we are; to be in a completely supportive and celebrated environment; to not have to justify our existence, our worth, our humanity for a weekend, a day, or even a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. Pride gives us all hope that we might see a world where we aren’t harassed or outright killed for living our honest selves. To not have that kind of hope this year—at a time when we so desperately need some—seems to pour salt on a very fresh wound.
So, how can we celebrate Pride without Pride™?
We can learn
With online resources (available free with your SJPL eLibrary Card), like Defining Documents in American History - LGBTQ+ (1923-2017) and Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History you can learn more about the history of the LGBTQIA+ Civil Rights Movement in the US and around the world.
We can read
Reading the rainbow has never been easier with these LGBTQIA+ Pride book lists. From children and teens to adults, fiction or non-fiction, and whatever your preferences may be, you can find your next favorite read in these lists.
We can watch and listen
Is there anything Hoopla Digital doesn't have? Find your next movie night title (maybe work your way through Rotten Tomatoes’s 200 Best LGBTQ Movies?), your next audiobook, or make your best ever Pride playlist for your own parade at home with Hoopla Digital.
We can connect
Our LGBTQIA+ communities are still there online and in a variety of virtual events. Stay connected with San Francisco Pride to learn what Pride events are planned for June. Keep up with your own Silicon Valley Pride, who are already hosting a variety of community programs already! Need some connections now and want to virtually meet with folx locally, many of Billy de Frank Center's social and support groups are getting together regularly online now!
We can reach out and support
Sheltering in place for some is an annoyance, but for many others their home is not a safe space. Consider giving back however you can to organizations, such as The Trevor Project, to help support young LGBTQIA+ folx who are struggling right now.
And, for those of us who can, we can unabashedly live our lives as loudly and proudly as we can.
We at SJPL see you. We see you, support you, and celebrate you for being you. We are here for you virtually 24/7, and we are definitely looking forward to being your safe space once again.