With COVID-19 cases at an all-time low in the United States and our vaccinated population growing in numbers every single day, the return to “normal” is approaching on the horizon. One emblem for normalcy is the upcoming pride month. In 2020, the legendary NYC Pride was canceled for the first time in 50 years due to the pandemic. NYC Pride is making a comeback this year––it’s just going to look a lot different than the pride march we’ve come to know and love.
True to fashion, NYC Pride will take place on the last Sunday in June, which falls on the 27th this year. The 2021 theme is “The Fight Continues,” reflecting the social issues that still plague our country. NYC Pride Co-Chair André Thomas shares, “We’re fighting for ourselves, fighting for the BIPOC and trans members of our community, and fighting for future generations… We acknowledge all that we’ve accomplished and look towards what still needs to done. NYC Pride events offer an opportunity to gather in community and highlight the diversity, resilience, and power of the LGBTQIA+ community, giving us the energy and spirit we need to continue the fight.”
Pride celebrators this year have the option of celebrating Pride from the comfort of their own home: NYC Pride is offering a virtual experience, “Pride Island.” The format of Pride reflects the gray area we are entering as a country as we slowly transition from remote back to in-person. Select restaurants, boutiques, and bars around the city will participate as “Pride Partners” and stream the visual experience, in an effort to capsize large gatherings. For those who are unable to join their favorite restaurant to celebrate, they can purchase an access code to stream the Digital Dance Party Experience from home.
These precautions are much needed at this time. While the CDC has announced that it is safe for vaccinated individuals to stop social distancing measures and mask-wearing, an event the scale of NYC Pride could potentially be a spreader of COVID-19 if not for this semi-remote format. In 2019, an estimated 5 million people attended NYC Pride.
NYC Pride 2021 offers a roster of many events in a remote format. For those who might be unavailable to attend on June 27th, “The Rally” is being streamed on June 25th, which will feature a diverse array of speakers and activists.
Organizers are currently working on some form of in-person elements for NYC Pride March, however, this is yet to be determined and details will be announced at a later date.