Google is using its virtual reality system Google Cardboard to bring Pride parades to students in Bogota, Columbia.
In June, Google launched its #prideforeveryone campaign, which distributed Google Cardboard to various organizations to simulate a Pride parade from any location in the world.
“Since then, we’ve distributed Google Cardboard and the virtual Pride experience to more than 20 groups and nonprofits, worldwide,” Editor of Google’s Education Blog writes.
Alba Reyes, founder of the Sergio Urrego Foundation, partnered with Google Cardboard to help students experience the diversity and acceptance of a Pride parade. Reyes saw first hand how isolation and misunderstanding can break a young LGBT student.
“In 2014, my son Sergio took his own life because he was suspended and discriminated by his school for kissing another boy. Unfortunately, neither I nor his friends were able to prevent the harassment and isolation he felt,” Reyes writes on the blog.
Unknown to Reyes, Sergio had been forced by the school to undergo questioning about his sexuality and psychological tests. Following his death, Reyes decided other students should not have to experience the same pain Sergio did.
“It’s important that every boy and girl in Columbia see a Pride parade,” Reyes explains in a video documenting the experience.
“Most of these students have never seen a LGBTQ Pride parade. But with virtual reality, they can learn more about the global LGBT community, and feel supported by a global community that celebrates diversity,” Reyes continues.
The video shows the emotional journey the students experience as Google Cardboard shows them a Pride parade for the first time.