Capital Pride Alliance, the group that organizes D.C.’s annual LGBTQ Pride events, and the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community announced in a joint statement on Wednesday a series of online “reimagined” LGBTQ Pride events in D.C. for June and beyond that meet the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Although the joint statement does not say so directly, Capital Pride Alliance Executive Director Ryan Bos told the Washington Blade the annual Pride parade and street festival and concert, initially scheduled for June 13 and 14, will not be held this year.
Bos noted that the two events usually draw over 200,000 people and the uncertainty over whether restrictions on gatherings of that size would be lifted even in September or October made it necessary to cancel the two events.
“Based on all the information provided by the city at this time, we are not moving forward in planning a traditional parade, festival and concert,” Bos said.
The joint statement says Capital Price Alliance and the D.C. Center have formed “a special collaboration to maximize both organizations’ ability to provide services and programming to the LGBTQ+ community.” It says the two groups have retained the “#StillWe” theme for D.C.’s 2020 Pride season announced earlier this year by Capital Pride.
“When we first developed #StillWe, we never imagined just how important that message would become,” Bos said in the joint statement. “Together with the D.C. Center and our partner Pride organizations, we are taking this opportunity to reimagine how we work together to better support and advocate on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community,” he said.
“In lieu of traditional Pride events and in-person gatherings, Pride 2020 Reimagined is being developed,” the joint statement says. “It will include new programming for Pride Month this June, ongoing monthly programs, and potential events for later this fall dependent on social distancing requirements at that time,” the statement continues.
One of the few non-virtual events announced in the joint statement is the first-ever Pridemobile Rainbow Blast scheduled for Saturday, June 13, the day the Pride parade would have been held. Bos said the event will involve a vehicle that will drive through each of the city’s eight wards.
According to the joint statement, the Pridemobile will “document how businesses, residents, and neighborhoods show they have Pride” and will “entertain our neighborhoods with beats from local DJs and performances from local drag queens and kings.”
When asked what type of vehicle the Pridemobile will consist of and what specific route it would take on its journey across the city, Bos said those details had yet to be decided. However, he said organizers don’t want to encourage large crowds along the route of the vehicle if the social distancing requirements are still in place.
“But as of right now, the Pridemobile will be going randomly throughout all eight wards,” he said. “And people will be able to follow us online. And we’ll encourage people to come out and wave out of their windows, from their porches and to cheer on their balconies,” Bos said. “We’ll have a DJ playing some music and just hopefully raising the spirit and taking pride to the folks in the community.”
The joint statement by Capital Pride Alliance and the D.C. Center announces these events for June and beyond:
• Monthly Community Conversations/Town Halls beginning June 1, with the first one including “leaders from the LGBTQ+ organizations to discuss how the community recovers and moves forward from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
• Also on June 1, the two groups will launch D.C.’s Pride Month with a #StillWe Pride video montage that will include “greetings from local community organizations, businesses, sponsors, leaders and influencers.”
• Saturday, June 13: Pridemobile Rainbow Blast vehicle tours the city in all eight wards.
• Sunday, June 14: Capital Pride Alliance and the D.C. Center launch “an original web series titled “Pride in the City.” The first episode will provide a “platform to showcase the talents of our local and regional performing and visual artists.”
• Saturday, June 27: The D.C. area will participate in Global Pride 2020, a worldwide virtual Pride event organized by Pride organizations.
• Pride Summit: On an as yet to be determined date, organizers of the various D.C.-based Pride organizations will meet to discuss issues of interest. Among those expected to participate are officials with D.C. Black Pride, Latinx Pride, Capital Trans Pride, Asian Pacific Islander Prides, Leather Pride, and Silver and Youth Prides.
The joint statement says Capital Pride Alliance and the D.C. Center are planning additional programming in the fall related to voter registration and voting in the November election.
Bos said Capital Pride and the D.C. Center would release information soon on how to gain access to the various events through social media or designated websites. He said the information would be posted soon at capitalpride.org.
“We’re excited that our community can still come together for Pride despite being apart physically,” said D.C. Center spokesperson Rebecca Bauer. “And we think this partnership will really allow us to maximize our impact and make sure that we’re able to provide some fun, some entertainment, and some relief for our community,” Bauer said in referring to the joint D.C. Center-Capital Pride Alliance plans for the upcoming virtual Pride events.
In her own statement, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser thanked D.C. Center and Capital Pride organizers for adapting the 2020 D.C. Pride events to meet the special needs and safety requirements of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Pride is certainly one of our favorite times of year in Washington, D.C. – an opportunity to uplift our LGBTQ community and celebrate our city’s progress as a leader in LGBTQ rights,” the mayor said. “Thank you to everyone who is helping us save lives by celebrating at home. While events will certainly look different this year, our pride remains as strong as ever.”