Pride 2020: How one teen celebrated virtually

Story by CBC Kids News • 2020-06-30 19:10

COVID-19 left this year’s celebrations with a different vibe

Rainbows, parades, music and large crowds are what you might come to expect from a typical Pride event.

But like so many things, this year has been different because of the global pandemic.

Still, COVID-19 restrictions didn’t keep members of the LGBT community and their allies from celebrating — either virtually or by physically distancing.

Taking to the internet to show your pride

Sara Verburgh, 18, sees pandemic Pride as an opportunity.

From her home in Oromocto, N.B., she was able to attend virtual events, learn her LGBT history and plan for the next Pride in 2021.

Even at the beach, Sara shows off her Pride. (Submitted by Sara Verburgh)

Plus, she said that celebrating Pride from home could actually be more accessible for some people.

“Whether they have a disability that makes it hard for them to attend [events], they don't live in a supportive community, have a local pride festival, or they are stuck in the closet,” they could still find ways to take part, she said in an interview with CBC Kids News.

Sara, along with her friend Emmanuelle Jackson, even co-hosted a virtual queer prom event on June 18.

Sara’s virtual prom wasn’t the only Pride event to take place online this year.

Private Pride party? No problem

Pride Toronto cancelled its parade and events, but there was still plenty going on.

Organizers hosted events online including drag shows, activist talks and dance parties.

Elsewhere, such as Regina, the usual Pride parade was changed to a motorcade.

Reginians managed to show off some rainbow colours while staying physically distanced during their parade of cars on June 13. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

Many also took to social media to show their pride.

Virtual Prides often included musical acts, too, hosted using the Instagram Live feature.

And other LGBT community members used the opportunity to remind their followers of the history of Pride.

Other tips for showing your Pride in 2020

Sara encouraged LGBT youth to use this time to learn about the movement’s history and encouraged them to get involved.

“Whether its starting a GSA [gay-straight alliance] in your school, getting out in your community (safely, of course!)... or, most importantly in this day and age, online activism,” she said.

And for those LGBT youth who might feel down about the lack of in-person Pride events this year?

Sara said there are still ways to find community online.

“I know when I was still in the closet, seeing things as small as a pride flag flying in town or a rainbow crosswalk gave me a lot of hope that someday, I could be out and proud of who I am.”

“And in a time where people are forced to stay at home, it can be hard to see that,” she said.

Sara has been the emcee of Pride events before and says she feels the most proud of herself during Pride. (Submitted by Sara Verburgh)

Sara encouraged members of the LGBT to look for support online.

And to stay hopeful.

After all, there is always Pride 2021.

“I am hopeful that the world will be in a better state this time next year, and I am hoping that we can get back into the swing of things for 2021,” she said.

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