Online 'Queerentine' festival to replace this year's Sudbury Pride Week festival
'Best way to balance the health and safety of everyone with the need to hold a unifying event for queer folks'
While there may be a global pandemic going on, there's no reason to stop celebrating. And for the people behind Pride Week in Sudbury, all the usual celebrations are going to continue — except in a digital space.
"We've decided to transform the way that Pride Week actually happens," said Alex Tétreault, chair of Sudbury Pride.
"Because we still have no idea how long physical distancing measures will last, we have decided to move our traditional Pride Week programming online. So as much as possible, we'll still try to offer a week of events of some sort."
Tétreault acknowledged that some may think that it's a little premature to make such a decision, as the festival is still a few months away (July 13-19). But he said the 'enforcement of restrictions on public gatherings for the foreseeable future — and the impact it would have on fundraising and organizing — would make it extremely unlikely that a traditional Pride Week could go ahead as originally planned.
"Other Pride events around the country and the world have taken decisions to digitize, to postpone, or to outright cancel their programming," he said.
"While our announcement is bound to be disappointing to many, the decision was an easy one for us to make. It's the best way to balance the health and safety of everyone with the need to hold a unifying event for queer folks in our community."
Tétreault said they will be calling the revamped festival "Queerantine."
"Why not give it a fun little name ... something to really mark that it's a very particular year? So we wound up with a punny title."
The exact details are still in the works, but the events will be accessible online.
"One thing that we especially don't want to do is during a difficult time of physical and social distancing is keep people apart from their traditional support system and the sort of interaction that can be helpful for queer and LGBTQ people," he said.
"We need that sort of support more than ever. So we didn't want to cut everything and leave that gap in in the community. We obviously don't have all the all the details worked out yet ... we still have three months until the festival starts."
July 13-19 will be Sudbury's 23rd annual Pride Week festival celebration.