Every year, San Francisco Pride events bring hundreds of thousands of people to the city during the last week of June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in New York City, which kicked off the modern LGBTQ movement. Pride Board President Carolyn Wysinger said Pride is an international event. “It’s really becoming a destination thing. I had friends who were coming from New York, from Los Angeles who are coming from Louisiana, who come from Texas, who come from London, so people come from all over the place specifically to be at San Francisco Pride.”
This year was expected to be larger than ever, marking the 50th anniversary of San Francisco’s first march, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced its abrupt cancellation on April 14, 2020.
The Pride committee and the groups organizing other events are rushing to create an online experience. Executive Director Fred Lopez said, “We’re actually thinking about it from the perspective of if you were able to come in person to the celebration at Civic Center. We are hoping to present something online that is similar, that offers entertainment opportunities, drag performances, music, both live and pre recorded, as well as opportunities to learn about what is happening in our community now, what challenges face us on top of and outside of the COVID-19 pandemic, and taking more than a few moments to appreciate the accomplishments that we’ve made as a community.”
Wysinger thinks the online elements created this year will become an important part of Pride going forward. “Virtual pride is something that’s going to carry on with us even when we’re back together physically. So I think that we are actually seeing the transformation and reformation of pride. I mean, it’s 2020 everything else in the world is being reshaped. Pride is no different.”
A segment from our radio show, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco.