The Twin Cities’ yearly Pride Festival and parade have been staple events for the Twin Cities LGBTQ+ community and an experience many look forward to. On April 3, Twin Cities Pride released a statement on its Facebook page stating that this year’s pride festivities would be postponed due to COVID-19.
“Monday before the announcement, we came to terms with the situation,” said Darcie Baumann, chair of the Twin Cities Pride Board. “While the Twin Cities Pride Festival is one event, pride is a movement."
The event, planned for June 27 and 28, would have featured 400 vendors. In years past, it has attracted tens of thousands of visitors. Pride is celebrated in June to commemorate Stonewall, Baumann said.
Stonewall refers to a month-long series of protests in New York City in 1969 against police brutality and anti-gay rights laws led by LGBTQ+ community activists. It is often attributed as a catalyst of the gay rights movement.
Pride represents that important history, but for some in the Twin Cities LGBTQ+ community, it also represents solidarity.
“It’s so fun to just be around so many people who support you fully when they don’t even know who you are. The genuineness of that space is so pleasing to be in,” said University of Minnesota student John Patterson, who been a pride regular for the last few years.
The festival has been a place of refuge for people to openly express their identity each year.
“It’s a big deal for many to be able to hang out with their friends in a space like that,” said University student Reese Jacobson.
The community gathering together is what people will be missing most about the festival this year.
“I know a ton of people in college now whose first pride would have been this upcoming one,” Patterson said.
This year has been marked by the challenges of finding new ways to stay connected and bring people together. The Twin Cities Pride team is already brainstorming different ways to host events in the spirit of pride for this June. They have also been hosting polls on their Instagram to get ideas for virtual events from community members.
“What we are looking at doing is finding different virtual events and finding ways to stay connected," Baumann said.
The festival itself serves as the organization's biggest fundraiser. The team behind Twin Cities pride runs many different events and groups throughout the year that go beyond its summer pride celebrations to support the community. By connecting with community members on Instagram and other social media, Twin Cities Pride can ”ask and see what the community needs,” Baumann said.
As for Patterson, he currently does not have any plans set in stone for how he’s going to celebrate pride. “I’m not sure...Though, I guess the best way to celebrate pride month in a virtual world would have to be online shopping and mimosas," he said.
Twin Cities Pride says their organizers and volunteers have already spent countless hours exploring every possible option for us to celebrate pride safely. Announcements on future Twin Cities Pride virtual events will be shared in the coming months. You can find updates at https://tcpride.org/.
“As a community, we're not gone and we never will be,” Baumann said.