At the time of writing this article, it marks what would have been opening night of Pride for Long Beach, Calif. I haven’t missed a Pride weekend in Long Beach in years! In fact, the last five years that I lived in Long Beach we had a home with a large front porch that sat right along the parade route. I’m not gonna lie, the fact that this home sat on the parade route was the single biggest selling point!
Each year, on parade day, we’d get up at 6 a.m., hoist our flags — there were many. One for bi, one for trans, one for BDSM, and of course, the original rainbow. The original rainbow flag was HUGE. It was gifted to us by the previous owners and it had been gifted to them by the owners before that. And yes, we left it for the family who occupied the house after us on June Pride Month.
Once our flags were hung we’d walk a few blocks and go pick up several dozen donuts from the corner bakery and bring them home where we’d place them on the tables on our front porch. Along with the donuts, we’d put out bottles of orange juice and champagne. A large speaker was plugged in and by 8 a.m. we had music thumping and parade party goers would begin passing by — excitedly calling out: “HAPPY PRIDE!” As planned and expected, several would come up to the porch and get drinks and donuts. Some would stay briefly and others for the entire day. Whomever they were and however long they stayed, for this day, everyone was validating, loving, and each other’s best friends.
Also at the time of this writing, it’s been 60 days since this global pandemic has reached our community and called on us all to move about the world as minimally as we can. While it’s been public information for a while that Pride events across the globe are either being canceled or postponed, for some reason it just occurred to me today that I won’t be going to Long Beach to kick off the season. I won’t be seeing friends or making new ones in the most glorious of celebrative atmospheres.
I’ve been very pro “keep yourself safe,” “wear a mask,” etc. and I still feel strongly that it’s necessary to keep up with all the precautions, but I’m definitely feeling a bit of loss. As much as misery loves company, misery also loves a cheer up.
So, doing my part to lift my spirits and keep festive, I went on Etsy and ordered a June Pride Month face mask. As quickly as I felt a loss at the cancelation of various celebrations, I also reminded myself that parade or no parade, Pride is ongoing and we are so very fortunate to have ways to connect and fly our colors. Pandemic or not — June is still Pride Month!
Like so many, I have had my full share of working on my home computer. Everything from Zoom coffee dates and cocktail hours with friends to FaceTiming directions and recipes with the family. The virtual tool is both something to be grateful for and a pain in the ass. However, where Pride is concerned, the virtual world is about to become a lot more fabulous!
Kicking off Pride Month — on Sunday, May 31, at noon Pacific Time, the Lavender Effect will host a live virtual Pride Parade via Zoom and Facebook live. Legendary transgender activist Alexandra Billings will be the Grand Marshal and host. And looking further into the month of June, on Saturday, June 27th, The first-ever Global Pride will take place. A virtual event that will be historical and exciting. For the first time, at a time that is the 50th celebration for many Prides, June Pride Month will take place at the exact time in nearly every country in the world. To have the whole world sharing such and experience — viewing live streams that host speeches, musical performances, activists, and virtual dance parties. Personally, I am totally down for this.
I wonder if this odd time we’re in is paving the way for more events like this. I can just imagine how many people who have been unable to attend a Pride event for any number of reasons will now have this global supportive network literally in the palm of their hand. Historic to say the least, but this time of isolation just may also prove to be the biggest global outreach and connection event our Prideful souls have experienced.
Happy June Pride Month!
Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook is a Clinical Sexologist with a private practice in Salt Lake City who loves June Pride Month. During this pandemic she is seeing clients virtually on a “pay what you can” basis. She can be reached at: [email protected]