The annual Queens Pride Parade and Festival, which has signaled the start of Pride month in New York City for the past 27 years, has been canceled in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
This is the first time in history that the event – originally scheduled for June 7 – has been canceled.
“While I am saddened that the Queens LGBTQ Pride Parade will be canceled for the first time in its history, I know that this decision was made for the good of the tens of thousands of people who celebrate with us each year,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm, who chairs the LGBT caucus. “Pride marches bring visibility to our community and that has always been key to the success of the wider LGBTQ rights movement. This year, we will continue to be visible and celebrate who we are, but will do so in a safe and responsible manner. This will take some creativity and will look very different from past pride months, but I know we can do it.
Although the Jackson Heights celebration has been canceled, a virtual pride celebration is in the works according to the Board of Queens Pride. An announcement concerning the details of the celebration will be made in the coming weeks.
Vulnerable communities, including the LGBTQ community, transgender individuals of color, sex workers and those living with HIV/AIDS have been disproportionally affected by the coronavirus crisis in the U.S.
“COVID-19 has shown how vulnerable parts of our communities are,” said Zachariah Boyer, the co-chair of Queens Pride. “We must do all we can to keep members of our communities safe and healthy right now.”
Mo George, a co-chair of Queens Pride, hopes that by celebrating virtually this year, the in person celebration can resume in June 2021.
“To many of us it feels like being with family. It is with this feeling in mind that we make the tough decision to physically not hold Pride this year,” George said. “By protecting our family right now — by staying home during this pandemic — we ensure that we can get the family back together in June 2021.”
The first Queens Pride march was held in 1993. It is now the second largest Pride celebration in the New York metropolitan area.