Organizers of NYC Pride 2020 said Monday that New York City’s signature gay-rights parade and its related in-person events won’t take place this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, marking the first time they won’t be held since the first incarnation 50 years ago.
Heritage of Pride said it worked closely with the city to arrive at the decision to cancel the events, which were scheduled to run June 14-28. New York City is the most impacted of any city in the U.S. with 136,806 cases of COVD-19 as of Monday. New York state has 247,512 cases, more than the next five most infected states combined.
“As the days have passed, it has become more and more clear that even with a decline in the spread of COVID-19, large-scale events such as ours are unlikely to happen in the near future,” said Maryanne Roberto Fine, NYC Pride co-chair. “We understand that we need to reimagine NYC Pride events – and have already begun to do just that.”
Heritage of Pride said it will participate in the virtual Global Pride event June 27, and continue with initiatives like its grant program Pride Gives Back as it evaluates other ways to celebrate. Local station WABC-Channel 7 will air a special NYC Pride programming event in June as well.
Last year, the city celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and hosted WorldPride, drawing an estimated 2 million attendees. This year, Janelle Monae had been set to headline the Pride Island festival which had been set for June 26-28. Other acts had included Betty Who, Pussy Riot and Luisa Sonza.
“Pride is a staple in New York City, and is oftentimes a safe space for many,” Heritage of Pride interim executive director David A. Correa said. “This weighed on our members, board, and staff, knowing that we serve as a haven for vulnerable communities. It was not easy to arrive at the decision to cancel pride as we have come to know it over the years, especially given the financial impact this could have on LGBTQIA+ people and businesses, but our top priority remains the health and well-being of all those that participate with us. ”
Said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: “New York City is the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ rights movement,” “We’ve come a long way since the first Christopher Street Liberation Day March 50 years ago, which is a testament to the bravery and resiliency of LGBTIA+ New Yorkers in the struggle for equality. While this pandemic prevents us from coming together to march, it will in no way stop us from celebrating the indelible contributions that the LGBTIA+ community has made to New York City or from recommitting ourselves to the fight for equal rights.”