My first gay pride festival was in Miami Beach back in 2016, followed by NYC Pride in 2017. I guess you can say I’ve had my share of huge, rainbow-laden celebrations. This year, I know we’re all a bit disappointed about the festival cancellations, but I urge everyone to still celebrate, because at home, you’re still queer, and you’re still worth celebrating.
Below are five ways to lift your spirits for LGBTQIA+ pride in quarantine. And please, do yourself the favor and have your best friends join in.
1. Throw a Zoom Pride Party
Use up your free 40 minutes to host the most epic pride party. Put on a pride-themed Spotify playlist, wear a pride romper, decorate your living room with multi-colored streamers, wrap yourself in a rainbow flag, make colorful treats, and have your favorite alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverage nearby to toast to the queer struggles and the major queer victories. Also, while you’re at it, make Lady Gaga’s new Chromatica album part of your party soundtrack.
2. Watch and Learn
There’s a multitude of streaming films and shows touching on aspects of queer culture and history. You can start with Thought Catalog’s digital series Queer Moments in Pop Culture. Head to Netflix to watch films like the eye-opening Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson or the lighthearted Circus of Books. One of my favorite documentaries is called The Celluloid Closet and highlights the history of LGBTQ+ representation in movies. You can rent it on YouTube! Plus, if you can access and watch Paris is Burning, please do yourself the favor.
3. Queer Up Your Book List
Hitting shelves June 2nd, The New Queer Conscience is Voices4 Founder and LGBTQIA+ activist Adam Eli’s “introduction to queer responsibility.” Other top reads are the heartfelt Over the Top: A Raw Journey to Self-Love by Jonathan Van Ness, The Lavender Screen by Boze Hadleigh (focusing on gay- and lesbian-themed films dating back to 1931), the visually-driven Queer: A Graphic History by Dr. Meg-John Barker, and Emergence: A Transsexual Autobiography by Mario Martino (“the first complete female-to-male story” published in 1977).
4. Donate to an LGBTQ+ Cause
The options are countless, but a few on the long list are The Trevor Project, offering a national 24-hour suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth; GLAAD, generating more and more visibility for our queer folks; the Ali Forney Center, housing homeless queer youth in New York City (and in need of assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic); and the Human Rights Campaign, advocating for equal rights and representation.
5. Learn Your LGBTQ+ History
There’s a plethora of organizations and institutions with a digest of online history archives! Among them are the Library of Congress, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center and the GLBT Historical Society.
Our queer predecessors made the most of their situations and challenged themselves and their contemporaries to do the seemingly unthinkable and persevered. While we’re all in quarantine, let’s make sure to keep up the festivities and celebrate what truly makes us proud at pride: You!