Coronavirus caused the cancellation of pride events around the world. But local organizations are still committed to bringing LGBTQ+ education and conversation to Virginians.
In partnership with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia Pride will present two roundtable interviews highlighting specific topics within the LGBTQ+ community.
The first, which will highlight the Black LGBTQ+ experience, will happen on Monday at 1 p.m. The speakers will be three Black women who are local LGBTQ+ leaders, Zakia McKensey of the Nationz Foundation, Natasha Crosby of Black Pride RVA and Stephanie Merlo of Virginia Pride.
“We felt that it was important to have [this] be the first thing we did, especially given the discussion around race at the moment,” said James Millner, the president of Virginia Pride. Millner said that this topic had already been on Virginia Pride’s docket, but that the timing was shifted forward due to the ongoing demonstrations against police brutality currently occurring nationwide.
The next roundtable will focus on the history of LGBTQ+ civil rights, beginning with the Stonewall uprising, which took place in 1969 and is said to have catalyzed the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. The event will then explore what progress has been made since then and will look toward what the future of the LGBTQ+ activism holds.
These conversations will be conducted over Zoom and livestreamed on the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Facebook page.
The dozens of events that Virginia Pride had originally hoped to hold this summer “would have … [been] an opportunity to talk about issues relevant to our community,” Millner said. “So, we wanted to look for a platform that would allow us to talk about those things that would reach a broader audience, and that’s where the Richmond Times-Dispatch came in for us.”
Among other upcoming pride events is the RVA Virtual Pride Market, which begins Saturday. A collaborative effort of Andy Waller, founder of Dayum This Is My Jam, and Holly Foster Sullivan, founder of Pistil + Stamen, the Pride Market is a two-day online event in which attendees may purchase goods from Richmond-area LGBTQ+-owned and ally-owned businesses .
Fifteen percent of the market’s proceeds will go to the Nationz Foundation. Additionally, performances, from circus acts to children’s book readings, will be livestreamed on Facebook.
Those missing large-scale pride events can tune in to Global Pride, a virtual day of talks and performances collaboratively organized by pride organizations across the globe.