San Francisco’s 50th annual LGBT Pride Parade has been canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified in recent weeks, and the organization has concluded that the risks to public health of a large-scale gathering such as Pride preclude this year’s production of the annual event,” organizers said in a news release on Tuesday.
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D) praised San Francisco Pride organizers for making the “tough decision.”
“I have no doubt that SF Pride will put together a terrific slate of virtual events for this year’s celebration,” said Wiener. “Pride is my favorite part of every year, and though it’s disappointing that we can’t be together in person, we will find creative ways to uplift and celebrate the LGBTQ community.”
San Francisco Pride Executive Director Fred Lopez said the decision was not made lightly and was made in consultation with city officials.
“This was not a decision we arrived at lightly,” said Lopez, as reported by The Hill. “Far from it: Our staff has been in frequent talks with our board, our production team, our partners at many departments of City Hall, officials at other Pride organizations worldwide — and most of all, our LGBTQ communities.”
Carolyn Wysinger, the organization’s board president, said that alternative methods to celebrate LGBT Pride will be explored.
“We know our decision means disappointment, canceled plans, and one less thing for us all to look forward to,” she said. “We also know that protecting the safety of all our communities is the most important. We look forward to gathering with all of you, our friends and our families and our allies. In the meantime, SF Pride will offer new and creative ways to commemorate LGBTQ+ Pride.”
According to TIME, the LGBT community has been organizing online Pride celebrations ever since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the economy to a standstill.
Three months into 2020, more than 220 Pride celebrations scheduled worldwide have been forced to cancel or postpone due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, with rights coming under threat in various places and exacerbated by the virus outbreak, organizers are finding innovative ways of reaching out to their communities to provide alternative spaces online to celebrate.
J. Andrew Baker, co-President of Interpride, the international association of Pride organizers, said the quarantine should not deter such peoples since they face “isolation every day.”
“LGBT people around the world are insanely resilient, but they face isolation every day in their life,” said Baker. “One of the challenges we find today is that LGBT people are even more isolated.”
The San Francisco Pride Parade now joins the many festivals and high-profile public events to be shut down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Burning Man, Coachella, SXSW, the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and the Met Gala, all have been either postponed or canceled.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced on Tuesday that he will be looking into ways for the state’s economy to reopen again in the coming weeks.
“There is no light switch here, it is more like a dimmer,” said Newsom.