In-person Pride celebrations have returned, in full force, throughout the country this year. The parades, festivals, parties, and events, complete with rainbow everything, provided members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to celebrate, represent and teach. While we still struggle for equality on a daily basis, taking time out to understand just how far we’ve come and to recognize and appreciate love is beyond important. 

At Rainbow Depot we were thrilled to welcome back in-person Pride. After a year of lockdowns and isolation, the opportunity to gather together was, in a word, priceless. That said, as we looked back, we realized how incredibly resilient and dedicated our community is. 

We thought it was important to take a moment and recognize the success of last year’s “Digital Pride” and highlight some of the important things we, as a community, learned and can continue to leverage as we move forward. Consider these two benefits of virtual events. 

Remote is Welcoming: While in-person events are invigorating and provide us the opportunity to interact face-to-face, with so many people, not everyone is comfortable. Some members of our community have not come out to family and friends and are nervous about being so “public”. Others are worried about possible violence and hate crimes. As you know, we are not welcomed everywhere. That said, online events provided so many the opportunity to join, learn and celebrate from the safety of their home. What a wonderful gift. And, there was no need to travel, so being able to fund a trip was not an issue. 

"Digital gay pride parades" were for many, truly inclusive. 

Remote is Accessible: The opportunity to participate in panels and discussions in person is incredibly valuable. The information you gain can be so helpful. That said, if you are not local to a particular program, you may miss out on some phenomenal information. Virtual panels provide for expanded audiences and a larger reach. Education, information, and support are more widely available and people can take advantage of great programming anywhere in the country or even around the world. 

This year’s live events were more festive and heartfelt than ever before. That said, looking back we appreciate the value that virtual pride brought to so many. We look forward to seeing programming that combines the best of both opportunities to benefit our community moving forward.