The coronavirus pandemic changed everything. This is no hyperbole, as you surely know from your own experience. As of this writing, more than 250,000 people around the world have perished from COVID-19. Millions more have been infected due to the unusually contagious nature of the disease. Its transmission is so simple and effective that countless events were canceled to mitigate the risk of further spread. Instead of attending concerts, festivals, and other events and activities that draw crowds, people are staying at home as much as possible.

And yet, even as quarantine forces us to remain physically separate from others, we can still find ways to maintain and support the communities to which we belong. This includes the LGBTQIA+ community. Even if the pandemic continues into June and Pride Month events get axed for safety, we can still stand together. Here are a few ways to show your pride and solidarity while staying safe amid the pandemic.

Keep in Touch with Loved Ones

As we evade a disease that spreads with a single touch, we may find ourselves alone and separated from the people we love. We can at least be thankful that we live in an age where we can spend time with others from long distances. When you can, you should engage in phone or video calls with your loved ones. It may not feel the same, but it still lets you hear their voices, see their faces, and know how they are holding up.

You might especially want to reach out to people whom you know to be vulnerable. LGBTQIA+ folks are already vulnerable enough to anxiety and depression. Now, we also have to deal with round-the-clock isolation, fears of death by disease, and the myriad financial problems that come with a plague. This brutal attack on the psyche is made even worse by quarantine conditions, which undermine social support systems.

Some people will, with reason, take this situation much harder than others. In this period of extraordinary stress, we need to take care of each other however we can. Even a few regular phone calls can save lives.

Use Technology to Hold Virtual Meetings

Some people are part of the LGBTQIA+ community in the sense that they identify within that acronym and have friends who identify within said acronym. Others are more formal about it, in the sense that they participate in LGBTQIA+ groups and organizations. These groups may not be able to meet or host events the way they did back when we could still gather in the same space. That does not mean that the groups need to break up or put everything on hold.

As we wrote earlier, modern technology can help preserve social groups while still practicing social distancing. You can continue to host or attend meetings over video calls, where everyone can see, listen to, and speak to each other. Your group could also host affirming, pride-related events via livestreams, online discussions, and more. A lot of groups already have plans like that for Pride Month. If you just have an understanding of the limitations and the creativity to get around them, you can still find ways to share your pride.

Fly Your Flag — Literally

Your personal gay pride flags may not see much action in parades, parties, and other Pride Month events this year. It would be a shame for something so vibrant and iconic and meaningful to gather dust until next June. Maybe you should ask, “Why should I have to wait?” If you want, and if you feel comfortable enough in your community, you could whip out your flag and display it anyway. 

Even if you do not own a flagpole, you can still show off your flag in other ways. Put it up on a front-facing window or hang it on your door, so passersby can see that you take pride in who you are. Wave it in pictures and videos so your friends on social media can share in your joy from a safe distance. Encourage fellow LGBTQIA+ folks and allies to fly them as a public sign of solidarity. Better still, coordinate with them to publicly pressure the government so that they remember to put up pride flags in June. Pride events may be canceled, but Pride Month can still live on.

Donate, Contribute, and Advocate

Despite what you may have heard, COVID-19 does not affect everyone equally. The virus itself is far more dangerous to elders and people with compromised immune systems. Its impact on the economy affects far more people. Workers deemed “essential” to our society’s operations continue reporting to work, breaking quarantine in the process and risking exposure with each workday. Many others have been furloughed or laid off, and they face the challenge of finding food and supplies without payment. Some, such as freelancers and sex workers, have little to no protection.

In short, the most vulnerable people in our society are now even more vulnerable to financial ruin, disease, and death. Every societal stigma now serves as an obstacle to avoiding, receiving treatment for, and surviving COVID-19. Naturally, LGBTQIA+ people experience may be more impacted than cishet people. If this community is to remain strong, its members and allies must help each other out as much as they can.

You can join in the effort by donating to fundraisers for organizations and nonprofits devoted to protecting the vulnerable. You can give money to friends in need and to crowdsourcing campaigns for strangers. On top of that, you can spread the word about these causes and encourage others to donate. The more financial and emotional support we give, the more people will live, and live safely.

Celebrate Pride While Staying Home

There is more to LGBTQIA+ pride than Pride Month. Celebrating and showing pride is not just about wearing rainbow flag pins and attending parades, as fun as they may be. It is also about being there for one another in times of hardship. It is about embracing an essential part of ourselves and never letting anything put us down again.

A day will come when the pandemic is gone. Someday, people will be able to leave their homes without masks and embrace each other and live without that fear. Until then, we must stay proud and loud in our own ways, and we must help each other as much as possible. Let this challenging time bring out the best in you, as has happened so many times in our community’s history. From your friends at Rainbow Depot, we hope that you take care of yourselves and each other.

In the meantime, we are still open and ready to ship. Feel free to order pride flags and LGBTQIA+ clothing from our online superstore. With these and more special items from Rainbow Depot, you can always have reminders of pride in your home and your life.