Saturday marks the start of Pride Week in San Diego, but the LGBTQ extravagance looks a little different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the setback in community events, Pride Week 2020 continues by continuing celebrating virtually. The organizers of the online events met a few hours before kick-off with Saturday’s “She Fest”, which celebrates the queer women of San Diego with a live streaming on Facebook and YouTube.
“Two Zoom rooms will open simultaneously,” said St Fest Sakamoto, president of She Fest. “In those rooms, there will be more interactive seminars and activities hosted in those to allow for a more interactive experience”
Rainbow flags are still visible across the city – the splash of bright colors particularly prevalent in Hillcrest. Organizers said they will lack the energy of the huge gatherings – including the annual parade that would close the eight-day celebration next week.
“There is no way to make a parade and festival of 300,000 people feel personally about a virtual event, but what we can do is offer an extraordinary platform,” said Jen Labarbera, head of education and defense of Pride of San Diego.
Labarbera said she was thrilled with the virtual events scheduled every day this week.
Although they do not anticipate the number of past years in any way, the lessons learned in planning this unconventional celebration will serve the organization for years to come.
“We have been able to find ways to meet people online in a way that was not a priority before,” he said. “Our top priority was events in person. We only had so much capacity that we couldn’t both do. “
Staff members have learned a variety of new skills, such as video editing and how to complete a website. San Diego’s pride is adapting as it continues its push for society to do the same
San Diego Pride Week 2020 will end on July 18. For more information on the week’s celebrations, click here.