Pop Culture
5 min

8 ways to celebrate Pride online

From virtual cabarets and big-time entertainment to activist workshops, find the right vibe of Pride for you

Adam Lambert joins the all-star lineup for the Can't Cancel Pride benefit concert streaming June 25.
Adam Lambert joins the all-star lineup for the Can't Cancel Pride benefit concert streaming June 25. Credit: Joel Carrett/STREPA

Parades, concerts, marches and overnight parties are all things we’ll miss dearly while celebrating Pride this year. While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of Pride events around the world, LGBTQ2 groups, organizations and companies are using virtual gatherings to unify the community and celebrate Pride. Numerous groups are also pairing up with activists to amplify Black voices whose demands for social justice and human rights are taking the world by storm.

If you feel overwhelmed with all of the announcements and virtual events, don’t worry, we’ve got you. From virtual cabarets and big-time entertainment to activist workshops, here are some recommendations on how to find the right vibe of digital Pride for you.

Queer the beat

Spotify/Sofar Sounds Pride livestreams

If you’ve been missing live concerts during this quarantine, tune into the Spotify and Sofar Sounds online listening room. They’re teaming up to host virtual concerts every day this week. It doesn’t compare to touching your favourite artist’s hand from the front row, but it gives you an opportunity to support some of the LGBTQ2 talents you love.

You can stream the live shows through Sofar Sounds YouTube channel or their Listening Room. All shows are free, but you have the option to donate money directly to the featured performing artists, to the Sofar Sounds Global Artist Fund or to Spotify’s Covid-19 Music Relief Fund. If you choose to donate, Spotify will match all donations up to a cumulative total of $10 million.

Toronto’s Witch Prophet and Chicago’s Thair have already appeared; their concerts are still available in the listening room. Next up: Glitterfox from Portland (3 p.m. EST on June 24), Bronze Avery from L.A. (3 p.m. EST on June 25), Knyves Escobar from Washington, D.C. (3 p.m. EST on June 26), Sugi Dakks from L.A. (3 p.m. EST on June 27) and Manu Sija from Buenos Aires, Argentina (3 p.m. EST on June 28).

Canadian cabaret

Buddies in Bad Times Virtual Pride Cabaret

Gay Jesus joins Buddies Virtual Pride Cabaret Jun 24. Credit: Courtesy Kat Webber

One of the largest and longest-running LGBTQ2 theatres in the world is pairing up with CBC Arts for a virtual Pride Cabaret. Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times is bringing their unique brand of drag, burlesque, storytelling and musical performance to a national audience. The event, hosted by comedian Elvira Kurt, will feature performances from Gay Jesus, Ivan Cayote, Les Femmes Fatales and more.

The show broadcasts on the free CBC Gem streaming service beginning at 9 p.m. EST on June 24.

Big time pop

Can’t Cancel Pride benefit concert

Do the names Katy Perry, Adam Lambert, Big Freedia, Billy Porter, Kim Petras, Melissa Etheridge and Ricky Martin excite you? Watch them perform live at the Can’t Cancel Pride COVID-19 relief benefit concert. The virtual benefit produced by iHeartMedia is designed to help raise visibility and funds for LGBTQ2 communities impacted by COVID-19.

Beneficiaries include NBJC (National Black Justice Coalition) and GLAAD (formally known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defemation). Organizers hope to raise $5 million through corporate sponsorships and individual donations.

The celebration culminates with a one-hour special and will be hosted by Elvis Duran and Laverne Cox. The concert will stream on iHeartRadio’s Facebook and Instagram pages, iHeartRadio’s PrideRadio.com and broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app June 25 at 9 p.m. EST.

For movie buffs

Ahead of the Curve premiere

"Ahead of the Curve" premieres June 27. Credit: Courtesy Frameline

The world premiere of Ahead of the Curve is June 27 as part of the Frameline fest’s Pride Showcase in San Francisco. The film will screen at the West Wind Solano Drive-in Theatre at 9 p.m. PT.

The movie centres on the power of lesbian visibility and community from the early 1990s to the present day through Franco Stevens and her path to founding Curve, the celebrated lesbian magazine.

The night includes drag king performances and a Q&A with filmmakers Jen Rainin and Rivkah Beth Medow and Franco Stevens among others. If you aren’t able to make it to the drive-in, you can enjoy Ahead of the Curve and other films (like Thom Fitzgerald’s new drag comedy Stage Mother) featured on Frameline’s Pride Showcase from the comfort of your home.

A day at the races

Global Pride’s 24-hour event

Todrick Hall hosts the huge Global Pride event on June 27.
Todrick Hall hosts the huge Global Pride event on June 27. Credit: John Nacion/STRPA

The big new experiment in virtual Pride and cross-border collaboration, Global Pride has a mega-list of celebrity guests and performances including Laverne Cox, Adam Lambert, The Pussycat Dolls, Kesha, Rita Ora, and the Dixie Chicks. The 24-hour stream of entertainment and speeches (lots of speeches) featuring politicians like U.S. presidential candidate Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.

Hosted by American actor, singer and choreographer Todrick Hall, the event hopes to amplify the message of  Black Lives Matter protests. The show will be livestreamed on the Global Pride website, YouTube and other platforms beginning at 1 a.m. EST on June 27.

For the community builders

Pride Inside U.K.

Some of the U.K.’s largest human rights groups, like Amnesty International, UK Black Pride, ParaPride, Gendered Intelligence and Stonewall, have teamed up to host Pride Inside, a free week-long online festival of community building. Pride Inside aims to raise awareness on how the current pandemic disproportionately affects LGBTQ people. Speakers include Lady Phyll, as well as human rights defenders from Poland and Ukraine.

A launch party with music and comedy performances will kick off the celebrations on June 28, featuring Ana Matronic, Layton Williams, Vick Hope, Rosie Jones, the Cocoa Butter Club, Busy Being Black podcast and more. Other offerings include make-up tutorials, DJ sets, book readings, workshops on being young and trans, as well as discussions on how COVID-19 is impacting the LGBTQ community and activism around the world.

Pride Inside runs daily from June 28 to July 5; schedule TBA. It’s free; join here on their website.

Sounds of the North

Polaris Sound Series: Ally Forces

Vivek Shraya
Listen to Vivek Shray on the "Polaris Sound Series: Ally Forces" playlist. Credit: Heather Saitz; efetova/iStock/Getty Images Plus; Francesca Roh/Xtra

Xtra’s Michelle da Silva, who sits on the jury for Canada’s Polaris music prize, curated a playlist of songs by Polaris-nominated LGBTQ2 artists. The 26 tracks vary from indie/noise rock and country to contemporary R&B and synthpop.

The playlist features the works of artists like Tegan and Sara, KAYTRANADA, Vivek Shraya and more. As a tribute and reminder for the Black and Latinx queer and trans folks who were at the forefront of the LGBTQ2 liberation movement, the playlist ends with a track by Backxwash, a Black trans rapper from Montreal.

”Polaris Sound Series: Ally Forces is available to stream on Apple music and Spotify.

For couch surfers

HereTV

HereTV is offering an exclusive selection of LGBTQ2 programming, documentaries and films on their website. This month, they’re offering their programming free of charge. Some of the shows available include Malcolm Ingram’s docSouthern Pride, about two lesbian bar owners in Mississippi who help organize Black and queer Pride events in Trump’s America, and A Long Road to Freedom, the Emmy-nominated documentary on LGBTQ2 history narrated by Laverne Cox with music by Melissa Etheridge.