After two years of cancelled pride events, Covid-19 has dramatically altered the fabric of LGBTQIA+ communities at both the global and local level. Those events that have survived to return to an in-person experience this year have been left with diminished resources, while local LGBTQIA+ communities have severely suffered from stigma, isolation, and a much changed socio-political and economic landscape.
Corporate sponsors and the danger of ‘pinkwashing’
Many corporate sponsors have withdrawn their support for pride events, leaving organisers to face a highly challenging corporate model in 2022. While they have been forced to explore alternative avenues to finance their pride events, they must also ensure that any new sponsors brought on are not doing so for the harmful purposes of ‘pinkwashing’ which goes against the very purpose of pride itself.
Some organisers have been forced to return to grassroots politics in order to finance and coordinate their events. However, my research has shown that many organisers are being challenged about pride events losing their relatively grassroots appeal having become more ‘professionalised’ or increasingly like ‘festivals’ prior to the pandemic, providing an additional hurdle to overcome.
Inclusive and accessible
Finally, while a silver lining of the pandemic opened up new and exciting opportunities to ensure pride events became truly accessible for disabled people by being held digitally, a return to in-person pride events presents organisers with the difficulty of ensuring this increased accessibility remains a lasting feature of their planning. Given the detrimental impact of Covid on pride events, organisers will be desperate to retain the engagement and inclusivity of disabled people and come out of the pandemic with something to show for the last two years.
Dr Francesca Romana Ammaturo has interviewed 60 pride organisers from over 30 countries from January 2022 to May 2022, and will be publishing her research in the near future.