The Vancouver Pride Society announced today that Pride 2020 has been cancelled.
In their letter, shared below, organizers say "Pride can't be cancelled. It is a feeling, not a physical space..."
Here's what they wrote:
To our communities:
Like many of you, we have been monitoring provincial and federal public health updates daily.
Like many of you, our hearts fell when we heard the announcement that all large scale public events, including the annual Vancouver Pride Parade and associated festivals, would no longer take place.
We knew this was coming. We have been preparing for it for over a month. It still hurt deeply when we heard the official announcement. Pride holds a special place in the hearts of many - we march against the continued injustices of the world, we celebrate the gains we have made, we make a statement, we make a splash, we unabashedly take up space in a world that has tried to grind us down and exterminate us. Whether you view Pride as protest or party or some combination of these things - it can not be denied that there is something inherently magical about occupying the entire West End in unadulterated queer joy.
Pride can't be cancelled. It is a feeling, not a physical space. It is in the myriad fundraisers that have been set up to benefit marginalized communities, it is in mutual-aid projects and community care. It is in you. We have only ever provided a space in which to celebrate and acknowledge the resilience, love and bravery which is lived out every single day of the year by you - our communities.
We will continue to create this space. Pride can't be cancelled- only re-imagined. Over the last several weeks our staff team has been hard at work looking for creative alternatives to physical events. We will continue to pay trans, two-spirit and queer artists, performers, musicians, suppliers and more as we move our events into digital spaces. We look forward to releasing our plans over the next couple of weeks.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we reach out to all of our partners, vendors, and parade participants over the next few weeks. We are looking for the most efficient solutions to provide refunds to those who need them. As a non-profit, VPS relies on the support of businesses and community organizations in order to deliver free, accessible events to LGBTQAI2S+ communities year round. VPS greatly appreciates this support and hopes that those organizations with the financial ability to do so may choose to continue financially supporting our organization through this challenging year.
To date, over 350 Pride celebrations around the world have been affected in response to COVID-19. This feels heartbreaking; regardless of how you view Pride it is an event that carries symbolic importance to many. We would be lying if we claimed our board and staff have not shed tears over this eventuality - Pride is labour of love and it is hard to acknowledge that it won't look the same this year. But moving Pride to a digital format is Love in action. COVID-19 disproportionately impacts marginalized communities - Indigenous people, Black people, people of colour, trans people, disabled people, sex workers, refugees, and all those who face oppression and are denied equitable access to resources. Holding public gatherings during a pandemic would expose our communities to risk which goes against the very ethos of Pride.
We hope that you will join us in celebrating what Pride means to you, whether it be with us, or with your loved ones, or with yourself, in a format that extends that ethos of care to others.