Earlier this week, I talked about Pride and it being canceled this year due to Coronavirus. Yes, it does suck but pride is inside of us and can be shown in how we carry ourselves. What is harder to replace is missing the ability to meet new people, reconnect with old friends, and share in the good times. Thankfully, technology can help us in many of these ways. We can Zoom with our friends, providing you don’t mind the possibility of someone taking over your call, listening to playlists, watching movies, or even doing some light reading. So, how can we celebrate pride on lockdown?
Pride is most known for the marches or parades. Some prefer one or the other, but the linking sentiment behind it is the ability to be your best self without the worries of judgement. It is a time to come together to celebrate the advancements we have made, honor those that have fought the fight and are no longer with us, and to just appreciate one another. Nothing can tie these kinds of emotions together like music. It is the glue that binds the universe. It can elicit feelings of nostalgia, conjure up ideas of love, or even allow us to process our hurt. Even though there are regulations that prevent large gatherings, we shouldn’t pass up a good playlist to elevate our moods. I have a playlist I put together that kind of keeps my Pride feelings amped up. Check it out, maybe it can be an assistance to your Pride season. Pride Lockdown Playlist on Spotify.
Movies are another way we can use to invoke a sense of Pride. I could play the total stereotypical role and say Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, but I figure that gets mentioned enough. I would rather show you things that may be less known or has a stronger tie to Pride. With that, here we go…
Wigstock – this movie was filmed after the first Wigstock took place in the 80s. It has some footage from that event as well as the 90s event the movie focused on. It is about the celebration of drag. Feel how you want, but there is no denying that drag, and transgendered people are the ones that pushed our movement forward. Wigstock showcases various styles of drag from that era. One of the highlights of the movie is the performance my Leigh Bowery. Leigh was instrumental in the club kid movement and this was his last performance before his death in 1994. This movie also include RuPaul, who had just released her album, Super Model. It is an awesome movie and shows a lot of performances by some pretty big names and even a few who are no longer with us.
Paris is Burning – This should be mandatory for LGBTQ history. This movie is about the Harlem Ball scene and was one of the most pivotal times of modern Queer Culture. This movie exemplifies the struggle of queer beauty in the black and latinx communities. Had it not been for the ball scene, we never would have had the likes of RuPaul or the immense vocabulary that stemmed from it.
Sylvia Rivera: A Tribute – This little gem can be found on YouTube and is about the life of Silvia Rivera. She was a latinx and trans rights activist who is the reason there is a ‘T’ in LGBTQ. This 25-minute film talks about her childhood, raising herself out of addiction, and on to create STAR, a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens, gay children, and trans woman. She was at the Stonewall Riots and this film was put together by her friends to honor her memory. Make sure you check it out.
If you prefer to cloister yourself away in solitude during this pandemic, there are reading options to help break up the day of Netflix binge watching. Here are just a few that are in line with Pride season.
Being a photography person, this first book is a favorite of mine. We Are Everywhere by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown. This is an in-print version of the Instagram account @lgbtq_history and is how I found out about it. It is a pictorial history of the Queer Liberation Movement. It catalogs some of the most iconic historical moments of our progress of acceptance and struggle for our rights.
Lastly, I offer you The Stonewall Reader by the New York Public Library. This book marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It chronicles the hard-fought battles for LGBTQ rights and the very people who were titular in its advancement. It is a collection of first-hand accounts, diaries, periodic literature, and articles from LGBTQ magazines and newspapers. It documents the years that lead up to and after the beginning fights for LGBTQ rights.
Here are just a few ways that you can celebrate Pride during the coronavirus lockdown. Check them out and let me know what you think. Tell me any favorites you think I need to add to this list, after all Pride is about a sharing of experiences and stories that make us who we are. Each of us is a celebration of that very act.