After a drastic change in how Pride looked in 2020, how will the LGBTQ community celebrate Pride in 2021 now that the COVID-19 vaccines have begun their rollout? It looks like it will be a last- minute decision.
Among the respondents to Tagg’s Pride 2021 survey, over half are still not sure how they will celebrate this year. Over a quarter say they will not celebrate in any in-person way outside of their household and the remaining fifth say they will. Just 10% say they’ll go to a bar or club and only 22% plan on attending an in-person parade or festival.
It seems like the official city-level Pride organizations are taking a similar approach to what the community expects. Many still haven’t made an official decision on how to proceed just weeks before Pride Month, unprecedented before the pandemic when dates were announced and plans firmed up months in advance. Most Pride organizations seem to be planning virtual Pride programming and only a handful are committing to small in-person events. U.S. cities aren’t planning large Pride parades in June, despite the expectation that most U.S. adults will have been offered the vaccination against COVID-19 by then and already over one in four are fully vaccinated.
While over 90% of survey respondents said they expect to be fully vaccinated by June, that wasn’t enough for them to feel safe to attend a large event. “Our city normally has a big parade and a whole weekend of events. Even though we are vaccinated, it probably won’t be safe enough this year,” answered one woman from New Orleans.
At the time of the survey, the pediatric vaccine not being available yet was a factor for families with kids: “Although my wife and I will be fully vaccinated, our kids won’t be vaccinated. And the children of our friends won’t be vaccinated! If we do anything, it would probably be with just our pod and maybe going to something we could view like the sidewalk by city hall that’s been painted in a rainbow,” wrote Ellen G. of Cambridge, MA.
Others are ready to embrace the changes to Pride that happened in 2020 with a return to marches for equality, especially for Black lives, instead of corporate floats. Multiple people said they were more willing to attend a large gathering if it was for social justice instead of for fun. Others are looking forward to smaller house parties among only fully vaccinated friends and family.
Pride may have been changed forever due to COVID-19, but we’ll have to wait until 2022 to find out.