Pride 2020

How to Support The LGBTQ Community in Boston During Pride

You had us at Queeraoke.

It’s not Pride as we typically have known it -- but it’s the Pride the moment demands. Even as we continue to do our best to adhere to public health directives to socially distance, wear masks, and wash our hands, we’re also out there in the streets protesting against racial injustice, police brutality, and the need for radical reform. It’s how the Stonewall forebears would want it: after all, it was black trans women rising up against systemic police violence that ignited the Stonewall Riots. 

“Older generations remember and young people now are celebrating how black trans women threw that first brick at The Stonewall Inn and started the modern gay rights movement,” says Chris Fijal, aka Miss Kris Knievel, a regular drag performer at Jacques Cabaret. “This Pride we have to face the reality that trans women of color are still being murdered as recently as last week. Our fight is not over. I will be celebrating differently this year, but with the same energy.”

So let’s mirror that energy and commit to sustained, inclusive activism, and otherwise find ways to honor the month -- especially given that this year marks the 50th year of Boston Pride.

Donate to nonprofits

Far and away, the greatest thing you can do this month is donate to local and statewide LGBTQ nonprofits. And protecting the rights, safety, and dignity of queer people of color is our highest calling right now. The Lesbians of Color Symposium Collective offers services and programming to empower LBTQ+ women and non-binary people of color. The Theatre Offensive offers a liberating art experience for trans people of color. And Black and Pink Boston’s aim is to do the work to dismantle the criminal punishment system, with the particular mission of freeing “LGBTQIA2S+ people/people living with HIV/AIDS who are affected by that system.”

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition is doing tremendous work around gender conforming care during Covid-19, as is the Trans ID Project. Local groups like Fenway Health, AIDS Action, and GLAD have been fighting the good queer fight for a good long time; BAGLY has been doing the same for queer youth (and be sure to check out the limited-edition Pride T-shirts from 195essential since 30 percent of proceeds go to BAGLY). On the flip side, you can donate to LGBTQ Senior Housing, a nonprofit working to build Boston’s first housing complex for low-income LGBTQ seniors.

If nothing else, you can participate in “Show Your Pride,” a social media campaign inviting everyone in town to show their true colors. Deck out your windows, doors, porches, yards, whatever -- costumed pets are most strongly encouraged -- then tag @bostonpride in your Instagram stories and use the hashtag #WickedProud on Facebook and Twitter.

Virtually celebrate Pride

What, you thought we were going to just give up on 50 years of Boston Pride? To hell with that.  The parade may be canceled and the events may have moved online, but they’re still diverse and multifaceted, from Zoom Queeraoke to panel discussions to a Queer Latinx dance party. It all wraps up with the weekend-long Dancing Queerly Festival. Meantime, we put faith in the multitudes to throw health-forward parties that still find ways to celebrate the month, and the moment.

Order food and drinks from restaurants 

Phase 2 is officially upon us, and things are slowly starting to come into focus. Alas, most of our gay bars are still closed--and most, unfortunately, are not equipped to offer takeout of any sort. But! As of June 12, Cathedral Station has reopened its patio with all appropriate conditions in place, and DBar won’t be far behind -- it’s literally building an expanded patio right now. Meantime, you can still support Club Cafe remotely -- the club is selling gift certificates and encouraging folks to renew their memberships. (DBar is also offering delivery of its full menu.)

But, there are literally hundreds of LGBTQ-owned businesses in our state, many of which you can still support during this time. Support LGBTQ-friendly bookstore Trident Booksellers in the Back Bay, the queer-staffed Diesel Cafe in Somerville, or gay-owned clothing company Workforce. Go national if need be. Keep it as intersectional as possible. And stay safe, happy, and #WickedProud.

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Meaghan Agnew is a Boston-based contributor to Thrillist.