Ahead of the 50th anniversary of Pride in London taking place this weekend (Saturday, 2 July), Dr Francesca Romana Ammaturo, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Human Rights at the University of Roehampton, believes most Pride events have been fundamentally changed by the impact of Covid-19.
Dr Francesca Romana Ammaturo interviewed 60 Pride organisers from over 30 countries between January and May 2022. She concludes:
“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.
“Many corporate sponsors have withdrawn their support for Pride events, leaving organisers to face a highly challenging corporate model in 2022.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.
“Consequentially, 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.
“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.”