By Leah Harris

According to a recent statement on the mental health impacts of COVID-19 issued by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated mental health issues for many in our community, especially for those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic including communities of color and people living with HIV/AIDS.” 

The HRC statement describes layers of trauma and loss. “Stay-at-home orders have forced college students to return to homes that can be unwelcoming of their authentic selves. Gender-affirming surgeries have been put on hold for many patients. Economic turmoil is disproportionately affecting the very livelihood of LGBTQ people nationwide. Even as LGBTQ people work to survive — let alone exist — during this crisis, our own government is attempting to roll back health care protections for the most vulnerable in our community.”

LGBTQ+ mental health advocates agree that the only way through a sea of daunting challenges is together, through collective action and collective care, which includes continuous affirmation of queer identities and bodies, as well as fighting for their rights to life and love. 

While these times feel anything but celebratory, the 50th anniversary of the Pride parade this year provides many opportunities for LGBTQ+ people to remember their history, mourn the losses and impact of COVID, and find strength and comfort in the collective creativity of the national and global communities. 

Below is a partial listing of upcoming events that we hope will uplift your spirits, and boost your mental health in a profoundly challenging time. 

Capital Pridemobile, June 13, 10 a.m. Watch live on the Capital Pride website. The first-ever Pridemobile Rainbow Blast will take you on a virtual tour through the District of Columbia’s eight wards, documenting how residents show their true colors even when socially distanced. Along the way, the live-streamed Pridemobile will incorporate DJs and drag performers, and bestow prizes to the best-decorated storefronts and homes in Washington. Check out the full calendar.

Pride 2020 DragFest, More than 100 performers are scheduled to appear at this official event of NYC Pride, supported by national LGBTQ advocacy organization GLAAD. The virtual performances will run each day from 6:30-8 pm EST beginning on Friday, June 19 and through Sunday, June 21, 2020. The video events will stream on NYC Pride and GLAAD’s Facebook pages. 

Global Pride 2020, June 27. A global coalition of pride organizations — including partners from Germany, Sweden, Latin America and the United Kingdom —have collaborated to produce a 24-hour celebration to be livestreamed on June 27. The first-of-its-kind celebration will feature remarks by political figures and movement leaders, as well as entertainment by Olivia Newton-John, the Dixie Chicks and others, plus content from George Michael.

Trans Pride Seattle, June 26-28. The largest annual gathering of trans and gender diverse people in the Pacific Northwest, brought to you by the Gender Justice League. The event will include workshops, performances, and a trans film festival developed in partnership with the Three Dollar Bill Cinema, a nonprofit dedicated to queer media representation in the city.

San Francisco Pride, June 27-28. SF Pride will now take place virtually, with a two-day online celebration and rally on June 27 and 28 featuring live performances, messages from elected officials and celebrities, speeches, DJ sets and more.

Resources for further exploration: