While the coronavirus has dampened or killed off many annual public celebrations, it can’t stop the spirit that fires them.
The Southeast Alaska LGBTQ +Alliance took that to heart as they planned a Pride Week celebration beginning Friday
“We’re excited. We’ve been planning it for a little while now,” said Abi Spofford, a member of SEAGLA’s planning committee..“We just kinda got together and said, we’re gonna make this happen online.”
While Pride typically occurs in June, the events of the 2020, chiefly the coronavirus, have pushed it to August in order to still celebrate justice and inclusivity.
“We honor all those who came before, those who fight for justice — yesterday, today and for tomorrow — including and especially the Black Lives Matter movement. We honor this land — Lingít Aaní and it’s original peoples — the Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian — and support their sovereign rights,” said SEAGLA in a news release. “We align our modern Pride movement for LGBTQ+ freedom with the freedom for all oppressed peoples of the world. We recognize the enormous gender and sexual diversity in identities in our community and work to lift up those underrepresented voices to promote greater understanding, awareness and strength. We call ALL people together to celebrate the tremendous talents, courage and uniqueness of the LGBTQ+ community with Juneau Pride 2020.”
The week will be marked with numerous, primarily online and accessible through SEAGLA’s Facebook page, but with two exceptions. The first will be an outdoors excursion near the Mendenhall Glacier called Choose Your Own Outdoor Adventure, on Sunday, Aug. 23. The other will be one of the culminating events, the Glitz Drive-In Drag Show, a drive-in event sponsored in part by the Gold Town Nickelodeon and University of Alaska Southeast, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29.
“We’ve done a pretty good job splitting up the tasks as much as possible. There aren’t a ton of people on the planning committee,” Spofford said. “We put out a survey to see what people were interested in.”
About 10 people, give or take, did the majority of the planning, Spofford said. The online venue has allowed SEAGLA to include more groups than the traditionally bar-centered Pride events have allowed.
“It was important that a lot of the events were family friendly and were available to a wide range of ages. We’re keeping it family friendly,” Spofford said. “As an organization that revolves around inclusivity, in addition to being inclusive to LGBTQ+ people, we want to include non-drinkers and families with kids or younger members.”
Another major event will be the announcement of the winner of this year’s Mildred Boesser Equal Rights Award, named after a loud voice for LGBTQ rights in Alaska who passed in 2015. A number of poets and other artists, including Staceyann Chin, D’lo and Dewayne Perkins will be performing recitations or comedy sets.
The full schedule of events and how to participate in them is available on SEAGLA’s Facebook.