Pittsburgh pride celebrations moved to fall

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pittsburgh’s two main Pride celebrations have been pushed back until the fall.

By Maggie Young, Contributing Editor

In honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising, LGBTQ+ Pride celebrations usually take place in June. But this year, multiple major Pride celebrations in Pittsburgh have been pushed back to the fall in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a May 8 press release from the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, the organization that’s hosted Pittsburgh Pride since 2008, the Foundation plans to hold the event on an undetermined fall date. Another local Pride event hosted by SisTers PGH, “People’s Pride PGH 2020 – Breaking the Cistem,” has also been postponed.

Unlike Pittsburgh Pride, People’s Pride PGH has a tentative start date of Oct. 9, with a parade ending the celebration on Oct. 11. But both groups and their partners plan to follow health guidelines and provide updates as the situation evolves.

“Everyone wants to help us celebrate and as one of the largest events in our region, we, along with our sponsors and partners, want to make sure that we proceed with the safety of our community and allies as our priority,” the Delta Foundation said in a press release.

SisTers PGH, an activist group with a transgender-centered shelter, started People’s Pride PGH in 2017 to support community members of color and transgender individuals, after claiming that Pittsburgh Pride excludes these groups. A statement from SisTers PGH Director Ciora Thomas said the organization will update the community on the status of the celebration as health guidelines change, and that all attendees must wear a mask and gloves at the event.

“We want to also remind our participants, vendors and sponsors that we will still be practicing safety during People’s Pride PGH,” the statement said.

Both postponements came near Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to move Allegheny County into the yellow phase of reopening Friday. Under this phase, gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited.

Christine Bryan, the director of marketing and development at the Delta Foundation, said the decision to host Pittsburgh Pride in the fall relates to state guidance on large gatherings, acknowledging that the decision ultimately isn’t up to the organization.

“We don’t have full control over things,” Bryan said. “We’re kind of waiting for the governor’s word as far as mass gatherings are concerned.”

Bryan said none of Pittsburgh Pride’s sponsors or venues have backed out yet, and everyone involved still looks forward to a successful event. She added that not much planning has been sidetracked now that the date has been pushed back — planning for Pittsburgh Pride starts as early as 18 months in advance.

In addition to giving updates on the status of Pittsburgh Pride, the Delta Foundation has also launched a COVID-19 resource guide for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Through the page, community members can find health care assistance from local providers, food access and other resources.

Bryan said members of the LGBTQ+ community have faced specific health and economic risks during the pandemic, such as how many members work in the restaurant industry and now have lessened work hours, and how some members don’t have a regular health care provider they trust. By updating this guide regularly, Bryan said the Delta Foundation wants to ensure that members of this community have access to the resources they need.

“All of those things led us down the path of, we need to have a place where we can send the LGBT community to resources that are from A to Z, soup to nuts, on everything that they possibly could need during this time,” Bryan said.

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