Brussels – 11 March 2020
The head of Europe’s Pride organisation has confirmed that some Pride events this summer will be affected by the outbreak of Coronavirus that is sweeping the continent.
Kristine Garina, President of the European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA), made the comments after dozens of Pride organisers from around the world met to discuss the situation, and how Prides can respond.
“Coronavirus is presenting a new challenge for all governments and organisations, and Prides are no different,” said Garina. “The unique challenge for Prides is that most are entirely volunteer organisations, where people have to juggle this additional complexity alongside a career or being a full-time carer. We’re doing all we can to help Pride organisers navigate through this challenge.”
More than 70 Pride organisers joined an online meeting on Monday to discuss how they can make contingency plans, and how they will respond to the Coronavirus situation. Working in partnership with the global Pride network InterPride, the meeting also included representatives of Prides in Africa, North America, Asia and Oceania.
EPOA is urging Prides to follow World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance and ensure that they make plans ahead of their event, think about impact during their event, and how they will manage issues after the event. They are also urging Prides to engage with funders and sponsors to talk about financial impact.
Kristine Garina – herself the organiser of Baltic Pride in Riga, Latvia – noted that, “It is ironic that over the last few decades various politicians, presidents, prime ministers, mayors, archbishops and other bigots have done their best to thwart and cancel Pride parades, but it was mother nature who succeeded. The admirable resilience of Pride organisers has met a challenge for the health of our wider community, and that means that some events will inevitably face cancellation, curtailment or postponement.”
As many as 1,000 Prides were expected to take place in Europe in 2020. Whilst the European Pride Organisers Association has no data on the number expected to be affected, Ms Garina said that the whole LGBTI community should work together to support their local Pride.
“Volunteer Pride organisers give up endless hours of their free time to make Pride happen, and it’s often without thanks,” said Garina. “This year is going to be especially challenging, and the emotional strain shouldn’t be underestimated. Whatever the impact in 2020, we are confident that even those Prides affected this year will be back next year with a vengeance.”
EPOA – which has 150 member Prides in 38 European countries and licenses the annual EuroPride event – is planning further webinars and activity in coming weeks to help Prides deal with Coronavirus and is recommending that organisers follow World Health Organisation and national guidance. Their own board has been impacted and their planned meeting in Rome later this month has been cancelled because of the severity of the situation in Italy.
Find out more about EPOA’s action on Coronavirus at www.epoa.eu/coronavirus.
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