Happy pride! Stay inside. 

June marks many things: the start of summer, Gemini season—but, most importantly, June is pride month.

A rainbow heart swells on a pastel pink background.

Pride is a time to acknowledge the countless contributions members of the LGBTQ2S+ community have made to society and join activists in the ongoing fight for acceptance. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s an important thing. But this year, it’s a virtual thing.

That being said, pride is all about resilience. In-person events may be cancelled this year, but that won’t stop LGBTQ2S+ voices from being heard.

Whether you are a member of the LGBTQ2S+ community or want to show your allyship, here’s how you can celebrate pride while staying socially distant:

Attend Pride Toronto‘s virtual events

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🌻 📷- @devenaebryce

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Pride month is traditionally filled with exciting community-led events—most famously the annual Pride Parade, which takes place near the end of the month and gives LGBTQ2S+ individuals a chance to come together and celebrate their identities.

Without the ability to host large in-person gatherings, Pride Toronto—the non-profit organization that sponsors many of Toronto’s pride events—has opted for virtual get-togethers.

Kicking off virtual pride will be an online ballroom party hosted by Club Quarantine–a Zoom-based queer nightclub founded by a group of Toronto friends after in-person nightclubs closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Club Quarantine will post the access code for the event in their Instagram bio on June 1 at 9 p.m.

Of course, pride wouldn’t be pride without a parade. So, Pride Toronto is throwing one remotely on June 28 at 2 p.m. Details about the parade will be posted soon to the Pride Toronto website. Check back often for updates!

Tour Stonewall from home

Pride began as a protest. On June 28, 1969, police raided a gay nightclub called Stonewall Inn, sparking six days of rebellion. The movement was primarily led by Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, who were both trans women of colour. Thus began the LGBTQ2S+ rights movement.

Stonewall Forever is an interactive online exhibit created in 2019 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. As you click through the display, you’ll be met with thousands of colourful prisms, each of which plays a bite-sized audio clip from LGBTQ2S+ activists throughout history. The exhibit also features short videos explaining the history of the LGBTQ2S+ rights movement chronologically.

If learning were always this immersive, I’d have a PhD.

Look back on history

The Stonewall Forever online exhibit was created alongside a documentary of the same name. So why not watch that next?

If you’ve seen it, check out Paris Is Burning: a film that explores ball culture in 1980s New York City with a special focus on the way Black and Latinx people shaped queer art.

A young black person in a monochrome cream-coloured outfit holds his arms above his head and twists his torso, dancing.
Scene from Jennie Livingston’s “Paris Is Burning” (1991)

There are so many incredible movies honouring the LGBTQ2S+ community. No matter your interests, you can find one that appeals to you.

Time Magazine has a list of its favourite queer films and where to watch them. Make your next movie night a proud one!

Follow LGBTQ2S+ artists

Toronto is home to a bustling LGBTQ2S+ scene. With that comes countless queer artists and influencers to appreciate.

Tim Singleton is a designer and illustrator whose style is best described as “bold, beatific, and fabulous.” His colourful creations have graced everything from T-shirts to greeting cards and his daring style makes it hard not to scroll his page for hours.

Sydanie (not “Syd”) is a mother, rapper and all-around incredible human. Her music, which often pays homage to her life growing up in Toronto, is available on SoundCloud. Once it’s safe, we’d recommend going to see her in person—her stage presence is unmatched.

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STAR people are beautiful people-Marsha p

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Syrus Marcus Ware is truly a master of all trades. He’s a community advocate, activist, illustrator, educator and performance artist whose pieces often deal with the complexities of intersectional identities such as gender, sexuality, and race. His work has been featured in magazines, museums and newspapers across the country—but he lives and works in Toronto.

Upgrade your social media feeds by investing in these, and other, queer artists. If their work excites you, share it!

A rainbow appears on a cream-coloured background.

Between learning LGBTQ2S+ history, engaging with queer art and participating in online events, your virtual pride should be jam-packed and joyful.

Stay loud, stay proud, stay safe and stay home, friends.

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