The event normally takes place in the QMU, but will now be completely online to abide by COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
The University of Glasgow will host its first virtual Pride festival beginning on 15 June with a series of online events and interactive social media exhibitions for the University’s LGBTQ+ community and allies.
The events will be organised by the University’s LGBTQ+ society as well as the LGBTQ+ staff network. This annual festival normally takes place in the Queen Margaret Union, but like other Pride events across the world, they are unable to go ahead due to strict social distancing rules preventing large gatherings and have opted to continue with the festival by going online.
The events will take place over the course of the week and throughout various times of the day to make sure they are accessible to students who may now have returned home and are living in different time zones due to the pandemic.
“It’s incredibly important to continue with Pride because even with social distancing and people having to stay home, that does put some LGBTQ+ people in unsafe environments at home, and it's important for them to still feel that there is a community out there for them. I think that right now, it's really important for people to have a celebration available to them that really boosts the mood at the moment. That is something that everyone could do with," said GULGBTQ+ President Emily Tunstall.
Most events will be streamed live through Facebook, while some will take place on Zoom. The current itinerary of events planned includes a mixture of workshops and social events. Various societies and organisations across the city are involved, such as the University’s Sowing Society who are planning a crafts workshop. The QMU’s spoken-word poetry group "ALOUD" will be running a poetry workshop and Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF) are helping to organise a series of queer film screenings. SQIFF previously participated in the University’s celebration of LGBTQ+ history month in February.
To maintain the social and nightlife aspect of Pride, a Zoom pub quiz is planned for 19 June with six rounds including history, flags, current affairs and memes.
As most Pride festivals typically include a protest march through the streets, the organisers are planning a socially distanced march in which people can take selfies of themselves and their pride flags while out walking. The pictures will be pulled together and displayed on social media or on their website.
The SRC’s LGBTQ+ officer, Indigo Korres, is looking for queer artists and photographers to submit their work to be included in a queer art exhibition, which is expected to be interactive and will likely be displayed on their website. If you would like to submit your artwork, contact Korres at lgbtqplus-off[email protected].
Despite the disruption the pandemic has caused to large public gatherings, organisers are ensuring that the virtual pride festival will still give pride-goers the chance to socialise.
“Hopefully with the private events, people will be able to meet other students,” Korres said.
If any societies would like to participate in the event or create their own events, they should contact Tunstall at [email protected].