Saturday marks the start of Pride Week in San Diego, but the LGBTQ extravaganza looks a little different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the setback in community events, Pride Week 2020 is continuing on by having celebrations virtually. Organizers of the online events met just hours before the kickoff with Saturday's "She Fest,” which celebrates queer women in San Diego with a live stream on Facebook and YouTube.
"Simultaneously there are going to be two Zoom rooms opened up,” said Stacy Sakamoto, chair of the She Fest. “In those rooms, there's going to be more interactive workshops and activities hosted in those to allow for a more interactive experience"
Rainbow flags can still be seen all over town - the splash of vibrant colors particularly prevalent in Hillcrest. Organizers said they'll miss the energy from the huge gatherings -- including the annual parade that would have closed out the eight-day celebration next week.
"There's no way to make an in-person 300,000-person parade and festival feel the same on a virtual event, but what we can do is offer an amazing platform,” said Jen Labarbera, education and advocacy manager for San Diego Pride.
Labarbera said she is excited about the virtual events planned every day this week.
While they don't anticipate anywhere near the numbers of years past, the lessons learned in planning for this most unconventional celebration will serve the organization well in years to come.
“We've been able to find ways to meet people online in a way that wasn't a priority before,” she said. “Our priority was in-person events. We only had so much capacity we couldn't do both"
Staff members learned a variety of new skills, such as video editing and how to complete a website. San Diego Pride is adapting while continuing their push for society to do the same
San Diego’s Pride Week 2020 will end July 18. For more information on the week’s festivities, click here.