It is Pride month and we may not be able to march this year, but we can still show up for one another. Porch Pride is a virtual pride event happening June 20, organized by Lez Hang Out podcast hosts Ellie Brigida and Leigh Holmes Foster. All you have to do is grab your rainbow flag and sit outside to gather safely with your immediate queer community.
With most of us staying at home and hunkering down, our neighborhoods have taken on a whole new life. Without the daily commutes or weekend jaunts around the city it’s where we spend all of our time. With Pride season upon us, it’s where LGBT folks find each other.
As a bi-coastal creative team, Ellie Brigida of Boston and Leigh Holmes Foster, San Francisco, are used to doing things remotely. After starting their podcast in the fall of 2017, the duo has interviewed queer leaders and makers across the country around their neighborhoods. It fits that these two would be among those who are taking Pride virtual in the era of social distancing.
“We started doing a lot of in-person events last year ,” Brigida says. “We turned those events virtual once everything started going online… but there’s still, especially for Pride Month, something that feels just a little bit lacking about sitting in front of a computer screen in your room.”
Brigida thought of a new way for the queer community to come together, in person, while remaining in our own spaces and maintaining a safe distance.
On June 20th, wherever we may be, we can head outside and enjoy the sunshine and celebrate Pride, separately and together. “The idea is that if one of your neighbors is participating, then you can actually look down the street and see other people, which I think is really exciting,” Brigida says.
So, how can you participate? The easy part is to simply go outside. On your porch, or in your yard, or on your front stoop on at 1 p.m. If you’re looking for a way to get a little extra involved, the Lez Hang Out team is also looking for community ambassadors to spread the word in their neighborhoods.
“Here in Boston, our first Pride was 50 years ago. I don’t want that to go forgotten,” says Isabella “Bella” O’Connell of Somerville, who has already signed up to be an ambassador on her street and in her Davis Square community.
That first Pride in 1970, took place roughly one year after the Stonewall Riots, a five-day stretch of protests against police brutality in the queer community. Pride looks different but in celebration of who we are now we hope to commemorate those who came before us.
“My partner and I will be hosting our own microcosm of Pride on our College Ave porch,” O’Connell says. “Diva music, drag costumes, everything you’d expect from Pride. Add a little hand sanitizer, chalk art and some healthy distance. Somerville is an awesome community and I’d recommend any family explore Porch Pride.”
If you’re interested in becoming an ambassador for your community or even on your block, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Ambassadors will be sent a PDF of the official Porch Pride flyer, which they can then distribute online or print out and post around their own neighborhood to help make Porch Pride as widespread and as inclusive as possible.
Don’t have easy access to an outdoor space? Don’t sweat it. This event also includes a Facebook Live stream, where LGBT leaders and performers in Boston and across the country will play host for thirty-minute time slots throughout the day.
“Maybe you’re in a space where the houses aren’t super close together, or maybe there aren’t too many other people in your neighborhood,” Brigida explains. “So, you can go online and post pictures, use the hashtag #porchpride, and watch the video to feel like you’re hanging out with different people on their porches.”
The livestream will also include opening remarks from Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley as well as opportunities to donate to various charities selected by each virtual host.
“I think people are starved for community right now,” Brigida says. “I am very happy to be able to try to connect people. And I think Porch Pride has opened up a lot of opportunities because you can collaborate with pretty much anyone.”