New York City Pride events were canceled — in person, at least — on April 20. Still, organizers in New York are not ready to give up on providing the queer community with ample opportunities to feel celebrated.
Enter Pride 2020 Drag Fest, streaming June 19-21 in lieu of in-person NYC Pride festivities. The virtual "weekend to support our queens," according to the event's website, will feature over 100 drag performers from New York and beyond over the course of three days.
The event, which is held in partnership with GLAAD, is hosted and presented in part by queen, activist and NYC City Council candidate Marti Gould Cummings. Streaming on both the NYC Pride and GLAAD Facebook pages, the festival's performers include former RuPaul's Drag Race contestants Jan, Dusty Ray Bottoms, Honey Davenport and Shuga Cain, plus local performers like Sherry Vine and Merrie Cherry. Check out the full lineup, below:
"Since before Stonewall, our drag community and our trans community have rallied to stand up and fight for equality and justice," Cummings said in a GLAAD blog post. "As we grapple with the new normal of our daily lives, we must continue in the footsteps and carry on the spirit of Pride. We may not be able to meet in person this year, but Pride will live on as we gather digitally to celebrate our drag community and honor the legacy of Masha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera and the activism that so many LGBTQ icons ushered in."
A spirit of support and celebration, like most Pride events, is front and center for Pride 2020 Drag Fest. The inclusion of Venmo and other donation platforms during performances allows viewers to support the queens directly.
"COVID-19 has closed LGBTQ safe spaces including community centers, bars, and nightclubs which served as lifelines for so many LGBTQ people, and it has also delivered an unexpected and urgent financial loss to talented performers and employees who worked in these spaces," said Rich Ferraro, chief communications officer for GLAAD. "Both during Pride month and beyond, our community needs to join together to support drag performers and other talent who have always supported us."
The festival comes as part of several events continuing to commemorate last year's 50th anniversary of the NYC Pride March, including the arts-centered Criminal Queerness Festival and the live-streamed Global Pride.