Utah Pride Services, And Possibly Celebrations, Going Virtual
June is a time when the LGBTQ+ community comes together to celebrate Pride Month. But the Salt Lake City Pride festival was postponed to September because of the coronavirus. The Utah Pride Center has already moved most support groups online and that may be where this year's festival is held as well.
"We are starting to think about some alternatives. What a lot of other Prides have done, (those) that have already had their events, (is decide) to move them to virtual spaces," said Hillary McDaniel, the festival director at the Utah Pride Center.
McDaniel said most of their youth, adult and senior programs are now online. She said this is great for some people, those who aren’t able to get to the center because of child care needs or not having a car. But others miss the connection of being together.
“I've heard some feedback of people who are just ecstatic that it's all online now, because they're maybe more of a homebody. And there are some people who are really struggling (and say) that the screen doesn't feel as intimate. And it doesn't feel the same when you're not physically in a room with people and kind of feeling everyone's energy and emotions," McDaniel said.
McDaniel hopes these virtual support groups will continue even after the center reopens because they’ve helped to reach more people. These groups have also continued to help people who aren’t supported by their families.
But McDaniel said with all the changes, she does worry about funding for the Utah Pride Center.
“Our biggest fundraiser of the whole is our Pride Festival," she said. "And with this year, it being postponed, we are suffering a little bit with fundraising and just having the finances to keep the center going. And so I would just encourage people to find ways to still support.”