CASPER, Wyo. — Pride Month celebrations across the country are seeing changes in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Casper Pride’s festivities are also looking different this summer.
Annual festivities like the Casper Pride March or Casper Pride Drag Show at the Nicolaysen Art Museum have been put on hold, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything happening to celebrate Casper’s LGBTQ+ community this June.
“Usually, we do like a five-day festival,” Casper Pride Chair Mallory Pollock said on Thursday, June 4. “Of course, though, we decided to postpone that, so we kind of took the idea and ran with that and turned it into a few more things.”
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That includes Drive-Up Pride from 10 am to noon Saturday, June 13 at the Casper-Natrona County Health Department which will feature:
- prizes for the best car decorations
- photo opportunities under a balloon arch created by Sabrina Spears Events
- “Porch Pride Bags” to show support for the LGBTQ+ community at people’s homes sponsored by the United Way of Natrona County
- cold refreshments
- free HIV testing provided by the Casper-Natrona County Health Department
Pride flags featuring a design by Portland-based artist Daniel Quasar will also be offered at Drive-up Pride. There have been a number of iterations of Pride flag designs over the years.
In 2017, the City of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs revealed a new design that added a black and brown stripe to the standard six-stripe rainbow flag as part of a #MoreColorMorePride campaign to bring attention to people of color within the LQBTQ+ community.
Playing off of Philadelphia’s flag design and a 2018 designed by São Paulo, Brazil’s “Love Fest” parade co-founder Estêvão Romane, Quasar created a design known as the “Progress flag.” The design implements an arrow shape representing forward movement.
Quasar’s website explains what the colors included in the design represent as follows:
Background: LGBTQ 6 full sized color stripes representing life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), harmony/peace (blue), and spirit (purple/violet)
Hoist: 5 half sized stripes representing trans and non-binary individuals (light blue, light pink, white), marginalized POC (people of color) communities (brown, black), as well as those living with AIDS and the stigma and prejudice surrounding them, and those who have been lost to the disease (black)
Following Saturday’s Drive-Up Pride event, Casper Pride will host an online premier of “Invisible Wyoming” beginning at 2 pm Sunday, June 14. That is a documentary by Denver-based filmmaker Patricia McInroy.
“She did a documentary on LGBTQ individuals and was focusing on a couple here in Casper,” Pollock explains. “The couple that she’s interviewing has just been around for a while and are kind of pioneers, I would say the pioneers for their time. So she’s kind of followed them.”
In addition to the events coming up this weekend, Casper Pride are celebrating “30 Days of Pride” on their Facebook page all month. That involves daily prompts and challenges to get people engaged and promote inclusion each day this June.
Pollock adds that Casper Pride are tentatively looking at Oct. 11, which is National Coming Out Day, to host some in-person events that couldn’t go on this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year’s Pride events surrounded the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and the New York City Police Department issued an apology for the first time.
“The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong, plain and simple,” the Washington Post reported the then NYC Police Commissioner James O’Neill said last year. “And for that, I apologize.”
On June 28, 1969, four plainclothes NYC police raided the Stonewall Inn, a bar frequented by gay, lesbian and transgender members of the Greenwich Village community.
“For the patrons, raids and police harassment were nothing new,” the Washington Post continued. “But this time, they decided to fight back. A crowd of hundreds soon gathered outside the bar and threw coins, rocks and garbage, briefly trapping the officers inside the Stonewall.”
“Reinforcements were called in to break up the crowd; in all, 13 people were arrested that first night. Unrest around the Stonewall continued for days.”
The Stonewall riots were a landmark moment in the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement. While many 2020 Pride events have been cancelled or postponed, Reuters reported on Monday that protests surrounding the death of George Floyd are sparking conversation this Pride Month.