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Monarch covers the LGBT+ community’s tech-driven answer to social distancing and what other organisations can learn from Pride’s example.

Social but distanced

The challenges of lockdown do not belong to a single group however the LGBTQ+ community are demonstrating an indomitable resilience characteristic of the group’s history.

Upon announcement of social distancing measures and the continued exacerbation and confusion surrounding the threat level of the virus, many considered this year’s pride, like many public events, dead in the water.

However, Pride organisers have answered the gauntlet presented by COVID-19 with vigour, now with less than a fortnight before Global Pride Day, hundreds of digital events have sprung up around the world. 

The UK and Ireland are adopting a novel approach with their events, Dublin will host a digital march complete with it’s own virtual parade and concert, while across the UK people are being encouraged to tag themselves on rainbow-themed bike rides.

Across the channel in Bulgaria, the capital city of Sofia is hosting a live digital karaoke concert with backing music from some of the country’s foremost musicians. The biggest celebration however is multinational, on the 27th of June – Global Pride Day  – there will be a 24-hour virtual festival with guests and contributors from around the globe.

What each of these events has in common is that they have been designed with the advantages of digital space in mind, by leveraging the fact that people must remain physically distant many of these events have actually become more personal as they now rely on comparable individual experiences rather than a single collective one.

The role of technology in daily life and business has been a driving force in the human story, however its necessity in maintaining connection and relationships has never been clearer than in lockdown. 

Software like Discord, Skype and Zoom have mitigated an incalculable amount of social deprivation, and in many cases actually increased the level of contact that users were enjoying pre-lockdown. 

Pride is simply expanding and embracing the current technological status quo, concerts are now characterised by hundreds of phones being held aloft in order to include those who are not present while distant relatives are enjoying more contact during lockdown thanks to technology than they perhaps had outside of it. 

Ultimately, technology at its best brings people together, it includes those who may not have been able to take part otherwise and, particularly during Pride Month, inclusivity is an ideal both people and businesses should be striving for.

Josh Ellison

Author Josh Ellison

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