Virus forces cancellation of Deptford Pride 2020

Crowds gather at Deptford Pride 2019. Pic: Dino Paciulli @Deptford Pride/Instagram

Deptford Pride 2020 has been cancelled due to COVID-19, joining a long list of LGBT+ events to be cancelled this year.

Deptford Pride had to cancel the live event which was planned to take places in Giffen Square in August. The event which was due to be announced just as the national lockdown began has been cancelled with organisers citing their “personal moral compass”as the main factor in the decision.

Peter Collins, co-director of Deptford Pride said: “We asked ‘how would we feel if there was even the tiniest local surge [of the virus] two weeks later.’”

A film night at the Matchstick Piehouse has also had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation.

LGBT+ communities across South East London are having to find innovative new ways to protest and celebrate during Pride Month in June. 

Collins, who has organised Deptford Pride since 2018 with his partner Ste Richardsson, pointed to the work being done by local mutual aid groups on Facebook, fundraising efforts to buy mobile data to reduce the barriers to online participation and the Pride In London hashtag to follow online events.

“The issues around people who don’t have good internet access or people who are living with family who are not queer friendly, those are incredibly difficult,” he said.

Although he will miss the visibility and inclusivity of the day, Collins, 40, says he is confident that online spaces do offer a chance to continue the spirit of Pride.

“It’s been an outlet for London-based people to do online things, so you can join and chat or listen to other people chatting or go on different zoom calls and workshops,” he said.

He added: “Just because you’re on your own or in a household that isn’t queer-friendly it doesn’t mean that you stop being queer just because you’re not doing those sociable things. You still are you.”

Deptford Pride hopes to return next year and is looking for volunteers, especially those representing people of colour, women, non-binary and trans voices.

Collins added: “Hopefully we can build something even more special next year.”

Alongside the main Pride In London event, the Croydon PrideFest 2020 event was also cancelled but has been rescheduled for July 2021.

Lewisham LGBT+ Forum has made a dedicated Coronavirus Resources page on their website for the community to signpost food banks, mutual aid groups, mental health services and LGBT+ domestic abuse helplines run by GALOP, a UK-run LGBT anti-violence charity.

Also, Amnesty International, UK Black Pride, Stonewall and ParaPride have joined in a national effort to bring celebrations online.

Pride Inside will see artists, musicians and activists coming together online from June 28 to July 5.

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