Pride Month, dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ community and its history, begins Tuesday with a return to some in-person events on Long Island after a year of virtual festivities.
David Kilmnick, president and CEO of the Hauppauge-based LGBT network, said this year “will feel more like traditional pride” because people will be able to come together – a vital aspect of events dedicated to visibility and safety.
“It’s being able to celebrate who we are, who we love,” Kilmnick said. “And this is especially critical on Long Island for those who can come to the event, but also for those who are not yet comfortable.”
Seeing others “just being themselves” gives them hope.
Tiffany Vasconcellos, 27, of Merrick, said some were “finding ways to connect” with virtual events and small gatherings as the coronavirus remains a concern. These gatherings are a “reminder that we are not alone”.
“Sometimes we are compartmentalized living on Long Island. It’s not like New York where people are just living their best queer lives, ”said Vasconcellos, director of a local LGBTQ agency.
Events include long-standing traditions, such as a Youth Ball and Long Island Pride, which will be themed “Together Again”.
Among the new events: North Hempstead Town will raise the rainbow pride flag at Town Hall for the first time in its history, officials said.
While many events return in person, COVID-19 protocols will remain in place. At Long Island Pride, attendees will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result to enter, Kilmnick said.
Long Island Pride Month events include:
- 21st Annual LGBT Youth Ball: Friday, June 4, 7 to 9 p.m. A party for LGBT youth and their allies aged 13-24. This virtual event will feature dancing and the crowning glory of the “Rainbow Court”. Registration is available on Lgbtnetwork.org/lgbtprom.
- 2nd Annual Babylon Village Pride Parade: Sunday, June 6 at 2 p.m. along Deer Park Avenue The event, hosted for the first time in 2020 by two villagers, will feature entertainment from drag artists and LGBTQ + artists.
- Illuminated: a gender lens: Saturday, June 12, 11 a.m. Chat on Facebook Live with artist Lex Barberio about an exhibition of photographs examining gender identity. Barberio’s exhibition runs until June 27 at the Patchogue Arts Council Museum of Contemporary Art on Long Island. More information is available at PatchogueArts.org.
- Town of North Hempstead Celebration: Wednesday, June 9, at North Hempstead Town Hall, 11 a.m. City Supervisor Judi Bosworth and the LGBT Network will host a Pride Month celebration, raising the Pride Flag.
- Long Island Pride: Sunday June 13 at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. The festival will feature a concert with headlining Almost Queen, a tribute band, at the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater from noon to 4 p.m. Capacity of 1,200 people. A pre-purchased ticket and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result will be required.
- Pet Pride Parade: Saturday, June 26, Garvies Point Dog Park in Glen Cove, 11 a.m. People are encouraged to bring their pets in rainbow outfits.