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Boston Pride cancels 2021 parade due to coronavirus

At the 34th annual Pride Parade, a sea of people were seen on Clarendon Street.
At the 34th annual Pride Parade, a sea of people were seen on Clarendon Street.Tlumacki, John Globe Staff

Boston Pride said Friday that it’s canceling the annual June parade celebrating the LGBTQ community due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Boston Pride said its parade and festival “will not be held in June,” but organizers and city officials are considering moving in-person events to the fall if “all conditions are in place” for big gatherings by then.

Boston Pride said a series of virtual events will be held in June to commemorate Pride Month and the group’s 50th anniversary. More information on the online offerings is expected in the coming weeks.

“We had hoped to commemorate Boston Pride’s 50th anniversary in June 2021 after having to cancel last year’s parade and festival due to the pandemic,” said Linda DeMarco, president of Boston Pride, in a statement. “We know that the pandemic has severely impacted the LGBTQ+ community and we are working on virtual events to bring together the community in June.

“Over the last several months, we have pursued the difficult but necessary work of transformation and we want those efforts to be a central part of our Pride celebrations this year,” DeMarco said. “Our community is concerned about racial equity, the resurgence of white supremacy, the needs of BIPOC members of the LGBTQ+ community, and the dangers that transgender individuals, particularly transgender women of color, face. We are inviting the community to participate in Pride with those concerns in mind.”

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh lamented the cancellation but called it a wise move, in light of the ongoing health crisis.

“While I know this was a difficult decision to make, postponing Boston’s 2021 Pride Parade and Festival is the right choice as we continue to prioritize the health and safety of all during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Walsh said in the statement released by Boston Pride. “In Boston, we are committing to living by the values of inclusion, diversity, and acceptance, and that will never change. Our city will continue to support Boston Pride, and when safe to do so, the Pride Parade and Festival will be back, and stronger than ever.”

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Last April, Boston Pride announced that its traditional Pride Parade and Festival would be canceled due to concerns about spreading the coronavirus, and organizers planned a dozen online events, including a virtual dance festival and an LGBTQ veterans’ panel.

Then in early June, the group said it would postpone most of its virtual Pride Month events to support communities affected by police brutality and systemic racism, amid the protests against police misconduct that swept the nation following the killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd.

The group faced criticism in December from LGBTQ activists who chided Boston Pride for what they said was a resistance to inclusion and a failure to embrace the Black Lives Matter movement.

DeMarco at the time said in response that “the existing board members have felt horrible about this whole thing that happened,” while insisting the panel members were “not bad people. But we can do better.”

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.



Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.