Hemet pride events go virtual in 2020

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Actor Laverne Cox discusses her life as a transgender woman in the film “It Gets Better,” which was shown during Hemet pride events recently. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Pride festivals across the United States have opted to postpone or go virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing standards. While difficult for many, going virtual allows people from all over the country to attend pride anywhere from their own homes. 

Hemet hosted their third annual pride event online to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the first gay liberation march, June 20, 1969 – the year following the Stonewall riots in New York. 

Hemet pride took place via Zoom Friday, June 19, from 4-8 p.m. Attendees were required to register before receiving a Zoom link for the event that consisted of two live panels with audience engagement, prerecorded entertainment and educational films. 

Among the films shown during the event was “It Got Better” by Heather Ross. This film went into depth on the life of Laverne Cox, who is a transgender actor known for her role in “Orange is the New Black.” 

Cox talked about her childhood as someone who was bullied for who she was. 

“I was very feminine from like, my whole life,” Cox said. “I was called sissy. I was called the f-word. I was called names.” 

Cox is well-known as an LGTBQ activist who consistently advocates for rights in America, because she doesn’t want others to be treated the way she was at an early age. Meeting with others who were transgender allowed Cox to accept herself and inspired her to be an inspiration for others. 

Hemet pride also featured the “Why Care” campaign created by the National Alliance on Mental Illness to bring awareness to the mental health struggle that many LGBTQ go through. 

NAMI said, “one in three gay, lesbian or bisexual adults experience a mental health condition in a given year – compared to one in six prevalence in heterosexual adults.” 

The “Why Care” campaign aims to share the importance of mental health and to promote treatment, support and other services to the millions of people affected by mental illness. NAMI hopes to shed light on the social and systemic barriers that prevent many from access to treatment across the United States. 

Although Hemet pride is over, there are still ways to show support to the community. Pride is being offered virtually around the world, and there are still many events to attend. Those interested in attending a virtual pride event can go to https://virtualpride2020.com to view events online. NAMI is also continuing their “Why Care” campaign with many ways to get involved. People who would like to take part in the campaign can go to https://nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Why-Care to learn more about how to help. 

Samantha Cox can be reached by email at valleystaff@reedermedia.com.