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 chief executive of the Hauppauge-based LGBT Network, said this year will "feel more like a traditional Pride" because people will be able to gather — 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 it’s especially critical on Long Island to those that can come to the event, but also to those that may not feel comfortable yet."
Seeing others "just being themselves" gives them hope.
Tiffany Vasconcellos, 27, of Merrick, said some are "finding ways to connect" with virtual events and small gatherings as the coronavirus remains a concern. Those gatherings are a "reminder that we're not alone."
"Sometimes we get siloed living in Long Island. It's not like New York City where people are just living out their best queer lives," said Vasconcellos, a manager for a local LGBTQ agency.
Events include long-standing traditions, such as a youth prom and Long Island Pride, which will have the theme of "Together Again."
Among 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 are back 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's Pride Month events include:
- 21st Annual Youth LGBT Prom: Friday, June 4, from 7 to 9 p.m. A party for LGBT youth and allies ages 13 to 24. This virtual event will include dancing and the crowning of the "Rainbow Court." Sign-up is available at Lgbtnetwork.org/lgbtprom.
- 2nd Annual Babylon Village Pride Parade: Sunday, June 6, at 2 p.m. along Deer Park Ave. The event, organized for the first time in 2020 by two village residents, will include entertainment from drag performers and LGBTQ+ artists.
- Illuminated: A Lens on Gender: Saturday, June 12, at 11 a.m. Conversation on Facebook Live with artist Lex Barberio about a photography exhibit examining gender identity. Barberio's exhibit runs through June 27 at the Patchogue Arts Council Museum of Contemporary Art of Long Island. More information is available at PatchogueArts.org.
- North Hempstead Town celebration: Wednesday, June 9, at North Hempstead Town Hall, 11 a.m. Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and LGBT Network will throw a celebration of Pride Month, raising the Pride Flag.
- Long Island Pride: Sunday, June 13, at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. The festival will include a concert with headliner Almost Queen, a tribute band, at the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theater from noon to 4 p.m. 1,200-person capacity. Prepurchased ticket and proof of vaccination or 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.