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Coronavirus: Cancellation of Many Gay Pride Events to Come?
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of 11 March 2020) While there are no serious cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) in Switzerland yet, the Swiss government banned all events with more than 1,000 people between 28 February and 15 March 2020. In France, several people have already died from Covid-19 (or from an opportunistic disease related to Covid-19) and events involving at least 1,000 people are now banned. In other words, provided that the measures of the provisional ban are extended, the implementation of Gay Prides in Switzerland, France, Germany and elsewhere is now under threat.
At the time of writing, there were no deaths due to Covid-19 in Switzerland. Of the approximately 100 infected, none is seriously affected and three infected people were healed. So why such a radical decision and such a low threshold? The answer lies more in geography than in medicine: Switzerland borders on Italy and Germany, where the Covid 19 epidemic is much more worrying.
By 4 March, Covid-19 had already killed 82 people and infected 2,634 people in Italy, 229 of whom were severely infected. In Germany there were 244 contaminations, 2 of which were serious, but no fatalities. This means that the noose around Switzerland is tightening. The Swiss executive (Federal Council) took the ban measure, although the Minister of Health had only recorded about 15 positive cases and about 100 people in quarantine.
In France, which also borders Germany and Italy, the threshold for a ban on events after the second death of 130 contaminations was set at 5,000 participants, while 9 serious cases still had to be treated (on 4 March there were 4 deaths and 212 infected). Later, the threshold was reduced to 1,000 participants.
The prohibition criteria concern not only the number of participants but also the concept of limited space. But what exactly is a confined space? Are the passengers on a train in less confined space than the spectators on the track of a marathon or in a football stadium?
In any case, Switzerland has already cancelled the Geneva Motor Show. Other major economic and sporting events are also in danger of being cancelled. In any case, the Swiss law on epidemics does not provide for compensation for the organizers of such events. In other places, renowned book fairs are cancelled, for example in Leipzig, Paris and London.
Gay Pride season in danger?
Do we really have to cancel these popular events as well? The Czech Republic has opted for a half measure, namely to allow certain sporting events to take place behind closed doors rather than canceling them. The biathlon events will take place as planned from 5 to 8 March 2020 in Nové Město, but without spectators. However, the athletes and their coaching staff will be on site, even though they have just returned from Antholz (Italy), where the last round of the World Cup was held.
What if the spread of Covid-19 leads to the cancellation of gay pride events in the countries concerned? In France, for example, the Gay Pride season mainly concerns events in May and June. But what about the Gay Pride in Tignes, the next edition of which is planned for March 19, 2020 on the fringes of the European Snow Pride (March 14-21)? So far the organizers have not cancelled the gay ski week.
The idea of organizing events behind closed doors, such as the biathlon events in Nové Město, makes no sense in the context of a Gay Pride. A Pride parade without publicity? That would be just like a concert without an audience or a church service without believers.
The future will show whether the big gay pride parades will be cancelld due to the coronavirus or not. It is currently too early to make a forecast. But the risk, especially the financial one, is considerable; in Switzerland more than elsewhere, since assembly bans are not compensated, as was noted at the beginning of the article.
Geneva, Zurich and Bulle are holding their breath
Take Geneva Pride, for example. In 2019, it looked like this:
The next Pride March is scheduled for 4 July 2020 in Geneva. A possible cancellation would not only negate the efforts of the bodies directly or indirectly involved in the organization: Sponsors, tourism agencies, hotels and other local businesses (car and audio-video equipment rentals), journalists and photographers, etc. The consequences would be even more disastrous for the LGBT community itself, which would be deprived of the most media-friendly of advocates. For the LGBT community, but also and especially for its communication, prevention and advocacy efforts. Because even though the Swiss voted in favor of legal protection against homophobia in February 2020, much remains to be done to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation, are granted truly equal rights.
The same situation could occur a little earlier, in this case on June 20, for the “Zurich Pride 2020”. The slogan of this year's parade is “Show your colors against hate“.
We can expect Covid-19 to be extinct by 2022. This year, for the second time in French-speaking Switzerland, a Gay Pride will take place outside a cantonal capital (the last time in Biel/Bienne in 2008). It will be located in the municipality of Bulle, the capital of the Gruyère district, which itself is in the canton of Fribourg.
2022 is still far away though. By then, the corona virus will hopefully be far away as well – for Bulle, for its first Gay Pride and for the whole community.
Here is the official clip for the Zurich Pride 2020, whose soundtrack is particularly effective
Between the Plague and AIDS
At the end of this article, here are two references to pandemics other than the coronavirus pandemic.
Since the epidemiological situation has become alarming, booksellers have noticed an onslaught of customers for Albert Camus’ The Plague. It talks about an epidemic, in this case bubonic plague, but it is both fictional and metaphorical. This has nothing to do with a real epidemic or the coronavirus: The plague Camus speaks of is a metaphor for Nazism, its spread and the fight against this cancer of the intellect. It is perhaps no coincidence that Nazism and Fascism in retrospect are referred to as the brown plague.
Remember the fools of God who claimed – and some are still claiming it today – that AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuality and homosexuals. So the coronavirus in all its forms, especially that of Covid-19, is God’s punishment against whom or what? Some people obviously want to see divine intervention against everything that irritates them and displeases them. Perhaps these people will now find a way to express their homophobia again… if the coronavirus gives them the time.