When sports went on pandemic-related hiatus, I assumed that whenever Outsports would be writing a story about a Pride Night, it would either be set in the past or an uncertain future. And with Pride parades and celebrations throughout the country being postponed or canceled, that only served to confirm my assumption.
That’s why I don’t work for the Chicago Red Stars. Because Thursday night, they demonstrated that a team doesn’t even need to take the field to celebrate their LGBTQ fanbase with the Red Stars Virtual Pride Party.
As the name implies, the Red Stars Pride Party took place entirely online because 2020 gonna 2020. But that didn’t take away from the wide array of activities the Red Stars had planned to ring in the Pride Month celebrations four days early.
The Red Stars YouTube channel kicked-off the celebration by live-streaming performances from the Lyric Opera’s Desiree Hassler and drag star Em Merle. Additionally, the channel showed an Allyship 101 seminar in partnership with Women Unite! Both events were free of charge for everyone.
Fans who wanted to take their Pride celebration up a notch purchased tickets to a special Red Stars Zoom Pride Party. Pride events that were streamed over this Zoom meetup include Drag Bingo with Em Merle, an online dance party with DJ Sandra Suave, and musical performances from Kit Kat Lounge Divas Madam X and Shantell DeMarco.
Additionally, all ticket holders received a Red Stars Pride t-shirt and pronoun pin of their choice. He/Him, She/Her, and They/Them have never looked more fantastic.
A portion of the proceeds from the Zoom Pride Party are to be donated to Howard Brown Health, a healthcare provider dedicated to serving Chicago’s LGBTQ community.
As the Red Stars are proving, even when a Pride Party is socially distant, it can still bring a city and a fanbase together.