PHILADELPHIA - The COVID-19 pandemic and more than a year of isolation means that Pride month may be more this year than in years past.
"There’s gay seniors who faced isolation, there’s the nonprofits who lost donations, there’s so many ways the gay businesses that were forced to shutter and shut down the bars that were forced to close so we couldn’t afford to have two years with no gay pride," said Kory Aversa, Event Organizer of Aversa PR.
COVID restrictions have eased in time for the start of pride month outside of the Sofitel Hotel with the raising of the Philadelphia Pride Flag.
"I think over the past couple years there was a lot of hate in the world it’s so important to us to just show love and pride throughout the community," said Tony Geistwite of the Sofitel Hotel.
And its easy to see that commitment from many has supported the growth of Pride month after more than a year. The flag is the first thing of many things that were seen in the celebration.
"We wanted to represent the Philadelphia flag with the brown and black stripes. But here in the lobby we call it our hall of flags we also are representing the lesbian community The non-binary community The polyamorous community so we really want everybody to feel welcome and inclusive," Geiswite said.
There are events happening every day. Some are to encourage fun and acceptance, some are to demonstrate unity and diversity, and some to further the discussions that may have been lacking over the last year.
"The gay community was affected by the pandemic in so many interesting ways," said Aversa. "Teens that were just coming into their own and finding their own community were sent back to their homes with no one to talk to and with no in person contact with the agencies that were serving them."
As the LGBTQ+ community is celebrated this month, Aversa says that "pride" is truly the core of the festivities.
"Our overall message is love is love be proud of who you are be proud full of everything that you do and just enjoy life and love each other," he said. "I would hope that whether you’re gay or straight or anywhere in between that you can appreciate the gay pride month is about community. It’s about looking forward it’s about togetherness and it’s about all of the things that we lost last year but it’s about all the things that we got back that means so much more this year."