RUSA LGBT Plans Virtual Brighton Beach “Pride Without Borders”

Brighton Beach Pride
Brighton Beach Pride won’t be on the boardwalk this year, but the community will still be able to partake in the festivities online.
Matt Tracy

Brighton Beach Pride will go on, after all — virtually, of course — after organizers who originally scrapped this year’s festivities due to the coronavirus pandemic opted to plan an online version of the fourth annual march that usually takes place on the boardwalk along Brooklyn’s southern coast from Coney Island to Brighton Beach.

RUSA LGBT, the Russian-speaking LGBTQ network that produces the annual march in Southern Brooklyn, will host the virtual Pride event on May 31 at noon on YouTube Live, the organization told Gay City News. Brighton Beach Pride, already known to draw an international crowd featuring individuals from across Eastern Europe and the rest of the world, will expand on that global theme this year.

Online event to shine light on Russian-speaking communities impacted by COVID

The festivities will go on under a message, translated from Russian to English, that reads, “Peace to queers, queers of the world.”

“Along with other underprivileged communities, Russian-speaking LGBTIQ+ communities across the world have suffered significantly,” the organization noted in a release on May 28. “In these times of uncertainty and despair, it is even more crucial we stay together — united and stronger. This is why this year’s Brighton Beach Pride is a Pride without borders.”

A written statement from RUSA LGBT outlined the event’s program.

“We will have a great a line up — NYS Attorney General Tish James, Director David France, Journalist Masha Gessen, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum  (CBST), AFT President Randy Weingarten, Councilman Daniel Dromm, and many many more,” the group said.We will have international entertainment as well.”

Organizers are in the process of contacting individuals “in all Post-Soviet countries, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Israel, as well as other countries to join us in sharing our experiences during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Organizers are also emphasizing that this year’s edition of Brighton Beach Pride is intended to be a platform for supporting queer immigrants in the US who have been negatively impacted by the coronavairus pandemic. To that end, Rusa LGBT is hosting a fundraiser on its website.

RUSA LGBT also outlined its goals for Brighton Beach Pride, which the organization says aims to bring Russian-speaking LGBTQ communities together, celebrate the diversity of the Russian-speaking immigrant community in Brighton Beach and beyond, and address threats and violence against queer individuals in Russian-speaking social media circles.

“This is an opportunity for all of us to learn from each other, to listen to each other, and to extend our friendship by creating a network of caring and supportive individuals,” the organization stated.