With a sense of responsibility towards public health and wellbeing and having in mind that the crucial elements of EuroPride (visibility, mass gatherings, inclusiveness, international travelling) are seriously compromised due to physical distancing regulations, the Thessaloniki Pride board has reached the painful decision that EuroPride cannot be properly held, at least until the end of 2020.
EuroPride 2020 had been scheduled for June 2020, but was postponed because of the pandemic outbreak. Holding it sometime in the autumn would be a pretty uncertain –risky even– choice, given that the authorities, following the instructions of the global scientific community, can neither guarantee the feasibility of mass gatherings, events, concerts and conferences by the end of 2020 nor can they rule out a second wave of COVID-19 cases and hence a subsequent second lockdown. In addition, the pandemic has cost everyone in terms of resources, which has resulted in most of our partners not being able to carry out activities intended for EuroPride, contributors not having the means to support our cause and sponsors being more than hesitant to invest in our events. Even if we held an informal parade, EuroPride would not be European in its essence, since travelling is in some cases still forbidden, leading automatically to exclusion of part of the community.
All the same, we keep working closely with the European Pride Organisers Association, the licensor of EuroPride, to examine possible alternatives. We are clear that the reasons for bringing EuroPride to Greece still stand and the need to empower our community through EuroPride is still prominent.
At the same time, we understand the need of the local LGBTI community for visibility and empowerment within 2020, too. Therefore we maintain plans to hold some visibility events in September or October 2020 addressed for the locals and adapted to the reality on the ground.
Thessaloniki was awarded the title of EuroPride for 2020. With the slogan “Welcome to the future where everyone can join!”, EuroPride 2020 wanted to mark a new era for the Pride movement and highlight the sentiments of freedom and hope of the local LGBTQI community, as they are leaving behind the dark past of hatred and intolerance that the Balkans have been associated with since the 1990s and step into the light with optimism.
It would be the first time that EuroPride is hosted in South East Europe and the organising committee of Thessaloniki Pride, along with the city authorities, had been working intensively because they were determined to deliver a safe, political EuroPride and still festive, exciting and full of vibe. They also committed themselves that EuroPride 2020 would be a celebration that would change for the better the lives of thousands of people, not only from Greece but from neighbouring countries as well.
An 8-day program would, Thessaloniki welcome everyone to join the future of Pride and celebrate in a series of art exhibitions, outdoor parties, concerts, open air film screenings, a human rights conference and, of course, the big EuroPride Parade on Saturday, 27 June 2020, on the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.