Romania Pride LGBT+ march postponed over coronavirus

Romania Pride LGBT+ march postponed over coronavirus

A woman wears a face mask as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus as she walks on a street in Beijing on March 12, 2020. (AFP Photo)

The organiser of Bucharest Pride said on Wednesday that the event would be delayed by at least three months due to coronavirus, the first of many LGBT+ rallies likely to be affected.

The event, which attracts about 10,000 people, was postponed from May 23 until August or September, said executive director Teodora Ion-Rotaru, as Romania banned events with more than 1,000 attendees after 25 virus cases were confirmed on Monday.

"Public safety should really come first at a time like this and I think we as community organisers have a responsibility to think first about our communities and their safety," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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"It's easier to rejoice at a time when everything is safe and everything feels right for everybody," she said, adding that a new date for Bucharest Pride was under discussion with city authorities.

Millions of people worldwide take part in marches to celebrate gay, bisexual and transgender achievements, rights and pride, most of which take place during Pride Month in June.

It is the first LGBT+ Pride known to be postponed due to the flu-like virus, said Steve Taylor, a spokesman for the European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA), which expected up to 1,000 Prides to take place in Europe in 2020.

The spread of the virus, which has so far infected more than 121,500 people and killed nearly 4,400, according to a Reuters tally, has led to the postponement or cancellation of large events around the world.

Trans Pride Scotland, which was scheduled for March 28, has been cancelled, the organisation tweeted on Wednesday.


Tokyo Pride said on its website that it will announce on March 25 whether its April event will go ahead as planned.

Los Angeles Pride is also meeting with city authorities on March 24 to decide if it will push ahead with its 50th anniversary celebrations in May and June, its executive director Madonna Cacciatore said in an EPOA webinar.

"We're just in unchartered territory here," she said at the event attended by more than 70 Pride organisers.

Other major LGBT+ events affected by the coronavirus include the annual awards gala put on by LGBT+ media advocacy group GLAAD.

The organisation announced on Wednesday that next week's ceremony in New York would be cancelled due to new recommendations from the state governor.

The cancellation of the GLAAD awards follows an announcement earlier this week that RuPaul's DragCon, an annual drag queen convention affiliated to the popular U.S. reality TV show, would also be called off due to health concerns.

The United States has recorded 1,016 coronavirus cases, while the number of deaths had risen by 6 to 31, according to a Reuters tally.

A major gay dance party in Thailand, SK2020, which was expected to attract some 30,000 revellers next month, was also recently postponed until next year due to the virus outbreak.

The country has recorded a total of 59 coronavirus cases since January, with one fatality.

"Some events will inevitably face cancellation, curtailment or postponement," Kristine Garina, president of EPOA and Baltic Pride in Riga, Latvia, said in an emailed statement.

"It is ironic that over the last few decades various politicians, presidents, prime ministers, mayors, archbishops and other bigots have done their best to thwart and cancel Pride parades, but it was mother nature who succeeded." (Reporting by Rachel Savage @rachelmsavage with additional reporting by Oscar Lopez; Editing by Katy Migiro, Hugo Greenhalgh and Michael Taylor. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. 

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