Affirmation Prepares for Pride as US Covid-19 Vaccine Adoption Increases
by Joel McDonald
Over 60% of adults in the United States have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine according to the Centers for Disease Control. The number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed and deaths from the virus are steadily declining. The CDC’s updated recommendations regarding the wearing of masks and social distancing have been updated to reflect these new realities, stating on its website, “If you are fully vaccinated, you can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.”
Just in time for Pride.
As the nation begins to reopen safely, Pride organizers in states and localities are busily preparing for the LGBTQIA+ community to once again join together in-person to recognize and celebrate Pride. Affirmation regions and chapters will be once again participating in these Pride celebrations. For some Pride events, Affirmation will be represented for the first time.
The Affirmation Intermountain West Region will be participating in Salt Lake City Pride Week, which includes events running from June 1st to June 7th. The Affirmation Florida Chapter will be marching in the Come Out with Pride Orlando parade on October 9th.
“To my knowledge, this will be the first time any organization that deals with queer Mormons will have a presence in any of the Pride events in Florida,” shared David Doyle, Affirmation Florida Chapter president.
In preparation for a return to in-person activities this year, Affirmation’s international leadership, including the executive committee and board of directors, ensured funding for these activities would be available to Affirmation’s areas, regions, and chapters. Registration fees for Pride events, banners for parades and booths, and other materials are being provided to support Affirmation’s successful and effective participation.
“Pride events are opportunities to be highly visible within the LGBTQIA+ community,” shared Joel McDonald, director of operations of Affirmation. “Part of our mission is to create communities of support for LGBTQIA+ current and former Latter-day Saints. We know that there are many throughout the world who believe they are alone in navigating the challenges of being at the intersections of their faith, sexuality, and gender identity or expression. These are opportunities for Affirmation to let them know they aren’t alone and that we’re a refuge for them to land, heal, share, and be authentic.”
While the United States and other nations are quickly moving toward a post-pandemic way of life, many nations around the world continue to be ravaged by the virus and resulting civil unrest.
“Although some local and national governments are lifting COVID restrictions, the world is not recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic in equal measure,” said Nathan Kitchen, president of Affirmation. “It remains important in our work to be mindful of those outside our particular personal experience and geography. I am especially concerned about the health and well-being of each person in the Affirmation community who lives in places where COVID-19 continues to have a devastating and destabilizing impact. The Affirmation international board and area leaders remain acutely aware of local conditions across the globe, regularly communicating with those in Affirmation who live in viral hotspots.”
Nathan concludes with this message of hope, “All of us as an Affirmation community looks forward to the time where we will shake the grasp of this pandemic and end this long night of sorrow to embrace one another in person. It will be a time we invite everyone together from across the globe and have one great reunion among friends.”
Individuals in the United States are encouraged to continue to monitor the guidance being provided by the CDC.