‘Coming out of quarantine’: Pride Month kicks off in Juneau

People gather around a shelter at Sandy Beach for a Pride picnic on May 11. The picnic is an annual event that Juneau's LGBTQ+ alliance group SEAGLA sponsors.
People gather around a shelter at Sandy Beach for a Pride picnic on June 11, 2021. The picnic is an annual event that Juneau’s LGBTQ+ alliance group SEAGLA sponsors. (Lyndsey Brollini/KTOO)

People are coming out of quarantine and into Pride Month in Juneau. After a delayed — and mostly virtual — Pride celebration last year, Juneau Pride is back and in-person.

The Coming Out of Quarantine picnic was one of the kickoff events of Pride Month. The picnic, held last Friday, was hosted by SEAGLA, the the LGBTQ+ alliance group in Juneau.

Gretchen Becker volunteered at the picnic with SEAGLA. She thinks the picnic is one of the most important events of Juneau Pride.

“So I’m happy to celebrate in a way that feels organic and real, like we would at any Pride year,” Becker said.

At the picnic, Becker was able to see friends she hadn’t seen in over a year. And meet new people.

“It feels really good. I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with some long-time Juneau friends that, maybe I wouldn’t have had a Zoom call with, but I was able to meet here and have that reconnection,” Becker said.

The pandemic made it difficult for anyone to connect and gather safely. This impacted the LGBTQ+  community, especially during Pride.

In 2020, Pride in Juneau was delayed until August in hopes of being able to host the event safely by then.

But that didn’t happen. So Pride last year was scaled down and mostly virtual, with a couple of in-person, socially distanced events.

Becker thought it was difficult to stay connected with the community during the pandemic.

“With this last year, it really pared down, I think, a lot of our friend groups,” Becker said. “And I’m friends with a lot of the queer community here, which is helpful for me to keep going. But I think, honestly, I think everyone felt a little bit more lonely than usual.”

Becker gave a shout out to the drag community, which helped her meet other LGBTQ+ people in Juneau. And the drag community helped people stay connected during the pandemic by hosting virtual drag shows.

Now, drag shows are back and in-person for those who are fully vaccinated. And a drag show is just one of the many events lined up for the rest of Pride Month.

Upcoming events include kayaking, a drive-in movie and more. The full list of events can be found on SEAGLA’s Facebook or Instagram.

Lyndsey Brollini

Local News Reporter, KTOO

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